Austal USA was recognized recently by the Mobile (Ala.) Area Chamber of Commerce as its 2021 Manufacturer of the Year.

Chamber vice president of economic development, David Rodgers, said Austal USA received the honor as a result of continuous forward-thinking, referring to the numerous changes the shipyard has made to its business operations to ensure a long future in Mobile.

“As one of Mobile’s largest employers, the day-to-day impact on our economy is critical. It’s rewarding to see Austal USA take the steps to secure its future here as well as the commitment of the thousands of area residents who are employed there,” Rogers said in a prepared statement.

“We are honored to receive this prestigious award from the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce and grateful for the chamber’s continued support of both Austal and our employees,” said Austal USA president Rusty Murdaugh. “Austal has celebrated several major achievements this year, and we are proud of the resilience displayed by our workforce to overcome adversity and continue contributing to our nation’s defense. The Mobile-area community, the state of Alabama, and our congressional delegation are an instrumental part of our success and a very large part of what makes Austal USA such a strong and successful company.”

While continuing to work on contracts to build aluminum ships for the Navy, Austal is adding a steel assembly line to the company’s module manufacturing facility marking a major addition to the company’s capabilities.

In October, the Navy awarded Austal a $145 million multi-ship construction contract for two Navajo-class Towing, Salvage, and Rescue Ships (T-ATS), the first two ships to be built on the new steel line. Austal also purchased 15 acres of waterfront property and a floating drydock on the west bank of the Mobile River and has started, what is already, a successful ship repair facility that is adding jobs in the Mobile area.