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IBEX 2019: Brunswick shifts into high gear

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Brenna Preisser

Brenna Preisser

Brunswick Corp. chief human resources officer Brenna Preisser has been with the company for 15 years, mostly behind the scenes. Recently named president of Brunswick’s new Business Acceleration division, she is now charged with making things happen — and quickly.

“We’re in an era of acceleration, and we see disruption as an opportunity,” Preisser said during a media event yesterday at the International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition and Conference. “We see the future is going to be connected, shared and experiential.”

Acknowledging that passion for the water is a hook the company can take advantage of, she said business acceleration is about targeting “future participants.”

“Our job is to connect those who love to be on the water with the opportunity to participate,” she said.

A big part of that is the sharing economy, and Brunswick saw an opportunity in acquiring Freedom Boat Club, which has 200 locations in 31 states, as well as France and Canada.

Freedom Boat Club is more than a user organization. It gives members a social experience in addition to time on the water. “How do we make sure that people are getting the most out of their time when they’re on the water?” asked Preisser. “Boating is fun and social, so we have to bring those dimensions to the opportunities we have in front of us.”

Preisser also stressed the importance of new technology. “Connectivity is a fundamental part of our future.”

Nautic-On, Brunswick’s remote monitoring and diagnostic system, is part of that strategy. It monitor’s a boat’s systems and informs the owner and servicing dealer of potential issues. It will be standard on boats 25 feet and larger from Boston Whaler and Sea Ray.

Preisser added that accelerating value creation requires partnerships. Some of those partnerships are with research outlets, such as Northwestern Michigan Design Institute and the University of Illinois through Brunswick’s i-Jet Lab.

Brunswick also has worked with such research programs as TechNexus to invest in early-stage startups, giving them the capital they need for research.

“Time on the water and any barrier to getting on the water is an opportunity and something for us to solve,” Preisser said, referring to Nautic-On. “Connectivity is now expected. How we think about connecting to the customer is critical.”

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