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Cleanliness Warriors Take Creative Ideas to Get Results

By Kristi Britt, Norfolk Naval Shipyard Public Affairs Specialist | March 12, 2020


The Cleanliness Community of Practice (C-CoP) celebrated 2019's fourth quarter’s Cleanliness Warriors Feb. 20, rewarding two individuals who achieved excellence and have become inspirations to those throughout Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY).

“The C-CoP was put together to ensure cleanliness is held to a standard of excellence at NNSY,” said C-CoP Lead Ryan Lankford. “Dedicated individuals work hand-in-hand with every shop and code across America’s Shipyard and address cleanliness from every aspect of the job. Across the shipyard, we aim to get the job done and service the fleet. It takes dedication and the willingness to find solutions to keep moving forward. For those who go beyond the call of duty, bringing creative and innovative ideas to the workforce, we recognize as our Cleanliness Warriors. It’s their passion for their work that inspires others and helps us achieve our mission to the fleet.”

The fourth quarter ceremony celebrated the efforts of two individuals from Shop 38, Mechanics Brandon Whitlow and Joseph Lindner. NNSY was tasked with removing and installing new steam generator corner plates onboard the USS George Washington (CVN 73) for Fiscal Year (FY) 20. During the planning, it became apparent that the team needed to rethink the cleanliness process with the amount of work that would be required.

The two lockplate cutting mechanics performed work on a multi-tiered cleanliness barrier system and performed their tasks flawlessly during execution. They endured a long engineering and training phase for the work being performed and dealt with difficult working conditions throughout the process. Yet they remained dedicated in their efforts and maintained cleanliness throughout. 

Both recipients were awarded a certificate of achievement, a Cleanliness Warrior sticker, a service award, and a C.O.R.E. award.

“These two gentlemen took a challenge and ran with it in such creative and inspiring ways,” said Code 900 Capt. James Kuhlman. “I always refer back to my operational time in my career, watching firsthand how important cleanliness can be in our business. Cleanliness has significant impacts to availabilities and if we falter even a little bit, it could be weeks of stepping backwards to fix the problem. These men and all of the C-CoP have come together and turned the tide for cleanliness at America’s Shipyard. You are taking innovative ideas and putting them into action. You’re passionate about what you do and your actions speak louder than words.”

He added, “The C-CoP is a shining example of a good program getting the job done and taking the time to improve each and every day in what they do. In addition, their actions have inspired the workforce as a whole to take cleanliness seriously. We see that today with these two mechanics who were dedicated in ensuring a job well-done. I look to this group to continue to excel and be leaders in spreading that same dedication and passion to the other groups of the shipyard so we can continue to make America’s Shipyard the best it can be.”

Code 2300's Bob Esfandiari said, “Thank you for everything you do! This team and this shipyard has come a long way in cleanliness. I urge us all to continue to innovate and continue to make progress. When we see someone thinking outside the box and working hard to get those results in making our work here safer and more efficient, we want them to be recognized for their efforts.”

Code 2300's Drew Lang added, “I began my involvement with cleanliness in 1993 and when I look back at what we were doing then to what we are doing now – it’s a significant improvement and it’s something we should be celebrating. We as a team have achieved and continue to achieve excellence in cleanliness. I challenge you all to continue this drive and don’t accept mediocrity in what we do. In addition, keep this mindset in all areas of our work. Cleanliness is just one piece of the shipyard puzzle. It all plays a part in the mission of America’s Shipyard. I’m so pleased we’ve come such a long way and I hope you all continue to persevere. The C-CoP is one of the communities of practice that has proven to get results. Keep up the great work!”