The Great Lakes Group


Meet Jon Leivo, Project Engineer for the Whiskey Island Floating Breakwater


Jon Leivo

• Age: 28
• Hometown: Mentor, Ohio
• Residence: Cleveland, Ohio
• Family: Wife, Liz, of 3 years and their dog, Ozzie
• Hobbies: Boating, skiing and exercising
• Experience in the Maritime Industry: 5 years
• Passion for Maritime: “Since I was 7 years-old”


Academic Institution: Webb Institute
Degree: Bachelor of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering

Academic Institution: Stevens Institute of Technology
Degree: Master of Ocean Engineering


Company: Great Lakes Shipyard, an affiliate of The Great Lakes Group
Title: Project Engineer
Tenure: 2012 – Present

Company: Netsco
Title: Naval Architect
Tenure: 2008 – 2012


• Licensed Engineer: State of Ohio
• Marine Travelift Certified Operator


Jon is an excellent problem solver that can pull from his educational and professional experience to design unique solutions for any challenge. Some of his skills include:

• Design
• Hydrodynamics
• Marine Engineering
• Naval Architecture
• Resistance and Propulsion
• Project Management
• Resistance & Propulsion
• Structures & Electrical
• Systems Design


Why work at The Great Lakes Group?

“Before, I sat at a desk and designed, but I wanted to be out in the yard, boots on the ground, solving problems. At Great Lakes, I get to do that every day. The company is really growing; they’ve come a long way in a short time, and I wanted to be a part of that growth. I made the move to The Great Lakes Group because there’s a lot of potential, the sky is the limit.”

Why did you want to become an engineer?

“I’ve always seen myself as an engineer, I was great at math … I grew up boating, on the water … and had an amazing opportunity to attend Webb Institute with a full scholarship, so I interviewed with the President of the institute and was accepted as one of 26 students in the largest graduating class at that time.”

“Growing up, my parents had a boat in Fairport, and every weekend, I would see at least 1-2 ore boats unloading … then when I began my career, I was able to see the same boats I saw as a kid, but in the office on paper, and eventually on the water.”

“What I really like about my job is getting the opportunity to work on things that would be a hobby otherwise.”


What are you working on?

“The old breakwater at the Whiskey Island Marina was damaged during Hurricane Sandy. It broke free during the hurricane, washed ashore and was damaged. Whiskey Island Marina was able to make minor repairs after the hurricane to serve as a stopgap measure, however they recognized that they needed a solution instead of a fix. The previous breakwater was designed in 50-foot sections that were bolted together. Whiskey Island Marina informed us that the bolting points were a source of failure because the bolts would stretch and nuts would loosen, so they had to constantly monitor the breakwater. They wanted an improvement on the previous breakwater; so, as a team, we proposed and designed a new floating breakwater with two 150-foot cylindrical modules that would join to create the overall 300-foot long, 10-foot floating breakwater, instead of the older breakwater that was created with multiple 50-foot sections.”

“We were in a unique position to deliver a superior product for Whiskey Island because we can launch the floating breakwater with our Marine Travelift and tow it with our tugboats, whereas our competitors would have had to take it by truck. Now, boats in the Whiskey Island Marina will be safe from the waves of the harbor.”

What is your role on the project?

“I’ve been working very closely with the team at Whiskey Island to develop a design that protects Whiskey Island Marina from the Cleveland Lakefront inner harbor. I get out into the yard daily to monitor the progress of the project and ensure that we get all of the material on a timely basis, so that we meet milestones and there are QA checkpoints so that everything works as planned.

“Right now, we are installing bulkheads into each of the steel drums that will make up the cylindrical modules. This helps retain the shape of the cylinders and provides strength, which will be an advancement over the older breakwater. Then we will blast it, paint it and install the flotation foam. After we are done fabricating the breakwater, we will install it at Whiskey Island Marina, connecting new anchor points and rigging under water.”

What defines this project for you?


“Mike Satanek, David Dudley, the Whiskey Island management team and I collaborated on the design of the floating breakwater, and David and I work together every day on project management and production.”

Safety & Quality

“Mike Satanek makes sure everyone working on the project is safe but also makes sure that everything meets our quality standards in the shipyard.”

“Every day I’m in the yard, meeting with Tim Grimes, the Welding and Fitting Leaderman, to monitor weld quality. We want good clean welds.”


“It’s important that we follow our production schedule and everything is completed in a timely manner, but still with great quality.”