I remember standing at the Newport News Shipyard gate in the 90’s next to Dorothy the tugboat and reading the shipyard’s motto:


“We will build good ships here — at a profit if we can, at a loss if we must, but always good ships”


This motto was apparently coined by Collis Huntington, founder of Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock, which is now Huntington Ingalls Newport News.


I liked this motto, especially since, at that time, TQM was in its revival in the United States. More remarkably, I did not know until later that Newport News’ motto had actually been used as an example of a proper TQM mission statement in Japan right after World War II.


Whether it is the truth, or whether the motto makes it appear so, there is a general industry impression that Newport News always built better ships.


Undoubtedly, I have always found that Newport News would insist on doing the right thing rather than deliver slip shod work. There is other evidence too; for example the Newport News built ship, Medina, was in ocean service from 1914 to 2009!


Nevertheless, over time, I feel the mission statement can stand some updating.

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