NORFOLK NAVAL SHIPYARD, Portsmouth, Va. –
“Believe in yourself.” These are words Insulator Jacqueline Winborne lives by, the phrase etched in her hard hat to echo her beliefs. A recent graduate of the Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) Apprenticeship Program, she takes on each day staying true to her ideals. Her peers see her as a hard-working, natural-born leader with an attitude that spreads positivity to those around her – a catalyst for success within the gates of America’s Shipyard. Through her service and dedication to the shipyard’s mission and to her team, Winborne was recently nominated for the Virginia Department of Labor (DOL) and Industry’s Division of Registered Apprenticeship Outstanding Apprentice of the Year for 2021 – becoming the third individual from the Insulator Shop (Shop 57) to win the title across the last three years.
“It was an awestruck moment for me to learn of winning this award and it’s very appreciated,” said Winborne. “Each day I come to work ready to give it my all and help those around me. I wouldn’t be where I am today without my leaders and peers who were able to play a part in my journey so far, as well as my husband and my family. Because at the end of the day, we’re all ONE TEAM serving ONE MISSION, working hard to get our Navy’s warships back to the fleet. We’re all pieces of a larger puzzle; each of us plays an important part in completing the bigger picture.”
A native of Franklin, Va., Winborne grew up surrounded by her family of hard workers – each of them playing a major part in who she is today. “Our family stuck together no matter what and we knew that we could get through anything and achieve anything as long as we were together,” Winborne said. “Every morning I watched my father get up early to go out into the world and make money so he could provide for our family, working hard and ensuring we all had what we needed in life. He inspired my brothers and I to share those ideals, wanting to put forth the most effort we can each day to achieve greatness and stay true to ourselves no matter what – never settling for anything less than our best.”
Winborne tearfully credited her late mother as well. “My mom taught me that I didn’t need the validation of others – that I could validate myself and stay true to myself. She showed me what the epitome of a real woman was and I aimed to be like her, a homemaker. Just as she was a positive role model for me, I want to be like that for other women including my daughter as well – to show them that you can make it in this world and be a force to be reckoned with. You can do whatever it is you set your mind and heart to as long as you aim to achieve your goals and put in the hard work.”
When she had first learned of the apprenticeship from her husband, Shop 56 Work Leader Thurman Winborne, Jr., she was seeking an opportunity to grow in her career and learn a trade. With his encouragement, she went to Tidewater Community College and took the placement test, doing well and submitting her application to the program. She was accepted on her first try and as soon as she was through the gate, Winborne hit the ground running to learn as much as she could and do her part to serve her country. Her efforts continued to impress her leaders and peers throughout her time in the apprenticeship and beyond.
“Mrs. Winborne has distinguished herself from the rest of her apprentice class by the quality of her work and her work ethic throughout her apprenticeship,” said Shop 57 Continuous Training and Development (CTD) Supervisor Nathan Doughtie. “Her collective performances and evaluations in her training and development have all been outstanding. She exceeds the standards in all tasks that she is assigned and is an asset to both Shop 57 and America’s Shipyard. Based upon both Mrs. Winborne’s performance and my personal interactions with her, I believe she possesses all of the necessary qualities to one day be management.”
Shop 57 Supervisor William James added, “Her take charge attitude shows the younger apprentices someone to look up to and gives them a role model to try and become. She brightens up the room every day, her positivity spreading to those around her. She’s dependable and always ready for action – she’s the glue or cohesiveness to my crew, bringing everyone together and ensuring we’re all looking out for one another.”
Shop 57 Zone Manager Antoine Bailey said, “Mrs. Winborne has always been a self-starter and she instantly stood out as a top apprentice and important asset to our shop. She is in high demand with management because of what she brings to the table. She has thrived on carriers, submarines, in the shop, and she has thrived while working off yard projects as well. Her work ethic is second-to-none, while maintaining that work ethic her work skills provide great first time quality results. She is willing to learn and has a questioning attitude. Her influence not just on other apprentices, but mechanics, work leaders, and management is infectious. Mrs. Winborne is the model apprentice, a precedent that every apprentice should want to be like. Her future is very bright because of the person and worker that she is. Her kind-hearted attitude and work ethic is what NNSY and any company is looking for in an employee.”
The Virginia Apprentice Council, in association with Virginia's Department of Labor and Industry, honors outstanding apprentices who have completed their training program and are nominated by their sponsoring organizations. The nominated apprentices are those who excel in the areas of accuracy and efficiency, cooperation with supervisors and journeymen, initiative, leadership, decision-making ability, and outstanding accomplishments.
As Winborne continued to shine within her workplace, her leaders took notice and took the steps to nominate her for this award. Winborne was named the recipient of the Virginia Outstanding Apprentice of the Year for 2021 during a virtual ceremony Jan. 31.
Shop 57 Supervisor Dallas Pritchett said, “From day one, Mrs. Winborne was the top of her class and worked hard every day. She’s the third of our apprentices within Shop 57 to win this award and it’s truly a testament to the amazing folks we have in our shop and the effort they put in every day to service our fleet.”
Before Winborne, Shop 57 Insulating Mechanic Aisha Clark received the award in 2019 and Shop 57 Insulator Evan Webb received the award in 2020 – each representing the Insulator Shop and the shipyard as a whole.
“It’s definitely a great feeling to see those from our shop getting recognized for the hard work we do here,” said Webb. “Personally I feel like our shop has good mentors and fellow apprentices that will help you out every step of the way. We make every day count and keep working towards our goals.”
Clark added, “Teamwork has always been the most valuable thing for us. We look out for each other and help each other out – reaching for success and learning more as we go. Go Shop 57!”
Following this achievement, Winborne is looking to the future of her career and America’s Shipyard. “The sky is the limit at NNSY,” said Winborne. “This experience is what you make of it and for me I want to put forth my all into everything I do for our Navy and nation. These warships and the Sailors are our mission and we must put forth first time quality work, have questioning attitudes, and remain in a learning mindset to ensure that everything we do ensures their safety and readiness. One of the sayings of the shipyard that I fully believe in is ‘Any Ship, Any Time, Anywhere.’ It’s up to all of us to take care of our fleet so that they can defend us on the front lines. Those vessels are going to perform amazingly because of our hard work and dedication. What we do is far too important – we have to keep moving forward and aim for success. Together, we can do this!”