Door County’s Bay Ship Changes Leadership

Bay Shipbuilding Company in Sturgeon Bay will move forward under new leadership. Longtime Vice President and General Manager Pat O’Hern has been replaced by Gene Caldwell at the company, which is a subsidiary of Fincantieri Marine Group.

Company officials would not comment on why the change was made. Caldwell had held a senior management position with Signal International in Orange, TX. He brings experience in many facets of the shipbuilding industry.

“I’m very excited about it,” he said of his new job. “The sky is the limit with the investments Fincantieri has made in this facility and the resources available to us. This is a great location. I moved my family half-way across the country to come here, so I believe in it.”

Caldwell said he expects more work at the shipyard this winter, but he was cautious about the company’s prospects for the immediate future.

“Our general hope is that we can put people back to work this winter,” he said. “We’re encouraged about prospects next summer for new construction with the slight uptick in the economy. We hope people are coming around.”

Bay Ship’s workforce is presently between 120 and 140 workers, a far cry from winter peaks of nearly 800 workers a few years ago. The company has been hit hard by the economic slowdown, which has resulted in huge cutbacks in shipping and made it difficult for clients to gain access to credit to build new ships.