Posthumous inductions highlight IBEX ceremony; 11 companies take home Innovation Awards
Contributions to the boating business were recognized at the 18th annual International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition and Conference Oct. 6-8 in Miami Beach, along with awards for product innovation.
Regal Marine Industries’ founder Paul Kuck and Bertram Yacht Co. founder Richard Bertram were posthumously inducted into the National Marine Manufacturers Asssociation’s Hall of Fame, the organization’s highest honor.
Kuck founded his business in 1969 and grew it into one of the world’s largest privately held boat manufacturers. Regal boats are sold by more than 150 dealers and distributors in 40 countries. Kuck, a former NMMA chairman, also was dedicated to his faith and believed in leading with values.
“Dad loved this industry and what he loved most about [it] was the relationships,” his son Duane Kuck said, accepting the award on his father’s behalf. Duane Kuck, now president and CEO of the company, said his father always told him, “Don’t compromise your values, work hard [with] integrity and never give up.”
Bertram, an avid sailor who raced around the world, founded his company nearly 50 years ago. Already an established yacht broker, Bertram built a line of seminal deep-vee powerboats in the early 1960s, and his designs set the industry standard for years to come. His company was acquired by the Ferretti Group in 1998.
“He lived life large; he lived a storied life,” said Mike Myers, the company’s current president, who accepted the award on his behalf.
David Blackburn, president and CEO of Faria Marine Instruments, received the Alan J. Freedman Memorial Leadership Award, given annually to an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the marine accessory industry.
Blackburn has been in the industry for nearly 30 years, all of it with Faria. He joined the company in 1980 as manager of the industrial engineering department, and for the last 16 years he has headed up the Uncasville, Conn.-based operation.
In addition to his work at Faria, Blackburn has been an outspoken advocate of blocking the use of counterfeit materials in manufacturing. He led the industry’s charge for the Stop Counterfeiting in Manufactured Goods Act, and was invited to witness the signing of the bill in 2006.
He continues to support the issue, and helped win passage of a Senate bill to “enhance remedies for violations of intellectual property laws.” The measure was sent to the president for his signature Oct. 2.
Blackburn has been an active member of NMMA, and has served on the association’s board of directors and its Accessory Manufacturers Division board of directors.
In accepting the honor, Blackburn talked about the movie “Master and Commander,” and used its lessons as an example of good leadership.
The word impossible is heard a lot these days, he said, but a good leader inspires others to press on to fix problems, convinces others that success is attainable, never abandon’s his desire to achieve his mission, and makes difficult decisions when necessary.
“The courage to do the impossible lies in the hearts of true leaders,” he said.
A record 11 manufacturers received honors for innovation from the NMMA and Boating Writers International. A total of 68 new products were entered in the competition.
Products are judged on innovative distinction from other products, benefit to the industry and/or consumer, cost effectiveness and practicality. They must be available to the consumer within 60 days of award receipt.
The winners were:
• Boatbuilding methods and materials: The SmartCat system from M.V.P. Magnum Venus Plastech. An honorable mention was given to Awlgrip North America for its Awlfair Mix Machine.
• Boatyard hardware and software: The BookBuilder on BoatPubs.com from Ken Cook Co.
• Electrical systems: Mastervolt Inc., for its MasterShunt battery monitoring system.
• Furnishings and finishes: The Isotherm Frost Free Refrigeration system from Indel Webasto Marine USA.
• Hardware fittings: Co-winners in this category were AcryliCo from AcryliCo Inc. and the Adjustable Windshield System from AmeriTex Technologies.
• Inboard engines: Steyr Motors, for its Hybrid Drive, with an honorable mention given to Caudwell Marine for its Axis Drive.
• Mechanical systems: Two companies won this year: WillDo USA for its Jet Thruster System and Schuman’s Nautic Air.
• OEM electronics and electronic systems: The Wizard from AMT Revolution.
• Environmental Award: This honor was presented to Foam Supplies Inc. for its Ecomate Polyurethane Flotation Foam.
Also at the ceremony, 73 companies were honored with Marine Industry CSI awards for customer service.
This article originally appeared in the November 2008 issue.