Yamaha Marine Group today announced the promotion of Jonathon Burns to General Manager of Precision Propeller
Industries, Inc. (PPI), a wholly owned, independently operated subsidiary of Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A., and the company that produces all Yamaha branded stainless steel propellers. He will begin his new position with PPI this
Burns originally joined the Yamaha Marine Group as a Sales Coordinator at Skeeter® Boats in May of 2000, then moved to the Marine Group’s Operations and Planning Division in 2004 as a market analyst. In 2010, Burns was promoted to Division Manager of Yamaha Marine Operations and Planning where he has served as a member of the Marine Group’s Senior Leadership team for more than five years.
“Jonathon has been a leader in many of the key initiatives that have made Yamaha what it is today,” said Ben Speciale, President, Yamaha Marine Group. “Though I will miss having his expertise and friendship in our home office on a daily basis, I have great confidence in the excellent work he will do as the new General Manager of PPI.”
During his 15-year career with Yamaha, Burns has been deeply involved in business planning for both the Yamaha Marine Group and Yamaha companies, PPI, Skeeter Boats, Inc., and G3® Boats. He is a University of Texas at Tyler
graduate with a BBA in Marketing. Yamaha Marine products are marketed throughout the United States and around
Yamaha Marine Group, based in Kennesaw, Ga., supports its 2,000 U.S. dealers and boat builders with marketing, training and parts for Yamaha’s full line of products and strives to be the industry leader in reliability, technology and customer service. Yamaha Marine is the only outboard brand to have earned NMMA®’s C.S.I. Customer Satisfaction Index award every year since its inception. Visit www.yamahaoutboards.com.
Bob’s Heliarc Welding/Precision Propeller Works takes what’s broken and fixes it so it’s good as new.
Owner Mike Hall said the names represent two sides of the same coin. Bob’s Heliarc Welding was started by Bob House 45 years ago, while Hall added the Precision Propeller Works portion when he took over the business 18 years ago.
House taught Hall everything he could before Hall started running the business, and the two names represent the different skill sets of the two men. Hall is good at fixing propellers and not as skilled as a fabricator.
“Bob was amazing at fabrication,” Hall said. “And I can weld anything.”
House was always known for fixing propellers, Hall said, but he was also a fabricator, so his business name emphasized his fabrication skills. Now that Hall has more of a propeller focus, his addition emphasizes that aspect of the business.
“I was good at propellers, so I pushed the propeller side of it more than I did the welding side,” Hall said. “But I kind of would like more welding projects, the fixing things.”
The current shop location in the Brainerd Industrial Park at 1205 Madison St. is across the parking lot from the original, much smaller shop, Hall said. Despite the new signage, he said some customers still drive to the old shop. There are even original customers in their 80s or 90s who still come to the shop to fix their propellers.
When Hall first took over, some customers were reluctant to deal with him, as he was younger and less experienced than House. But over the years, Hall said they’ve warmed up and now some customers are reluctant to talk to anyone other than him.
“Bob worked magic, and I’ve got people doing the same thing now at me,” Hall said. “If I’m not here, they say, ‘Well, I’ll come back later.’”
Hall still makes cool things from time to time, he said, but it takes him longer and he usually ends up gifting what he makes.
“That flower pot over there?” Hall said. “It’s for sale, but I’ll give it away before I sell it.”
There’s a skill involved in hammering a propeller blade back into its correct shape without snapping it, Hall said. He does it by securing the propeller against a block mold of the correct blade angle and delicately yet powerfully hammering the blade into shape.
“You have to learn how to work the metal,” Hall said. “I like them when they’re bad like that because it gives me a challenge. I don’t like it when they break though. That’s never a good thing.”
Once the blade is back in its correct shape, Hall will fill in any chips in the blades, buff it out and paint it.
Hall said he recently counted up the block molds he has on site and tallied 383 blocks. Combined with the blocks he has scattered at home and other places, he figured he has around 500 blocks. The large variety of pitch blocks means he can fix a wide variety of propellers.
One of House’s calling cards was being able to repair cracks and breaks in mechanical parts like crankcases and transmissions. Instead of buying a whole new expensive part, Hall said, he can fix the old piece and make it good as new.
“People throw stuff away rather than fix it,” Hall said. “Now that a snowmobile is $15,000, people are fixing the older sleds.”
House was a longtime industrial technology teacher at Brainerd High School, Hall said, and started his business because he loved the work. His love of welding helped develop an outstanding welding program at BHS while he was there, he said, and produced some great part-time workers for the busy summer season.
Summer results in some unique challenges for the business, Hall said. People will be lining up in the shop for repairs and Hall tries to deal with them all at once, because of his perfectionist attitude toward work.
“At the end of the day I don’t go home because, unfortunately, my standards are too high for me to allow anybody to do my work,” Hall said.
Some people have said Hall’s repair work costs too much or it takes too long, he said, but it’s for a reason.
“I want to give somebody back a product that’s as good as new if not better,” Hall said.
In the summer, Hall offers full marine repairs in order to meet the larger demand. But the shop is still limited in the repairs it can offer because of a lack of knowledge in some areas. In those cases, they refer the customer to a repair shop they can trust.
The business does a wide variety of work on boats and tries to fix them as quickly as possible, Hall said, because there’s really only four months for boating in Minnesota.
“Things always break when you want to use them,” Hall said. “We try to get people back on the water as quickly as possible.”
How busy the business is depends on factors like the water levels, weather and gas prices, Hall said. This past year has been better than most, he said, because people are using their boats again. Because of the rising costs of new boats, they’re also putting more time and effort into fixing their older boats.
Over the last 18 years, welding technology has changed quite a bit, Hall said. When it comes to welding, 98 to 99 percent of what the business does is heliarc welding, which is an older term for what’s now called tungsten inert gas, or TIG, welding. Heliarc welding works for almost any type of metal, he said.
Only a few things remain from House’s original business, Hall said: a hammer, anvil and recently retired grinder. But the top-notch quality of the welding and repair work remains, he said.
“We can fix nearly anything,” Hall said. “And I thank Bob for teaching me how to make something out of nothing.”
Hall really likes what he does, he said, but he puts in a lot of hours at work. It’s that trait, he said, that led House to turn the business over to him nearly 20 years ago.
“Bob, somehow, he found somebody to work as hard as him to take over,” Hall said. “I had to dedicate a lot of my time to make it.”
[This article originally appeared online at http://www.pineandlakes.com/news/business/3925648-propeller-repair-business-keeps-moving-forward By Spencer Bickett at 3:09 p.m.]
The just concluded National Marine Propeller Association (NMPA) Annual Convention wrapped up a successful two-days of what attendees hailed as the right mix of high value educational sessions, product and service trade exhibits, great business-to-business networking, and fun. Currently in its 23rd year, the event held in Las Vegas, Nevada from October 22 – 24 saw more than 100 attendees from across the U.S., Canada, Bahamas, Australia, and the United Kingdom gather for the NMPA’s major annual event.
David De Witt, president of the NMPA and product/program manager for Mercury Propellers, in his remarks to the members at the Convention said, “This year our goal was revitalization, but still with a strong focus on the mission of the NMPA. This year the Board of Directors brought in Gordon Connell and his team as our association management company to spearhead the changes and we welcome him to NMPA and to the Convention. Thank you as members and exhibitors for noticing the changes we are making and for your continued support. We are committed to revitalization and growing the NMPA!”
The Annual Board of Director Elections held during the NMPA Annual Meeting on Saturday October 24th saw one change as Stew Foster of Prop Masters in Airdrie, Canada won his bid for the role of Vice President. Association Treasurer Paul Fox of General Propeller Company in Bradenton, Florida won an uncontested reelection to his executive committee seat, while Jimmie Harrison of Frank & Jimmie’s Propeller in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Rick Licare of Rundquist Propeller Tools in Naples, Florida; and Darren Prouty of Precision Propeller Company in Spokane, WA won their bids for reelection to the NMPA Board of Directors. The 2015 – 2016 NMPA Board of Directors are as follows:
President – David DeWitt, Mercury Propellers, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
Vice President – Stew Foster, Prop Masters, Airdrie, Alberta, Canada
Treasurer – Paul Fox, General Propeller Co., Bradenton, Florida
Secretary – Mike Jones, Coastal Propeller Service, Bridge City, Texas
Board of Directors
Scott Baumann, Baumann Marine, Houston, Texas
Marcus Clements, PowerTech! Propellers, Shreveport, Louisiana
Jimmie Harrison, Frank & Jimmie’s Propeller, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Larry Kindberg, AccuTech Marine Propeller, Dover, New Hampshire
Rick Licare, Rundquist Propeller Tools, Naples, Florida
Gary Linden, Linden Propeller, Dubuque, Iowa
Kevin Mitchell, Michigan Wheel Marine, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Darren Prouty, Precision Propeller Co., Spokane, Washington
The 2015 NMPA Annual Convention featured sessions on topics that ranged from highly technical propeller repair presentations, to propeller shop business and operations management presentations, to new product and prototype tool presentations. According to first time Convention attendee and speaker Christopher Karentz of S-E-A Limited, “Meeting the members was most enjoyable and the program was very good in all regards. Even though I have a solid understanding of propellers and the dynamics associated with this topic, as an ‘outsider’ to the organization, I was very impressed with the professional attitude, the desire to raise the standards of workmanship, and the sharing of knowledge that the group as a whole demonstrated and were eager to pass on to me and to each other.”
Sponsors and exhibitors at this year’s Convention included Mercury Propellers/Quicksilver Propellers, Acme Propellers, Clubine Manufacturing, Linden Propeller Prop Press 360, Michigan Wheel Marine, Miller’s Island Propellers, Pesco Inc., Phoenix Abrasives, PowerTech! Propeller, R.S. Hughes Industrial Suppliers (3M), Rundquist Propeller Tools, Solas Science & Engineering, Turning Point Propellers, Yamaha Motor Corp./Precision Propeller, Dynamics Research Corp., Western Branch Metals, and ZF Marine. Next year’s convention will take place November 10-12, 2016, at The Orleans Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.
National Marine Propeller Association, a trade group representing propeller repair companies and propeller related product and service providers throughout the U.S., recently launched their new website, www.nmpa.net, which will serve as a tool for members of the association and a resource for boaters looking for professional repair shops and other propeller related information. The new website also features the new NMPA logo, which incorporates new modern characteristics while maintaining a key feature, the propeller, as an element in the design. The updated design is part of the NMPA’s effort to rebrand and reinvigorate the twenty-three year old trade group to better serve its members.
“We embarked on several important initiatives in early 2015 the first being to appoint a new Managing Director for NMPA and the second to rebrand the association as part of a larger effort to update and enhance the NMPA member programs and benefits,” said Dave DeWitt, President of NMPA and Product/Program Manager for Mercury Propellers. “In April we announced the appointment of Gordon Connell and Connell Communications as the Managing Director and Association Management Company for NMPA and today we are pleased to announce the launch of our new website,” he added.
The clean, easy to navigate design allows visitors to the site to search for professional repair shops using the Member Directory or Interactive Map. Additionally, it offers a moderated public forum for boaters to interact and pose questions about propeller repair. For members it provides secure access to their profile, a resource library, a member-only discussion forum and single source of compiled industry news feeds.
Gordon Connell, recently appointed Managing Director of NMPA said, “I’m excited and looking forward to working to grow NMPA to its full potential. The new logo and website are just the start of several plans for the association. Next we are focusing on the Annual Convention scheduled for October 22-24 to build on what has historically been a valuable opportunity for propeller repair businesses to gather for informative sessions, networking and business-to-business development.”