Marine business passes to next generation

September 1, 2017

In 2007, Kate Mitchell set up a 10-year plan to transition her business on the Alaskan frontier to her children. Today her children value the company’s courageous past and anticipate a bright future. We didn’t homestead like the Kilcher family from Discovery Channel’s Alaska: The Last Frontier but we were here before the roads were …

Leading a company by building a strong culture for employee success

May 1, 2017

Chris Ritsema leads his company, Canvas Innovations, by building a strong culture for employee success. My vision has always been to grow a company that empowers its employees,” says Chris Ritsema, owner of Canvas Innovations in Holland, Mich. “I want to give people a reason to stay here and build their careers—and to do that …

Beyond process improvement

March 1, 2017

Marine fabricator amps up teamwork and quality results There is a common thread with custom manufacturing—it’s very labor-intensive, very expensive and typically done by artisans and skilled trades people,” says Ed Skrzynski, owner of Marco Canvas, Marco Island, Fla. “When I took over the company from my father, I asked myself if I could successfully …

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The third dimension of marine fabrication

January 1, 2017

John Bland revolutionizes marine fabrication by applying 3D CAD principles to the design process.  Moving a business forward can mean advancing the use of technology. “Look at the motor industry—you wouldn’t be happy driving a car that was spec’d 20 years ago,” says John Bland, managing director of Tecsew Ltd., Gosport, Hampshire, U.K. “It’s the …

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Accent on marine innovation

September 1, 2016

Textiles that combine performance and aesthetics please fabricators and customers Sun and water are the iconic companions of leisure and recreation. However, if you are a marine fabricator, those same elements can also play an adversarial role. Marine fabrics should protect the people and equipment on board from the effects of heat, UV radiation and …

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Stand out

January 1, 2014

“The past years’ economic challenges have not been a problem for my business—in fact, I think they’ve made my business even stronger because I’ve separated my business from the competition,” says Dave Elliot, owner of David’s Custom Trimmers, Brisbane, Australia. “We offer products other similar businesses don’t offer in terms of strength and neatness, and …

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Contingency plan: An unexpected breakup leads to solo success

July 1, 2013

“I think the most significant lesson I’ve learned over the past couple of years is not to get too comfortable,” says Cindy Boersema, owner of The Nautical Needle in Holland, Mich. “Being a business owner is not about relying on others to always be there to work for you and with you—because they can be …

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Say yes to the odd request

September 1, 2012

“The relationships we’ve built that have resulted in revenue streams weren’t something we went looking for; they came to us,” says Jeri Perillo, president of Custom Canvas of Charleston in Charleston, S.C. “If you do a good job on the small stuff, the big stuff will follow.” Jeri, who purchased the marine canvas shop with …

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Growing a business against the odds

July 1, 2012

“In the Navy they call it deckplate leadership,” says Chandler Clark, owner of Signature CanvasMakers in Hampton, Va. “It’s a leadership style that involves teamwork, common sense and taking care of your people—and I try to apply it to my dealings with customers and employees.” Chandler, who owns the canvas shop that manufactures exterior and …

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Fabricator profile: Keith Purves

March 1, 2012

“It’s usually after I’ve banged my head a few times when facing a problem that I think: There’s got to be an easier way,” says Keith Purves, MFC, owner of Riverside Covers in Ft. Myers, Fla. “And then I just try it.” About five years ago Purves and his wife took over the custom marine …