Retired Navy high-flier takes on new challenge: Reviving a tiny shipyard – Virginian


Over a camber of a 40-year career, late Navy Vice Adm. David Architzel left some flattering vast footprints.

His final gig was as commander of Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, Md., overseeing all a Navy flies, from warrior planes to helicopters.

That followed portion as principal troops emissary to Sean Stackley, a Navy’s indicate male for acquisitions during a Pentagon, whom Architzel calls a personal friend.

En lane to those high-powered posts, he was module executive officer for aircraft carriers, radically a man obliged for negotiating a squeeze and upkeep of a Navy’s biggest assets.

He was also autocratic officer of a conduit Theodore Roosevelt and a amphibious-assault vessel Guam, as good as a Navy exam commander and, earlier, a carrier-based aviator. He began drifting S-3s – jet-powered, anti-submarine aircraft – when they were so new that his squadron, during first, had no planes.

More than 3½ years after retiring, clearly means to do anything, he’s using a smallest ship-repair yard in a region, Fairlead Boatworks – before Davis Boat Works.


“People consider I’m nuts,” pronounced Architzel, who incited 65 final month.

“I see so many upside to this,” he pronounced of his shipyard. “I adore challenges. we like to take things on that are opposite and go about gripping things busy.”

His trainer is Jerry Miller, a associate Naval Academy grad.

“I met him when he was coaching Little League,” Miller said, recalling a time years progressing when their families were vital in a Great Neck area of Virginia Beach, with kids during about a same ages.

They remained friends, and Miller followed Architzel’s rising career.

“He was a hands-on kind of people person,” Miller recalled. “I saw something special in him from a unequivocally early years that we had met him.”

A waterfront tie for decades, Miller co-founded and after sole many of Portsmouth-based Earl Industries to General Dynamics, before remolding a remaining Earl units into Fairlead Integrated.

It had all solely a shipyard, that Miller addressed final Jun by shopping Davis Boat Works.

Architzel assimilated Fairlead in Jan 2015. He done no tip about his seductiveness in a shipyard job.

“He wanted to get his hands dirty,” Miller said.

A 1973 Annapolis graduate, where he majored in math, Architzel was innate in upstate New York, yet he spent many of his infirm years on Long Island.

His father worked for a IRS and was a clergyman and principal. His mom was a math teacher.

In a mid-1960s, her ninth-grade honors algebra category in Merrick, N.Y., enclosed her son, Dave; his twin, Anne; and Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, who would after go on to co-found a Vermont-based ice-cream sovereignty that bears their names.

“We all know him as ‘Arch,’ ” Greenfield pronounced in a new interview. “He’s a chairman who’s gentle in his possess skin and, we know, it’s like he’s not perplexing to infer anything to anyone.”

The 3 stayed in reason over a years.

When Architzel returned to Norfolk Naval Station after his initial deployment on a Guam, he found truckloads of Ben Jerry’s ice cream watchful for a organisation and their families during a pier. It wouldn’t be a final time.

Ben Jerry’s was there when a vessel went out to sea again, too. And again when Architzel ordered a Theodore Roosevelt. On one occasion, Ben and Jerry themselves, along with Architzel, served ice cream on a disaster decks.

Greenfield was unfazed to learn that Architzel had selected to spend his retirement – or during slightest partial of it – perplexing to spin around a exhausted shipyard.

“I consider it’s moving that, we know, during a time when a lot of people are selecting to float off into a nightfall or play golf, that’s he’s holding on such a challenge,” he said.

The new pursuit during Fairlead Boatworks, that employs about 90 people, has not been easy.

“We went from not carrying any ability to do any supervision work, carrying to come behind and come out of a low hole,” Architzel said.

Part of his turnaround devise includes beefing adult a volume of blurb work – tiny fishing boats, tugs and identical vessels – ideally reaching a 60-40, or even 50-50, separate between supervision contracts and blurb jobs.

When he took over final year, a yard was on a glide-slope to about $6 million in sales for a year. It finished adult with scarcely double that – $11 million – yet it needs to make about $16 million a year.

While supervision work will always be pivotal – a yard recently finished work on a initial Coast Guard vessel it had seen in a prolonged while – Architzel’s plan includes some out-of-the-box ventures, too.

Earlier this year, a yard’s carpenter used a chainsaw to mislay and afterwards carve a new wooden batch on a centuries-old anchor for a Mariners’ Museum.

“That was my initial go,” pronounced Bernard Smoot, who had been framing houses until fasten a shipyard about 18 months ago. “They asked me, could we do it? And we said, ‘Yeah.’ So, it came out all right.”

On a discerning tour of his yard, many of that is leased from a city of Newport News, Architzel reveals an tractable rapport he’s grown with his workers.

“We’re perplexing to adult a game,” he said, observant that Fairlead has taken advantage of a event to sinecure workers and supervisors from other yards, some of whom were laid off. They’re people who can do things right a initial time.

Don Capers is his portrayal supervisor, before during General Dynamics.

“I adore a tiny stuff,” Capers said, adding that he’s some-more accustomed to operative on bigger vessels, such as carriers, amphibious-assault ships and destroyers.

“We adore carrying him,” Architzel responded.

Asked how he does what he does – how he leads – Architzel cited his mindfulness with what people can do, their skills.

“You can’t know everything,” he said, adding that it is extraordinary how people open adult when we start to examine how they do what they do.

As for being a tough guy?

“You can be Napoleonic about it, though it doesn’t work well,” he said.

Among a other beneficiaries of Architzel’s new post is Bill Crow, who heads a Virginia Ship Repair Association, a informal trade group.

“You couldn’t have a improved hand-in-glove fit,” Crow pronounced of Architzel’s purpose during a tiny yard, where he’s means to parlay a high-powered imagination he schooled during a conduit turn down to barges and alighting craft.

Last year, Stackley, a Navy’s acquisitions czar, visited Norfolk and spoke during an organisation luncheon, something that had never happened before and was done probable by Architzel’s connection.

Away from work, you’ll substantially find Architzel … working, or during slightest it can seem that way.

Make no mistake that there’s a clarity of play there, too.

When one of his daughters began holding piano lessons, so did he – when he was a 29-year-old exam pilot.

“I’m a plan kind of person,” he confessed.

He and his mother of some-more than 40 years, Barbara, live on a 5-acre tract in a Chuckatuck territory of Suffolk, where he’s commissioned solar-energy panels, put in a pool and tends to a outrageous garden that includes blueberries.

A sight geek given he was a kid, Architzel motionless to buy a place, in vast part, since it would come with a 1.2-mile loop of lane for tiny trains vast adequate for people to ride.

The marks were changed to a site years ago by one of a leaders of a Southeast Virginia Live Steamers, a internal tyrannise bar that Architzel joined.

When he schooled in late 2014 that a owners of a skill was formulation to mislay a marks and sell a home, he acted fast and decisively.

The skill was going to be listed a subsequent day. He met a genuine estate representative and committed to shopping a place – and a train-track loop – within 24 hours of training about a opportunity.

On a new Saturday, he tended to his dual engines, one an 8-foot-long reproduction of a coal-fired steam locomotive, into that he fed chunks of coal.

It took a small while, though after a locomotive built adult adequate steam, Architzel took it on a spin around a property, floating a whistle, flitting underneath a installation he built for his dual grandsons final year.

About twice a year, a organisation members reason a vast celebration of sorts, holding kids for rides.

This spring, about 200 people showed up.

“I stay unequivocally busy,” Architzel said. “But bustling is good.”

After Stackley visited a ship-repair association, Architzel invited him over to his vessel yard.

“He smiled a lot, since he likes this stuff, too,” he said.

Much of Stackley’s time, he noted, is spent traffic with a vast things – conduit and submarine programs, cruisers and destroyers, spreadsheets tracking where a income goes.

Architzel, in a yard with barges, seized a moment.

“ ‘This is a side of a Navy we don’t unequivocally hear many about,’ ” he removed revelation Stackley. “ ‘We’re a grains of silt during a bottom.’ ”

Posted in
Tagged . Bookmark the permalink.
short link