The water bug has long been a part of my life. As a young child I sailed the Chesapeake with family and friends. I learned to race sailboats as small as Penguins to crew on offshore handicap.
My role as executive director of the Connecticut Marine Trades Association is best described as the culmination of a wonderfully diverse career filled with opportunity, hard work and yes, a little bit of Irish luck along the way.
I have been involved in the marine industry for more than 25 years, starting by working for Bombardier Capital in the mid-1980s.
As a retail salesman at Abrams Power Sports in Wisconsin for seven years, I really enjoyed helping people have fun. My primary focus was selling ATVs, snowmobiles, lawnmowers and chainsaws.
Oct. 7, 2012, Annapolis Fall Sailboat Show: I traveled from New York City in search of an alternative to my Yanmar 40-hp diesel motor.
I grew up on the waterfront in Annapolis, Md. My family had a variety of boats. My three brothers and I played tag in boats and sailed at every opportunity.
Several years ago I would start feeling anxious and irritable about 3 o’clock on Sunday afternoons.
I grew up boating and fishing in Michigan. I also love water sports, especially water skiing.
I guess you could say my story is a bit different from many of the others in this column. I got into the marine industry because of my passion for cooking. Yes, that’s right; I said cooking.
My first job in the marine industry was self-inflicted and salary-less.
For more than 30 years, traveling the environs of the recreational marine industry, I’ve carried a boatyard around in my head. As a yacht designer and boatbuilder.
It could only be called destiny: My dad spent the idle hours of his teenage years looking out over the Hudson River from his fire-escape tenement perch on the West Side of Manhattan, my mom doing her chores while looking out the kitchen window at the Ottawa River as it flowed through Pembroke, Ontario.
What inspired me to find work in the sailing world?
If you graduated college in the mid-to-late ’70s, there is a strong possibility that you did not graduate swamped with college loans. Not only was that common, but also when I graduated from Boston College most of my classmates spent their first year out of school traveling or spent the winter working at a Western ski resort for the almighty free ski season pass. Those were the days!
How did I get here?
Not altogether uncommon, my path to the marine industry required a major mid-career job change when I was 30.
I pinch myself every day, feeling lucky to be in the business I’m in, working with the amazing people that I get to work with, building boats for clients who love their lives and their lifestyles.
The year was 1974. I was in the pilothouse of a 65-foot wooden tugboat based in Ketchikan, Alaska, off watch and taking a few moments to pause in my workday.
I was fortunate to grow up in a boating family. My dad loves boats. He was always happier on or around his boats.