Finding the Right Path After High School: Coleman Walker '18

Finding the Right Path After High School: Coleman Walker '18

We really enjoyed catching up with Coleman Walker '18, IYRS Marine Systems graduate, at IYRS Career Day where he represented Duffie Boatworks.

IYRS: Our students travel many different paths in life to land at IYRS. What did yours look like?

Coleman: I came to IYRS right out of high school after looking at least a dozen colleges and having none of them pique my interest. I grew up sailing on the Chesapeake and was always interested in boats and the water. I think that if I never attended IYRS I would not be on the career path I am on today. I wouldn't give up my time at IYRS for anything. The Marine Systems program was the perfect start for my post-high school education when a traditional four year college sounded terrible at the time.

IYRS: Tell us about something you did at IYRS that made an impact on you.

Coleman: I think the coolest part of the Marine Systems program was being able to start and see an engine run that we had completely disassembled only just a few weeks prior. We also wired the starting circuit to the engine which really enabled us to understand the entire cycle from the electrical system to a running engine.

IYRS: How has your career evolved after graduating from IYRS?

Coleman: After graduating from IYRS, I spent two months in Beaufort, NC working at Jarrett Bay Boatworks for my externship. Afterwards I moved back to my hometown of Oxford, MD and spent the spring/summer working at Campbell's Boatyards, a local boatyard a mile away from my house. In the fall of 2018, I attended The Landing School for their Yacht Design Program. When I graduated, I moved to Charleston, SC for a summer internship with Rhodes Yacht Design. Jesse Rhodes owns a small design and CNC shop in North Charleston focusing on production center consoles and custom sportfish boats.

Once the summer was over, I packed up for Southampton in the United Kingdom where I enrolled at Solent University to major in Yacht and Powercraft Design. Solent has a partnership with The Landing School that allows yacht design graduates to enter the course as a second year student. After less than a year in Southampton, the Covid pandemic hit and I came home in the spring of 2020 to finish the rest of second year online.

I met my current boss and owner of Duffie Boatworks, Jon Duffie, during the first summer of the pandemic. I worked for him through the summer helping with his first large custom build. For my final year at Solent, I studied entirely online since classes were restricted to less that once a week in person. I found it not worth my while traveling back to England. The bright side of this allowed me to work part time with Duffie and still be in person at his boat shop. I graduated from Solent University in May of 2021 with a Bachelors in Engineering and still currently work with Duffie Boatworks doing primarily all of the new construction design work.

Coleman with a custom build he helped design for Duffie Boatworks















IYRS: What do you like best about your current position?

Coleman: Being a part of Duffie Boatworks is amazing experience. We are involved in three new construction sportfish builds ranging from 60-80ft and have at least three more boats to build afterwards. Working with my boss Jon is fantastic as he is young, energetic and enthusiastic about trying new things. Although we are a young company, we have a developed a fantastic team that I enjoy being part of very much.

The custom sportfishing boat Coleman helped design and build at Duffie Boatworks






















IYRS: Here's a fun one. What’s something about you people might not know?

I actually grew up away from the water on a horse farm. My mom has been involved with horses since before I was born. Halfway through high school we moved to the eastern shore of Maryland where I got to spend a lot more time on the water – and here I am.