Our Waggl headquarters and the surrounding area was once home to a shipyard that employed 20,000.
Across the Bay from bustling San Francisco, and about an hour north of Silicon Valley, Sausalito sits calmly by the water.
Since 2015, Waggl has occupied the top right corner of 10 Liberty Ship Way in Sausalito. It made sense to make Sausalito our headquarters. It allowed local employees great work/ life balance, and the daily inspiration of the beautiful views of the Bay and Mt. Tamalpais.
The building that now houses our organization was once used by the Marinship Shipyards. The attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 thrust the country, and the Marinship Shipyard, fully into WWII. The nation and the military needed a rapid response.
Marinship was one of eighteen shipyards in the US. building the famed “Liberty Ships.” These vessels provided emergency cargo deliveries, and were able to be produced rapidly. They funneled emergency support across the Pacific to troops fighting off the coast of Japan.
After 15 Liberty Ships had been completed, military leaders that had surveyed several shipyards determined Marinship to be one of the most productive. They designated it as a site to build the T-2 Tanker. In the next three years the shipyard would complete 66 of these 500 ft. long 9,900 ton oil tankers. It even held the world record for fastest production of a T-2: assembling and launching a ship in just 33 days.
At the height of its operations, the Marinship Shipyard opened its factory gates to over 20,000 individuals per day. 90 percent of those employees had never before worked in a shipyard. Rigorous training programs created an exceptional workforce out of an influx of exceptionally motivated individuals.
|Photograph Courtesy of San Francisco Public Library, San Francisco History Center|
There was an enormous rise in the number of skilled female shipbuilders, and across the bay in Richmond, Rosie the Riveter worked alongside other skilled men and women to add to the vast fleet of liberty ships. Women proved their ability to excel as ship fitters and machinists, and began to be promoted to managerial positions.
As the shipyard flourished the management ensured success by making sure their employees were valued and ready to work the long hours necessary every week. Employees were offered free housing, food, transportation, and services for their families as they committed to build ships at a breakneck speed.
When the war ended the workforce largely dispersed. The shipyard was bought by the Army
Corps of Engineers. In the space where a large factory once stood they now operate an educational hub with a full scale model of the SF Bay Area, and an exhibit about the shipyard.
The huge buildings we occupy at Waggl were repurposed as office space. Kimber Management took over the liberty ship buildings in 1994, and did a stunning renovation of the interior. The tall ceilings and huge iron joists still form the foundation of our workplace.
It’s thrilling to share our headquarters and surrounding community with a vastly diverse group of organizations. Inside these walls there are product designers, artists, a full scale advertising agency, medical professionals, clothing companies, and an unending variety of small and mid-sized businesses.
At Waggl, we believe that the history of this space holds powerful lessons about how to run an organization. A group of people working towards a common purpose has the potential to achieve the impossible. The vast Marinship workforce thrived because of its diversity, innovation, and collectively aligned focus.
This year marks the 75th Anniversary of Marinship Shipyards. It seems as worthy a time as any to give pause and thanks to all those that literally created the infrastructure and community we now enjoy in Sausalito.
Sausalito Rotary Club will be holding a gala to celebrate Marinship’s 75th anniversary tomorrow! You can get more information and snag a last minute ticket to the Gala HERE.
Interested to see how Waggl can help your organization thrive? Learn more, or contact us for a demo.