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FLIBS 2013: Irwin Jacobs introduces new Larson chief

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FORT LAUDERDALE — Industry veteran Rob Parmentier was introduced as president and CEO of the Larson Boat Group on Thursday, promising to breathe new life into the 100-year-old builder.

“It’s good to be back in the industry,” Parmentier, former president of the Sea Ray Boat Group at Brunswick Corp., said at a press event at the Fort Lauderdale show. “I’m extremely energized by the opportunity given to me by Mr. [Irwin] Jacobs.”

Jacobs, the chairman of Larson, brought Parmentier aboard in October. He had parted ways with Sea Ray last December. “I’m going to give this 200 percent of my time,” Parmentier said. “We’re going to be relevant again and kick some fanny out there.”

Parmentier said he plans to use his expertise on overseas markets, honed during his years heading Sea Ray, to grow the Larson brand. He noted that he started in the industry working on the manufacturing floor at Sea Ray.

“What I bring is 31 years of experience working at one of the best boat companies in the world,” he said.

Parmentier said he shares Jacobs’ passion for boats and business success, and he praised the manufacturing crew at Larson’s Little Falls, Minn., production facility.

“I could tell the moment I walked into the plant that these people are committed,” he said. “[Larson] is the best-kept secret in the world.”

Parmentier noted the group’s proprietary VEC production technology, tremendous strides in outboard technology and a small-boat line that delivers quality and value as strengths in reviving the Larson brand.

He promised a strong and personal connection with dealers and customers and said he will continue to run the “open management style” for which he is known.

“I’m going to listen to our workers, our dealers and our customers to get every good idea I can,” Parmentier said.

Larson also announced at the show several new boats for 2014: the Striper 220 CC, the Super Sport ski/wake boat, the 16-foot FX 1650 (available in side console and tiller layouts) and the forthcoming Escape pontoon boat.

Rich Armstrong

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