Industry mourns noted OEM entrepreneur

Publish date:
Social count:

Albert W. Zirkelbach, an entrepreneur and inventor who came up through the custom canvas ranks to found one of the largest OEM canvas suppliers in the marine industry, died July 14 in Bradenton, Fla., at the age of 78.

Zirkelbach started in the marine industry in 1972 working on custom canvas products. In the early 1980s he founded Aldon Industries. Employing more than 320 people, Aldon supplied canvas boat tops and enclosures, upholstery and windshields to some of the top brands in the industry.

After the sale of Aldon in 1998, Zirkelbach co-founded Ameritex Technologies with his son, Don Zirkelbach. That family business became part of the Taylor Made Group in 2009 as Ameritex Fabric Systems, where Zirkelbach helped oversee plant operations and consulted on projects until his death. His passion for his life’s work was shown in a number of patents bearing his name, family and friends say.

“Albert Zirkelbach was instrumental in building a tremendously talented team, first at Aldon and later at Ameritex. He will always be remembered not only for his passionate drive to succeed, but also for his desire to be a positive influence on those he was leading. The respect and loyalty this earned him is obvious from the moment you enter our Ameritex facility. Taylor Made was honored and blessed to have him as a part of our team and we will all miss him greatly,” Al Petit, president of Taylor Made Systems, said in a statement.

A member of Taylor Made Group LLC, Ameritex Fabric Systems is based in Bradenton, Fla., and is the fabric engineering and manufacturing arm for Taylor Made Systems.

Click here for the full release.

Click here for Zirkelbach’s online memorial.


Sales stagnate in March

Overall boat sales in March were slightly lower compared to last year and year-over-year growth was down by just over 1 percent, according to Statistical Surveys Inc., data that was gathered for 30 states.

Catawba Island show starts today

The Lake Erie Marine Trades Association’s Progressive Catawba Island Boat Show opens a week from today and will run through April 29 with more than 100 power and sailboats on display at the Catawba Island Club on western Lake Erie.