By Bill Yeargin
In the Old Testament we read the story of Queen Esther who was told by her cousin Mordecai that she had been put in her position for “such a time as this.” While we may not read about Thom Dammrich in a future religious text, there is no question that during his tenure at NMMA he was the right person at the right time in the right job.
Thom has been the face of our industry for 20 years and has excelled every step of the way. He has been a steady hand on the wheel of our industry and has earned the respect of many. Managing a board with strong leaders and entrepreneurs for as long as Thom has required a lot of important skills and Thom has them all.
The last twenty years have included some very tough times, but Thom kept the industry together when a lesser leader would have given up. The Great Recession of 2008-2010 was devastating to our industry but Thom managed to keep leading well despite the dark environment. When we lost the long-time venue of the Miami International Boat Show it took almost a miracle and incredible leadership to move the show in such a short time period, but Thom led us through it.
Thom has been everywhere the past twenty years. I cannot remember a significant industry event where Thom was not present. Probably my most fun experience with Thom was when we, joined by some other industry executives, visited Havana, Cuba, on a special permit trade mission before it was easy to go there.
Thom has been under the spotlight typical of a highly visible leader for twenty years and I have never, not once, heard anyone even remotely question Thom’s integrity. Thom always conducts himself well and I trust him completely, as I know the other leaders in our industry do. Thom has been a great example to all of us in the marine industry regarding how we should also lead with integrity.
We have a great successor for Thom in Frank Hugelmeyer and I was honored to serve on the search committee that hired Frank. However, Frank would be the first to say he has very big shoes to fill.
Thom, I admire and respect you and we will miss you. The entire industry wishes you a great retirement!
Bill Yeargin is the president and CEO of Correct Craft.