The College Program Director
Program Director Bill Docalovich is navigating the Naval Shipbuilding College through uncharted waters to support Australia’s journey to deliver a skilled sovereign workforce that will be sustained for generations to come.
Aged 56, Bill brings a wealth of expertise in organisational psychology. This knowledge stems from his long career with Huntington Ingalls Industries, where he built and maintained a highly skilled workforce.
Originally from New York, Bill was educated at Old Dominion University in Virginia. He soon put down his roots at Huntington Ingalls Industries, where his career evolved from a summer intern, who produced career development guides, to the manager of around 350 employees.
Bill travelled to Australia late last year to lead the Naval Shipbuilding College and said he is excited and prepared to overcome any challenges.
“Shipyards are labour intensive industries, so my background in organisational psychology has served me well,” Mr Docalovich said.
“It’s important to highlight that it hasn’t always been smooth sailing in the United States. Our naval shipbuilding industry has had to overcome similar challenges to Australia with a boom and bust cycle of contracts.”
“Over the decades Huntington Ingalls Industries has had to move quickly and innovate to ensure it maintained the sovereign workforce required to survive and be successful.
“One example was our ability to adapt and rebuild following Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, when we were confronted with damaged infrastructure and a shrinking pool of workers.
“The severe event caused billions of dollars in damage, displaced more than 1 million people and instantly reduced our shipbuilding workforce by 17 per cent – it was a major blow.
“We were already managing existing workforce challenges due to competing industries and the absence of strategies that promoted the diverse range of careers within the naval shipbuilding industry.
“We were also managing an ageing workforce and the loss of supply chain and sub‐tier contractors, including providers of critical materials.
“As efforts to rebuild and retrain the workforce progressed, it became obvious that the methods and practices that we were using needed to be improved,” Mr Docalovich said.
“Our comprehensive Labour Forecasting process was the foundation upon which our workforce strategy was developed.
“This was accomplished by developing partnerships with government, education and training providers; and industry to raise awareness of naval shipbuilding career opportunities and to build the technical capability needed by industry.
“The Naval Shipbuilding College’s objective is similar in its built on the concept that we must affect many in order to build the required team.
“We’re looking forward to strengthening our relationship with Australian industry, education and training providers.
“By using the excellent methodologies that already exist in Australia and pooling our combined knowledge and resources, I’m confident that the Naval Shipbuilding College will help directly contribute to the best solutions for the future of Australia’s continuous naval shipbuilding enterprise.
“There is a lot of work to be done, but it’s exciting to be part of Australia’s largest nation-building endeavour.”