Scott Shipley

Whitewater Park Designer, 36

Shipley on the Snoqualmie River, near Seattle     Photo: Jeff Lipsky

After I retired from World Cup slalom kayaking in 2000, I got a master's in mechanical engineering and was planning on designing ships for the Navy. Then I read a magazine article about Gary Lacy, who designs whitewater parks out of Colorado. I thought, That's cool. So I called him for some advice and he offers me a job. My first major project was the U.S. National Whitewater Center, in Charlotte. After that, I opened my own firm, S20design, in Boulder. Our focus is artificial, pumped whitewater parks. I develop the business plan, do the design, create fluid models, and oversee the construction. There's lots of work, and I enjoy it. This field is overpopulated with designers, but there are openings if you have skills. Gary and I are still the only engineers in the whole biz who can kayak worth a darn.

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