After 34 years in business, the Marine Canvas Training Institute (MCTI) closed its doors in July. The training institute was established by Don Wedge and later managed by his daughter, Dawn Taylor, MFC.
Taylor says MCTI, based in Palmetta, Fla., was always a family business. “The school is closing because there is no family member to take over. The reputation of the school has been built by family members.”
Passing on fabrication skills to others came naturally to Taylor’s father who founded MCTI. “He always seemed to be an innovator in the business. I guess he would be considered my mentor. My father was self-taught, and I learned from him and my sister, Becky Abruzzino.”
The marine fabricator industry has evolved over the years, Taylor says. “The materials of yesterday are the same materials used today—only better. Technology has been the big change in that there is digital patterning available to those that want to go in the direction, and as it becomes more affordable I believe more fabricators will use it.” Still, the MCTI approach always considered the personal aspects of running a small business. Taylor says, “I think there will always be the mom-pop shops just as there is in any craft.”
MCTI has been a long-standing Marine Fabricator Association member. Taylor says the contacts made through MFA were invaluable as were the business opportunities to encourage new startups and educate others on resources.
Taylor is looking forward to travel with her husband and pursuing some personal goals. She reminds her friends and colleagues, “Never stop learning, always set goals and take the next step to reach the next goal.”