U.S. Coast Guard Commandant and Senator Nelson tour Eastern Shipbuilding
Commandant Paul Zukunft, who holds the highest title in the United States Coast Guard, alongside Florida Senator Bill Nelson, toured Eastern Shipbuilding Tuesday.
Recently, the Coast Guard awarded the local shipyard the largest contract in its history.
"You can imagine the impact of that $10.5 billion contract," said Senator Nelson.
For years Eastern Shipbuilding in Panama City has been preparing and hoping to win the bid. Now, they'll create 25 Coast Guard Cutters right here in Bay County at $484 million a piece.
Two thousand people will be employed because of the contract over a period of 20 years.
"How did we pull this off? You guys in the white hats pulled this off," said the Owner of Eastern Shipbuilding Brian D'Isernia to a large crowd.
"When we took a look at everything, Eastern Shipbuilding blew away the competition," said Admiral Zukunft.
To meet the employees who will soon build a part of the U.S. Coast Guard's future, and to experience what happens first hand at Eastern Shipbuilding, Commandant Zukunft and Senator Nelson say they made the trip to Panama City a priority.
"What they build, what they will create, is actually going to create our nation's sovereignty across the world and they [employees] are a key part of that." said Admiral Zukunft.
"It's also going to give us the chance to give congratulations to the workers to explain to them how important this is to the country not only to Bay County and Panama City."
Local Bay County leaders were also invited to the event.
D'Isernia says the contract is a dream come true not only for his immediate family but his work family too.
"You guys will not only be ship builders, but you can consider yourself patriots," he said.