With Gov. Ron DeSantis and Congressman Michael Waltz on hand, Brunswick Corp. yesterday opened a 45,000-square-foot Technology Center in Edgewater, Fla. The center has been growing over the last 10 months, as Brunswick expands product development, engineering and design for its Boston Whaler and Sea Ray brands at Boston Whaler headquarters. The Technology Center now employs more than 160 designers, naval architects and engineers.
“We are changing the future of boating by bringing together the best engineering and design talent in a state-of-the-art facility to collaborate on advancing marine products and technology, and integrating that technology to differentiate Brunswick boats,” Huw Bower, Brunswick Boat Group president, said during the ribbon-cutting ceremony yesterday. Bower said the company has invested $40 million across its Boat Group for new-product and infrastructure development over the last five years.
Brunswick CEO David Foulkes told Trade Only Today at the event that the idea for the technology center first had been discussed as Brunswick decided on the best way to revive its Sea Ray brand. “We first had the idea when we were thinking through how we planned to reinvent Sea Ray,” he said.
The design of Sea Ray and Boston Whaler boats will be the main priorities at the Technology Center, Foulkes said, while Brunswick’s other boat brands also would receive design assistance from the facility. Foulkes said the designs would continue to take place within each brand.
“We have well-designed DNA to make sure the brands adhere to a specific design language,” he said. “If the brands are working separately, they don’t know if they are colliding with each other. These guys know what the brand DNA is and know how to maintain that. They can also help provide concepts that the individual brands might not see.”
Foulkes said concentrating so many designers, engineers and naval architects into one facility was not about saving money. “It’s really around creating a portfolio of capabilities that you wouldn’t be able to have if they were working separately,” he said.
Bobby Garza, engineering director at Brunswick Boat Group, said the size of his department has more than doubled, from 25 to almost 70, in the last eight months. Product engineers are tasked with turning concepts into working boats. “Initially, we had to learn how to operate as a much larger group, and we’ve adapted to that,” Garza said during the tour. “We’re heavily focused on developing the next generation of boats.”
Beyond product development, the center will focus on advances in technology that include boatbuilding methods and materials, electronic technologies, connectivity and autonomy.
DeSantis praised the opening of the Technology Center, while also speaking about the state’s efforts to clean its waterways and coastlines. The DeSantis administration has pledged $3 billion to clean up Florida waters.
With 1,100 employees, Boston Whaler’s Edgewater plant is the largest manufacturing facility in Florida’s Volusia County.