Texas investor acquires Intrepid Powerboats

David Gillikin bought Intrepid from Fulham & Coof the Boston area, a private equity group that had owned Intrepid for 10 years
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The 475 Panacea and 475 Sport Yacht are currently Intrepid's largest models. But expect a bigger boat under the new ownership.

Intrepid’s 475 Panacea is shown. The 475 Panacea and 475 Sport Yacht are currently Intrepid's largest models. But expect a bigger boat under the new ownership.

A Texas investor who was formerly a Cummins engine distributor purchased Intrepid Powerboats of Largo, Fla., vowing to maintain the builder's high level of customer service while bringing capital to step up innovation and new-model production.

"This is a large investment for me from a personal standpoint," David Gillikin, 42, of Dallas, the former owner of Cummins Southern Plains, told Trade Only Today.

"I have a real passion for trying to help management get to the next level of performance. A lot of that is going to be capital investment, but also strategic direction. I don’t want to make a big splash about Intrepid being purchased. I just want our customers and the entire team to feel like things will only get better.”

Gillikin bought Intrepid from Fulham & Coof in the Boston area, a private equity group that had owned Intrepid for 10 years, he said. Gillikin closed the deal in late October, he said.

Intrepid president Ken Clinton told Trade Only he’s “fired up” about his new owner and has already begun to hire more engineers and increase tooling capacity to accelerate the pace of innovation at the company.

"I am going to prototype a lot faster,” said Clinton, who has been with Intrepid for 26 years and has been president since 2007. “What is important to our customer is innovation. We have always tried to be on the forefront of innovation. The problem has been how fast we’ve been able to innovate and bring more product to the customers.”

Intrepid president Ken Clinton said he has already begun to hire more engineers and increase tooling capacity at the company.

Intrepid president Ken Clinton said he has already begun to hire more engineers and increase tooling capacity at the company.

Clinton said the previous owners allowed him to run the business as he wanted, but there was a lack of capital expenditure funding.

He noted that other boatbuilders “bring two to three new models to the market every year. For us, it has been one new product annually — and it has been like that for a while. Now we will be able to produce three new models per year.”

Intrepid is working on two new boats. One will be larger than its 475 Panacea and 475 Sport Yacht, the current flagships.

“We've got a clean-sheet boat on the table right now, and it's exciting,” said Gillikin, referring to the larger boat on the drawing board.

Gillikin said he was familiar with the Intrepid brand before he began negotiations with Fulham. He said he will not only bring capital expenditure funding, but also “knowledge of running a larger company than Intrepid.”

Gillikin had owned Cummins Southern Plains from 2008 to 2014. The business served as the Cummins distributor for Texas and Oklahoma. He sold the company to Cummins after the engine company decided to buy all of its North American distributorships, he said.

“I had been looking for an operating company to invest in and looked at hundreds of companies,” said Gillikin. “As I got to know Ken, the team and the company’s business model, I became more and more impressed. We both share a passion for customer service. There are a lot of worthy competitors out there. What separates us will be the product and the customer service.”

Under the new ownership, Intrepid has begun building a 65,780-square-foot concrete pad that will eventually hold two 12,000-square-foot buildings. The extra space will allow the company to reorganize its operations and expand tooling

Under the new ownership, Intrepid has begun building a 65,780-square-foot concrete pad that will eventually hold two 12,000-square-foot buildings. The extra space will allow the company to reorganize its operations and expand tooling.

Intrepid has about 135,000 square feet of space at its Largo site, which consists of four buildings. One of them is a relatively new $2 million administration building that houses the engineering department, customer design center, classroom and administrative staff offices.

Gillikin is Intrepid’s fifth owner. The company was founded in 1983.

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