Marine shop to expand, hire 50

Published 11:38 pm Friday, February 17, 2012

Mills Marine and Ship Repair will hold a grand opening next week for a significant expansion that is expected to create 50 new jobs.

The company set up shop in downtown just a few years ago to begin working toward its ultimate goal — becoming a ship repair and maintenance shop.

“The response we’ve gotten has just been overwhelming,” owner Donald Mills said. “God has truly moved, and He’s blessed us. He didn’t do that for us to keep it to ourselves.”


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The company will move to a 4,560-square-foot building at 211 Market St. It will hold a grand opening at noon Wednesday, hosted by Mayor Linda T. Johnson and WTKR news anchor Barbara Ciara.

After several years of working toward this goal, Mills said the company now will begin doing repair and maintenance work on ships.

“It’s been a strategic, methodical planning process that has now been implemented and is being implemented,” Mills said. “Now, we’re actually in the process of generating revenue and putting people to work.”

He also hopes to open divisions for fabrication, sub-assemblies, steel plating, components and engine repair and overhaul this year.

The business currently employs about 14 to 15 people, including contractors. However, the expansion is expected to bring on about 50 new jobs.

The company also will provide an apprentice program with Tidewater Community College. The program will provide anyone who wants to learn a trade in shipbuilding with a formal training curriculum.

“I can truly say that I have not worked one day since I left the shipyard, because this is not work for me, it’s my passion,” Mills said in a city press release. “I love what I do and I look forward to helping meet the needs of not only the United States military, but to meet the needs of Suffolk citizens looking for new opportunities.”

Johnson applauded the expansion.

“We are pleased that Mills Marine and Ship Repair chose to expand their operations in Suffolk,” she said in the press release. “As our city continues to grow, we value the fact that Mills Marine and Ship Repair is growing with us and creating career opportunities for our citizens.”

For more information on Mills Marine and Ship Repair, visit or call 539-0956.