Jim Lane, the president of Chaparral & Robalo, lost his battle with leukemia last weekend.
I had intended to write this post earlier in the week, but got caught up working on our news article about Jim. Still, I wanted to share my own thoughts as well.
I knew he had been ill, but the news still hit me hard Monday as I'm sure it did a lot of folks. Even though I'd only known Jim a few years, I'd gotten to know him pretty well during that time. He was one of those people that if I needed something, I knew I could call.
Of course, that was a big part of what people loved about Jim. From the moment you met him, he made you feel like you'd known him for years.
Talk to people in the industry and they would talk about his business acumen, his financial smarts (which was certainly true), but also about how much he valued people. You could see it when he talked about the tough decisions he and the rest of the management team had to make to lay people off during the recession. You could see it in the company's $18 million investment in its dealer network during the downturn.
And as a journalist, I certainly appreciated that he was always good for a quote.
He was truly one of the good guys in this industry, a true advocate for boating and he will be missed by all of us lucky enough to have known him.