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Northwest boatbuilder has a new owner

Boatbuilder Northern Marine in Anacortes, Wash., has a new owner and president in 31-year-old Andy McDonald, the company announced.

McDonald’s passion for boatbuilding largely can be attributed to his longtime mentor, “Bud” LeMieux, who founded Northern Marine in 1995 after spending more than 20 years with Delta Marine in Seattle. McDonald, who studied manufacturing engineering and plastics at Western Washington University, worked twice for Northern Marine.

He was originally hired as a designer, expanded his role to engineering and eventually managed seven of the company’s 12 departments. He was recruited by Freedom Yachts in Newport, R.I., where he was in charge of production for the Legacy powerboat line.

After four years at Freedom Yachts, McDonald was lured back to Northern Marine, but LeMieux, who had sold a controlling interest to an investment group, was pushed out of the company. Not long after McDonald returned, Northern Marine filed for bankruptcy and he found himself out of a job.

He and LeMieux later acquired the assets of Northern Marine out of bankruptcy, and Northern Marine now has three boats under construction, the company said.

The company employs 70 and occupies 56,000 square feet of manufacturing space in Anacortes, Wash.

McDonald says he wants the company to remain focused on building fully customized, long-range luxury expedition yachts in the 57- to 164-foot range.

“We have a very defined target market,” McDonald says. “It’s the seasoned boat owner who wants to move up in quality and size, but after years of searching can’t find exactly what he wants. Time and again, we hear this from customers. The appeal of Northern Marine is that you can build a boat to your exact specifications and, because it’s built in the U.S., customers can easily enjoy participating in the build process.”

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