Changing Places

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Saunders Yachtworks board member Jim Bronstien was appointed the new chairman of the board in advance of the retirement of company founder Andrew Saunders.

Saunders is retiring after 36 years in the role.

“I could not be happier than to turn over the reins of this company to Jim,” Saunders said in a statement. "He is a great friend and source of guidance over the years. He will be an outstanding chairman. I know Saunders Yachtworks will be in good hands as we move into the next phase of this business.”

John Fitzgerald continues as president and CEO of the company.

Bronstien is a 27-year South Florida marine industry veteran. He serves on several industry boards and is a frequent speaker at industry functions. He is best known as the former owner and president of Rybovich, where he was CEO/owner for more than 21 years before he sold the company in 2004.

Through his company, Marine Business Advisors, he has been involved in yacht-related businesses in an advisory or partnership role. His experience in the yacht service industry fits Saunders as it completes the final stages of a major expansion by building a new boatyard in Gulf Shores, Ala., on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway.

This new facility, being built on 12 acres of Baldwin County property with federal grant assistance, will be able to service vessels in or out of the water up to 125 feet with a 150-ton Travelift, combined with an in-water service basin with deep-water access to the Gulf of Mexico.

“Having served on the board of Saunders Yachtworks for past four years, I know the company and the challenges. Andrew has worked tirelessly to position this company for strong growth and future success with the new Gulf Shores location,” Bronstien said in a statement. “I feel privileged to continue his good work. Along with president and CEO John Fitzgerald and our experienced management and service team, we are ready and excited to move the company to the next level.”

* * *

Cobham Commercial Systems announced the appointment of Michael Wilkerson as general manager of ACR Electronics and Ron Crowder as senior sales manager of the company.

ACR, as part of Cobham, designs and makes safety and survival products.

Wilkerson comes to ACR from his most recent position as director of strategy and business development for Cobham Satcom. In leadership roles, throughout his career with Cobham, Wilkerson was one of the founders of Chelton Inc. (Cobham Antennas in Lewisville, Texas) for Chelton Ltd. and served as its president from 1992 to 2007. He was part of the acquisition team for Cobham Satcom Fullerton and served as president of Comant from 1997-2005.

Wilkerson also participated in Cobham’s original acquisition of ACR and Artex Aircraft Supplies Inc.

Crowder, after a brief hiatus, returns to his previous position as senior sales manager — a position he held for the past 12 years. He brings more than 30 years of sales and distribution experience to the position.

* * *

Houseboats.com named Blaine “Smokey” Riggert general manager at the New Melones Lake Marina, which is just outside Angels Camp, Calif.

Riggert has a background in manufacturing and distribution and brings 20 years of management experience. He has extensive experience in customer service and crew supervision.

The marina features upscale houseboat rentals, small boat and personal watercraft rentals and extensive private moorage. It is the only operation on the lake.

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