First off, I would like to say thank you for visiting the Symphony Boat Company website. As the President and CEO of Symphony Boat Company, I wanted to tell you a little bit more about my background. If you have any questions about the company or a build feel free to contact us.
My love of the water began at an early age. My childhood home was on the shore of one of Minnesota’s fabled 10,000 lakes (in fact, there are 11,842 lakes that are 10 acres or more) where canoes, rowboats, a small sailboat, and a speedboat kept the La
Fond family pretty busy all summer.
A love of timeless design came from the fact that the house we lived in was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and was one of his later Usonian kit experiments designed to control costs. Wright’s Usonian houses had no attics, no basements, and little ornamentation. Our house had a basement because we were on a hillside above the shore and there were lots of siblings in the household.
After college which included the conversion of a Volkswagen Bug into a Bradley GT with a home-grown electric propulsion system as part of an industrial studies senior project, I went off to the Landing School in Kennebunkport, Maine, where I studied traditional wood boatbuilding and small craft design. I loved the Landing School so much that upon graduation with two certificates (Boatbuilding and Design) I became a teaching assistant for another 6 months.
Although I had my sights set on a career in the Pacific Northwest, I found my first job with Burger Boats of Manitowoc, Wisconsin. Henry Burger had a stroke and the company changed hands. For the first time in 125 years it was no longer the family business.
Two years later, I soon found a position with Tollycraft Yachts in Kelso, Washington. However, that company was in a state of transition. Tolly himself interviewed me and gave a favorable recommendation but he no longer owned Tollycraft. Soon the savings and loan debacle and the luxury tax were working their devastating blows to boat builders across the country.
It was during this time that I conceived of the design that now has evolved into Symphony Boat Company. Read this article for the genesis of what is now Symphony Boat Company. During this time my wife and I also had our first child. We were far from Minnesota and our families there. We wondered if there was work back in the mid-west.
This is when Carver came upon the scene. Timm Smith, a classmate from the Landing School days put in good words with Jim Kyle (now a VP with marine supplier Bomar-Pompanette). The company had just come out of bankruptcy, and I spent the next four years having a grand time churning out new and renewed designs for Carver and newly-acquired Trojan yachts. With more focus on ROI, Carver cleaned out the design department and I found myself looking for a new job.
Airplanes? Yes, I found work at Cirrus Design working under Mike VanStaagen in the fuselage engineering group and I took the lead in converting the work of Mike and contract designer Benn Isaacman to “productionize” styling and design of the cockpit and cabin of the SR20 and SR22 piston aircraft. Later, I played a key role with VanStaagen in the cabin and flight deck design of the Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet.
With a short stint supporting a local shipyard with engineering, that about brings me up to when I launched Symphony Boat Company in the summer of 2013.