Monday Lecture Series Presents: Christopher Allard '04

Metal Shark Boats: A Case Study in Entrepreneurship and the Business of Naval Architecture

Each week, Webbies flock to the auditorium for the Monday Lecture Series on topics ranging from offshore structures to sail designs.  Recently, Mr. Christopher Allard ’04 presented his experiences in a lecture entitled “Metal Shark Boats: A Case Study in Entrepreneurship and the Business of Naval Architecture.”

While many Webb graduates go on to own and run successful businesses, Mr. Allard’s career was fast tracked when he became president of Metal Shark Boats at the age of 24.  “We bought the company for $9000 at a time on royalties … totaling $1 million,” Mr. Allard noted.  Since then, Metal Shark has grown into a strong business with a team of engineers (mostly Webbies!) supporting new design and construction projects.  In 2011, the U.S. Coast Guard awarded Metal Shark a $192 million contract to replace the existing Response Boat Small fleet – an order of almost 500 boats, the largest ever boat buy for the USCG.

Mr. Allard gave us a wakeup call: approximately half of Webbies end up in small businesses worldwide.  Using his experience as President of Metal Shark, Mr. Allard took business terms, a relatively unknown language to many students, and translated them into the engineer-speak that we could easily grasp.  Terms like revenue, cost effectiveness, and engineering cost effectiveness became more tangible. He explained the importance of engineering for cost and value and balancing design man-hours with production man-hours.

Every day at Webb is constant preparation for life after graduation; everything is geared towards being professional.  Sometimes, though, we can lose sight of the big picture under the daily grind of assignments.  Mr. Allard offered this advice, “Do what you love to do because it will make the hard work easier.”