Tag Archives: People

Remembering an Industry Icon

Charlie Strang
1922-2018

Last fall, after 25 years as a columnist in boating trade magazines, I decided it was time to work on some other projects, so I told the Editor of Soundings Trade Only, Bill Sisson, that I wouldn’t be writing any more columns.

However, when Charlie Strang passed away on March 11, 2018, Bill sent me an email asking if I would do a special article regarding Charlie. How could I say no to that? In fact, I felt very honored to be asked to do this and told Bill I would be happy to write the article. And it was an honor. Charlie was President and later Chairman of the Board for many of the 30 years that I worked for Outboard Marine Corporation, starting as a District Sales Manager shortly after being released from active duty in the Air Force.

Everyone who knew Charlie and those who worked at OMC considered him a brilliant man and also very friendly. It was a pleasure to know him. So here is “Remembering an Industry Icon” that was published in the May 2018 issue of Soundings Trade Only. And many thanks to Skip Hegel, Tad Whitten, Earl Bentz, and Edgar Rose for sharing their comments regarding Charlie.

A tribute to Phil Keeter

Back in 2011, when Phil Keeter retired as Executive Director of the MRAA, I felt it was a big loss to the industry. Phil had served in that position for 22 years—from 1989 until 2011.  As MRAA’s Executive Director, Phil brought so much to the industry, especially for dealers. Prior to 1989, Phil owned a successful boat and motor dealership called Romer Marine. Having been a successful dealer himself, he fully understood the pressures and problems constantly facing marine retailers. Over the years he did much to significantly grow the association into the major factor that it is in the industry today, and its standing in the industry has improved the overall status of dealers and how they are now treated by manufacturers.

I recently wrote an article on Phil Keeter and his career in the marine industry that was published in Soundings Trade Only. It was fun to do a couple of interviews with Phil in preparation for the article. Our friendship goes back to the 1980’s when I was head of outboard sales for OMC and Phil Keeter, Romer Marine, was on our dealer council. He kept us on our toes at dealer council meetings. Continue reading A tribute to Phil Keeter

Cobalt – First Boats, then Wine

My article about Pack and Paxson St. Clair and Cobalt Boats in the May issue of Soundings Trade Only was a real pleasure to write.  I have known Pack for many years and seen him at numerous boat shows and NMMA conventions. We had a fun and rather lengthy interview on the phone before writing the article. There is no doubt that Pack is a real gentleman. And he is another amazing and innovative entrepreneur in the boating industry. Starting his boat building business with a small business loan, Pack built it in to one of the top brands in the industry. And now his son Paxson is taking the brand forward with the introduction of an innovative, top of the line pontoon boat.

Pack and his wife Jill enjoy their Cobalt wine
Pack and his wife Jill enjoy their Cobalt wine

But Pack’s innovation and entrepreneurship didn’t stop with Cobalt Boats. He then successfully got in the California wine business with…that’s right…his Cobalt wine. And as you can see from this pic, Pack and wife Jill enjoy their Cobalt wine.  He sent me a couple of bottles of Cobalt wine that my wife and I enjoyed. On the bottle it reads, “A shared passion for excellence and quality brought together an esteemed boat-builder, Pack St. Clair, and a respected vintner, Steve Sherwin. One afternoon in the cellar over a glass of red wine, they decided to create something special for you to enjoy.” And you will enjoy it. Continue reading Cobalt – First Boats, then Wine