I was born/grew up in: I was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I grew up living between Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador.
I now live in:North Vancouver, British Columbia
I completed my training/education at: I completed a B. Eng. Degree in Ocean and Naval Architectural Engineering at Memorial University of Newfoundland.
What I do at work
Most days, my work consists of reviewing structural designs. I also solve problems that may arise while applying these designs with the different onboard systems. In addition, I ensure the design aligns with class requirements and the rules set by the different regulatory bodies.
We use specific computer programs during the ship design process. We use AutoCAD to create 2D drawings for each system. We also use Navisworks (3D modelling). This is used to bring all 2D drawings together to create the complete ship.
Many of the problems I encounter are clashes between structural design and other systems (mechanical, electrical, etc.). To solve these, I work with the other departments. Our goal is to find a solution that will create the least amount of change to the existing ship design. These decisions often include a lot of teamwork and brainstorming with other engineering departments.
The STEM skills I use daily include applying theoretical knowledge of ship design and science-based critical analysis.
My career path is
I never pictured myself in this position or industry. I knew I wanted to work in a technical career. I wanted a career where I could put my math and science-based problem-solving abilities to use. As a result, I applied to the Bachelor of Engineering program at Memorial University of Newfoundland.
The first year of this program introduced me to some general engineering knowledge and skills. After this, I had to choose a specific engineering discipline to study. Out of the options offered, I was drawn to the Ocean and Naval Architecture program. This discipline was unique and reflected an industry important to Newfoundland and Labrador. My program was a co-operative program. This means I completed four work placements during my degree. These allowed me to explore different industries where I could potentially apply my degree.
Since my engineering discipline is specialized, I had a hard time finding a job after graduation. For a whole year, I sent out applications every day. Finally, I got a job as a ship-outfitting designer. In this position, I created arrangement drawings for ceiling panels, wall panels, insulation, and furniture. This position introduced me to the shipbuilding industry. It also helped me land my current position at Seaspan Shipyards. Here I work with the structural engineering team. This is where I wanted to be working!
I am motivated by
My work is very fast-paced! The priorities can change daily. The project I am currently working on is being constructed in the yard outside my office. When design changes or problems arise, it is critical to solve them quickly. If we don’t solve it quickly, it could affect production. As a result, this work is exciting for me and keeps my mind active.
The systems integration complexity behind building a ship is also very interesting. There are many things to consider in a small, and often, oddly shaped space.
Seeing a project you have worked on completed is very rewarding. That keeps me motivated!
How I affect peoples’ lives
I am proud to be part of growing the shipbuilding industry in Canada. Shipbuilding creates many jobs and it diversifies our economy. Each vessel has a specific purpose. As a result, shipbuilding includes a large range of technology and innovation. For example, the design of an electric ferry would be completely different than for an icebreaking ship. Currently, I am working on an ocean research vessel. This ship will be used to understand the impact climate change has on Canada’s oceans.
The projects I work on affect the transportation of goods and people as well as research and navy operations just to name a few.
Outside of work I
Outside of work, I really enjoy spending time outdoors. Riding my bike, hiking, camping, or skiing.
My advice to others
If you are interested in a similar career, I would suggest committing to it by working hard. You also have to trust that you will end up in the right position. This industry is a great opportunity to contribute to the world.
- Industrial Arts/Shop Programs
- Literature & Language Arts
- Played on a sports team
- Wanted to be in charge
- Engaged in volunteer activities
- Felt great satisfaction in getting good grades
- Wasn't sure what I wanted to do
- Learned best "by doing"
Let’s Talk Science appreciates the support of Seaspan Shipyards in connecting us with this individual.
Seaspan Shipyards is a leader in Canada’s shipbuilding and ship repair industry. With modern facilities and a dedicated workforce of 2,700 in North Vancouver and Victoria, Seaspan Shipyards has proven itself to be a trusted partner on a range of complex projects for both government and the private sector. Seaspan Shipyards is proud to be Canada’s chosen non-combat shipbuilder under the National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS). In this capacity, the company is building state-of-the-art ships in Canada for the Canadian Coast Guard and Royal Canadian Navy. Through its NSS-related work, Seaspan Shipyards is creating jobs, generating economic benefits and rebuilding Canada’s shipbuilding and marine industries.