A chance encounter on Instagram, along with a lifelong interest in drawing boats, has landed LTU senior Jeffery Summers an all-expenses-paid trip to the Monaco Yacht Show next weekend.
Summers earned the free trip to the tiny principality on the French Riviera – known as the playground of the super-rich and famous – as one of the three finalists in the Yacht Design Talent Award competition. The winner will receive an internship at Sea Level Yacht design and Engineering to help work out the design with Heesen Yachts, a Dutch shipyard that is co-sponsoring the competition.
Summers began drawing boats as a boy when his family had an Algonac cottage with a view of Lake St. Clair’s south channel used by large freighters. He began his college career as an engineering major at Western Michigan University, and then transferred to Lawrence Tech to take transportation design. Even though that degree program focuses primarily on automotive design, Summers plans to use what he has learned to design yachts.
When he saw the yacht design competition on Instagram, he quickly put together his drawings for a 50-meter yacht with a new profile and sundeck. He finished in the top three among 26 students who submitted proposals.
“It has been my dream to design yachts as a living,” Summers said.
Keith Nagara, director of LTU’s transportation design and industrial design programs, notes that while LTU’s program is influenced by the automotive industry due to LTU’s location, the design principles and processes are very similar to other transportation products, such as yachts, planes, RV, motorcycles, etc.
“One of the most unique qualities of these programs is that from freshman year through senior year, the studios have a corporate sponsor, which is equivalent to having a four-year apprenticeship,” Nagara said. “LTU encourages students to tailor the program to their specific interests regardless of sponsoring corporation.”