The Navy Yard, home to 15,000 employees working at 170 companies, is full of awesome people doing great things. Each person here has a cool job with a unique story! Meet Michael Giuliante, Site Operations Manager with DTE Philadelphia, who is celebrating 50 years at the Navy Yard this summer.
Recently, we had a chance to chat with Michael about his current work with DTE and his 50 year journey at the Yard.
What does your company do? DTE Philadelphia operates and maintains the Electrical Distribution System for the Navy Yard. (Think something like the power company.)
Describe your typical work day. Short story, I keep the light on! Long story, my team and I schedule routine and major maintenance work, respond to emergency electrical outages, we operate the lift bridge, we design, estimate, and install all new building services that are utility connections and answer any questions relating to the operation of the Navy Yard — not just electrical. But don’t get me wrong, I love my job! I love the freedom to run the day-to-day operations mixed in with overseeing all the ongoing projects. The people aren’t half bad either — the various contractors, PIDC staff, CBRE team, the Navy and Private Industry personnel are all great!
You’ve see a ton over the last 50 years, what has been your favorite project to work on? Bare with me, cases I can’t just pick one! 50 years is a long time.
- In my 50 year term, starting with my Navy DOD (Department of Defense) career the docking and undocking of the aircraft carriers in the SLEP program. Just to see those larger than life monsters fit into those bath tubs.
- The redesigning of all the major substations in the 1980’s.
- Holding together the system and following through on the work even when we were put on the closure list.
- After the eventual closing in 1995/96 of the Navy Yard as it was, the transition from the Navy Yard to the City development stages.
- The very first transfer of Dry Dock #4 and #5 complex to the Kaverner Shipyard and the redesign of the electrical distribution system so that the new electrical capacity would support ship building that hasn’t been seen since the 1940’s.
- Being on the main floor of the URBN project. Designing all the steps from the demo/removal of all the old electrical distribution substations in the Dry Dock #1 area from 17th St to Broad St and Kitty Hawk Ave to Admiral Perry Way and then the eventual rebuilding of those services as each building was brought back to life.
- The redesign of the Coroparet Center from Crescent Park, Crescent 1, Crescent 3 and Crescent 5 to the first medical buildings in operation, and all the new construction on Rouse Boulevard. The design and builds of the WUXI Buildings, the Sock Exchange that opened and closed on the very same day and the rush to redesign the substation to support what is now the TierPoint Facility
- Convincing The TastyKake Baking Company that if they moved their operation to the Navy Yard that we could support them with a more modern and reliable electrical distribution system with new switches, cable and transformers and then doing so.
Theses are just a few of my favorites.
Take us down memory lane, tell us a bit about your 50-year journey! In 50 years how do you share a little bit ? You can’t. There were and are many knowledgeable people who taught me more than I thought I was capable of learning. To a guy John McCauley that I met on my first day on July 7, 1970 that became one of my best friend and still is today. To all the guys that worked with me and for me, Frankie Pottle who could never do enough for me and he wasn’t even an electrician. All my past employees that worked to make my career successful.
My first boss Harry Hartman Maull who told me at the end of my four year apprenticeship that he could show me how to be a great mechanic, show me how to get ahead, show me how to make good money ….or he could show me the “Gate” as in the Main Gate.
The first PIDC Team headed by Leslie Knott, overseeing Bob Gorgone, Gina Pastore, Carmen Zappile, Mark Seltzer and more. Our dear friend gone too soon Louise Schrader. My first private industry boss Ray McCaffrey and the Cinergy Group soon to become the Duke, then DTE Group. How different and head spinning was the fast track we were on to prove that the Navy Yard could be something more than just a closed up old graveyard. That it could become the best re-developed landscape that the City could ever hope for, and it is. The greatest part is that it is still developing today with new buildings and sites popping up like the weeds that many people thought would overrun the old site when it closed.
Now there is a new PIDC team headed by Kate McNamara and her staff, that is keeping with the same mindset that we can still grow and still become better and I think that this is what keeps my interest and drive to stay. To get to see what’s next, to try to pull off something bigger and better.
When I was with the Navy I was as fortunate as I am today, I had the people surrounding me that were top high voltage electricians and very good at what they did also. Hank Bolinski, Steve Smith, Kraig Peterson, and others that have retired or moved on, were the nucleus of the team that I conveyed had to come with me to make this new project work in 2001. John Pangborn and Patrick Wasylenko who were hired after are a perfect fit to the puzzle. These professionals do the everyday and sometimes more than everyday work that keeps the site operational and dependable. No one ever sees them but if the lights are on and the power flowing — they are here.
The support group in CBRE with Poe and his staff, Joe, Maulana , Judy, Fred and Tom DeTitto who bangs out my ideas on paper like they have always been there and sometimes even better, they are all a part of the big picture. Does all of this get stressful at times ? Yes but the ability to lean on all of these people and to be able to have time to laugh and joke with them is a great feeling and lightens that load.
But the PIDC team, Kate, Rudy, Andrew and the others that ask the questions or depend on an idea of how to get from point A to B, they are the ones taking the biggest gamble of all and to do that and trust me, I owe them more than I can ever accept from them. The trust part is the greatest compliment that you can ever receive
My 50 year journey has been tremendously rewarding filled with strangers that have become friends, and friends that have become family! You can’t compare what was, to what is now, but sometimes it comes full circle. Sometimes, I get to work with an engineer or project manager, that I had done work with 30 or 40 years ago as a DOD employee. I guess you can say “It never ends”