JM WILLIS, vice-president and general manager of the Baltimore Dry Docks & * Ship Building Company, has made his way. His present position on the basis of absolute merit. He had ambition to make himself efficient. was a hard worker and diligent student, and believed it possible for an American boy to begin in a humble capacity and earn his way up.
He was born in 1885, attended school until >98, and then went to work as a rivet boy, at the age of thirteen, in the Mare Island Navy Yard. While he worked, he gave his spare time to study, and followed it so diligently that he soon prepared himself for a position as apprentice electrical machinist. In that capacity he served two years, continuing to study, and then passed a mpetitive examination tor appointment as draftsman. He served in the drafting room for four years, and it was while so engaged that he rrst attracted the attention of Mr. Holden A. Evans, then manager of the Mare Island Navy 1 ard. Associated with Mr. Willis in the draft- ng room were five other rrys. all serving in a similar capacity, but Mr.
Evans, investigating the capacity of the boys, end that these five were merely doing their routine work, without any particular effort to secure the education and greater efficiency which would rid to promotion; while the pursuit of knowledge nd the efficiency of Mr. Willis appealed strongly t Mr. Evans. Since then Mr. Willis has, almost ntinuously, been closely associated with Mr. E --5. with a loyalty and reliabdity of service "tit has been a leading factor in the success that
Mr. Willis has attained. In 1908 Secretary Meyer, of the United States Navy, selected Mr. Evans to reorganize the navy yards of the United States, directing him to begin at the Norfolk Navy Yard, and Mr. Willis was appointed to assist him.
In 1910 Mr. Willis resigned to take charge of the machinery department of the Seattle Construction and Dry Dock Company of Seattle, Washington, which position he left in 1911 to
become shop superintendent of the navy yard at Puget Sound. In 1914, when Mr. Evans went to Baltimore to take charge of the Skinner Dry Docks and Shipbuilding Company, Mr. Willis went with him.
It was not long before the Skinner Company was incorporated under the name of The Baltimore Dry Docks & Ship Building Company, and taken over by Milwaukee interests and Mr. Evans made president, with Mr. Willis as superintendent of the yards.
In 1916 Mr. Willis was made vice-president of the concern, which had more than doubled its earning capacity, and on June 1, 1917, was promoted to the position of vice-president and general manager.
Mr. Willis, besides technical knowledge of the shipbuilding industry, has remarkable capacity for the management of men. He has 10,000 men under him and is one of the most popular as well as most efficient men in a position of that kind.
The value of such a leader in a large industry of this kind can scarcely be over-estimated. Mr. Willis is an important factor in the company's success.