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October 10, 2008

Paul Kuck and Richard Bertram inducted into NMMA Hall of Fame

The NMMA Hall of Fame recognizes those individuals who have, or continue to generate, substantial and lasting contributions toward the advancement of the marine industry.

Regal Marine Industries' founder Paul Kuck and Bertram Yacht Company founder Richard Bertram received the National Marine Manufacturers Association's (NMMA) highest honor this morning when both were posthumously inducted into the NMMA Hall of Fame. Kuck and Bertram's career-long achievements were recognized during the 18th International BoatBuilders' Exposition & Conference (IBEX) Industry Breakfast, held October 8 at the Miami Beach Convention Center. 

The NMMA Hall of Fame recognizes those individuals who have, or continue to generate, substantial and lasting contributions toward the advancement of the marine industry. It honors individuals whose names and deeds are synonymous with the pursuit of quality, innovation and perfection within their respective spheres of expertise.

"Both Paul and Richard have left indelible marks on the recreational marine industry-for the successful companies they built and the commitment, leadership and ingenuity they've demonstrated throughout the years," says NMMA president Thom Dammrich. "Both are incredibly deserving of NMMA's most prestigious honor, and I'm privileged to be announcing their induction into the NMMA Hall of Fame."

Regal Marine's story begins in Orlando, Fla., in 1969, where Paul Kuck-with a $40,000 life savings he matched with contributions from two business associates-launched the company along with his wife, Carol. Today, Regal is one of the world's largest privately-held boat manufacturers, posting an average of $160 million in annual sales, employing nearly 700 people, and supporting more than 150 dealers and distributors in 40 countries. The company has a manufacturing plan in Orlando and Valdosta, Ga., and builds boats from 19 to 53 feet in length under the direction of Kuck's three children, Duane, Tim and Pam.

Known for its exceptional customer service, Regal has sold boats to more than 50,000 customers worldwide and has received multiple customer service excellence awards, including five from J.D. Power and Associates and a total of 19 NMMA Marine Industry Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) Awards.

Kuck was instrumental in fostering growth of the marine industry at large. While at Regal's helm, he served as chairman of the NMMA Board of Directors and was actively involved in the formation of the American Boatbuilders Association (ABA). Kuck is also founder of the "Leading with Vision and Values" seminar, which has become a staple feature of the Miami International Boat Show. The annual event combines his desire to help lead and grow the recreational marine industry with the equally important role the Christian faith has played in his life and the life of his family.

Just five years before Regal began firmly planting its roots in the marine industry, in 1962, Richard Bertram took his passion for boating and sport fishing and opened up a 25-acre plant on the Tamiami Canal in Miami. This would become the permanent home of Bertram Yacht Company, which introduced a new breed of sportfishing vessels into the marketplace and set the industry standard in yacht design for years to come.

As an adolescent, Bertram's enthusiasm for boating was evident. He raced sailboats as a youngster, eventually reaching the collegiate level and sailing on the America's Cup yachts. It was during one of the America's Cup qualifying races that he met legendary naval architect C. Raymond Hunt and was impressed with his deep-V hull design. The meeting helped launch Bertram's boatbuilding career, and the deep-V hull is known today as a signature Bertram Yacht feature.

Even before founding Bertram Yacht in 1962, Bertram, a consummate entrepreneur, had already built one of the world's largest yacht brokerages. His first boat was a 31-foot powerboat named Moppie, which was constructed entirely out of fiberglass. After racing it multiple times and setting a new world record for speed, a modified version of Moppie was launched at the 1961 New York Boat Show and thus Bertram Yacht-a new breed of fast, glamorous sportfishing yacht-was officially born.

Bertram eventually left the company to pursue other interests, and Bertram Yacht was acquired by the Ferretti Group in 1998. Today, the company builds eight different models and maintains a presence in 95 different countries. It employs more than 2,800 individuals worldwide, including more than 100 specialized engineers.

To learn more about past NMMA Hall of Fame inductees, visit the NMMA 'Awards Gallery' online at http://www.nmma.org/awards