Dick Nelson Scholarship

Dick Nelson Scholarship Fund for Marine Technology

TRANSPAC MARINAS, an Anacortes, WA-based designer and manufacturer of high-performance timber, concrete, and steel float and wave attenuation systems, has established a scholarship fund to promote opportunities in the marine technology industries of Skagit and Whatcom Counties.

The Dick Nelson Memorial Scholarship Fund, named in honor of the founder of the ship building and repair company, Dakota Creek Industries, has been established with a cash gift of $25,000 from TRANSPAC to support student activities and enrichment opportunities in Skagit Valley College’s Marine Technology Program.

The Dick Nelson Memorial Scholarship Fund will promote greater involvement in the marine trades and commemorate Nelson, an advocate of SVC’s Marine Technology Program.

“It is in this spirit of remembering the man Dick Nelson was and what he meant to the Anacortes community of marine trades, that we at TRANSPAC have seeded this scholarship in his honor,” said David H. Rytand, Founder of TRANSPAC MARINAS. “Our goal is to perpetuate his spirit and wisdom by helping to train and guide others who might follow in his large footsteps. Both our company and his share a common vision of growth in the marine trades.”

The scholarship is intended for second-year students in SVC’s Marine Technology program with a 3.0 or greater GPA, and who are Skagit or Whatcom County residents. Priority consideration will be given to students with demonstrated financial need.

Dick Nelson passed in 2021. His legacy lives on in the company he created and in the reputation it enjoys in the community and marine industry.

“From its early days in Whatcom County, Dick built Dakota Creek Industries into Anacortes’ largest private employer,” said Rytand. “He deeply cared for his family of employees — bestowing benefits unknown in any industry: free hot lunches, free on-staff medical care, free job training and fatherly affection beyond description. He never forgot his humble beginnings in business or community.”

Traci Stark, Vice President of Finance and Marketing at TRANSPAC, believes the scholarship fund will play an important role in sustaining the viability of the marine trades in Anacortes.

“To have skilled labor in our industry you have to start with good training at a young age, and this is a way to encourage people to participate in the Marine Trades Skill Center in Anacortes,” said Stark. “Dick was a great supporter of that program. We want to increase awareness around that and the program’s contribution to our industry and city. There are a lot of opportunities in this industry.”

TRANSPAC hopes to attract additional gifts from marine industry partners and community leaders, with the goal of growing the initial endowment to $50,000.

“The best way we can honor Dick Nelson’s dedication to the marine trades is to generate more interest and attention from schools,” said Rytand. “What this country needs is more people who enjoy working the trades. When they find out just how rewarding it can be, I think we’ll see a resurgence. And if TRANSPAC MARINAS can play a small role in that, then good for us.”

To learn more about the Dick Nelson Memorial Scholarship fund, contact Kathleen Petrzelka at Skagit Valley College Foundation, at Kathleen.Petrzelka@skagit.edu.

To make a gift to the Dick Nelson Memorial Scholarship Fund, please visit: https://skagitfoundation.org/dick-nelson-scholarship/.

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