Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC) Mid-Atlantic, Civil Engineer Corps (CEC) officer Cmdr. Elizabeth Durika recently assumed duties as the Public Works Department (PWD), Public Works Officer (PWO), onboard Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (PNSY), Kittery, Maine.
Durika, a Falls Church, Va., native and Kittery, Maine, resident, is in her 18th year of serving in the U.S. Navy, said being a PWO is a capstone billet for CEC officers.
“It brings together the skills and jobs I have held throughout NAVFAC to provide product and service delivery directly to the fleet,” Durika said in a statement announcing her new position. “Leading such an incredible team of professionals at PWD Maine is an honor and a privilege.”
The history of PNSY goes back to 1800 when it launched its first product, the 74-gun warship USS Washington, in 1815. Today, the shipyard is charged with the responsibility to safely overhaul, repair and modernize U.S. Navy nuclear-powered attack submarines. As the shipyard’s PWO, Durika is responsible for the delivery of NAVFAC products and services – that is – the planning, design, construction, maintenance and repair of shore facilities.
Durika noted that the largest challenge facing PWD Maine is the incredible influx of work required to support the Navy’s Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Program (SIOP) coming to the yard, including immediate construction efforts, the planning for future projects, and sustainment for the future.
“The projects coming to the shipyard are incredibly complex and require lock-step coordination between the submarine overhaul schedules, the OICC (officer in charge of construction) project execution teams, and the public works team," said Durika. “As the PWO, my primary responsibility is to the shipyard commander to enable fleet readiness by ensuring facility support to the warfighter.”
Durika is one of two new PWOs at Navy shipyards in the Mid-Atlantic region, the other being Cmdr. Crystine Good at Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, Va. Durika said she couldn’t be more excited.
“Cmdr. Good and I were Navy ensigns together at CECOS (Civil Engineer Corps Officers School) and it is exciting to be both assuming the roles of (shipyard) PWOs at the same time,” said Durika. “Both of our organizations have recently experienced significant reorganization with SIOP on our installations. One of the great parts of working as a PWO in the Mid-Atlantic region is that I’m able to pick up the phone and call any one of my fellow PWOs and share best practices, discuss processes, and leverage each other’s experiences.”
Durika said it was evident during her turnover that she was stepping into a professional organization that truly aligns their workload to support shipyard and supported command operations, and how the PWD team understands their connection to enabling the warfighter.
“The pride and professionalism across the PWD is palpable, and I am honored to be afforded this amazing opportunity,” added Durika. “I intend to continue this legacy of service to the fleet while continuing to foster the development of our incredible team.”
NAVFAC Mid-Atlantic provides facilities engineering, public works, and environmental products and services across an area of responsibility that spans from South Carolina to Maine, and as far west as Indiana. As an integral member of the Commander, Navy Region Mid-Atlantic team, NAVFAC Mid-Atlantic provides leadership through the Regional Engineer organization to ensure the region's facilities and infrastructure are managed efficiently and effectively.