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■ August Interview: REX GEVEDEN, president and CEO BWX Technologies Inc., Lynchburg


Liftoff in Lynchburg


Former NASA official sets the course


for a new company with a long legacy by Robert Powell


R


ex Geveden was 8 years old when U.S. astronauts landed on the moon in July 1969.


“We all watched that on television …


my parents woke me up at night for it,” he recalls. “It had a profound influence on me, and it caused me to be interested in science.” The moon landing inspired the


Mayfield, Ky., native to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees in physics and go on to work for NASA, eventually becoming one of its highest-ranking officials. A private industry executive for the


past decade, Geveden in January became president and CEO of Lynchburg-based BWX Technologies Inc. (BWXT), which has annual revenue of $1.5 billion. BWXT supplies nuclear components


and fuel to the U.S. government and also provides it with technical and manage- ment services in the operation of complex facilities and environmental remediation activities. The company also provides precision-manufactured components, services and fuel to the commercial nuclear power industry. During his 17-year NASA career,


Geveden was promoted to associate administrator, essentially the agency’s chief operating officer. In that position, he man- aged a $16 billion portfolio that included all of the agency’s technical operations. Geveden was responsible for all mission areas and also oversaw NASA’s 10 field


86 AUGUST 2017


centers, including Langley Research Center in Hampton. “It was a great job,” Geveden says. “I loved it.” By 2007, however, Geveden was ready


for a new challenge. “I began to think I wanted to try my hand at industry, so I kept my mind open to that possibility and put myself out there.” Geveden spent the next eight years


with California-based Teledyne Tech- nologies, a conglomerate involved in digital imaging, instrumentation, engineered sys- tems, and aerospace and defense electronics. He was promoted to executive vice presi- dent of the parent company, leading two of its four operating segments, and president of Teledyne DALSA, the company’s largest subsidiary. In 2015, Geveden joined BWXT as


chief operating officer. At the beginning of this year, Geveden succeeded Peyton S. “Sandy” Baker as president and CEO. In promoting Geveden, BWXT Execu- tive Chairman John A. Fees praised his performance as COO. “During his time as COO, Rex has demonstrated the strategic vision and execution delivery required to take BWXT to the next level of growth and shareholder value.” At BWXT, Geveden has the oppor-


tunity to guide a new, publicly traded company that nonetheless has an extensive legacy. Its former parent company, the Babcock & Wilcox Co., was established in


Rex Geveden became chief operating offi cer at BWX Technologies in 2015 and CEO in January.


1867. B&W began operations at the Lynch- burg Research Center, the first privately financed U.S. nuclear facility, in 1956. In 2015, BWXT and Babcock


& Wilcox separated into two publicly traded companies, with BWXT keeping nuclear and government operations and Charlotte, N.C.-based Babcock & Wilcox Enterprises keeping the fossil-fuel power generation business. In first-quarter earnings announced in


early May, BWXT had revenue of $428.2 million, up 17 percent from $364.8 million in the first quarter of 2016. Earnings per share for the first quarter were 55 cents, compared with 47 cents during the same period the year before. BWXT has 6,100 employees globally,


including about 2,500 in the Lynchburg area. Its operations are divided into three reportable segments (groups that are man- aged separately, with each having unique technology, services and customer classes): Nuclear Operations Group, Nuclear Power Group and Nuclear Services Group. The Nuclear Operations Group


accounts for 70 to 80 percent of the company’s revenue. BWXT is the sole manufacturer of the nuclear-reactor cores of every new submarine and aircraft car- rier in the U.S. Navy’s fleet. That business


Photo by Mark Rhodes


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