WOSB Awarded $17M Contract to Replace Navy’s Maintenance & Work Planning Software

Original Article: Fosters

The work surrounding a nuclear submarine doesn’t stop once its maintenance is completed at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.

A thorough post-work analysis is done to determine the effectiveness of the planning, execution and certification of the shipyard’s work. And, if anything new is learned from the analysis, the information is shared among other naval shipyards.

That post-work analysis is the job of the Patrona Corporation, headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, with a seven-person office in Portsmouth at 14 Manchester Square at Pease International Tradeport.

“The flow of work that’s happening in this office is in support of the Navy maintenance community,” said Timothy T. Bassett, principal engineer at Patrona’s Portsmouth office.

The company, as part of a six-member team of companies, was recently awarded a $17 million government contract to replace the Navy’s aging 2.0 version of its Maintenance & Work Planning (M&SWP) software with a new, off-the-shelf application.

“Patrona is excited and proud to be part of a team that will assist in implementing M&SWP 3.0, which will be more reliable, easier and less costly to maintain, and be more adaptable and efficient in operation,” said Scott Williams, Patrona’s Arlington-based chief engineer.

According to the company, M&SWP 3.0 will directly support Submarine Maintenance Engineering, Planning and Procurement (SUBMEPP) located at the local Navy yard. SUBMEPP, founded at the shipyard in 1966, was contracted a year later by the government to be responsible for all submarine maintenance and overhauling.

Patrona was created in 2005 as a woman-owned small business to, as a government contractor, provide project management, strategic and operational planning, logistical support, quality control and financial management for submarine maintenance programs.

Patrona created a presence in the Seacoast in 2007, first in Dover for a couple of years and at Pease for the last six years, according to Bassett.

“The core business is supporting the Navy. They saw a synergy up here in Portsmouth,” said Bassett, who started working for Patrona in June after 30 years with SUBMEPP, retiring in May as its executive director.

After retiring from SUBMEPP, Bassett thought about what was next. He considered teaching math. He took a long walk (some 200 miles) along a portion of the El Camino Santiago (Way of St. James) in Spain to think and consider his options, ultimately deciding he wanted to remain “in the community” of submarines.

Bassett said the maintenance of a sub is a precise practice: what bolt to turn, what tool to handle, what lubricant to use – it’s all spelled out in the M&SWP, what Bassett called “the system.”

“All that planning starts in that system,” he said. “These are complex machines. You need some really detailed processes.” Bassett refers to the review of a sub’s maintenance (called an availability) as “a hot wash process.”

The maintenance system is also important as older, more experienced workers are replaced by younger workers with less experience on a sub.

“As people turn over, you want a repeatable process,” Bassett said.

Patrona’s primary duties are related to sub maintenance, according to Bassett, but it is assuming a role in the development and acquisition of the next generation of submarines.

This makes sense from a business standpoint, according to Patrona, because in helping the Navy decide on its next class of submarine, Patrona can better prepare itself for how to service that submarine.

Bassett noted the major types of submarines include the so-called Los Angeles, Virginia and Ohio classes. Portsmouth Naval Shipyard’s work in recent years has been on the Los Angeles class, and it is transitioning to meet the repair needs of the Virginia class subs as more come online and up for scheduled maintenance work.

The Virginia class was developed to ultimately replace the aging fleet of Los Angeles boats. The Navy is expected to continue to acquire more Virginia subs through 2043 and keep them in service past 2060.

“I’m sure they will migrate perfectly into the Virginia class,” Bassett said of the shipyard.

Patrona’s founder and chief executive officer is Paula Lyon, who is based in the Arlington offices where about 30 employees are quartered. The woman-owned, small business designation gives the company access to low-interest loans and government contract consideration.

Bassett said the reinforcement the company gets from the government is the fact the Navy keeps coming back to it for work.

“That’s the thumbs up from the government for us,” he said.

According to Bassett, the company is looking at other locations of submarine overhaul work in which to expand, with an eye toward Norfolk, Virginia, and Newport, Rhode Island.