Front Street Shipyard and two other independent yacht yards in mid-coast Maine are appointing Bruce Johnson, formerly of Sparkman & Stephens, as their business development executive. Brooklin Boat Yard, Front Street Shipyard and Rockport Marine reached an agreement to employ Johnson to represent each yard independently in seeking new construction projects. Johnson will be responsible for attracting and negotiating new national and international builds and refits to Maine, and matching them with the yards based on scope.
Johnson is leaving his most recent post as president of Sparkman & Stephens, the venerable 82-year old yacht design and brokerage firm where he has worked as chief designer for the past 12 years and president for the past three. His relationship with S&S spans 24 years, first as designer and then as vice president before assuming his role as chief designer. He is considered one of the foremost experts in his knowledge of the complete S&S design collection from 1929 to 2012.
"Bruce is a very valuable asset for Front Street Shipyard," says JB Turner, president of Front Street Shipyard. "He's internationally connected to designers, yacht owners, captains and manufacturers throughout the marine industry, and he'll use those connections to develop new projects."
Johnson's role for all three yacht yards will be to promote their capabilities and craftsmanship to people who are considering new builds and major refits. Johnson will facilitate relationships between prospective customers and the yard or yards that will best be able to meet the customers' needs.
"Brooklin Boat Yard, Front Street Shipyard and Rockport Marine each has discrete capabilities and strengths, but more than likely the yards may have to compete against one another for projects that Bruce brings to us," says Taylor Allen, president of Rockport Marine. "We believe Bruce will help improve brand recognition and develop new business for each of the yards."
While the three yards are naturally competitors, the owners acknowledge that each will benefit from having Johnson represent them. "JB, Taylor and I have all known each other for a long time and we've worked with each other when a project benefits from collaboration," says Steve White, president of Brooklin Boat Yard. "We expect to have occasional opportunities to work cooperatively for the benefit of some very big and complex projects."