Nathan Shawl Biography:


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Mr. Shawl has a long family history in boats going back to a great-grandfather and grandfather who fished the Great Lakes and hauled freight and mail.  They built some of the boats that they operated.  Mr. Shawl’s father was always involved with boats as well and the family had numerous small racing and cruising boats and other small craft including some he built himself.  Mr. Shawl attributes to his father an early and excellent start in mechanical education and feels few children get this type of education these days.  His father taught him carpentry, welding, lathe work, outboard repair and TV repair. 

Mr. Shawl and his wife have continued the family’s water oriented traditions, owning several craft over the years including designing and building on an amateur basis.  They cruise their 33’ sloop on Lake Huron.  An active local yacht club has allowed Mr. Shawl to race once a week, which he has found both entertaining and challenging with quite a few really good sailors to compete against.

Mr. Shawl has had college training in architecture and four years of instruction in  drafting but feels that he learned the most while working as a structural steel detailer.  In this time he learned statics, strength of materials, and steel construction in general.

Shortly after his marriage Mr. Shawl was offered a position with a multi-national construction company with which he worked for eight years, eventually holding the position of Field Engineer.  He feels privileged to have worked with some of the best engineers, construction managers, and trades people during this time.  When computers became available capable of doing efficient Computer Assisted Design work, he was chosen as the lead person to be trained in the new software.

Mr. Shawl has also trained as and worked as a Master Electrician and has been able to do both steel detailing and electrical work as needed by the industry in his area.

For some time Mr. Shawl has continued studying Computer Assisted Design (CAD) and boat design, including quite a bit of research on yacht design.  Eventually this resulted in his enrollment in Yacht Design School, as he found that trying to learn on his own was too frustrating.  Although he is one of the best and most artistic manual draftsmen we have ever seen, he consulted with us about using CAD for his lessons.  He had tried various software and general CAD packages on his own, but on following our recommendation to try Rhino found it to be “a revelation”.  His prior CAD experience allowed him to not only learn Rhino rapidly but also, when he decided to take our “CAD Course”, he was not only able to do extremely well on all lessons but was also able to show us an incredible number of ways in which we could improve the course.  Over a period of five months he worked with us extensively on a number of improvements which we incorporated immediately as well as helping us map out a number of possible revisions and improvements which we will be working on over time.  It became obvious to us that he would be extremely useful as an instructor and we have been fortunate that he has been willing to do so.  He is now our primary “CAD Course” instruction.

Because of his advanced knowledge, artistic sense, practical ability, and advanced position in our YDS Main Curriculum he is also beginning to work with us in design work as a Yacht Draftsman and is Associate Designer as well on some smaller projects. We feel that at some point he will be useful to our students in handling some of the main curriculum instruction as well. 

Below you will find some pictures from Mr. Shawl's family album of previous generations of yacht and commercial water people in his family.


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