Tanya Herlidan

Junior Naval Architect

Guido Perla & Associates
Seattle, WA, USA

Why did Tanya choose this career area?

Tanya was in sea cadets for seven years in Lord’s Cove, NL. This got her interested in ships, and it sparked her interest in ship design. When the time came to choose a career, she learned that great pay, jobs, and travel would be available to her as a naval architecture technologist.

What’s Tanya educational background?

Tanya first completed a Marine Environmental diploma at Marine Institute. While in the program, she saw the Naval Architectural students working on complex designs. She was fascinated with their work. The interest stayed with her, and she later returned to school to do the Naval Architecture Technology program. She credits her great job to the skills she learned in the program. Tanya has also earned a Bachelor of Technology.

What’s Tanya job all about?

Tanya designs offshore supply vessels, yachts, and ferries. The range in ship type means new learning opportunities. She is currently working on a ferry project for Washington State, doing 3D lofting of the hull as well as structural calculations for strength.

Tanya has done stability work for offshore supply vessels and generated stability booklets. She has created 3D structural models, assembly drawings, and nesting parts for production.

For Tanya, the best part of the job is seeing designs come to life. As projects progress, different areas of the design spiral require solutions. The complications demand all of her skills so that problems are overcome and a fully functional million-dollar vessel is launched. It’s exciting work.

What are Tanya’s working conditions like?

Tanya has a 10-minute commute to work. Her company subsidizes bus passes, so she doesn’t have to worry about city traffic.

She can start work at any time between 6 and 9am. Regular employees work four 9-hour days a week. Tanya works five 9-hour days and gets paid overtime for doing so.

Her office is in the tallest building in downtown Seattle. The space is attractive; and there are personal work stations complete with desks, phones, computers, and so on. Coffee, tea, and birthday cakes are provided for staff.

Tanya enjoys the relaxed, low-stress atmosphere where employees take pride in their work. She notes that ship design requires working with pipers, outfitters, structural and electrical engineers, and so on. This requires team work skills, so it helps to be in an office dealing with all areas of design. Everyone helps each other, and there is no such thing as a dumb question. In most cases, it actually brings on a whole new set of design issues.

What benefits are associated with Tanya’s job?

The salary range for this career is anywhere from $36,000 - $130,000; the upper limit is for contract positions. Tanya works on contract, but she has been offered a staff position with all the benefits, including being sponsored for a green card. She enjoys working on contract, however, so she has declined.

What’s exciting or cool about Tanya’s career area?

Tanya’s classmates work all over the US, Australia, and Canada. Travel seems to go with the job. For example, Tanya was recently asked to go to her company’s office in Santiago, Chile, to help train new staff there.

Every day at work brings new challenges. Tanya recently was lead structural designer for a yacht project. As such, she was the contact person for final production output. This project, like others she has worked on, meant regular day visits to Seattle area shipyards.

What advice would Tanya give to people considering a marine transportation career?

Tanya thinks high school math and science courses helped make her career choice possible. She says the job requires an interest in ships, yachts, and boating; good problem solving and thinking ability; and strong organizational skills.

Being able to communicate with other professionals is essential, but most of all it’s necessary to be a hard worker and to put in the long hours. At times, a great amount of dedication is needed in order to get the job done on time; but Tanya says it’s worth the effort.