Mr. Laurence R. Dutton
Award: Harold E. Saunders Award
Mr. Laurence R. Dutton
For his significant contribution to naval engineering as set forth in the following:
Larry R. Dutton's career in naval engineering spans more than 30 years at Norfolk Naval Shipyard, but his reach goes far beyond. His dynamic leadership, farsighted vision, superb technical competence and solid reputation for customer-focused process improvement have earned him a key role in shaping the way ship maintenance engineering is conducted throughout the Navy. His influence has touched every aspect of the ship repair process and has spanned the breadth of Navy ship technology; from submarines to surface combatants, and amphibious ships to aircraft carriers, and from combat systems to propulsion, both nuclear and non-nuclear.
Beginning as a physicist in the shipyard's nuclear power program, Mr. Dutton rose quickly in influence and responsibility, soon becoming Norfolk's first Nuclear Planning Manager. In 1973, he reached the position many consider the most prestigious civilian job in naval shipyards, Chief Design Engineer, Norfolk Naval Shipyard. He transformed the Norfolk design division into the most revered among all naval shipyards for responsive, high quality waterfront support.
Mr. Dutton was the prime mover in developing a NAVSEA ship Alteration (SHIPALT) Improvement Program, to correct inadequate system and equipment engineering being done by various planning yards and NAVSEA. Every depot repair activity benefited from this effort, both public and private. When scheduled maintenance resulted in some components getting overhauls that were not needed and others failed prematurely from missed refurbishment, he initiated a program for Point-of-Entry Full Performance Testing to ensure accurate and timely work identification. POET is now used by many of the shipyard's customers and has been exported to all other shipyards. He developed the General Overhaul Specifications for Surface Ships (GSO) document, which will continue to be a bible for ship maintenance activities. Fiscal responsibility has always been a hallmark of Mr. Dutton as he struggled to return a high quality product to the customer at minimum cost. With the lowest overhead burden for all shipyard engineering and planning organizations and fewer total employees than any other shipyard when normalized for number of waterfront employees, his lean organization provides the best value by a wide margin.
Adding to his personal accomplishments, Mr. Dutton's impact is being further multiplied by his cadre of thousands of engineers who have spread throughout the ship repair community. His realistic approach to problem solving, which focuses on getting the task accomplished while still meeting all technical specifications, has given each the proper blend to make consistently sound engineering decisions.
Mr. Dutton is unquestionably the preeminent Chief Design Engineer among all naval shipyards. For the past three decades, his influence has extended way beyond the reaches of Norfolk Naval Shipyard to the entire ship repair business. His determined, pragmatic leadership turned the Norfolk Naval Shipyard Design Division into an organization characterized by advanced thinking, with a bold and forward looking attitude, totally dedicated to the mission of the shipyard and the Navy. During all his far-reaching efforts for the Department of the Navy, he has never lost sight of his primary role, that of dedicated, immediate and high quality technical support to the shipyard's waterfront productive effort. He is a most deserving recipient of the Saunders Award.