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Movers and Shakers

Yamaha Marine Group announced that Ben Speciale officially assumed the role of president. He takes over for the retiring Phil Dyskow. Speciale had previously served as vice president of operations and planning.


As president, Speciale will direct the Marine Group, including all U.S.-based marine activities and subsidiaries. He will oversee Yamaha's boat companies and subsidiaries, including Skeeter Products, G3 Boats and Precision Propeller Industries. Yamaha has approximately 2,000 marine dealers and is an OEM engine supplier to 120 independent boat brands in the United States.

Speciale joined Yamaha in 1987 with marine parts and accessories and has held positions in marketing, promotions and strategic planning. He was promoted to vice president of operations and planning in 2005.

Dennis Flint, president and CEO of the Taylor Made Group, was appointed chairman of the board in addition to his current CEO responsibilities. The president position was filled by the promotion of Andy Jobbins, who was Taylor Made Group's international managing director. Frank Buckley, currently operations director at Trend Marine Products in the United Kingdom, will be promoted to the position of managing director.

Robin Thatcher, in addition to his current duties of technical and sales director at Trend Marine Products, will assume management responsibilities for the group's operations in Australia and New Zealand.

Reed Austin was appointed to the new position of vice president of sales and marketing at J&J Marine, a Massachusetts-based marine service yard. Austin comes to J&J Marine after five years as director of sales and marketing at Hunt Yachts. He also spent 15 years in sales and sales management at Salt Water Sportsman magazine and 10 years in early stage high-tech companies. He has extensive boating and sportfishing experience.


Larson Boats, headquartered in Little Falls, Minn., and consisting of the Larson, FinCraft, Triumph and Seaswirl/Striper boat brands, announced the addition of regional sales managers Tony Funk and Ken Schindle to its team.

Funk, the new regional sales manager for the Great Lakes/Ohio Valley region, will oversee the Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan and Ohio territories. Schindle will handle the Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin territories.

Sea Tow Services International promoted Robert Backhaus to vice president of operations and named Christine de la Garza director of marketing and Cindy McCaffery director of sales and training.

A 32-year Coast Guard veteran, Backhaus joined Sea Tow in 2008 as director of franchise operations. In his new role, he supervises field operations with the mission of maximizing quality control, sales and satisfaction within the company's international network of franchise owners.

De La Garza is a former independent brand and marketing consultant with nearly two decades of experience. Her new role as Sea Tow director of marketing entails identifying, evaluating and implementing integrated marketing strategies across all Sea Tow product divisions.

As the new director of sales and training, McCaffery's responsibilities include working to expand Sea Tow's sales training program, boat show and event management, and sales programs.

Connie Connor joined the staff of Prestige Yacht Sales in Essex, Conn. Connor is a trawler specialist, having completed 10 years in new and brokerage sales of Nordic Tugs and other cruising trawlers. She has been an avid powerboater with cruising experience on the Great Lakes, the New York State canal system, the Hudson River, Chesapeake Bay and the Intracoastal Waterway to Florida.


Pursuit Boats named David Glenn marketing manager. In this role, he will be responsible for all domestic and international marketing initiatives for the builder.

Glenn has more than 16 years of boat branding and sales experience. He most recently was with Everglades Boats and has handled domestic and international sales for Hatteras Yachts and Regulator Marine. He also worked for Pursuit.

Pursuit Boats is a division of Holland, Mich.-based S2 Yachts.

Metal Shark Boats named industry veteran Brian Johnston as the company's director of communications. He assumes responsibility for Metal Shark's advertising and public relations activities, as well as associate and industry communications. In addition to his role with Metal Shark, Johnston will continue to serve as principal at Bonefish Communications. Metal Shark is a subsidiary of Gravois Aluminum Boats.

Precision Propeller Industries appointed Richie Rodgers sales and marketing manager.

Rodgers, who has been in the marine industry for more than 16 years, was most recently national sales and marketing manager for Century Boats. Prior to that, he served as customer service manager for Century. He also worked in a variety of customer service, sales and brand-management positions for such builders as Champion, Stratos, Javelin, Astro and Pro Craft.

Pelican Products appointed Stephan Corti senior vice president of worldwide sales, where he help drive global sales growth by opening and developing new markets and partnerships.

Corti brings more than 20 years of international sales and marketing management experience to his new role. Prior to joining Pelican, he served as Technicolor's senior vice president of worldwide sales and marketing. His experience also includes sales executive positions with Nimbus, Allied Signal and Hilti.

Rusty Stewart was appointed sales manager at McMichael Yacht Brokers. Before joining McMichael 11 years ago, Stewart was the international production and U.S. sales manager for a company in the women's apparel industry.

Regulator Marine appointed Chris Wainscott as a Florida/Alabama independent sales representative. Wainscott will spearhead a new initiative to restore Regulator as a major presence in those markets.

Prior to this appointment, Wainscott was the senior vice president/general manager at Hydra-Sports. A 20-plus-year industry veteran, he held various positions with Genmar and OMC, and has worked extensively on the East Coast, largely in Florida.

OceanLED appointed Susan James as its new international marketing manager. She joins the OceanLED team from electronic chart manufacturer Navionics, where she was responsible for the brand's core marketing activities.


Based in Massachusetts, James has more than 25 years experience in marketing, advertising, media relations and prepress production. Her previous roles include leading and developing the marketing team strategy for such companies as Vacation Resorts International and the Sentinel Polyolefins Corp.

Performance cordage manufacturer Samson Rope Technologies announced a number of organizational changes, including the retirement of Dave Strauss, western regional sales manager of industrial markets, and the hiring of his replacement, David Moore of Portland, Ore. After almost 20 years of service, Strauss retires in June. He has served in both the recreational marine and industrial markets during his career.

Michael Quinn was promoted to director of sales for Samson's industrial division. Dennis Sherman was promoted to director of sales for the offshore division after serving 15 years as part of the sales team. Robin Collett was promoted to general sales manager for the European and Middle Eastern commercial marine customers.

Power & Motoryacht magazine hired Sandra Purcella as its Southeast sales representative. Purcella has been working in Florida's marine advertising industry her entire career. For the last 10 years, she has been president of her own marine-based advertising agency.

Unified Marine named Curt Jarson vice president. Jarson will be in charge of managing day-to-day operations and furthering the growth of the Unified brand. His responsibilities include optimizing company performance by utilizing ISO standards in interdepartmental organization. Jarson is a marine- and trailer-industry veteran with more than 20 years of experience. His background includes serving in director of sales and marketing positions at several marine corporations.


Terry Tjaden, show manager for the Southern California Marine Association for the last 23 years, retires effective June 30, the association announced.

Tjaden began his marine industry career in 1971 as a regional sales rep for Mercury Marine. He joined the SCMA as show manager in December 1986. In 2007, Tjaden was presented with the lifetime achievement award, the association's highest honor.

Angus Bruce Jones was appointed managing director of Peters & May Ltd. and assumes responsibility for the company's global, non-U.S. operations. Angus joined the company as marine sales and logistics manager in early 2009 when his own company, Complete Freight, was acquired by Peters & May.

Other managerial changes announced include the promotion of Shaun Robinson to operations director, with specific responsibility for powerboat manufacturers, brokers and dealers. Supporting the company's yacht division business, Craig Stanbury assumes the position of marine manager of sail and events, and Simon Judson takes on the role of marine manager of project cargo.

This article originally appeared in the July 2010 issue.



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