MIAMI BEACH — The marine industry honored its own this morning, recognizing significant contributions to business, innovative products, and boatbuilders with exceptional customer service practices.
The awards were given out this morning at the annual Industry Breakfast at the International BoatBuilders' Exhibition and Conference, which runs through today at the Miami Beach Convention Center.
Paul Kuck, founder of Regal Marine, and Richard Bertram, founder of the Bertram Yacht Company, were honored posthumously with induction into the National Marine Manufacturers Association Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame recognizes those "whose names and deeds are synonymous with the pursuit of quality, innovation and perfection."
Kuck was recognized for both his commitment to the industry and passion for his faith, which guided him in business.
His son, Duane Kuck, Regal president and CEO, who accepted the award, said his father didn't seek attention and recognition but "loved this industry, and what he loved about it most was the relationships."
He didn't compromise his values, even in tough times, Kuck added.
"Walk in integrity," he remembers his father saying. "Work hard and never give up."
Richard Bertram, an accomplished sailor, broker and boatbuilder, used to say that even in a down economy there's always someone who wants to buy a boat, and he'd be there to sell it to them, said company president Michael Myers in accepting the award on Bertram's behalf.
Bertram's guiding principles included always looking for the good in himself and others, Myers noted.
"He lived a large life," Myers said.
The Alan J. Freeman Memorial Leadership Award, given to an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the marine accessories industry, was presented to David Blackburn, president of Faria Marine Instruments.
Blackburn has been active in many facets of the NMMA throughout his career and is a champion of stopping the import of counterfeit products. His activism helped lead to the passage of a bill designed to stop this practice, and he was invited to Washington, D.C., for the bill signing.
In accepting his award, Blackburn acknowledged the difficult times facing the industry but said that with good leadership, the marine industry will survive and thrive.
A leader, he said, inspires others to press on, fixes problems, keeps order, makes difficult and necessary decisions, never abandons the mission, and convinces others that success is possible.
"The courage to do the impossible lies in the hearts of leaders," Blackburn said.
Also this morning, Innovation Awards were handed out in several categories. Following are the winners:
• Boatbuilding Methods and Materials: Smart Cat from M.V.P. Magnum Venus Plastech, with Honorable to Awlgrip North America for its Awlfair Mix Machine
• Hardware and Software: BookBuilder on BoatPubs.com from Ken Cook Co.
• Electrical Systems: MasterShunt by Mastervolt
• Furnishings and Finishes: Isotherm Frost Free Refrigeration from Indel Webatso Marine USA
• Hardware Fittings (two winners): AcryliCo from AcryliCo Inc., and the Adjustable Windshield System from AmeriTex Technologies
• Inboard Engines: Steyr Motors for its Hybrid Drive, with honorable mention to Caudwell Marine for its Axis Drive
• Mechanical Systems (two winners): WillDo USA's Jet Thruster System, and Nautic Air/Schuman for Nautic Air
• OEM Electronics and Electrical Systems: AMT Revolutions' Wizard
• Environmental Innovation Award: Foam Supplies Inc. for its Ecomate Polyurethane Flotation Foam
Also this morning, Customer Satisfaction Index Awards were given to 73 boatbuilders for their dedication to customer satisfaction. More than 110 manufacturers participate in the program, which has sent out more than 500,000 surveys since its inception in 2001.
— Beth Rosenberg