Alumni are great resources to learn about the myriad of career paths that one can pursue with their Cal Maritime degree. Some alums take more traditional career paths while others embark on journeys that are more unique.

Konnecting Keelhaulers is a Career Services venture that will bring the many different career paths alumni take into one spot. Representatives from Career Services will interview alums about their career paths, what they learned from Cal Maritime that has helped them in the professional world, and what advice they can pass along to current cadets.


Jump to watch recorded interviews.

Justin Meyer '02 | Deputy Director of Acquisition Programs, U.S. Coast Guard

Jacob Lassila '18 | Senior Utility Plant Operator, Genentech

Brent Morency '17 | Area Manager, General Dynamics NASSCO

Michael Torreano '19 | AB Tankerman, Kirby

Annie Chan '18 | Service Operations Supervisor, Siemens

Benjamin Potter '17 | Underwriter, Intact Insurance Specialty Solutions

Brian Triggs '13 | Surveyor, American Bureau of Shipping

Kellen Parrish '13 | Senior Program Officer, Partner of the Americas

Jamie Mattos '16 | Fmr. Chief Purser, American Queen Steamboat Company

Patrick Dackins '17 | Assitant Superintendent Central Plant, UC Davis Medical Center

Elijah Jackowitz '16 | Surface Warfare Officer, U.S. Navy


Justin Meyer photoJustin Meyer '02, Mechanical Engineering

Deputy Director of Acquisition Programs | United States Coast Guard

Justin is the the Deputy Director of Acquisition Programs for the United States Coast Guard, a job he began in May 2020 after 18 years serving in the United States Navy. Justin's career in the Navy included managing ship building production, maintenance, and weapons systems, participating in the Department of Defense Legislative Fellowship program with Maine's Senator Collins, and deployment to the Persian Gulf.  He also received his Master of Science in Engineering Management from The Catholic University of America.  Justin encourages any cadets wishing to learn more about internship and job opportunities with the United States Coast Guard to reach out to him via email at jtmeyer78@gmail.com.

What do you do in your role as Deputy Director of Acquisition Programs with the Coast Guard and what is the path you've taken to get there? 0:48 

What got you interested in Mechanical Engineering, and then what interested you pursuing this specific career path you have taken? 5:06 

What did you learn from Cal Maritime that you were able to take into enlisted service that helped you out in the Navy? 6:58 

What do you feel like are the more relevant technical skills that you’ve seen in your role now that have carried through since Cal Maritime9:05 

Any other transferable skills that you feel like you learned from Cal Maritime that you took into the professional world that set you up for success? 10:44  

What would be some advice you would give to students looking into career paths in the Coast Guard and Navy12:20 

What advice could you give to cadets preparing to go through the application and/or interview process? 14:55 

 


Jacob photoJacob Lassila '18, Facilities Engineering Technology

Senior Utility Plant Operator | Genentech

Jacob is a Senior Utility Plant Operator at Genentech in San Francisco. He began at Genentech as a Utility Plant Operator about a week after graduating from Cal Maritime in 2018 and has worked his way up to Lead Operator on his shift since then. Jacob encourages any cadet interested in learning more about Genentech or work as a utility plant operator to reach out to him via email at lassilaj@gene.com.

You’ve been at Genentech since graduating, tell us about your path within the company as you’ve risen to Senior Utility Plant Operator and Lead Operator and what your role entails there. 0:35

 

What would you say is the difference between being a Utility Plant Operator and now being in a more senior role? 3:13

 

You mentioned not knowing everything about your job, even now, so can you talk a little bit about your internship with Genentech and how much of that was a learning process. 7:45

 

You were at Genentech for two years interning, what was the process for transitioning to full time? Did they approach you and say, “Hey Jacob apply for this opening we are going to have?” What was that process for you? 12:52

 

Thinking back now a little bit to Cal Maritime, how do you feel the overall Cal Maritime education prepared you for your internship with Genentech and then your transition, and the FET program specifically? What were the things, class wise or whatever that really prepared you? 15:35

 

Thinking back to your time at Cal Maritime, what is something you wish you had done differently in preparation for your career? Or what did you stress about in college when it came to career that seems trivial now? 24:38/28:52

 

What is your favorite part of your job at Genentech? What is the most challenging aspect? 32:20

 

What advice do you have for students interested in being a Utility Operator? 37:52

 

Closing thoughts. 43:33

 


brent picBrent Morency '17, International Business and Logistics

Area Manager | General Dynamics NASSCO

Brent is an Area Manager at General Dynamics NASSCO, where he is tasked with overseeing a particular part of the ship building process. Brent was able to secure an internship with NASSCO while at Cal Maritime through networking, and he was able to convert that into a role in the Professional Development Program they offer and, finally, full time employment. As a former transfer, Brent highlights how important it is to get involved quickly and begin the networking process almost the moment you step on campus. If you are interested in learning more about what Brent has done at NASSCO, he encourages you to reach out to him on LinkedIn.

What was your progression up to Area Manager and what do you do in that role? 0:33

How did you secure an internship with NASSCO and what were some takeaways from the internship? 1:44

Tell us about the rotations in the Professional Ddevelopment Program that you went through and how they work to transition you from intern into the PDP and then into full time. 2:34

When you transitioned out of the PDP, did you get to pick where you wanted to go or did they assign you to your current position? 4:03

How did you pick Cal Maritime and the IBL program and then how did you begin figuring out where you wanted your career path to go? 4:45

Was NASSCO always a place you had your eye on or did learn more about them when you transferred to Cal Maritime and went to Career Fair? 6:20

Where do you think the IBL program really prepared you for your internship and job at NASSCO and where did you find yourself having to do a little learning on your own to augment the education? 7:30

What were NASSCO's expectations of an intern coming in? Were they expecting a lot of technical skills or was it more people skills and attitude? 9:06

Did you see benefits from being in the Corps as you entered the professional world and kind of preparing you for that? 10:09

What are some of your favorite things you like about the job and what are most challenging parts aspects that you found? 11:20

What advice would you give to cadets looking to get in with NASSCO? 12:43

Closing thoughts. 13:42

 


Michael Torreano '19, Marine Transportation

AB Tankerman | Kirby

Michael is an AB Tankerman at Kirby where he’s been since graduating. For license track students who aren’t looking to join a union, Michael stressed that making connections with recruiters through company presentations and career fairs are the best way to secure employment post-graduation, as well as developing your network to aid in summer employment in the industry outside of cruise time. He also highlighted how important Microsoft Excel skills are on the ship, encouraging any cadet to take the time to practice their skills there, whether through a class or on your own. Michael encourages any cadet interested in learning more about Kirby or life as a deckie in general to reach via LinkedIn.

Now that you’ve been with Kirby for over a year, what have you learned in the role? How have things changed in the last year in dealing with the pandemic? 0:33

As an AB Tankerman, what are some things that you are doing, maybe not a day in the life, but typical things you are doing on the vessel? 3:10

What got you interested in the maritime industry and inspired you to pursue this path? 5:00

How did you go about deciding what type of vessel and what company/companies you wanted to sail with for commercial cruise? What factors were you considering? What experiences were you looking to gain? 6:21

What were the differences you saw in working inland waters and being out at sea? 8:38

How did you go about getting work on a tug in the summer after your freshman cruise? 10:48

What are somethings you might have done differently in college now that you have experience in the professional world? 12:55

What are some ways outside of the MT program that Cal Maritime prepared you for the professional world? 15:40

How did get your job with Kirby? What are some things a senior might do? Walk us through the steps in your search process and somethings you learned from that. 17:27

What advice would you give to cadets in the application/interview process? 20:24

What are length of your hitches at sea and how long do you have your time off? As a mariner, how do you balance long times at sea and at home? What was that adjustment like? 22:07

Closing thoughts. 25:15

 


Annie picAnnie Chan '18, Facilities Engineering Technology

Service Operations Supervisor | Siemens

Annie and Ryan have a freewheeling conversation where Annie continually stresses how important networking has been for her, whether it has helped her gain opportunities or setting her up with conversations to learn from experienced people in her field. She also touches on how failure should not be seen reflexively as a bad thing, as she weaves in her story about how she came to wanting to pursue a career in automation. Annie encourages any student who wants to learn more about Siemens and automation to reach out to her via email at Achan.3@outlook.com.

What are the different roles you’ve had at Siemens, and what you are doing now as a Service Operations Supervisor? 0:38

What did you have to go through to get your job at Siemens? How long did you search process take until you got your offer? 8:17

What were some of the similarities and differences of your two internships with Vigor and Trinchero Family Estates Winery? How did these different experiences help you when you started looking for jobs? 11:07

What did you do for the wind engergy company you worked with before you attended Cal Maritime? 15:15

What got you interested in Facilities Engineering after doing some more mechanical based engineering? 16:25

What are some things you found you had to go above and beyond the curriculum at Cal Maritime to prepare you for internships and jobs? 18:23

How did your freshman training cruise help build your engineering skills, especially to the various positions you have worked in following the cruise? 22:25

Do you know what kind of master’s programs you are looking for or just looking overall still? 28:04

What are some certifications or professional groups FETs should be looking into that can help them build their skills and connect to other industry professionals? 28:56

Any advice for cadets in their internship and/or job search? 34:15

Closing thoughts. 37:04

 


ben picBenjamin Potter '17, Global Studies and Maritime Affairs

Underwriter | Intact Insurance Specialty Solutions

Benjamin discusses how he got started in marine underwriting, a chance happening he says is common in the industry. He was able to take the critical thinking skills and ability to develop an argument from writing many papers for his GMSA degree into his work where he is arguing positions on why and how much they will ensure a ship, it’s crew, and cargo for. Benjamin says a great way to begin to dive deeper into the industry is looking into obtaining designations for underwriting which will give one needed cache when getting started. He encourages any cadet wishing to learn more about what he does and the various avenues within the industry to reach out to him on LinkedIn.

What do you do as an underwriter? What are they type of clients you service? 0:35

You joined Intact right out of college, describe what you did in your underwriter trainee program and the benefits of from getting started in the industry through this route. 2:32

When did you start to see marine underwriting as a career you wanted to pursue? How did Cal Maritime prepare you for this position? 4:07

You interned with the Coast Guard and California State Lands Commission, neither working with marine underwriting. What did you learn from those positions that you have taken into your career? 6:12

What do you wish you had done differently in college? What did you stress about in college that seems trivial now? 10:15

How has your GSMA degree been beneficial for your career? 12:21

What advice do you have students interested in marine underwriting? Are there internships and things of that nature that current students could look into? 19:00 

What does a path forward in underwriting look like for you from this point? 22:33

What is your favorite part of the job? What is your most challenging? 25:02

What benefits did being a member of the Corps give you as you entered the professional world? 27:08 

Closing Thoughts 28:50

 


Picture of the mastBrian Triggs '13, Marine Engineering Technology

Surveyor | American Bureau of Shipping

Brian currently works at the American Bureau of Shipping as a Surveyor where he is currently the project lead for the first vessel of the John Lewis class vessels for Military Sealift Command. Prior to this, he worked at General Dynamics NASSCO for 6 years, where he was in the Professional Development Program before working in the shipyard. He was a transfer student who credits his advisor for helping him complete his Cal Maritime education in 3 years while being active with on campus jobs and in the Corps of Cadets. Brian encourages any cadet who wishes to learn more about what he does to reach out to him at btriggs@eagle.org.

How long have you been at ABS, what do you do in your role as a surveyor, and what projects are you currently overseeing? 0:37

What was your role with NASSCO and what were some of the similarities and/or differences compared to your current job? 1:42

What made you pursue employment shoreside instead of sailing? How did you see your commercial cruise with MSC prepare you for work in the shipyard? 3:35

When did you do your internship with the Coast Guard and what did it entail? 4:50

You were a transfer from Cal Poly Pomona into the MET program, which is not a common path for cadets at Cal Maritime. How did you integrate yourself into the Cal Maritime community and the rigorous academic path here? 5:56

Discuss how your various on campus jobs, leadership roles, and club involvement gave you skills that you have used at NASSCO and ABS. 7:20

Thinking to your role at NASSCO and now as a surveyor for ABS, what advice would you have for current cadets interested in pursing these types of positions? 9:26

What are your favorite and most challenging parts of your job now as Surveyor? 10:45

Closing thoughts. 11:34

 


Kellen talking about aquacultureKellen Parrish '13, International Business and Logistics

Senior Program Officer for Economic Development and Health | Partner for the Americas

Kellen currently works with the country of Myanmar, as well as countries in the Caribbean and Latin America to secure grant funding to update and improve their agricultural and farming infrastructure. Before joining Partners for the Americas, he received his Master's in International Agricultural Development from UC Davis and worked in the Peace Corps in Guatemala post-graduation, where he also taught several classes. He has also worked with fish farming and companies committed to sustainable fishing. Kellen encourages any cadet at Cal Maritime interested in international work to take advantage of the international focus of the curriculum on campus, especially learning another language. Any cadet who would like to learn more about NGOs, forging a path to work abroad, or has any other questions for Kellen can reach him at kellenlparrish@gmail.com.

Take us through your journey career journey and how you ended up with Partners of Americas. 0:52

What do you do as a Senior Program Officer with Partners of the Americas? 11:33

How do work out your schedule of living on the West Coast with East Coast office hours, and do you have any tips for people working from home? 14:35

What drew you to pursuing such an international focus in school and work? 20:00

How have you seen Cal Maritime prepare you for your career path and in the various jobs you’ve held? 24:25

What made you return to school to get a Master’s after a couple years of work? 29:30

What have been some skills that you have utilized in all or most of your jobs? Those transferable skills we always hear about. 33:35

How did you go about getting jobs with NGOs such as Clean Fish, Research Innovation Fellowship for Agriculture, and Partners of the Americas? 36:00

Closing thoughts and advice. 39:20

 


Jamie at workJamie Mattos '16, Global Studies and Maritime Affairs

Fmr. Chief Purser | American Queen Steamboat Company

Jamie Mattos had worked in the inland cruise industry until the pandemic hit in March 2020. She candidly discusses being laid off in September and how it has spurred her on to look for a transition out of the cruise industry. Jamie details how she got interest in sailing as a GSMA major, completing her Co-Op as the manager of Pirate's Cove on the TSGB before interning with Alcatraz Cruises and then working with AQSC. Jamie also highlights how she felt the Corps of Cadets greatly helped her be ready to enter the professional world. She encourages you to reach out to her via email with any questions you might have about her time in the cruise industry or to chat about building your own professional network at jamiecmattos@gmail.com.

How was your lay off handled during the pandemic and how has your job search been going since? 0:38

What have you found different about the job search during an economic recession compared to when you graduated from Cal Maritime? Any things you would advise during this time for students looking for jobs? 5:57

You held various roles at American Queen Steamboat company, including Onboard Human Resources Coordinator and Purser before being the Chief Purser. Tell us about what drew you to non-licensed sailing, the company and what you did in these roles. 7:57

On taking an internship or job you didn’t feel prepared for or taking a small step back to prepare for a bigger step forward. 16:40

What would you say is the difference between being a purser and a chief purser? 19:23

What made you leave the West Coast for an internship, how did you go about finding housing, and what did you do for the Canal Barge Company in New Orleans? 23:15

How did the Cal Maritime curriculum, both GSMA and overall, prepare you for your internships and jobs, and how did you have to go above and beyond the curriculum? What benefits did being a member of the Corps give you as you entered the professional world? 30:50

What advice would you give cadets looking to become a purser? 37:30

Closing thoughts. 40:36

 


patrick at workPatrick Dackins '17, Marine Engineering Technology

Assistant Superintendent Central Plant | UC Davis Medical Center

Patrick Dackins has now worked at the UC Davis Medical Center for 2.5 years, first as a co-gen operator and currently as the Assistant Superintendent for the Central Plant. Before working at the UC Davis Medical Center, he sailed for one year with SeaRiver Maritime when it was a subsidiary of Exxon Mobile. Patrick touches on his time at Cal Maritime as a non traditional student, as well as his career path that has brought him to his current position. One thing he stresses as he does hiring for plant engineers at UC Davis Medical Center is to be very thorough on your resume, if something might be relevant, put it on. If you would like to reach out to Patrick and discuss his role or any other career related questions, he is available on LinkedIn.

Now that you are a couple months into your role as Assistant Superintendent of the Plant at the Hospital, what has the transition been like and what new responsibilities have you gained? 0:42

As a Co-Gen operator, what was your typical work like and what was the schedule you kept? 1:50

Before working at the hospital, you sailed for about a year. What type of vessel did you sail on, what was your route, and what were your roles on the ship? 3:12

What made to transition shoreside and how did you get connected with UC Davis Medical Center? What was your process in looking for a new job? 4:50

What have you found in your current role that is particularly relevant from your time sailing and what should engineers transitioning from sea to shoreside be highlighting on their resumes? 9:50

Did you see your license as a requirement or preferred qualification on job postings? Did you see that helping you out in your job search process? 11:42

Beyond commercial cruise, how did you leverage your years at Cal Maritime through jobs and on campus involvement to set yourself up post-graduation? 13:04

You came to Cal Maritime at a later age, what made you get interested in Marine Engineering Technology and decide to go back to school? What advice would you give to non-traditional age cadets as they go through their career at Cal Maritime? 17:35

What is one thing you miss about sailing? 19:45

From a mental wellbeing standpoint, how did you and your wife handle missing the birth of your first born? 21:39

What is one thing you love about your job now? 23:12

Does UC Davis Medical Center offer any internships or are they looking for new grads to hire? 25:10

Closing thoughts. 29:33

 


Elijah JackowitzElijah Jackowitz '16, Global Studies and Maritime Affairs

Surface Warfare Officer | U. S. Navy

Elijah Jackowitz has been with the United States Navy since October 2018, following a brief stint working as a Shipping Agent with Norton Lilly in Los Angeles. He is currently stationed in the Hawaiian Islands. Elijah touches on his path in the Navy, where he has used it to get back in touch with his love for being on the water as well as challenge himself mentally, physically, and professionally. He also discusses his unique path at Cal Maritime as both a transfer student and a December graduate, as well as how he traversed the shaky landscape of graduating without a job already lined up. He encourages any cadet who wishes to speak with him about his experiences at Cal Maritime, his job search post graduation, or his roles with Norton Lilly and the Navy to reach out to his email at elijah.jackowitz@gmail.com.

You had a few years and some work in between graduation and enlisting in the Navy, so what made you enlist and what do you do as a Surface Warfare Officer? 0:48

How did you get hired by Norton Lilly and what were you doing for them as a ship agent? Is there any difference between serving the Port of LA and the Port of Long Beach? 5:20

How did you deal with not having a job lined up upon graduating from Cal Maritime? 7:55

What led you to major in GSMA and how have you seen the benefits of your Cal Maritime education at both Norton Lilly and in the Navy? 10:03

Who did you intern with while at Cal Maritime and why? How did this help with your professional development? 12:24

You studied colloquial Arabic in Egypt and received a certificate for it. Why did you pursue this and how has it helped you in your career? 13:50

What is something or somethings you found yourself worrying about at Cal Maritime that you have found to be largely inconsequential in your career? What is something or somethings you wish you had paid more attention to at Cal Maritime? 15:22

What is one thing you liked about Norton Lilly and enjoy in your work with the Navy? 18:07

What was something you found challenging about Norton Lilly? What is something you have found challenging in the Navy? 20:25

What advice would you have for cadets looking into career paths with either Norton Lilly through the shipping agent route or through the Navy? 22:30

Closing Thoughts. 26:41