SOTA did many things for my life, but the greatest gift they gave me was encouraging me to think out of the box. Any possible thing you want to do in your life, you can. You may not know how, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn along the way. For my senior project at SOTA, I attempted to build a guitar amplifier from scratch, which wasn’t the easiest of tasks and not really that feasible at the time. Zach Varnell set up a connection for me to drive to Seattle and meet with a guy who built amplifiers professionally. While everyone was attending school, I was able to receive credit by driving to Seattle and playing with guitar amps and its components. I remember feeling like the world was in my hands. He gave me the opportunity to be in control of everything.

I’m now studying Civil Engineering at the University of Hawaii at Manoa on track to graduate December of 2017. I work on, own, and maintain sailing yachts in Honolulu, HI. I’ve always had aspirations of circumnavigating the globe via a sailboat. Upon arrival to Hawaii, the prospect of purchasing a boat to live on instead of student housing or paying rent elsewhere became feasible. In February of 2014, I purchased a Cheoy Lee Offshore 40’ that was in need of serious refurbishment. After roughly a year of working on my boat, my eyes were opened. The possibilities of what was there and what could be excited me beyond belief and my life quickly became about nothing more than sailing. The knowledge I was learning in my introductory engineering classes enabled me to design and build a rig for my boat. After two years of tedious hours hanging in the air from a harness, I finished the rigging on my boat. I began professionally rigging boats on Oahu, completing my first large project of re-rigging a Columbia 43 in March of 2016. Through the summer I started a business re-rigging boats with a couple I met in Hawaii. I had previously never worked so hard with so much passion ever in my life. As the summer ended, I decided to take a leap of faith, and I now own a 72’ Schooner, which is a traditional American trading ship similar to the one on the Tillamook cheese package. I have everything I need in order to be mobile and to circumnavigate, supporting myself as I go. I hope to acquire my captain’s license by January 2017 and help one of my close friends sail his boat around the South Pacific before setting sail on my own adventure. Currently, my work has shifted from strictly canvas and rigging to total yacht maintenance.

Recently, I had to move a 35’ sailboat for a client. While everyone was at their day jobs, I was getting paid to sail a boat from the North Shore of Oahu to the South Shore of Oahu with three of my friends. That feeling of having the world in my hands and everything in control has stayed in moments like those. I feel blessed to be able to experience those moments. If it wasn’t for SOTA giving me the opportunity to see what I could accomplish and who I could become I don’t know where I would be today. If it had not been for SOTA, my thinking about my future and how to make my dreams a reality would have been limited.