When someone does a good job on something, like cutting your hair for example, you become their loyal customer because they’ve earned your trust.
The Army Corps of Engineers doesn’t cut hair, but they can and do repair boats, among many other things, and the Memphis District’s Ensley Engineer Yard does it so well that these skilled tradesmen are becoming the team of choice for more and more when it comes to marine maintenance projects and repair work.
Here’s an example: Last year, the USACE Rock Island District discovered one of their vessels, the Survey Boat Clark, had gone under water over the weekend. Initially, they contacted the boat manufacturer to get it fixed, but when told the cost to fix it was going to be more than half the original cost of construction, Rock Island decided to look elsewhere.
"The staff at the Rock Island District then contacted our Plant Section at Ensley Engineer Yard to ask if we could take on the job,” Kevin Woods, Plant Section chief said. “Our enthusiastic answer was … YES!”
Not only were they able to take the job, but Ensley tradesmen were also able to do the repairs at a fraction of the cost quoted by the manufacturer.
“The cost estimate from the Plant Section was $154,000,” Woods said. “And, we completed that project thousands of dollars below our estimate. Even with the additional safety modifications that were added to the project scope.”
With the Survey Vessel Clark repaired and even upgraded in some instances, Rock Island was a very happy customer, so happy in fact that they’ve requested another cost estimate for a different boat named Dubuque.
“They delivered the boat to Ensley last week on Tuesday [Jan. 7, 2020] so that we can conduct a detailed assessment of what needs to be included in the estimate,” Woods said. “It is only a cost estimate at this time as the project has not been approved yet.”
Although the project has not been approved by Rock Island District as of yet, the scope includes many of the same improvements as the Clark.
“This boat is almost identical,” Woods noted. “Some of the safety improvements that we performed on the last boat are being requested for this one including a safer trailer ladder, water tight deck hatches, fuel tank vent modification, and a splash guard on the front.”
The districts haven’t sealed the deal just yet, but the Memphis District is still thrilled to have been asked to review another project for the Rock Island District.
“Opportunities like these are win-win,” Woods explained. “Not only are we helping a sister district in need, but we also get to demonstrate our capabilities to other organizations as the Marine Maintenance Facility of choice; it doesn’t get much better than that.”