NEW LONDON, Conn., (Nov. 02, 2021) -- Mike Petters, president and CEO of Huntington Ingalls Industries, delivered a clear call on Thursday, Oct. 28 to roughly 1,000 U.S. Coast Guard Academy cadets for leadership by example, with an understanding of what motivates a team and workforce.

Petters, who is passionate on matters of leadership and workforce development, joined three cadets on stage at the 32nd U.S. Coast Guard Academy Admiral Thomas Wetmore Annual Ethics Forum to discuss ethics and the impact it could have on leadership decisions.

“Great leaders recognize thousands of people who are motivated to do their best work, not just to follow your orders. When you unleash and unlock that motivation from a leadership standpoint, not only are they interested in solving those complex problems, they thrive on that and in fact have superior performance,” Petters said to the cadets.

Petters encouraged the cadets to develop good ethical habits and think about all the ethical decisions we make on a daily basis.


Mike Petters, president and CEO of Huntington Ingalls Industries, speaks with cadets during the 32nd U.S. Coast Guard Academy Admiral Thomas Wetmore Annual Ethics Forum held on Oct. 28, 2021.

He said the cadets must practice daily and understand the impact of their actions in an effort to develop good habits.

“Be that person in the group who makes everyone around you better,” Petters said.

“Sometimes it’s the person next to you who gets the promotion but the people in that group, they know. And that becomes a bond that transcends geography and time.”

Petters received a parting gift on stage from Regimental Commander Ryan Taylor. Without delay Petters raised it overhead and, referring to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy mascot, told cadets: “Go Bears!”

Petters, who earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1982 and an MBA from the College of William and Mary in 1993, served aboard the nuclear-powered submarine USS George Bancroft (SSBN 643) and spent five years in the U.S. Naval Reserve. He previously served as president of Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding and as president of Northrop Grumman’s Newport News sector. He joined Newport News Shipbuilding in 1987 in the Los Angeles-class submarine construction division.

Huntington Ingalls Industries is the builder-of-record for eleven national security cutters, which are the flagships of the U.S. Coast Guard. They are the largest and most technologically advanced ships in the Coast Guard’s fleet, with capabilities for maritime homeland security, law enforcement and national security missions. At sea, national security cutters perform a wide variety of missions, including maritime security, drug interdiction, and illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

Huntington Ingalls Industries is America’s largest military shipbuilding company and a provider of professional services to partners in government and industry. For more than a century, HII’s Newport News and Ingalls shipbuilding divisions in Virginia and Mississippi have built more ships in more ship classes than any other U.S. naval shipbuilder. HII’s Technical Solutions division provides mission-critical national security solutions to government and commercial customers worldwide. Headquartered in Newport News, Virginia, HII employs over 44,000 people operating both domestically and internationally. For more information, visit:
Danny Hernandez
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