The marine fabrication business often seems like a business of nothing but problems. Supply chain bottlenecks, a lack of employees, demanding customers and too little time to address the ever-growing waitlist. But it’s also a business filled with problem solvers. That’s the beauty of working with marine fabricators: they find ways to excel despite, and in many cases, because of all the problems they encounter. They are not defeated but instead are challenged by obstacles and conundrums. Fabric backordered? They propose an even better alternative. No existing hardware available? They fabricate on the fly and dream up something amazing.
This issue celebrates this out of the box, innovative and energetic approach to problem solving. The 2022 MFA Fabrication Excellence Awards celebrate the highest levels of marine craftsmanship, and the winning projects feature the skills and tenacity required to achieve this level of excellence. In the “Women’s Work” feature, four female marine industry veterans discuss the state of the industry for women and the obstacles they faced during their careers. “Expanding on Land and Sea” details the benefits and challenges of moving into the RV market. William Bransford, Boatswain’s Locker, shares some problem-solving tools, Krisha Plauché, Onboard Interiors LLC, discusses how to select the right fabrics, and Whitney Carman, Even Keel Canvas LLC, drills down into finding the creativity in fabrication frustrations.
I enjoyed seeing many of you at the 2022 MFA Conference in South Carolina in January. While there were certainly discussions about the problems fabricators are encountering, there were more discussions about how to meet the challenges of the marine trade with innovation, creativity and optimism. As the great Roman philosopher Seneca once said, “The important thing about a problem is not the solution, but the strength we gain in finding a solution.”