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Former Bath Iron Works chief to receive museum's top award

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Former Bath Iron Works chief to receive museum's top award

BATH — Bill Haggett, formerly president of Bath Iron Works and a former city councilor, is this year's recipient of the Maine Maritime Museum Mariners Award.

The Washington Street museum presents the award each year "to an individual or organization that has made extraordinary contributions to Maine's maritime heritage and significantly impacted the state's culture and economy," according to a July 9 museum press release.

Haggett will be honored at a dinner at the museum's Percy & Small Shipyard on Aug. 28.

"It's a great honor," Haggett, 80, said Monday. "I've been involved in maritime affairs and with the Maine Maritime Museum for a long time, but still, you don't anticipate this kind of thing happening to you as an individual. I have a great deal of respect for the museum, and the way it operates."

Haggett, a Bath native who now lives in West Bath, graduated from Morse High School and Colby College, and during the 1960s spent four years on the City Council. His father was a pipefitter at BIW, where Haggett worked from 1964-1992.

Haggett worked his way up to president and chief executive officer at BIW, where he also served one term as Shipbuilders Council of America president.

The father of three and grandfather of six spent five years as president and CEO of Irving Shipbuilding Ltd., in New Brunswick, Canada, after leaving BIW. He is now chairman and CEO of Pineland Farms Natural Meats and Pineland Farms Naturally Potatoes U.S.

"Community involvement has been a fundamental part of Haggett's life and among the numerous and far reaching service roles he has shouldered many have had a maritime connection," the museum said.

Haggett joined the museum's board of trustees in 1987, and served as its chairman from 2008-2010. He also served on the Maine Maritime Academy board of trustees from 1989-2005.

Haggett's accolades don't end with the maritime world. The Maine Sports Hall of Fame in May gave Haggett its President Award, honoring his achievements as an athlete and coach, and his work with Bath's YMCA.

"I grew up in Bath, and I loved the Bath area," Haggett said. "From the time (I was) old enough to remember anything, I've always been very involved in the community in one capacity or another. ... Obviously my time with the shipyard represented some of the most interesting and challenging and fun times of my life.

"The times with Bath, and the shipyard, and all of that, is really what's held me to Bath," Haggett continued. "I've never had any interest in moving anywhere else. I don't have any interest in spending six months a year in Florida. ... As a matter of fact, I'm still working all the time."

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.