Trick or treat: Isn't that the marine industry in an automotive industry costume?

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Seems that everywhere I go these days I run into former automotive people filling positions in the marine industry.

I’m sure that some automotive people find their way into the marine industry by way of seeking new employment and changing the direction of ones career path. I firmly believe that much can be gained by sharing knowledge and technology from industry to industry.

Also, I have taken the time to get to know many of these former automotive people personally and I really like them. So what’s the big deal, right?

Recently while visiting a manufacturer, I was introduced to a new manager hailing from the automotive industry. This person took the time to tell me exactly how screwed up and backwards the marine industry is. He also informed me of his higher intellect and insight than his counter parts within his company. This fellow had been with the company about one year, so I asked him several basic questions about the boats his company produced, he said he didn’t know the answers. I further pressed him on his preference of boating life style. He confided that he didn’t enjoy boating; bikes were his thing……

While attending a recent industry awards breakfast, the keynote speaker was an automotive industry finance guy. While his speech was great (I’m not picking on him), but is the industry itself as well as the NMMA so caught up in this movement that they are not capable of presenting a respected marine industry speaker to lead and inspire? These are only two examples, I could go on, but you get my drift.

* What exactly is the love affair that certain industry leaders have with automotive people filling key positions within the marine industry? Are those that fill these positions within the industry, marine industry people or transplants?

* If the automotive industry was so good, why are these people fleeing?

* Why do many automotive people come to the industry feeling somewhat superior?

Take a moment and reflect on key appointments within the marine industry that have been filled over the years by automotive people. Were they successful? How long were they in their position(s) before they moved on? Why did they move on? Did they move on to fill other key positions or depart the industry? What really was their legacy to this industry? 

I’m not suggesting that we keep all outsiders out. However, I suggest that if you find your way into the marine industry, especially if your position is one of management. You have a responsibility to embrace boating, boat building, the marine industry and offer respect to your subordinates (that’s if you desire to be taken seriously).

David Wollard
Vice President - Marine Sales
Glendinning

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