To survive the pandemic, many companies have stalled progress or even downsized while waiting to see what the future will bring. A few others — like Bruce S. Rosenblatt and Associates, LLC (BSR), a naval architecture and marine engineering firm — have found a way to continue growing.
Since the pandemic began, BSR has increased the staff of its Newport News office by 30 percent. “We have brought on permanent hires and contract labor in the last six or eight weeks, and we’ll probably have more of that for the next month or two,” says Scott Ripley, office manager at BSR’s Newport News office.
Ripley credits Bruce S. Rosenblatt, the company’s owner, with the ability to hire and retain the right people. Ripley says that, in his employees, Rosenblatt “values honesty and hard work, and he rewards people with longevity and stability in their jobs.”
Even with its offices closed, the BSR company owner and president’s hands-on approach has been impactful. According to Ripley, “[Mr. Rosenblatt] has made it a point to call every employee every few weeks to check in, see how each one is doing and how his or her family is, as well as to see if everything is in order to do his or her job.”
Bruce S. Rosenblatt & Associates, LLC, began in 1947 as M. Rosenblatt & Son. That company was sold in 2000, but Bruce S. Rosenblatt purchased the Oakland, California, office of his father’s and grandfather’s former company in 2008. In the spring of 2009, the Newport News office opened. The company also has an office in Arlington, Va.
In an area like Hampton Roads, with so much shipbuilding and maritime construction, it’s not unreasonable to imagine that a naval architecture and marine engineering firm would perform work primarily or exclusively in the local area. BSR indeed does jobs with local shipyards, but they also do work elsewhere. The company often works with shipyards across the country and internationally. Currently, the Newport News office of Bruce S. Rosenblatt & Associates is working on 10 different projects taking place at shipyards as far away as Vancouver, Canada.
Ripley describes the shipbuilding process as a design spiral that begins broadly with what he calls “overall operational characteristics.” The process starts with an idea of what the proposed ship needs to be able to do. The concept is narrowed, with decisions made about what individual features are required and finally, with designs for how all different parts fit together to make a complete and functional ship.
The last part — the detail design phase — is where BSR does most of its work and is why Ripley says that having the right people for the job is what makes BSR so competitive. “We have quite a few people on staff who have either worked in shipyards or are familiar with shipyard processes and procedures,” he says. To Ripley, this kind of experience translates to a job done truly well. He says, “When we do these production design jobs for shipyards, we are pretty well versed in getting [the client] a good product that not only is technically correct, but is also buildable.”
Ripley himself is a former shipyard employee. Currently a resident of York County, he is originally a self-described “cheese head from northern Wisconsin,” where he began working with Newport News Shipbuilding. It was that job that brought him to Hampton Roads in 1992, where he has remained ever since. Ripley is an avid boater and even gives around 300 hours of his time each year to serve as a member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary.
TO THE POINT:
Bruce S. Rosenblatt & Associates, LLC
Address: 1 Bayport Way, Ste. 115,
Newport News, VA 23602
Contact: Scott Ripley, office manager