Behind Professional of the Year

MO3 in action

“Boat mad” children spur on the 2018 ECMA Maritime Professional of the Year

The individual recipients of European Commercial Marine Awards have often faced interesting challenges in their careers. The 2018 winner of the ECMA Maritime Professional of the Year is no exception.

We spoke to James Walker to find out more about the man behind the award…

How did you feel about winning Maritime Professional of the Year?

I’ve been in the marine industry for many years and it’s nice to be recognised. It’s a fantastic award to have on display in the office.

What does your company do?

Walker Marine Design Ltd is a naval architects, surveyors and consultants. We mainly specialise in the design of commercial vessels but have recently become more involved with the leisure and aquaculture sectors.

What have been the biggest challenges in your career?

My biggest challenge was leaving the security of Aluminium Marine Consultants and setting up Walker Marine Design. They have been a great support to me over the years and I’m grateful.

And the highlights?

Designing and watching the MO3 vessel come to life with Bob Mainprize of Mainprize Offshore Ltd. Bob is very involved with the design process and it’s great to make the ideas a reality.  Ed note: The MO3 is a 25m Wind Farm Support Vessel.

Have you always worked in the marine industry? Tell us more…

I have. When I was at university I worked for Cougar Powerboats. After university I went to work for BAE and then, a few years later, I went to be the Technical Director for Aluminium Marine Consultants, before leaving in 2014 and setting up Walker Marine Design Ltd.

Do you have a mentor/hero in or outside the Industry?

My grandfather and father. Since I was young they have supported me building GRP boats in the shed and have pushed me to achieve my dreams of being a naval architect.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

Professionally, our clients and working with them to generate fantastic vessels which are like no other. Also, brainstorming and designing vessels which we normally wouldn’t. We are proud to be hands-on naval architects who love a challenge.

What gets you through a bad day?

My children – a simple phone call makes the day better and allows me to refocus. They are also boat mad and love designing boats with me.

What’s next for you?

I’m continuing to design the vessels at Walker Marine Design and, now we have a business development director on board, I can be even more hands-on with the innovative design work.

And your company?

We have our first 24m Aquaculture vessel being launched next year, along with Mainprize Offshore’s MO5 vessel, which is a vessel we have been working on for many years with Bob Mainprize. The company also have more projects we’re working on and we will be able to talk about these soon. As always, we will be looking at extending our current design base and our work within the commercial and leisure sectors.

Will your company be entering the 2019 European Commercial Marine Awards?

We will indeed.

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