But that was before he landed a job as a Lego czar. Now he will be paid a starting salary of $37,500 to play with toy bricks and encourage others to do the same.
During a weekend competition on Sunday at the Grapevine Mills Mall, Walsh beat out nine other Lego-loving finalists, the Dallas Morning News reported Monday. The 15 finalists were given an hour to design something that defined them and their interests.
Walsh applied his engineering skills to build a spaceship, a unicycle and a running shoe that spelled out his first name.
He gave credit to the children spectators at the event, who offered suggestions on what pieces to add to make the designs more interesting.
"I designed the unicycle, but they told me to add stuff, so then it became a unicycle on a road. Then they wanted a spaceship attacking the unicycle," he told AOL News. The soccer design represented his interest in exercise and running, the spaceship was to show his education in aerospace and the unicycle design symbolized his meeting the challenge of learning to ride one.
More than 100 Lego enthusiasts from various backgrounds participated in the preliminary competition on Saturday before a panel of children and adult judges issued the final challenge to the finalists on Sunday.
Fort Worth Star-Telegram / MCT
Walsh, who said he had been playing with Lego blocks since before he could talk, reacted to winning with excitement and disbelief.
"It was an out-of-body experience," he said. " It was like it was happening to someone else."
Walsh said he had been searching for a job since he graduated a year ago. He narrowed his search to companies that he thought would satisfy his passion for creating and building things and his interest in working with people.
"I focused my search on companies like Disney World and the Lego company," he said.
Walsh said that he didn't know that Lego had a Legoland Discovery Center until last Thursday, when he saw an article in the newspaper about the competition in Grapevine. He entered out of curiosity.
Iain Scouller, general manager of the Grapevine Legoland Discovery Center, said Walsh's skill with the Lego blocks impressed him and the other judges, but it was his positive interaction with the children who came to see the competition that gave him the winning edge.
"The master builder has to be able to interact with the children in a friendly and approachable manner," Scouller said.
Walsh said he will start his new job on Feb. 7 in order to receive training before the March opening.
His job responsibilities include maintaining the toy brick structures in Legoland, creating and developing other structures, and working with children who come to the attraction and at the schools. The Grapevine Legoland Discovery Center is the second to open in the U.S. The first opened in Chicago last year and a third is scheduled to open next year in Atlanta.
Meanwhile, Walsh said he is relieved that his job search is over. "The pressure is off."