Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Change Moves Forward Naval Depot Gets New Leader

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Change Moves Forward Naval Depot Gets New Leader

Article excerpt

The only thing that can be said with certainty about the future of Jacksonville's largest industrial employer, the Naval Aviation Depot, is that it's sure to be fraught with uncertainty, the retired head of the depot's parent command said.

Change has been a way of life at NADEP for the last four or five years, retired Vice Adm. William C. Bowes said, adding that "the only constant is that change will continue."

Bowes' remarks came yesterday as the aircraft repair facility underwent yet another change, the departure of its commanding officer, Capt. Martin Kosiek.

In ceremonies at a cavernous aircraft hangar, Capt. Gary S. O'Neill, formerly executive officer, took over as head of the 3,862-worker industrial complex.

Kosiek, who has headed the depot since June 1997 and was credited with leading it through a period of upheaval, retired after 25 years.

"You have left a mark in the sand that time and waters will not erase," said Rear Adm. (select) Stephen C. Heilman, the Navy's assistant commander for aviation depots.

With the closing of three of the Navy's six depots, the Jacksonville facility has absorbed the maintenance of F-14 and EA-6B jets and thousands of aircraft components, as well as 1,400 employees.

It was an "enormous undertaking" and the depot team did it "without missing a beat," said Bowes, who headed the Naval Air Systems Command from 1991 to 1995.

Kosiek also guided the depot through choppy financial waters that had threatened to leave the depot $19.5 million behind last fiscal year's financial plan.

Instead, through strict controls, hard work and some additional Navy reimbursements, the depot ended up $1.2 million ahead, Kosiek said.

"The past year and a half have been clouded with many challenges. Many of those challenges remain with us today and will be part of Capt. O'Neill's tour as the commanding officer of this great facility," Kosiek said.

The biggest threat to the depot's future, he said, will be containing potentially budgetbusting support costs as budgets shrink and the depot loses workload. …

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