Founded in 1950 by Ward Eshleman Sr. as a way to keep technicians supplied with parts while in the field, Ward’s Marine Electric is marking more than seven decades as a supplier and advocate to the South Florida boating industry.
Now entering its third generation of family ownership, the company provides dockside and yard service for power distribution systems, design and fabrication of custom panel boards and switchgears, and has grown to be a major supplier of electrical equipment.
Eshleman Sr. was among the founders of the Marine Industries Association of South Florida, after successfully lobbying Fort Lauderdale to bring electricity to city-owned docks.
President and CEO Ward Eshleman II also served on the MIASF board of directors in the 1980s, applying his knowledge of electronics to help develop electrical safety standards for the American Boat and Yacht Council.
“Learning from my father gave me the wherewithal to not only to proudly follow in his footsteps, but create my own vision and focus to grow our business to where it is today,” Ward said in a statement.
COO Kristina Hebert served two terms as MIASF president and led efforts to reform insurance requirements for recreational marine repair outfits.
“My grandfather instilled his passion, determination and care into his family, work and employees,” Hebert said. “We work and live by his example and impart this ethic into everything we do.”
In addition to generations of family ownership, there have been generations of employees, Ward says, with low turnover that has allowed the company to grow.
“Ward’s Marine Electric is a pioneer of the local marine industry,” said MIASF president and CEO Phil Purcell. “The visionary community leadership that has been derived from three generations of family members has been both inspirational and invaluable to the success and growth of what is now a $12.5 billion industry in South Florida.”