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  • Writer's pictureASSA Staff


Washington, D.C. Mar. 31, 2022 - The American Shipbuilding Suppliers Association (ASSA) presented the 2022 Honorable Thad Cochran Leadership Award to Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (WA-01) for her dedication and commitment to a robust American shipbuilding supplier industrial base. She was presented the award during the ASSA Annual Congressional Virtual Fly-in by ASSA member, Michael Stobbart of Lister Chain. ASSA established this annual award to honor the leadership of the late Senator Cochran for his unwavering support to those large and small businesses that provide the technologies and components necessary to build Navy and Coast Guard ships, which are critical to U.S. national security. The Honorable Thad Cochran Leadership Award is given annually to a public servant, selected by the ASSA membership.

DelBene has long led efforts to close loopholes that allowed the U.S. Navy to buy ship components from foreign sources, going against President Biden’s Buy America directive and threatening the sole remaining U.S. supplier of anchor chain, Lister Chain. DelBene spearheaded a provision in the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to permanently resolve this loophole, which ultimately became law in December 2021.

To complement those efforts, DelBene secured language in the fiscal year 2022 appropriations package that requires the Defense Department to buy only American-made anchor chain regardless of size. “The selection of The Honorable Suzan DelBene for this award was an easy one this year based upon her efforts to challenge legislation that allowed the Navy to go to a foreign source for critical components, thereby jeopardizing the viability of the only remaining US supplier for anchor chain,” said ASSA Founder, Carl Fisher of Thrustmaster.

Michael Stobbart of Lister Chain said because of the leadership of Congresswoman DelBene she was able to close the major acquisition loophole that allowed for the use of foreign suppliers of critical Navy components and protect American jobs and manufacturing. “This allows our company to continue to provide our products to the Navy without the threat of competition from countries not members of the National Technical Industrial Base.” Stobbart said her efforts exemplify her commitment to Buy America and the protection of the domestic shipbuilding supplier industrial base. “Congratulations to Congresswoman DelBene on receiving the 2022 Honorable Thad Cochran Leadership Award. This award is a fantastic reminder of the importance of supporting American businesses that provide critical components necessary to build Navy and Coast Guard Ships. We must continue to promote American jobs and manufacturing. I am grateful for the opportunity to work together in support of the nation’s shipbuilding industry—a crucial component of U.S. national security. Congresswoman DelBene’s leadership in the industry is inspiring, and I look forward to working with her more in the future.” said Congressman Rob Wittman (VA-01) .

“I am honored to receive the Honorable Thad Cochran Leadership Award today for my work to protect and strengthen our domestic shipbuilding industry,” said DelBene. “It’s important that the U.S. has a robust domestic manufacturing base, and this includes the manufacturing of defense technology and equipment. As the U.S. shifts to the next stage of its economic recovery from COVID-19, our focus must be on fortifying our supply chains and creating and retaining good-paying jobs for our communities, so that America can thrive in the 21st century economy. The shipbuilding supplier industry remains an important economic player in our region’s blue economy, and I will continue to advocate for policy that promotes their success.”

Congresswoman Suzan DelBene represents Washington’s 1st Congressional District, which spans from northeast King County to the Canadian border and includes parts of King, Snohomish, Skagit, and Whatcom counties, where Lister Chain is headquartered. More about her background can be found here.

Cutline, photo 1: Congresswoman DelBene joins an august group of award recipients dedicated to improving the opportunities for domestic shipbuilding suppliers. The award was first established in 2017 and presented to Congressman Rob Wittman (VA-01). In 2018, the Honorable Tammy Baldwin from Wisconsin was recognized. The Honorable Joe Courtney (CT-02) was the 2019 recipient, and in 2020 the award was presented to The Honorable John Garamendi (CA-03). Last year, The Honorable Donald Norcross (NJ-01) received the award.


ASSA is a member driven, national organization, advocating for the American Shipbuilding Supplier Base to the U. S. Congress, Navy, Coast Guard and shipbuilders to ensure the long-term stability of the U. S. national maritime industry.

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