Andrea Williams came to IYRS in 2017 with two goals. One was practical - to obtain the skills she needed to earn a living while doing work she truly enjoyed. The other was more of a dream. Within 5 years, her goal was to buy a project sailboat that she could restore and live on, and eventually sail it across the Atlantic.
Andrea graduated from IYRS's 6-month Marine Systems program and headed to Belfast, ME for her externship at noted boatbuilder and service yard Front Street Shipyard. After completing her externship and with her first job under her belt, she then went to work for SEA Semester, starting as an Assistant Engineer and working her way up to Chief Engineer of the tall ship SSV Corwith Cramer.
But Andrea didn't stop there. She used the skills and experience she had acquired from her IYRS education and her previous professional success to open her own business, Zenith Marine, in Rhode Island. “Starting my own business has been tremendously challenging and rewarding. From learning skills as diverse as bookkeeping to engine diagnostic software, there hasn’t been a day that I have not learned something new since I began,” Andrea says. Her first goal of learning the skills she needed to earn a living doing something she loved had officially been accomplished. As for that second goal…
“I have a Catalina 30 I fixed up during the summer of 2020. At this point, I've sailed only so far as the mouth of Narragansett Bay. It’s not the boat for offshore trips, but I feel I’m on my way.”
Andrea looks back fondly on her time at IYRS, recalling her favorite memory. “After we had all taken our diesel engines apart and reassembled them, the time came for everyone to attempt to start them up. There was a heightened need for situational awareness that day, and it was super exciting.” If you're wondering if Andrea's rebuilt engine started that day, that answer is a resounding yes.
Andrea's success since graduating from IYRS has been extraordinary. We look forward to watching her and Zenith Marine grow and prosper. And of course we will be cheering her on when she finally sets sail across the Atlantic!