What is the Oliver Hazard Perry Shipyard?

The Oliver Hazard Perry Shipyard is a 501(c)(3) non-profit which has successfully guided the Perry Shipyard Project through Phase I of the Navy’s 3-phase ship donation process: a rigorous, multistep, comprehensive assessment.

The Perry Shipyard is the organization behind the effort to bring a Perry class Guided Missile Frigate, the ex-USS HALYBURTON (FFG-40), and open her to the public as a museum ship in Erie, PA.


More than a Museum

The Perry Shipyard will be a dynamic, hands-on experience, sparking excitement about the Navy, Perry’s legacy, and Erie’s maritime history.

Ships are more than objects to those who serve on them. They have a heart and soul. Visitors – students, families, and veterans alike – will feel what life was like on-board as they tour the vessel, participate in overnight visits sleeping like sailors, and hearing personal stories from those who served on the HALYBURTON.


Creating a Huge Opportunity for Erie:

Economic impact studies project the Perry Shipyard will generate $18 million.*

The Perry Shipyard will add to a portfolio of regional attractions along the bayfront including Presque Isle State Park, Maritime Museum, Flagship Niagara, Erie Convention Center, and the Bicentennial Tower.



*Projected impact for year 5 of operations from study conducted by Strategy Solutions, Inc.

Why Erie, PA?

The significance of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry’s role shaping the U.S. Navy cannot be understated. Perry’s pivotal success in the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812 is also uniquely tied to Erie. There is a significant local connection to service. Erie has a historical reputation as the mother-in-law to the Navy, and today more than 9% of Erie County has served in the Armed Forces.

Phase I: Complete

Initial strategic operational and business plan. Navy approves our request to apply for a ship.

Phase II: Pending

Environmental, engineering, tourism, and economic impact studies.

Phase III:

Towing and mooring the ship in Erie, readying and opening to the public.

What is the purpose of the Perry Shipyard Project?

Stand up the nation’s first museum ship featuring a U.S. Navy Surface Combatant built from the keel up with Cold War-era state of the art technology and a history of three decades of naval service.

Recognize and honor our veterans and currently serving members of the Armed Forces and to remind us of our obligations as citizens to safeguard democracy.

Provide a hands on visible teaching platform and learning opportunity for youth of all ages to include U.S. and local history, and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

Bolster area tourism, contributing to our local economy.

Oliver Hazard Perry Shipyard leadership

The leadership of the Perry Shipyard Project was intentionally selected for their expertise and to create a diverse board with complementary skills to start-up, build, scale, and run a business.

Joe Pfadt, Ph.D.

Joe Pfadt has dedicated his life in service to the nation – in his role as an educator, as a National Guard member, and through his ongoing work to promote and honor veterans. The Perry Shipyard project is the culmination of decades of community-building initiatives he has led. Pfadt’s biography outlines his history of successfully shepherding large community projects from ideation to implementation.

Learn More >

The board is composed of individuals who bring their years of experience in business, education, state agencies, and the community to the project, and their expertise provides the foundation for successfully developing and managing the historic vessel as a museum ship. Recognizing the value and perspective of veterans for this project, the board is intentionally comprised of veterans and civilians.

  • Matt Clark, General Manager, Humes Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram.
  • Judge Major General Michael Dunlavey (RET),* retired State Judge.
  • Mathieu Sanders,* Chief Operating Office, ApexDrop Influence Marketing.
  • Jeff Froess,* Construction Manager, ERIE Insurance.
  • James Trope,* Senior Corporate Counsel, Erie Insurance Group.
  • Art Martinucci,* Attorney, Quinn Law Firm.
  • Mark Squeglia, former Interim Director of the Erie Historical Society-Hagen History Center. 
  • Justin Crowe
  • David Edgerton

*Indicates veterans

Alexandra Townsend

Alexandra Townsend is a marketing and communications director with experience supporting non-profits, higher education programs, and Fortune 500 companies. She has held various roles across lines of business including public relations, internal communications, vendor and client management, sales, and development, among others. As the director of strategic communication, Townsend oversees the Perry Shipyard Project’s engagement with partners. [email protected]  

  • Thomas B. Hagen,* Chairman of the Board, Erie Indemnity Company, retired Navy Captain.
  • RADM Robert D. Reilly, Jr. USN, Ret.* Former USS Halyburton commanding officer.
  • RDML William Millward USN, Ret,* Former USS Halyburton commanding officer, President & CEO, Addx Corp.
  • CDR Porter Halyburton, USN, Ret.* member of Halyburton family and Silver Star recipient.
  • Lt. Sandra Rechis, USN, Ret.* first female officer on USS Halyburton.
  • Master Chief Petty Officer Patrick Curley, USN, Ret.*
  • Vice Admiral Matthew Kohler, USN, Ret.*

*Indicates veterans

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