U.S. SUPERYACHT ASSOCIATION 2017-2018 BOARD OF DIRECTORS NOMINEES
Here is an overview of those candidates who have been nominated for the 2017-2018 Board of Directors for the U.S. Superyacht Association.
Review them all carefully. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact the U.S. Superyacht Association office at 954-792-8666.
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE (NOMINATED FOR ONE-YEAR TERM):
CHAIR: KATE PEARSON
SAFE HARBOR MARINAS
Intro/Background: Kate Pearson is the West Coast Regional Vice President for Safe Harbor Marinas, the world’s largest marina company. Based in San Diego, Ms. Pearson oversees marinas in Ventura & Channel Island Harbors, San Francisco Bay as well as San Diego Harbor. She was the past President of the San Diego Superyacht Association (SDSA) and sits on the Boards of the Shelter Island Master Leaseholders Group and the Marine Recreation Association. In 2014, Ms. Pearson successfully spearheaded the effort to fold the SDSA into the USSA.
Experience: Prior to working with Safe Harbor Marinas, Kate was the Dockmaster at the Shelter Island Marina, a 190 slip marina with berths to 70 meters located on San Diego Bay, California. She was the Vice President of Business Development at Knight & Carver Maritime for over 10 years. Knight & Carver Maritime was considered the West Coast’s largest yacht refit center for many years tackling major refit projects as large as 102 meters. Ms. Pearson’s role at the organization included sales, marketing and business management. Before moving to the West Coast of the U.S. Ms. Pearson owned and operated a successful yacht charter operation based out of the Mexican port of Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo and has extensively cruised the West Coast of the Americas.
Related Experience: Ms. Pearson has been at the forefront of actively marketing the West Coast and San Diego to the world’s superyacht fleet. The marketing campaigns have included ‘Refit San Diego’ and ‘Homeport San Diego’ attracting some of the world’s largest yachts to the area.
Statement: I believe that I would make a valuable member of the USSA Board of Directors as my West Coast knowledge and proactive marketing will broaden the USSA’s reach and share the West’s diverse opportunities with USSA members. I am passionate about advocacy, workforce creation and the importance of the American yacht building industry.
VICE CHAIR: DIANE BYRNE
INTRO/BACKGROUND: New Jersey based, I’m the founder and editor of MegayachtNews.com, plus co-owner and copywriting director of Superyacht Storytellers. I have 28 years of experience as a professional journalist.
EXPERIENCE: I established MegayachtNews.com in 2007 as the first daily updated website educating American luxury-yacht owners and buyers about the leading builders, designers, cruising destinations, and more. It features all-original content, for real stories of real interest. My newest business, Superyacht Storytellers, custom creates books on behalf of owners and industry companies with compelling histories, for them to share with family, friends, and clients for generations to come.
RELATED EXPERIENCE: I’ve held a number of leadership roles. These include serving on the USSA Board of Directors for the past two years. I’ve also been on the International Superyacht Society Board for the past seven years, with one year spent as Vice President and two as Secretary. From 2010 to 2012, I was Co-Vice President of Student Relations for the New Jersey chapter of the Association for Women in Communications, creating and strengthening relationships with local universities.
STATEMENT: As a communicator by trade and by personal passion, I am at my best when collaborating with others focused on strengthening and growing influence. My work as chair/co-chair of The Superyacht Summit since 2015 is a good example. Summit session topics often result from my conversations with companies experiencing challenges, plus observations of business trends that benefit us all. Furthermore, participating in the American Boating Congress has yielded new ways to communicate our industry’s importance, to both legislators and consumers.
PAST CHAIR: RICK GLADYCH
INTRO/BACKGROUND: Rick Gladych is Managing Partner of Raven Offshore Yacht Shipping based in Seattle, WA as well as Gryphon Marine Construction, a hard asset builder of floating marine hardware based in Sidney, BC.
EXPERIENCE: Rick started Gryphon Marine in 2001 after working on yachts from steward to Captain, project manager and fleet manager. Omni Risk followed in 2006 and Raven Offshore in 2013. He has travelled by yacht to many destinations throughout the world and has completed two builds and many refits. Rick travels extensively for his business interests which will continue to allow him to be an active participant in all the Regions of USSA. He has been and continues to be a large financial supporter of USSA and is a strong advocate for the US as a cruising destination
RELATED EXPERIENCE: As Chair, Vice Chair and a Regional Board member of the USSA, and former Chair of the Northwest Marine Trade Association (NMTA) Superyacht Committee, Rick has worked hard to create a simple and inviting cruising process in the United States with USSA in Washington, DC, to influence federal laws, Rick has proven to be an outspoken and effective advocate for attracting superyachts to our country and regions and promoting the businesses that support them.
STATEMENT: “A Rising Tide Raises All Ships” I firmly believe that by becoming the Chairman of USSA our message will resonate farther and louder as to why enticing superyachts to come here is good for the U.S. and our industry. I am a fervent promoter of USSA and have successfully induced many new members during my association. I am asking for your vote for Chairman to take our work to the next level.
ADVOCACY CO-CHAIR: PETER SCHRAPPEN
NORTHWEST MARINE TRADE ASSOCIATION
Introduction/Background: Peter Schrappen serves as the Vice President and Director of Government Affairs for the Northwest Marine Trade Association (NMTA). He also represents the Northwest recreational boating interests on a number of boards, including board president of the Washington Maritime Federation and the vice-chair of the Big Tent Coalition.
Experience: Peter has represented the 724 member businesses of NMTA for the last seven years. During that time, he has improved access for superyachts with the passage of two pilotage exemption bills and a tax exemption for entity-owned vessels. He is a regular in Washington D.C. for the American Boating Congress and other as-needed projects. Plus, he has presented at the USSA Superyacht Summits.
Related experience: Peter brings 17 years of government affairs work to the table. His “sales approach” to meeting with lawmakers and agencies ensures that relationships are in place over the long haul all the while focused on the short-term win.
Statement: Even though I’m based in Seattle, I’m available to any region to assist them in their government affairs plan. If you have a legislative headache, drop me a line and I’ll let you know what will work and won’t.
ADVOCACY CO-CHAIR: JAY DAYTON
AVON-DIXON INSURANCE AGENCY
Introduction/Background: Jay Dayton is Vice President of the Avon-Dixon Agency in Easton, Maryland & employed as an Insurance Agent & Broker.
Experience: Jay has worked in the Insurance industry since 1986 after spending 11 years building & maintaining yachts & boats. Jay applies his in-depth knowledge and experience, traveling extensively to provide insurance & risk management services for Marine businesses of all types. He holds the designation of Certified Insurance Counselor, specializing in protecting marinas, yacht builders, boat dealers and all types of marine businesses through the Avon Dixon Agency, which has been in business since 1850.
Related Experience: An active board member of the Marine Trades Association of Maryland for the past 15 years & past President, Jay is active legislatively for marine businesses and boaters in the region. Member of the Virginia Marine Trades Association & current Regional board member of the US Superyacht Association actively campaigning for the growth of Superyacht business in the Mid-Atlantic. Jay is past President of the Waterfowl Festival, Past Commodore of Tred Avon Yacht Club and Treasurer of the Shields Class Sailing Association.
Statement: I believe that my considerable experience in boating, the marine industry, insurance and risk management for marine businesses, coupled with my legislative experience involving the marine industry, make me a strong candidate for election as a USSA Executive Committee member and Advocacy Committee member, to allow me to continue promoting the Superyacht industry in my travels around the country.
MARKETING CHAIR: BERT FOWLES
ISLAND GLOBAL YACHTING MARINAS (IGY)
Introduction/Background: Bert Fowles is the Vice President of Marketing and Sales for IGY Marinas. Based out of Fort Lauderdale, he is responsible for the creation and implementation of marketing strategies for 14 marinas across eight different countries.
Experience: With more than 20 years of experience in the hospitality sector, Bert has contributed his expertise to the growth of the superyacht industry serving on both the boards of the Marine Industries Association of South Florida and the United States Superyacht Association (USSA).
Related Experience: Bert has presented on the superyacht industry to tourist boards, governments and associations including the USSA Annual Summit, Florida Yacht Brokers Association, Colombian Nautical Sector, United States’ Virgin Islands Department of Tourism and Fort Lauderdale Yachting Symposium.
Statement: I believe in the USSA and the value we bring to the industry. As the voice of the superyacht industry – our collective strength creates lasting impact by championing issues that drive bottom line ROI to USSA members. I am confident my skills and experience will be of benefit to the organization as we chart a 2016 direction for the association.
PORT OF SEATTLE
Introduction/Background: Megan Bintinger is the Marketing Manager for the Port of Seattle marinas in Seattle, WA. She is also the current chair of Superyacht Northwest.
Experience: Megan Bintinger has been with the Port of Seattle for nearly 10 years, marketing the five facilities that the Port has for public moorage. She manages all the marketing efforts for the marinas including advertising, events, trade shows, promotions sales materials, and so much more. She has been part of the Superyacht Northwest group from its very beginning eight years, and served multiple roles within the group to enhance its presence not only in the northwest but throughout the US. While being in this industry she has worked hard at creating a strong network of industry leaders.
Related Experience: Megan has served in several leadership roles selling not only the marinas but Seattle as well. She served as the committee chair for the Downtown Seattle Association (DSA) Waterfront Committee, and continues to work with the DSA on marketing initiatives for Seattle. She has worked with the Northwest Marine Trade Association on the Superyacht committee for 5 years, and the Northwest Yacht Captains Association for eight years, bringing yacht captains and industry leaders together for networking events.
Statement: Thank you for electing me two years ago to serve in this position, and I look forward to hopefully serving two more years. I believe I would continue to be a strong member of the USSA board of Directors because of my many years of experience working within this industry and marketing in particular. I understand the importance of these superyachts coming to the US and the impact one vessel can have to a business. I know that we have a great product that the world needs to see and experience it, the USSA is the best vehicle to get it to them. I would do my best to continue being a valuable member on the board that will make sure we are getting the message out in the best ways possible.
MEMBERSHIP C0-CHAIR: MATT ROSENBERG
Introduction/Background: Matt Rosenberg is the Sales Director for Colony Hardware after recently making the career change from Bainbridge/Coverguard.
Experience: Matt has been working very closely with North America’s Superyacht builders and the yards that service these vessels for many years. He also works hand in hand with Naval and Defense shipbuilders and contractors, traveling extensively to across North America. In this role, Matt has successfully expanded into new markets, as well as raising product awareness and acceptance. Matt’s 20 plus years of marketing and sales experience will contribute greatly to the growth and expansion of the USSA’s positive impact within the industry, especially with his extensive travels across the country.
Related Experience: In addition to Matt’s vast professional experience, he is an accomplished yachtsman – successfully campaigning and competing in racing programs on both coasts and on the Great Lakes. Matt’s professional successes, passion, and drive will contribute greatly towards USSA’s goals and mission.
Statement: I look forward to continuing to serve on the USSA board, using my passion and experience to contribute to the USSA’s further growth and prosperity.
MEMBERSHIP CO-CHAIR: CLAYTON SWART
MHG INSURANCE BROKERS
Introduction/Background: Clayton is the business development manager for MHG Insurance Brokers. Clayton’s primary role is to advise and support groups both internationally and domestically within the yachting community, as well as with land-based businesses.
Experience: Clayton began his career at the Sack’s Group in 2007 where he held a multi-functional position. His interest in sales led to the position of yacht broker, working for prestigious yacht firms such as IYC and Y.CO. While at Y.CO, Clayton was closely involved and successful in the development and opening of the US branch office. Having worked in various sectors of the brokerage business, Clayton has grown his knowledge of the business and the industry as a whole. He is a dynamic salesman holding himself to the highest possible standards and is committed to each client with whom he works.
Related Experience: Clayton is very involved in the local community and is a current board member of USSA, Young Professionals in Yachting (YPY) , Children’s Diagnostic and Treatment Centers Transformers group, (CDTC) and the International Yacht Brokers Association (IYBA). He regularly volunteers his time to various charities including the Marine Industry Cares Foundation. Clayton is actively involved on many levels with the yachting community and is passionate about growing the market and reach of the yachting industry.
Statement: Having had the opportunity to serveon the board for the USSA over the past two years, I have learned a great deal both personally and professionally. The momentum I have built with my peers and colleagues in the industry has me very excited to continue the drive to increase membership and interest in our organization. Thank you for the opportunity and I appreciate your consideration and vote for this upcoming year.
GOVERNANCE: JEFF COX
COX & COMPANY MARITIME & AVIATION LAW
Introduction/Background: Jeffrey W. Cox is the founder of Cox & Company Maritime and Aviation Law in Jupiter, Florida.
Experience: Cox & Company Maritime and Aviation Law was founded nearly a decade ago and has distinguished itself from other firms by focusing solely on maritime and aviation law, as it pertains to yacht and private airplane transactions and ownership. Cox & Company has a global network of yachting and aviation industry contacts, developed over 25 years and allows the firm to provide worldwide assistance in legal matters. A large portion of the practice involves yacht and airplane purchases and sales, new yacht construction, yacht refits, offshore closings, documentation and registration, foreign flagging, ship mortgages, yacht chartering and crew employment.
Related Experience: Jeff has been a member of the International Yacht Brokers Association (IYBA) since its inception, as well as donating his time to the Palm Beach Maritime Museum and Freedom Waters Foundation. Jeff is also invited to speak on numerous panels at seminars for the yachting industry.
Statement: I believe I would make a strong and valuable member of the USSA Board of Directors because of my legal background and my brokerage experience. I feel that my diverse experience and the contacts I have made throughout the past 25 years will be able to contribute to the USSA in a variety of ways.
TREASURER: JOHN FITZGERALD
Introduction/Background: John Fitzgerald is the President/CEO of Saunders Yachtworks in Gulf Shores, Ala. Saunders operates two boatyards and mobile mechanical services for all vessel machinery and systems. John also serves on the boards of the American Boat Builders and Repairers Association (ABBRA) and the Central Gulf Marine Trades Association (CGMTA).
Experience: John Fitzgerald has been with the Saunders companies since 1999. He has served in multiple roles including Human Resources Manager and Vice President of Yacht Services. In his current position since 2008, he is responsible for all aspects of the company’s performance and oversees the daily functions of the Customer Service and Sales Departments. Under his leadership, Saunders Yachtworks has grown to be the largest yacht service provider along the northern Gulf of Mexico. Prior to joining Saunders, John enjoyed 10 years of work in education as a teacher, coach, and administrator.
Related Experience: John has held numerous positions in leadership throughout his professional career including 10 years in educational leadership. John is a graduate of Leadership Mobile’s Class of 2000 and has served on the boards of the Coastal Alabama Business Chamber and L’Arche Mobile. In addition, John has presented at the ABBRA Boatyard Conference, IBEX, IMBC, and local Chamber of Commerce events. He has also contributed to ABYC’s Reference Point, Professional Boat Builder, and Southern Boating magazines.
Statement: I believe that my biggest contribution to the USSA board will be specific knowledge about the yacht activity in the Gulf region. Because it is our business to service and refit vessels up to 120’, we pay a lot of attention to where any superyachts are active and what their crews and owners are doing in our communities. I am also pleased to be involved in direct advocacy issues that benefit the recreational marine industry.
REGIONAL BOARD MEMBERS (NOMINATED FOR ONE-YEAR TERM):
SE REGION: JAMES MAITLAND
Introduction/Background: James Maitland is the National Sales Director of Oceanmax International, a growing company in New Zealand proudly distributing Propspeed worldwide. James is the President of The Young Professionals In Yachting (YPY) and serves on various committees with Marine Industries Association of South Florida (MIASF).
Experience: Mr. Maitland serves as National Sales Director for Oceanmax International, worldwide distributors of Propspeed where he is responsible for actively supporting key distributors throughout the Americas, increasing brand awareness, growing target markets, increasing industry association involvement and supporting the company’s U.S. – based technical team. James relocated to Ft. Lauderdale in 2013 to become the West Marine Pro Territory Manager for the South East Florida Market Team. He began his career in the marine industry in 2007 when he joined West Marine as Port Supply Territory Manager for Maryland and Northern Virginia, based in Annapolis, Maryland.
Related Experience: James Maitland has served as the President of YPY for the past three years. He has served on the Marine Industry Day planning committee with MIASF and volunteers his time to help support the event. James also serves on the MIASF nominating committee. Leading by example to get involved in all things that support the Marine Industry and the surrounding community is James’ moto.
Statement: I believe I would make a strong and valuable member of the USSA Board of Directors because of my experience, knowledge and passion for the superyacht industry. I feel that my many years building relationships within and outside the industry will enable me to contribute in a variety of ways as a member of the USSA Board. My contagious passion for the industry and desire to collaborate with other organizations will bring a unique dynamic to the USSA.
MID-ATLANTIC REGION: EYRE BALDWIN
CAPE CHARLES YACHT CENTER
Introduction/Background: Eyre Baldwin oversees the development of Cape Charles Yacht Center on Virginia’s Eastern Shore and serves on numerous boards including Preservation Virginia, Barrier Islands Center, Northampton County Chamber of Commerce, Northampton Historic Preservation Society.
Experience: As a real estate developer based in Cape Charles on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, Eyre Baldwin specializes in preserving historic properties and large-scale economic development initiatives to bring jobs and stimulate the economy of the Shore. Eyre’s family has been an integral part of the history of the Eastern Shore for more than 12 generations. Baldwin and his long-time partner Chris Ashby have traveled extensively to consult and restore properties, here in the US and the Caribbean.
Related Experience: Eyre Baldwin oversees the development of the Cape Charles Yacht Center. The Cape Charles Yacht Center features a super yacht dock facility capable of handling repairs and outfitting needs for major yachts and sport fishing boats. A sailing and boating enthusiast his entire life, Baldwin most recently headed up the restoration of the historic Chesapeake Bay Buy Boat, the Georgie E as well as a classic Hinckley B-40. Both boats will be based out of Oyster for eco-tours in an effort to raise preservation awareness for the Shore.
Statement: I believe my passion and realistic view of increasing the superyacht industry’s presence in the Mid-Atlantic region by providing a unique experience to crew and guests will make me a strong member of the Board of Directors of the U.S. Superyacht Association. Through my extensive background in restoration work in the Caribbean, I have built relationships within the superyacht community that will make me a valuable USSA board member.
NORTHEAST REGION: MARC GADBOIS
Intro Background: Marc A. Gadbois is the East Coast Area Manager for Tradesmen International’s Marine Division. Marc has been active with the USSA for nearly 7 years, and has been a board member since 2015. Marc is also an active member of Young Professionals in Yachting, and the Marine Industry Association of South Florida.
Experience: Marc was raised in a small New England town, spending every summer weekend aboard his family’s power boats. At a young age, Marc knew that the Superyacht Industry was his future, and he was determined to make that dream a reality. After completing two years at Massachusetts Maritime Academy, Marc was offered a summer job in Newport, RI as the Mate aboard a 105’ Yacht. That summer job turned out to be the deciding factor in Marc’s decision to aggressively pursue the life of a Yachty. Marc enjoyed every day of his 8 years cruising around the world as professional yacht crew. In 2011, with a family on the horizon, Marc decided that it was time to make the move shore side. He was recruited to join Tradesmen International as a Sales Representative, and tasked to establish a presence in the South Florida market for their Marine Division. After successfully growing the territory, Marc was promoted to their National Sales Manager, and once again promoted to a higher leadership role of East Coast Area Manager. Mr. Gadbois is now responsible for supporting all sales, and operations, on the Eastern Seaboard. Marc maintains relationships with every major US Shipyard, and travels weekly, supporting the professional growth and talent development of his team.
Related Experience: Marc has had the opportunity to view the Maritime Industry from numerous perspectives. Marc grew up on the water, and was educated at a respected Maritime Academy. Marc has travelled the world as crew aboard Superyachts, and has managed refit projects from Sydney Australia to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Currently, Marc works closely with commercial shipyards, superyacht builders, and refit facilities across America, providing 1st class shipyard craftsmen, on an as needed basis. He is also active with numerous yachting associations, and is currently an At Large Board Member of the USSA.
Statement: I have had the honor of supporting the USSA by attending, and sponsoring all of the USSA summits, displaying at numerous Boat Shows, and attending regional networking events across the United States. I am a firm believer in the benefit of membership in this association. I am confident that my participation with other industry associations, relationships with Maritime and Yachting companies across America, and my passion for Yachting, will continue be an excellent added benefit to the United States Super Yacht Association.
GREAT LAKES: JIM RUFFOLO
BURGER BOAT COMPANY
Introduction/Background: Jim Ruffolo is the President & CEO of Burger Boat Company in Manitowoc, WI. Burger’s shipyard is situated on the Manitowoc River which flows into Lake Michigan.
Experience: Jim Ruffolo became co-owner of Burger Boat Company in 1993. Jim’s first roles with the Company were Senior Vice President & COO. He now serves as President & CEO. Jim’s primary role is to ensure the well-being and profitability of the entire company. His responsibilities include keeping abreast of the industry, setting the vision and strategies, planning and implementing the company’s direction, while overseeing sales, operations, quality, corporate culture, human resources, and communicating the Company’s beliefs within and outside the company. Jim has led the complete renovation of Burger’s facilities, equipment upgrades and its LEAN corporate culture. Prior to joining Burger, Jim co-owned and built four businesses, holding similar positions and gaining many valuable experiences.
Related Experience: Jim Ruffolo has served on the board of the Manitowoc Public Library and as President of the Wisconsin Maritime Museum where he continues as an honorary council member.For the past three years he has served USSA as it Great Lakes Regional Board Member. He is a recent past member of the Manitowoc Harbor Commission.
Statement: I believe I would be valuable to the USSA Board of Directors because I have demonstrated proficiency in observing opportunities, developing strategies and implementing appropriate activities to take advantage of such opportunities. I have the drive and leadership skills needed to bring people with opposing views together. I am well connected within and outside the yachting industry and am comfortable working with local, state and federal governments. Lastly, although we are all busy and could simply stand by and let others perform work outside of their daily work, I believe the only way to help shape the needs of our industry is to get involved and lead change through education and communication at all levels.
NORTHWEST REGION: MARTY MARCHANT
Started out in San Diego Spring of 1991 first run up the West coast to Alaska as a mate on a 72’ Jefferson at the time it seemed to be a large yacht the owners called her “Quie-Too.” Growing up in the Midwest on the shores of Lake Michigan boating at an early age. Spent summers cruising to places like Mackinac island MI. My early experiences in yachting kept me in the Northwest making four trips up and through S.E. Alaska. Moving up to a mate aboard my first 50M traveling through the Panama cannel for the first time to the Caribbean and venturing to the Mediterranean for my first time in 1995. My eyes were wide open and so the venture started and I’ve never looked back. It’s been a journey that would have been hard to imagine where life had taken me. November 1996 was my first of many deliveries for Palmer Johnson aboard what was eventually named “Parriffin.” My career as a crew member took me back to the Med and then the eastern seaboard through late 1999. My yacht-building experience started where I was raised with Palmer Johnson Yachts, which included the refit business at Thunderbolt, in Savannah, GA that finally lead me to Florida as a resident of Ft. Lauderdale, where my I ended up joining Westport Yachts the first time in spring of 2002. I eventually relocated back to the Northwest where I call home now. With the many yacht deliveries, shipyard refit yards and family life experiences over the past 26 years, it’s been an incredible journey. I’m currently working with Westport Yachts LLC in Port Angeles Washington in a Project Manager roll and couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity in front of us as a USSA Super Yacht builder.
SOUTHWEST REGION: TODD ROBERTS
MARINE GROUP BOAT WORKS
Todd Roberts is the president of Marine Group Boat Works, LLC (“Marine Group”) and serves on the board of the California Maritime Academy. Roberts joined Marine Group in 2000. Roberts developed a visionary plan that would allow Marine Group to service the Superyacht market on the West Coast. In January 2007, Marine Group opened its doors with a new 665-ton travelift that made it the largest of its kind in the nation and welcomed superyachts up to 220 feet. In 2009 and 2010, he respectively led the development, construction and launching of Fifth Ave Landing and Marine Group de Los Cabos, a full service yacht repair facility in Los Cabos, Mexico. At which point he then developed and launched Marine Group’s new construction division, specializing in the design and construction of commercial and government workboats. In April 2013, he led the acquisition of a 400,000 square-foot yard formerly operated by Knight & Carver. Today, as the president of Marine Group, Roberts oversees overall shipyard operations, business development, capital improvement, acquisitions and extensive refit/construction projects; as well as all entities within Marine Group’s portfolio of brands.
Qualifications: Roberts graduated from the prestigious California Maritime Academy with a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration with an emphasis on intermodal transportation. Roberts has over 20 years of applied experience in managing extensive vessel refits and construction, original equipment manufacturer (OEM warranty) service repairs and operating vessels of all lengths, makes and models. He is especially knowledgeable of structural hull materials and propulsion methods. Roberts has managed and supervised over 500 contracts involving the construction and/or outfit of vessels up to 300 feet of all makes and models with new propulsion and power systems of virtually every kind of engine manufacturer.
AT-LARGE BOARD MEMBERS (ONLY 6 SEATS AVAILABLE FOR ELECTION):
Introduction/Background: My name is Brian Arnold and I am the Vice President of Business Development for Snag-A-Slip, an online boat slip reservation platform and Oasis Marinas, a marina management firm.
Experience/ Related Experience: I’ve been involved in the boating industry for most of my life, as my family owns and operates a charter fishing business and I hold a 100 Ton Master’s Captain license. I joined Snag-A-Slip and Oasis Marinas as a co-founder in 2015. Since then, I’ve focused on growing both businesses. To date, Snag-A-Slip has over 500 marina partners in seven countries and Oasis Marinas operates and manages daily operations for six marinas in the Mid-Atlantic Region. As a co-founder of and as the Vice President of Business Development for Snag-A-Slip and Oasis Marinas, my focus is on sales, customer acquisition and strategic partnerships. I have also managed transition teams, and facilitated operations for one of our marina partners in the Chesapeake Bay. Additionally, I am on the Board of the Association of Bahamas Marinas.
Related Experience: Prior to joining Snag-A-Slip and Oasis Marinas, I spent 20 years in the real estate, property management and hospitality industries. Most recently, I was a District Manager for Towne Park, where my responsibilities included operations, hospitality management and business development.
Statement: I am excited about the opportunity to become a board member of U.S. Superyacht Association. Much like the USSA, our companies are passionate about the marina industry and the captains we serve. We look forward to working together with the Association to modernize and grow the industry through technology, partnerships and hospitality best practices.
Introduction/Background: Regional Manager for Suntex Marinas currently supervising marina operations in the Northeast and marina properties in California. I operate out of the Suntex regional office in Newport RI.
Experience: Entire career has revolved around management and operations of marinas, service departments, and yacht resorts of all calibers in multiple locations globally. Achieved the designation of Certified Marina Manager (CMM) (AMI # 50) in 1996. I have a strong background in all areas of yacht yard service operations repairing both power and sailing vessels and their systems. I also work closely in marina and resort management, marketing and sales experiences and have provided invaluable hospitality, quality and customer interaction teachings.
Related Experience: During my career, I have operated as Service Manager, GM, Regional Manager, VP Operations/Business Development, and in as the 2011 Director of the Newport International Boat Show and Charter Yacht Show. I was named Manager of the Year for Westrec Marinas and Marinas International. Support and serve local MTA groups whenever possible. Maintain a 100-Ton USCG Master Mariner Credential/Towing Endorsement in 2000. Shipboard experiences with pleasure craft to 100 feet both sail and power-as well as commercial vessels with 40 plus years on the open ocean.
Statement: I feel my experience and training will serve the membership and board well as the organization moves into a new stage of industry growth and redefinition.
Audrey Hodgdon is the Director of Sales & Marketing for Hodgdon Yachts. As the sixth generation to be involved in the family business, she is responsible for the company’s sales, marketing programs, brand management, customer relations, and public relations activities across all divisions. She officially joined the business in 2014 and enjoys the variety seen in Hodgdon’s customer base and in day-to-day activities.
Audrey’s previous experience includes working primarily in marketing, most recently for a global media company and an international education organization. She feels strongly that the time she spent outside of the family business and in different industries has provided her with a unique perspective. She holds a BBA from James Madison University and is currently is on the board of Maine Built Boats.
Aaron Leatherwood has been the RMK Merrill-Stevens’ CEO since 2016. He also serves as President of Merrill-Stevens Yachts, recently the re-established iconic sales, and brokerage business. Aaron holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Marine Engineering from Texas A&M University & Texas Maritime Academy. Aaron completed graduate studies with the Maersk executive MBA program and holds a Master’s of Business Administration Degree in Project Management. His work experience has been entirely in the maritime industry.
Aaron previously worked as a shipboard engineer, and holds a U.S. Coast Guard Unlimited Chief Engineer’s license. Aaron also holds a Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification from the internationally recognized Project Management Institute. Since transitioning to shore-side employment, Aaron has worked with APM Terminals as a project engineer building a world-class container facility. He supported the Maersk Line as a vessel/fleet manager, technical superintendent and General Manager of a ship repair yard. Aaron previously supported Rybovich, overseeing signature refit projects. Aaron has more than 20 years’ experience as a reservist with the United State Coast Guard in Marine Safety/Port State Control and Incident Management. Today Aaron is engaged in the re-emergence of the Merrill-Stevens brand and complete re-construction of the RMK Merrill-Stevens facility in Miami, Fl.
BLUEWATER CREW TRAINING
Introduction/Background: Brian Luke is the President of Bluewater Management & Crew Training USA. Bluewater is a global superyacht services company providing yacht management, crew training, brokerage, charter and crew placement.
Experience: Brian is a proven executive with an exceptional track record providing overall corporate leadership. Skilled in creating, communicating and implementing the organization’s strategic plan including vision, mission, and direction. He has served as a maritime executive for many years, prior to that he spent over 20 years managing and running various superyachts around the world while at the same time maintaining a position as an airline captain at a JetBlue. As the President, Brian is now responsible for the day-to-day leadership and general management of the company, where he has established Bluewater’s USA division as a respected, industry leading, internationally recognized maritime services company. A leading panel member of the MCA’s Large Yacht Qualification Panel (YQP) and a member of the International Association of Maritime Institutions, Brian has been instrumental in how flag states around the world license, train, qualify and certify professional yacht crew members.
Related Experience: Brian is a former military fixed-wing and rotor-wing pilot. In 1989, he was recruited by the US Department of Treasury as an agent and pilot working for the Air and Marine Division of the US Customs Service. Utilizing maritime and aviation assets, he was responsible for helping stem the flow of drugs into the U.S. during the late 80’s and early 90’s. Brian has worked worldwide as both a superyacht captain and large-jet airline pilot. He is one of only a few people globally to simultaneously hold a current U.S. Coast Guard Master 1600GRT/3000ITC CoC, Commercial Helicopter Pilot License (heavy lift helicopters) and an Airline Transport Pilots License as a US major airline captain. Brian is also a former Yacht Charter Company Owner/President.
Statement: My positions at Bluewater, ICT, IAMI and LYQP, along with my US Coast Guard qualifications and experience, have given me great insight referencing issues affecting all aspects of superyacht operations. I have worked extensively with the US and British Governments, including the USCG, US Customs (CBP) and the MCA. As a result, I have a vast level of knowledge and experience working within the superyacht regulatory, administrative and legislative systems. USSA board members carry a high level of responsibility concerning barriers that may preclude superyachts and crew from entering and staying in the US. These are key issues essential to the success of USSA and are areas that my professional background and current position enable me to both heighten awareness and effect change. I am confident my experience will be instrumental in helping the USSA membership achieve our goals.
Introduction/Background: Ted McCumber, Director of Feadship America, married with 2 sons and 3 grandchildren.
Experience: Ted started in yachting in the 1980’s in San Diego getting his sea time on charter yachts and racing sailboats. He served as Captain and Project manager for a Washington family for 20 years, building and running their fleet of yachts from the first 147’ Attessa to the 332’ Attessa IV. He later went on to run other Feadship yachts and to be involved as a build Captain. The last project he was involved with was as Captain/Project Manager of the 273’ Feadship Savannah. In March of 2017, he started working with Feadship as the Director of Feadship America.
Statement: I think with my past experience as a Captain, project manager and my current position with Feadship could be a real asset to the USSA. My goal has always been to promote yachting in America, and that does not change with my new role. The majority of Feadship clients are Americans and I will continue to promote yachting in America.
Introduction/Background: Steven Myers is founder and CEO of YATCO, the official MLS of yachting serving more than 3,000 professional yacht brokers, dealers, builders, and associations.
Experience: For more than 25 years, Steve has dedicated his career to yachting. As founder of Yachtcouncil/ YATCO, he has worked with more than 30 associations; attended every major show in the world; and worked with thousands of yachting professionals. Steve also served as International Sales Manager of Viking Yacht Company; was a top producing Florida Yacht Broker; and founder of the #1 dealership worldwide for the Ferretti Group which he sold to Marine Max in 2003.
Related Experience: Steve was a Founding Director of the First Bank of Palm Beach and has served Habitat for Humanity’s regional board; West Philadelphia Improvement Corp; USAID Kyrgyzstan; and PSU Education Aboard Alumni group which he also founded. Steve is currently enrolled at Harvard Business School and has graduated and attended Penn State, Wharton and University of Nice France. Steve has traveled to more than 100 countries and has well-established relationships with many key leaders in yachting.
Statement: As the founder of YATCO, I have dedicated my career and company’s mission statement to serving the best interests of the professional yachting industry with honesty, integrity, and cutting-edge technology. As a member of the USSA board, I would expand that mission to the work of the association and work tirelessly to help further unify our industry together and provide leadership, vision and execution with the board’s goals.
Introduction/Background: Steve Ryder is Manager of Project Development for Bellingham Marine – Southeast Division – Jacksonville, Florida.
As a Manager of Project Development for Bellingham Marine, his duties are, working with developers, private clients, municipal and federal customers to design and build marinas using our floating dock and dry storage systems. As a design/build contractor as well as the manufacturer, our focus is on the superyacht industry – as this segment of the market is underserved for quality accommodations and slips around the world.
Experience: Steve began his career with Bellingham Marine in May of 1988 in the Jacksonville, Florida SE Division office as a Marketing Representative for the SE United States, Caribbean and Central/South America. He is responsible for project development for Marina and Dry Storage projects in the South Florida, Caribbean, Gulf Coast, Eastern Mexico, Central and South American regions.
Professional affiliations include: Past Director for the Association of Marina Industries, Director for the Florida Marine Contractors Association, Jacksonville Marine Association, Marine Industries Association of Collier County, Marine Industries Association of South Florida, Marine Industries Association of Florida and the Marina Association of Texas.
FRONT STREET SHIPYARD
Introduction/Background: JB Turner is the president and general manager of Front Street Shipyard, a yacht construction, repair yard and superyacht marina in Belfast, Maine.
Experience: Along with his partners, JB founded Front Street Shipyard (FSS) in 2011, beginning with nothing but flat land, deep water and a vision for a world-class shipyard. He quickly grew FSS into one of New England’s most-capable superyacht facilities. JB’s vision for success extends beyond his shipyard; he works to position Maine as a premier international cruising destination. Prior to his time at Front Street Shipyard, he was an owner/operator of Lyman-Morse Boats in Thomaston, Maine.
Related Experience: JB consistently supports the industry in his region and nationally. He sits on the boards of the Maine Built Boats Association, a marine history museum, his local chamber of commerce, and even his local hospital. He has served in an advisory capacity for multiple vocational education organizations. Most recently, JB was honored with a regional award for his efforts to boost Maine’s economy.
Statement: I’m proud to have both a personal and professional commitment to the marine industry. As a shipyard owner, I strive to draw international attention to the craftsmanship and technology available in the U.S. boatbuilding industry. As a sailor myself, I want to grow the sport of yachting as a recreation and a passion among people everywhere. I consider myself to be an ambassador for our industry, and to the USSA.