Larry Porche — a mainstay in the marine industry for decades — died yesterday in his hometown of New Orleans at age 67. He is survived by his wife, Jean, and daughter, Lauren.
Porche served the marine industry for 44 years. From his early days in the engine segment as vice president and general manager of Super Gasket/Aqua Power to his work with Clarion developing aftermarket strategies to more than 20 years with Land ‘N’ Sea, Porche’s expansive knowledge of the aftermarket sector continually evolved.
He held a variety of roles with Land ‘N’ Sea, from director of the engine division to, most recently, director of strategic business development. He was involved with multiple acquisitions and integrations throughout his tenure, including Bell Recreation, Kellogg and Diversified Marine. He loved a challenge, strategic thinking, exceeding goals and mentoring a team.
Porche was also very involved in the progress of the marine industry. He served on the board of the National Marine Distributors Association; was a founding committee co-chair of S.T.E.P.; a board member of Amtech (Association of Marine Technicians) and the National Marine Propeller Association; and served on several National Marine Manufacturers Association committees.
What I will remember is Larry’s generous, personable spirit, joy at the achievements of others, desire to spend time with friends, his encyclopedic knowledge of the marine industry and his gracious heart.
The marine industry is a circle of friends, and I spent a lot of time on the phone with many who were saddened by the unexpected news. Here’s what some of them had to say in tribute to a man who gave so much to the industry.
"Larry was a mentor to many at Land 'N' Sea and someone everyone could always count on. He was extremely personable, never one to shy away from a long conversation or a good story — one of the many qualities that endeared him to his colleagues. He was a key part of our marine industry for years and was very well respected by all who had the pleasure to meet him. Larry will be greatly missed."
— Mike Conners, president, Land ‘N’ Sea
“Larry’s success can be partially measured by the countless people he helped find their way in the marine industry. With patient mentoring and coaching on long phone conversations, he was always willing to share his deep well of knowledge about engines, parts, distribution and how the marine industry machine works. He will be deeply missed, and I am honored to call him a friend.”
— Ron Bailey, vice president of global sales and marketing, SmartPlug
“Larry was probably the most knowledgeable person in the marine aftermarket, no matter the channel, product or application. For 30-plus years, he helped make the boating experience better and built many good friendships across the entire industry. He will be greatly missed.”
— Mike Folkerts
“Larry’s idea of personal success was never about money. It was always a measurement of how successful others who worked with him became. A true mentor.”
— Ronald Gebbia, East Coast regional manager, Dometic Marine
“Larry was one of the first people I met when I started at NMDA. There were not a lot of women in the industry at that time, and he was always a gentleman, so very gracious, and he went out of his way to make sure he introduced me to everyone.”
— Nancy Cueroni, executive director, NMDA
“Larry was always a regular guy, a true company man and a true friend. You were able to talk to him on multiple levels, and he always allowed you to be yourself. He was ‘one of us’ and a dedicated servant of the marine industry. I remember growing up with him and selling our wares at dealer shows. Then, of course, he found his home at Brunswick and was always on the ball. This one hurts.”
— Steve Tilders, director of sales, Americas, Xylem