Cheese, Tulips, Windwills...and Webbies?

Picture: (back row) Christopher Rose, Matt Donatelli, Leah Sosa, Ryan Pfeiffer, John Nonemaker, Sam Waterhouse and Mark Martecchini (front row): Kierstin Del Valle '13 and Katie Whalen '11

By:  John Nonemaker ‘10

On Super Bowl Eve 2012, a day more commonly known this year as Saturday, February 4th, nine Webb graduates and Winter Work students, representing the classes of 1979, 2008, 2010, 2011, and 2013 braved the unusually frigid temperatures and gathered for the second annual Webb family reunion in the Netherlands. Four other Webbies were in the region and wanted to attend but because of a recent snowstorm and other commitments weren’t able to make it. Mark Martecchini ’79 and his wife Laurie hosted the dinner at their house in Rotterdam and cooked a delicious baked salmon feast. Since most of the Webbies in attendance were graduate and winter work students, it was a rare opportunity to take a break from our college diets and enjoy a nice home-cooked meal.

There was no shortage of entertainment, as everyone in attendance was a bit of a raconteur and shared their own funny stories and anecdotes about experiences at Webb and various travel adventures. The evening also gave everyone a chance to talk about more serious issues such as the future of Webb, the job market for recent graduates, and the pros and cons of living abroad.

Whether it is due to the slow job market, the allure of international travel, or the laidback attitude towards certain vices, Europe, especially the Netherlands, has become a hotspot for Webbies in recent years as many have been venturing across the pond in search of career, winter work, and graduate school opportunities. Popular universities for graduate studies among Webbies include TU Delft, NTNU in Norway, and the University of Southampton in the UK.

Leah Sosa, class of 2008, spoke of her experience in Delft, saying “studying at TU Delft has been a great experience so far. I’m developing a much more global perspective of the field of naval architecture and marine engineering which I believe is important for such an international industry.”

Mark Martecchini, the host of the Webb get-together, is particularly excited about what this recent trend could mean for Webb Institute, stating that “what we are all doing here in the Netherlands is the international broadening of the Webb world that is essential to the future success of its graduates and thus the school.”

Back in Rotterdam, as the clock was about to strike midnight, we thanked our hosts for a wonderful evening and departed, promising to continue this newly founded tradition in the future. Most of the Webbies then took Rotterdam by storm. After an adventurous night of bar hopping and singing Dutch folk ballads with newly made Dutch friends, we still managed to crawl into our beds before the sun came up…...but only because winter nights in Europe are exceptionally long.

We all look forward to future Webb reunions here in the Netherlands and hope to see the Webb presence in Europe remain strong. Until next time, or as the Dutch say, tot de volgende keer!