When asked what I do for a living, I say, “I help companies design and build ships.” When asked what profession I am in, I answer, “I’m an engineer.” I realize that these are very broad statements, but they both go back to my roots as a Webb Institute of Naval Architecture and engineering graduate.
A member of the Class of 1988, I was class president for my Junior and Senior years. I was also Social Committee Chairman, and those of you who were at Webb at that time might remember “Greek Weekend for a Day,” a throw-back to my time as a sorority girl during my one year at George Washington University. Winter works included a stint as an outside machinist at Newport News, sailing on the Exxon Charleston from New York to Houston, and two winters at Combustion Engineering in Connecticut. As a Long Islander, I conveniently spent my summers at Gibbs and Cox in the city, a short LIRR train ride away, working my way through their various ship design departments. After graduation, I continued on to MIT with four of my Webb classmates and received my Masters in Ocean System Management in 1989. Then, after six years of college, it was time to join the working world.
My time at C.R. Cushing & Company in New York had me working on varied projects, including the Exxon Valdez legal case, developing and installing a planned maintenance and condition-based monitoring system for nine Del Monte refrigerated cargo vessels (that I affectionately called “Banana Boats”), along with concept and preliminary designs for different types of vessels. Mr. Cushing told me when he hired me that he didn’t hire any co-pilots, only pilots, and I always thank him when I see him for the many opportunities he gave me during those six years working for him. Down the block, on the 106th floor of the World Trade Center, ABS Headquarters was my next stepping stone in the industry. As a member of ABS’s internal quality department and their rules development group, I learned the ins and outs of the ABS Rules and regulatory agencies in general. One of my bosses at ABS once told me that a naval architect should spend some time in a shipyard during his or her career, so off to NASSCO in San Diego I went. As supervisor of Initial Design and Naval Architecture, I was lucky enough to be able to work on six different ship classes for the six years I was there – AOE, LSMR, LSMR conversions and T-AKE for the government, and the TOTE Ro-Ro vessels and BP Tankers.
I’ve since gone out on my own as a ship design / ship building consultant, which I’ve done for the past ten years now. My business takes me to shipyards all over the US, so follow me on TripIt, and if I’m in your neighborhood, drop me a line and we can catch-up over dinner.
I still have a strong connection to Webb. You will most likely see me at the Annual Banquet held during SNAME every year and at Homecoming in May. I am also the Treasurer of the Webb Alumni Association, holding that position for the last couple of years.