U.S. SUPERYACHT ASSOCIATION 2017-2018 BOARD OF DIRECTORS NOMINEES
Here is an overview of those candidates who have been nominated for the 2019-2020 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: Diane M. Byrne is the owner and editor of MegayachtNews.com, plus co-owner and copywriting director of Superyacht Storytellers. She’s a veteran professional journalist, with 30 years’ experience.
Experience: Diane M. Byrne founded MegayachtNews.com in 2007 as the first website educating American luxury-yacht owners and buyers about the leading builders, designers, cruising destinations, and more. Still the only American-focused online media outlet exclusively covering this market, it features all-original content, for real stories of real interest. Byrne additionally co-founded Superyacht Storytellers, a boutique book publisher, to create personalized, limited-edition, exquisite books commemorating companies’ extraordinary histories and yacht owners’ equally extraordinary cruising experiences.
Related Experience: Diane M. Byrne has held a number of leadership roles. These include serving on the USSA Board of Directors since 2015. She’s also chaired or co-chaired the USSA’s annual Superyacht Summit since 2015. Byrne was additionally on the International Superyacht Society Board of Directors for eight years. Outside of yachting, she’s currently a trustee of Sempre Avanti, a non-profit resource supporting Italian and Italian-American individuals, businesses, and organizations in the United States and in Italy.
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 result from conversations with companies experiencing challenges, plus observations of business trends that benefit all. Furthermore, participating in the American Boating Congress yields new ways to communicate our industry’s importance, to legislators and consumers.
Advocacy Co-Chair: Jay Dayton
Avon-Dixon Insurance Agency
Intro/Background: Jay Dayton has worked as an insurance agent and broker at the Avon-Dixon Agency in Easton, Maryland for the past 31 years.
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, boatdealers 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 18 years & past President, Jay is active legislatively for marine businesses and boaters in the region. Member of the Virginia Marine Trades Association & current Advocacy Co-Chair of the US Superyacht Association actively campaigning for the growth of Superyacht businesses. Jay is past President of the Waterfowl Festival, Past Commodore of Tred Avon Yacht Club and current 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 Co-Chair, to allow me to continue promoting the Superyacht industry in my travels around the country”.
Advocacy Co-Chair Herman Pundt
Denison Yacht Sales
Statement: To be honest I have never been one to be part of organizations as I found them to political and just spin there wheels. Anybody that does know me knows I have always been there to help them personally or with business no matter what company they worked for no matter if my competition or not. I am a firm supporter in making the yachting industry stronger and growing it because lets admit to it it’s a small group we are working with. Then one day Kitty invited to go to Washing DC to see what is going on with the 300gt regulations and other issues and I became infuriated and made it a goal to help change things. Not only are we loosing revenue to other countries but we are chasing boats and yacht to go elsewhere. I know with my knowledge and experience I can help make the United States a competitive country and an even playing field on an international level. If elected I will make it my goal to be a strong advocate of the USSA.
Marketing Co-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 2020 direction for the association.
Marketing Co-Chair: Julie Perry
Intro/Background: Julie Perry is author of the book The Insiders' Guide to Becoming a Yacht Stewardess. Since 2006, she has run WorkOnAYacht.com—a digital-information website focused on attracting and providing guidance to entry-level superyacht crew.
Experience: Julie has been a member of the USSA for six years and has served on the Marketing Committee for the last four. Since 2014, she has served as a digital marketing consultant for the USSA and assisted in running our Association’s social media and digital advertising campaigns. She is a frequent speaker on marketing topics at superyacht and marine-industry events, including events held by the USSA (Julie has presented at every Superyacht Summit!), Northwest Marine Trade Association, Marine Marketers of America, International Superyacht Society, and Chris-Craft Boats.
Related Experience: In addition to her work with the USSA, Julie has served as a marketing consultant for superyacht-industry businesses such as Reardon Yacht Consulting, International Superyacht Society, and Axxess Marine. She recently drew up an action plan for promoting the USSA’s proposed “Refit America” campaign and has a strong vision for how—together—we can make an even bigger splash promoting our U.S.-based shipyards and superyacht-centered businesses, worldwide.
Statement: I’ve been passionate about the superyacht industry since crewing as a stewardess back in the late 90s. In promoting my superyacht-crew career book for the last 13 years, I’ve stayed intimately connected to many facets of the industry. I took my passion of attracting people to yachting to the next level by becoming involved with the USSA six years ago. Marketing our wonderful industry and championing the businesses that make it up is second nature to me now.
Membership Co-Chair: Derrick Hill
Background: Derrick is currently a maritime recruiter with Flagship Management, managing the yachting and recreational sector, based out of Ft. Lauderdale, FL.
Experience: Derrick uses his experience with human resources and maritime to assist companies in finding strong candidates for specific job openings. This includes the search, references, facilitating interviews, and consulting on employment offers.
Related Experience: Derrick is a US Coast Guard licensed captain who created and managed a scuba diving business on St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands for twelve years. His experience includes dive charters, retail, equipment rental / repair, certifications, and commercial dive and ship charter projects. He also sat on the St Croix Environmental Association Board of Directors for two years, bringing a strong understanding on non-profit operations.
Statement: Derrick’s knowledge and experience of the current maritime labor market, marine business ownership, and non-profit leader, makes him a strong candidate for the continued expansion of the USSA membership.
Membership Co-Chair: Rick Thomas
The founder of Nautical Structures Industries, which designs and manufactures high-end yacht equipment, specializing in hydraulic motion-and-control (tender-handling, watertight closures and boarding equipment). The nature of his business allows him to work directly with virtually all of the larger production and custom yacht builders around the world. His responsibilities allow him the opportunity to visit a large number of these shipyards every year. He works directly with the managing directors, project managers and engineering staff of these yards and in this process has developed a unique perspective of the industry's custom yacht building opportunities and challenges. Rick understands the symbiotic relationship that a quality equipment supplier must forge with the naval architect, yacht management company and the yacht builder to support the effort of building a custom yacht. He enjoys the opportunity to give back to an industry that has provided him so much opportunity over the past thirty-plus years by participating actively in the United States Superyacht Association (USSA) and the International Superyacht Society (ISS). Rick was recently re-elected to the International Superyacht Society Board of Directors for a two year term starting in 2019.
REGIONAL BOARD MEMBERS (NOMINATED FOR ONE-YEAR TERM):
SE Region: Ionna Hernandez
The Marshall Islands Registry
Intro/Background: Ionna Hernandez is the Business Development Manager, Yachts at the Fort Lauderdale office of International Registries, Inc. (IRI) which provide administrative and technical support to the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) Maritime and Corporate Registries.
Experience: Ms. Hernandez joined IRI’s Ft. Lauderdale office in October 2014 as Business Development Manager, Yachts. Prior to joining IRI, Ms. Hernandez assisted in ensuring yachts and crew were in compliance with international conventions and statutory regulations as the Vessel Support Coordinator at Megayacht Technical Services International, a regulatory management company. Additionally, Ms. Hernandez served for four years as a Registration and Documentation Specialist at Yacht Registry Services, Inc. where she prepared closing and registration documents for yacht transactions and worked closely with numerous maritime administrations to complete vessel registrations. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Nova Southeastern University and is proud to have sailed around the world as an Alumna of the Semester at Sea program.
Related Experience: She is an active member of the Women’s International Shipping & Trading Association (WISTA), Young Professionals in Yachting (YPY), the U.S. Superyacht Association (USSA), and the International Yacht Brokers Association (IYBA). Additionally, she has proudly served on panels for the Marine Industries Association of South Florida aimed at educating local students about different career choices within the yachting industry.
Statement: I believe I would be a valuable member of the USSA Board of Directors because of my diverse experience in the industry and the meaningful connections I have made both in the U.S. and abroad in my 10 + years in yachting. I’m passionate about our industry and the people in it and I look forward to helping move forward the mission of this great organization.
Mid-Atlantic Region: Dan Cowens
Intro/Background: Dan is the Founder and CEO of Oasis Marinas and Snag-A-Slip with HQ in Annapolis MD. He currently serves on the board for the Perdue School of Business.
Experience: Dan’s love for the water began when he worked for Annapolis Bay Charters in Annapolis Maryland throughout High School and has continued to grow since. Dan Cowens has over 25 years of experience in hospitality management services working as the Vice President of Operations with hotel companies ranging from Five Diamond hotels like Four Seasons to the largest and most consistent brands like Marriott. Dan was an owner and employee 18 at his previous company where he helped grow it to over 14,000 team members at 1,000 + locations. As a result of this hospitality experience and his love for boating, Dan developed the Oasis Marinas’ vision: to provide high quality marina management services in the US and around the globe. Oasis Marinas serves 25 marinas in 6 states with more on the way. Snag-A-Slip is an online booking engine connecting over 600,000 boaters with just over 700 marinas that have available boat slips.
Dan is also a military veteran with eight years of service in the U.S. Army., he holds a BS from Salisbury University and an MBA from the University of Maryland.
Statement: I think I would add value to the USAA Board of Directors due to my experience and proven track record of bringing groups together behind a common vision and working with them to build and execute a plan. I am a connector by nature and love bringing subject matter experts together to solve challenges and take advantage of opportunities.
Northeast Region: Marc Gadbois
Intro Background: Marc A. Gadbois is the National Sales Manager for Tradesmen International’s Marine Division. Marc has been active with the USSA since 2011, and is also an active member of Young Professionals in Yachting, the Marine Industry Association of South Florida, and the Shipbuilder’s Council of America.
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. Mr. Gadbois is now responsible for supporting business growth, and talent development, nationwide. Marc maintains relationships with every major US Shipyard, and travels between 14 offices, in every major port city, from Ft. Lauderdale, FL., to Honolulu, HI.
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 the USSA North East Regional Chair.
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 to be an excellent added benefit to the United States Super Yacht Association.
Great Lakes Region: James M. Ruffolo
Burger Boat Company
Intro/Background: Jim Ruffolo is the President & CEO of Burger Boat Company in Manitowoc, WI. The Burger 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 eight years he has served USSA as it Great Lakes Regional Board Member. He is a past member of the Manitowoc Harbor Commission and the Manitowoc County Airport Advisory Committee.
Statement: I believe I would continue to 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 cannal 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):
Savannah Yacht Center
Intro/Background: Jim Berulis is Vice President and General Manager of Savannah Yacht Center (SYC), Savannah, Georgia and serves on the SYC board.
Experience: Jim Berulis is a Navy veteran with service aboard the nuclear submarine SSBN 643. In his current role at SYC he has overall responsibility for re-building and re-purposing an existing shipyard; targeting service, repair and refit of large yachts. He has been in the marine industry for more than 40 years building, refitting and repairing yachts. He has held senior management positions with companies including Rybovich, Trinity Yachts and Kiwi Boats building and servicing a wide variety of vessels both sail and power. As an avid sailor in the 70’s and 80’s he competed in offshore races in the U.S. and abroad.
In his career he has negotiated and managed significant contracts with marine industry subcontractors in around the world. As a partner in Trinity Yachts he was often the primary shipyard contact with Owners, captains and designers.
Statement: My broad experience has brought me in contact with all the elements of yachting – owners, designers, contractors of all disciplines, etc. I think this allows me to bring a unique perspective to the process. I think I can make a positive contribution to the organization.
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.
United Island & Yachts
Joe is the Founder and Partner of United Island and Yacht in Fort Lauderdale, one of the top yacht agency organization in our region. United Island & Yacht offers agency and shore support to superyachts entering the region. Their service’s include but are not limited to: U.S. customs & immigration clearance, U.S. B1B2 Visa’s, provisioning, Bahamian Visa’s, Bahamas charter inspection & fees, itinerary planning, and bunkering. United has offices in Fort Lauderdale Fl., Nassau, and Harbour Island, Bahamas. Our clients include the top tier of superyachts world wide and our reputation of impeccable customer service is at the top of our field.
In addition, Joe is the Managing Partner of the iconic Romora Bay Resort & Marina, the premier marina destination in Harbour Island, Bahamas.
During his career, Joe has achieved great recognition from many business groups in Florida, as well as the Bahamian Ministry of Tourism. He is an active member of the Broward County Boy’s & Girls Club Yacht Rendezvous Board, The U.S. Super Yacht Association, Florida Yacht Brokers Association, Founding Board Member of The Bahamas Super Yacht Association, and is currently the Vice President of the Association of Bahamas Marinas.
I feel that myself and our company, United, can offer great support to members of USSA in terms of offering superyacht owners and crew, real and valuable insight in the ever-changing world of United States Yacht Formal Clearance, Customs, Immigrations, Coast Guard and Home Land Security. Our team of professional yacht agents have built impeccable credentials with each of these departments, and our goal is to share this knowledge with USSA and its members.
Intro/Background: Audrey Hodgdon is the Director of Sales & Marketing for Hodgdon Tenders and Hodgdon Yacht Services in Maine and serves on the board of the USSA and Maine Built Boats.
Experience: As the sixth generation to be involved in the family business, Audrey 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 as Marketing Manager and enjoys the variety seen in Hodgdon's customer base and in day-to-day activities. She is actively involved in planning and determining the course of the company’s future.
Related Experience: Audrey's previous experience includes working primarily in marketing, most recently for a global media company and an international education organization. Immediately after college, she worked for a marine engineering company in New Zealand and gained relevant global experience. 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.
Statement: I am passionate about strengthening the Superyacht industry within the US and feel as though it would be valuable to remain on the USSA Board of Directors. Having grown up around the industry, but with recent work experience outside it, I believe that I offer a different outlook. I have global connections and am excited about the opportunity to continue supporting the organization’s mission.
Intro/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.
Intro/Background: Rusty is the is the Technical Sales and Support person for Propspeed on the West Coast of the USA and Canada, based out of Sausalito, CA
Experience: As the sole Grandson of an Olympic sailor, Rusty has been either at the helm or in the bilge of a boat since birth. His life in the Marine industry began sweeping floors and sewing boat covers at a small sailmaker in New Jersey, but he soon moved on to coaching all levels of Jr Sailors throughout the country, hoping to instill the culture of fine yachtsmanship in a new generation of mariners. After some time honing his skills in the boatyard, maintaining and refitting race yachts, the last few years have seen him deeply involved in the technical operations of the 34th and 35th Americas Cup, Coaching the Jr Program and serving as the Waterfront Director at the St. Francis Yacht Club. Rusty takes pride in coming up with creative solutions to unusual problems, educating others in the industry, and providing exemplary customer service along the way.
Related Experience: Through the course of my work, I am in regular contact with captains and boatyards across the West Coast. I have developed a good sense of what facilities and services are needed for a growing Superyacht fleet, and am dedicated to making sure that we can provide these across the region. Furthermore, the close relationships that build are key to keeping my finger on the pulse of this ever changing industry.
Haimes Coleman Group
Intro / Background: Chris Myers holds the position of Development Manager at Haimes Coleman Group, a 25 year old Manufacturer Representative Firm located in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
Experience: Having recently begun his current role with Haimes Coleman Group, Chris brings a vast base of knowledge from 18 plus years in the marine industry. As Development Manager, Chris will be leading the sales teams and implementing growth strategy initiatives continuing to set Haimes Coleman Group apart from the rest of like companies.
Chris has an educational background in Naval Architecture. He started his career in 1999 with Buddy Davis Yachts and has since worked in many facets of the yachting industry from construction to supply to finance. Chris held positions as National Sales Director for Lumishore Underwater Lights, Finance Manager for Galati Yacht Sales, and Sales Manager for Seakeeper Gyro Stabilizers, to name a few. He has built an exceptional reputation in the yachting industry and takes pride in consistently leading his teams to outperform their prospective markets.
Related Experience: Chris has held membership in many yachting organizations including USSA, IYBA, MIASF, and YPY. As a senior member of YPY, he led initiatives in mentoring and was given the “Helping Hands” award for coordinating a large collaborative project completely renovating a vessel for the Freedom Waters Foundation, pulling together resources from all over the yachting industry. Chris also serves on the MIASF Education and Workforce Committee who are leading the charge in driving forward change in the yachting industry by inspiring and supporting workforce growth.
Statement: Chris would make an extremely valuable addition to the USSA Board of Directors because of his broad scope of yachting industry experience and his insatiable passion for the water. He has turned passion into career and never takes that for granted. For the USSA, Chris will bring enthusiasm and drive to keep pushing the organization and industry forward. Chris’ knowledge of the industry and connections, both personal and professional, with captains, yacht builders, suppliers, and shipyards will help the USSA grow as the leader in our industry.
Intro/Background: Melissa Orlick is the Director of Maritime Communications at Isotropic Networks and serves as the treasure of the International Superyacht Society.
Experience: Melissa Orlick has been with Isotropic Networks since 2012. Over the past 7 years Melissa has spearheaded the company’s maritime division growing sales exponentially. As Director of Maritime Communications, Melissa oversees sales and client relations, and works with their national and international partners, vendors and clients.
Related Experience: In addition to her role at Isotropic, Melissa has held positions on the International Superyacht Society board and executive committee, was the USSA spin-a-thon chair and has participated in USSA national and international seminars and functions.
Statement: I believe I would be a valuable USSA board member because of my experience, dedication entrepreneurial work ethic and passion for the betterment of the Superyacht industry.
Quantum Marine Stabilizers
Intro/Background: Katie Ross is the Business Development Manager for Quantum Marine Stabilizers, based in South Florida and The Netherlands. There, she oversees marketing and sales support for the yachting, military, and commercial industries.
Experience: Katie Ross has been active within the marine industry for over 20 years, specializing in marketing, copywriting, event planning, and team development. She has been the Business Development Manager for Quantum Marine Stabilizers since 2017. Prior to Quantum, she served a key role in the ownership of Burger Boat Company, as the Director of Marketing from 1993 to 2007. Throughout her career, Ross has worked closely with engineering and shipyard employees, to develop powerful promotional materials.
Related Experience: Katie Ross has enjoyed a varied career in industries outside of yachting as well. Through Ross Marketing International, which she founded in 2007, she led a number of successful marketing and image-driven campaigns. Clients included a home builder, a fast-casual restaurant, and the City of Manitowoc in Wisconsin and the Economic Development Council of Manitowoc County. In fact, she proposed and executed Mainly Manitowoc, the City of Manitowoc Downtown Revitalization Program, which still exists today. In addition, she volunteered with her local chamber of commerce for a decade. She also enjoyed employment with a custom software development company which helped her understand and utilize her skills in IT.
Statement: Throughout my career, I have enjoyed developing relationships with all members of a build team, including owners, crew members, designers, and project managers, as well as creating a team environment within businesses catering to them. Similarly, trade associations such as the USSA should have a team environment, to better serve our industry. I look forward to contributing to the USSA’s spirit of collaboration, bringing experiences that have given me tremendous satisfaction. These include volunteer roles with my local chamber of commerce, the Center for Self-Sufficiency, the University School of Milwaukee’s internship program, and the YMCA.
Underwater Lights, LTD
Intro/Background: Zack Savage is the USA Sales Director for Underwater Lights LTD and has worked in the superyacht lighting manufacturing sector for more than 20 years.
Experience: Zack Savage has been with Underwater Lights LTD since 2014. Zack moved to the US from Europe in 2007, tasked with opening the US division of OceanLED; a lighting manufacturing company he helped to establish in 2003. Zack grew up in the superyacht industry, learning from his father, who had established several lighting companies in Europe over the past few decades.
Zack attended various international marine trade shows from a young age, which provided a strong foundation and knowledge of the industry.
Related Experience: Zack's work brings him into close contact with captains, crew, managers and yards on a regular basis, which has helped to expand his personal and professional network.
Zack has been deeply involved with Young Professionals in Yachting since 2009. Zack also volunteers for many activities relating to the marine industry on a regular basis.
Zack and Lee Savage established Between Two Yetis, a social media vlog, interviewing yachting industry leaders about current trends.
Statement: I have a true passion for the superyacht industry and having worked in the industry for many years, I have established a large network of colleagues from all sectors.
I am extremely excited at the prospect of being able to serve on the USSA board; to give back to the industry that has brought so many positive experiences to my life and I want to donate my time to help the industry continue to grow.
I have admired the incredible work the USSA has contributed to the industry and believe I would be able to make a strong contribution to the success of the organization by being part of the team.
Front Street Shipyard
Intro/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 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. In 2019 JB entered into another partnership to become a principal of Cape Charles Yacht Center in Virginia, which is now under development to become a superyacht service center.
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.