October 9, 2007
Austal USA names new COO
Joe Rella has been appointed Chief Operating Officer for Austal's Mobile, Alabama, shipyard. Mr. Rella most recently led the sales and marketing team of Jeffboat, LLC in Indiana as Vice President.
Mr. Rella has more than ten years of experience at shipyards on the Gulf Coast, including both Atlantic Marine in Mobile, Alabama, and Ingalls in Mississippi. At Ingalls, he started as a Cognizant Engineer for the LHD Main Propulsion Group and advanced quickly to the LHD Program Office as the Main Propulsion Program Coordinator. Later at Ingalls, he represented SURFLANT for the conversion of the USS Inchon, LPH-12. At Atlantic Marine, Mr. Rella acted as Project Manager for the construction and delivery of two chemical tankers.
Mr. Rella started his maritime career by enlisting in the U.S. Navy and graduating from the Navy's Nuclear Power Program. While in the U.S. Navy, he received his appointment to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, N.Y. and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Marine Engineering Systems. He also earned an MBA from Spring Hill College here in Mobile.
Current construction activity at the Mobile yard includes the second of two 353-foot (107-meter) high-speed cargo/passenger ferries for Hawaii Superferry and a 127-meter Littoral Combat Ship under construction for the U.S. Navy. Austal's operation in the US currently employs over 1,000 shipyard workers. The yard began operation in 2001 and has successfully produced and delivered nine aluminum vessels, including two fast crew supply vessels, two dinner cruise yachts, two high-speed passenger ferries, two high-speed vehicle/passenger ferries, and one surface-effect vessel for the Office of Naval Research.