Mr. Frederick Harris
Award: Harold E. Saunders Award
Mr. Frederick Harris
For his significant contribution to naval engineering.
For more than four decades, Mr. Fred Harris has worked tirelessly to foster innovation and realize excellence in shipbuilding. His extensive exposure to the maritime industry has provided him with a breadth of knowledge and a unique viewpoint in current initiatives facing the business. He is frequently called upon to offer his perspective to revitalize the maritime industry and associated industrial base.
Mr. Harris graduated from the Maine Maritime Academy and was commissioned in the U.S. Naval Reserve in 1967. He sailed as a Merchant Mariner, most notably with the SS Transglobe, the most decorated American merchant ship of the Vietnam War. After earning his MBA at Babson College, Mr. Harris began his shipbuilding career in 1973 as a senior engineer for General Dynamics Electric Boat’s Trident ballistic missile submarine program. His thorough knowledge of ship construction processes, design and build practices along with his willingness to seek out best shipbuilding and business practices earned him a succession of promotions to Sr. Vice President. Under Mr. Harris’ leadership, the VIRGINIA Class Program earned a reputation as the premier shipbuilding program in the U.S. Navy, with the first submarine of the class completed within three months of the original planned delivery date set ten years earlier. During this same period, the design and the conversion of the first four TRIDENT Ballistic Missile Submarines to SSGNs was completed under his direction, all ahead of schedule and under budget. Mr. Harris also oversaw the design and construction of the 100-foot-long hull section for the SEAWOLF Class Submarine, USS JIMMY CARTER (SSN 23), which provides unprecedented undersea multi-mission capabilities.
Appointed as President of General Dynamics NASSCO and Vice President of General Dynamics in 2006, Mr. Harris is credited with the turnaround of the U.S. Navy’s T-AKE auxiliary program at NASSCO. Within 18 months of his appointment, the T-AKEs were being delivered on or ahead of schedule and on or under budget, with improved performance with each subsequent ship. Mr. Harris’ willingness to seek out new methods of production and his recognition of the need to reach out to international shipbuilders to learn and apply best practices has made NASSCO one of the nation’s most efficient shipyards. The T-AKE program is widely recognized as the most successful U.S. shipbuilding program since World War II.
For his accomplishments as program manager of the VIRGINIA-class submarine design phase, Mr. Harris received the Maine Maritime Academy Outstanding Alumni Award in 2000. In 2003, he received the annual William M. Kennedy Award from the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers, and in 2003, he was included on the Maine Maritime Academy’s Wall of Honor for his accomplishments in the marine field. He was granted an Honorary PhD from the Academy in 2010. He is currently a Board Member of the National Academy of Sciences, Transportation Research Board, and Chairman of the American Delegation of JECKU, a worldwide shipbuilding organization. Mr. Harris has clearly demonstrated a dedication to innovation, efficiency and growth in the shipbuilding industry throughout his lifetime, making him truly deserving of ASNE’s 2010 Harold E. Saunders Award.