Joseph Visconti says his first experience on a Twin Vee was literally life-changing. The owner of ValueRich, a public company traded on the OTC market under the symbol TVPC and now known as Twin Vee Powercats, simply drove to the Fort Pierce, Fla.-based company after being “blown away” by the smooth ride of a twin-hulled power catamaran.
“As a professional investor I have found many of my investments by falling in love with a product or a service,” Visconti says. “I have invested in and purchased several companies after becoming a fan of a product, researching the product and exploring how I might be able to invest.”
So Visconti found himself driving to Twin Vee’s facilities, only about an hour from his home, where founder Roger Dunshee gave him a factory tour. Visconti, immediately hooked, asked how he could become involved.
“By total coincidence the owner was not marketing the sale of the company, but was open to the right person buying [it],” Visconti says. “Twin Vee had been manufacturing boats for over 22 years, so you could imagine the challenges with an owner turning over the reins. We agreed on a slow transition that took place over the summer of 2015.”
The transaction and the transition were slow and quiet. The company did not announce that it had been purchased and it was not until late April of this year that it finally was ready to emerge with its new leadership and vision for the future.
The company has been focusing on its core models — the 260, 310 and 360 OceanCat center console cats. (The 360 OceanCat is a brand-new boat from the keel up.) All three will be at the 2017 Miami International Boat Show, says Visconti. The company has added 10 dealers, bringing the total to 24. It also has hired about 20 employees and now has a workforce of roughly 65, says Visconti. “We have a 40-boat backlog; the orders are flooding in, and about 90 percent of them are for those three boats,” says Visconti, referring to the 260, 310 and 360. “We’re getting new dealers. We’re kicking butt.” To keep up with demand, the builder is adding second and third molds for the 260, 310 and 360.
Twin Vee has upgraded the designs to the 260 and 310, and is now building the boats with more standard equipment than the previous owner did, says Visconti. “In the past Twin Vee was known as a boat that gave you the best bang for the buck,” says Visconti. “We’re still going to offer great value, but our base boats are loaded. These boats are ready to go -- whether you want to fish, be with your family or enjoy general recreation.”
The hull design of the Twin Vee remains the same, simply because it is the “best-riding boat design on the water,” says Visconti. “The twin-hull design is the heart and soul of Twin Vee.”
Visconti says that at age 51 he has found his passion in life. “What I want to do with the rest of my life is design, build and sell twin-hull power cats,” he says.
ValueRich has changed its name to TwinVee Powercats and unveiled a new identity and a new website to reflect that Visconti is now fully committed to the power catamaran industry.
“Twin Vee is the company I have been looking for my entire life. I lucked out. I stepped into a company that has die-hard customers that will only buy Twin Vee boats, a facility that has over 160,000 square feet of manufacturing space, so we have plenty of factory facility to grow and a management team that can handle my hard-charging attitude and not falter when we reach the boats-per-year goal I have set.”
Twin Vee, founded in 1994, had a solid infrastructure in place, came with experienced workers, some of whom have been at the company for 20 years, and had key people in management positions, Visconti says.
“I got the best of both worlds — I bought a company that was up and operational, has been selling boats for 22 years, has a clientele in place and key management people,” Visconti says.
In the last year plus, during the slow transition, the company says it has invested heavily in its production and manufacturing facility to streamline and automate the production line. That includes the addition of CNC machines, overhead cranes, new equipment, design staff, a research and development department and an expansion of the production line. “We’re basically setting up an entirely new company,” says Visconti. “This is a new Twin Vee.”
Preston Yarborough, who has been at Twin Vee for 19 years, is Visconti’s choice to be president of the company. Lollie Ball, another Twin Vee veteran, will be director of operations.
There has been a learning curve for Visconti, who is new to the marine industry. But he says an outsider’s perspective might be helpful. “I feel like we are doing some of the things that have kept twin-hull production companies from gaining market share,” he says.
Power cats, though common in other parts of the world, haven’t caught on in the United States, Visconti says. “I believe that with a sexier and more refined look for our boats, the twin-hull market will gain significant market share. Why? Because twin-hull boats make more sense than a single-hull boat. I think the only reason twin-hull boats never caught on in the U.S. is for the simple reason that American twin-hull boat manufacturers never designed with sex appeal. Consumers want their heart to race. The new Twin Vee will change every objection that a single-hull buyer has.”
This article originally appeared in the August 2016 issue.