SCA Team

Matthew Paxton


Mathew Paxton

Mr. Paxton was selected to be the President of the Shipbuilders Council of America in 2007. In this capacity he advocates for a robust and expanding U.S. shipyard industrial base. Mr. Paxton is also a lawyer, focusing on maritime law and environmental issues.     

Previously, Mr. Paxton served as Senior Counsel on Maritime, Oceans and Atmosphere for the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. Prior to joining the Commerce Committee, he served as Legislative Director for Senator Stevens from 2004 until 2005. From 2001 to 2004, Mr. Paxton was a Legislative Assistant to Senator Stevens.

Mr. Paxton earned his B.A. degree in Political Science from the University of Washington in 1997 and his J.D. degree from Willamette University College of Law in 2001. He is admitted to practice law in Washington State.

RADM Jeff BRooks, USN (Ret)

Senior Defense Advisor


Jeff Brooks has over 40 years of experience serving in and working in support of the U.S Navy. He has devoted his career to improving ship material readiness through effective maintenance and modernization programs and long term process improvements - all in support of Fleet operational readiness.

Throughout his 38-year Navy career, Jeff was assigned ever increasing responsibilities, culminating in promotion to two-star flag rank and assignment to the Navy’s top maintenance position as Fleet Maintenance Officer.  In addition to fleet material readiness, he was responsible for the stability and sustainability of the public and private sector industrial base.  He also served as Supervisor of Shipbuilding Newport News, responsible for the Navy’s Aircraft Carrier and Submarine construction programs. During his years of senior executive and hands-on experience in ship maintenance, modernization, marine engineering, and acquisition, he achieved the highest levels of Fleet material readiness through industrial base optimization, execution effectiveness, and continuous process improvement.  Upon his Navy retirement in 2008, Jeff joined Earl Industries as Chief Operating Officer where he directed daily operations and led the strategic planning and direction for Earl's five divisions. Jeff served as the principal Earl Industries’ contact with Navy senior executive leadership for long term public-private partnership initiatives and systemic process improvement. He led the Port of Norfolk teaming initiatives and was the principal private sector point of contact for Navy dialogue on industrial base stability. Upon Earl Industries' acquisition by General Dynamics NASSCO in October 2012, Jeff was appointed Senior General Manager and became responsible for ship repair operations at General Dynamics NASSCO-Norfolk and NASSCO-Earl Industries. He subsequently led the consolidation of the two shipyards in 2015 and also stood up a new operation, NASSCO-Bremerton, in support of aircraft carrier maintenance and modernization in the Pacific Northwest. He retired from General Dynamics NASSCO in July 2015.

Jeff holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Missouri and a Masters degree in Nuclear Engineering from Pennsylvania State University. He has served on the Board of Directors for the Shipbuilders Council of America, the Puget Sound Ship Repair Association (PSSRA), and as Chairman of the Virginia Ship Repair Association (VSRA) board. In addition, he currently serves on the board for the American Society of Naval Engineers, the Nauticus Foundation, and the Hampton Roads USO. 

Ashley Godwin

Senior Defense Advisor


Ashley Godwin joined the Shipbuilders Council of America in February 2012 as a Senior Defense Advisor.  Her practice focuses on federal government budgeting and acquisition, with a particular emphasis on U.S. Navy and Marine Corps programs, small business programs, and the defense authorization and appropriations committees of Congress. In her work for SCA, she advocates for the interests of the U.S. commercial and defense shipbuilding and ship repair industry. 

Ms. Godwin has more than fifteen years of experience in the legislative and executive branches of the federal government and in government relations for the defense industry.  Her distinguished career includes high-level financial management positions with the U.S. Navy and Department of Defense, special assignments in personnel and national security for the White House, senior staff work for the Armed Services Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, and private sector government relations.  Ms. Godwin has acquired in-depth knowledge of the Congressional budget process and federal agency acquisition programs.  She also maintains an extensive network of influential contacts across government, policy groups and the private sector.


Manager government affairs


Stephen J. Woodring Jr. joined the Shipbuilders Council of America in July 2015 and serves as the Manager of Government Relations. Stephen has experience researching, analyzing and evaluating legislation and other government actions with potential to affect the client’s objectives, writing summary memos for firm lobbyists to educate clients about lawmakers, congressional and agency actions, and assessing political challenges and opportunities.

Previously, He served as a research associate with American Continental Group working on a variety of topics, including healthcare, energy, environment, and transportation, analyzing federal legislative regulations and crafting policy memos for senior lobbyist clients on issues including agriculture, emergency management, renewable energy and transportation. Additionally, Stephen served as a Legislative Intern for Congressman Adam Kinzinger (IL-16), acting as a liaison with constituents, interest groups, committee and agency staffs in assigned issue areas. Stephen tracked legislation through the committee, House floor, Senate and conference committee processes in assigned issue areas, and briefs the Congressman, specifically on issues to the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Stephen earned his masters of public administration from DePaul University in 2013, and he received his bachelor’s degree in political science and history from the University of Kansas, in 2010.