The National Marine Representatives Association has presented its 2018 Mel Barr Award to Marvin Perkins, former president of Perko, Inc.
The award recognizes an individual who has contributed to the improvement of the industry and is named in the memory of marine rep Mel Barr, one of the founders of NMRA and its first president.
Boating Industry Editor-in-Chief Tim Hennagir made the presentation Tuesday morning at the 2018 IBEX Industry Awards Breakfast in Tampa, Fla.
This year's award recognized the contributions, and honored the memory of Perkins, who joined his father in the family business in 1947 and served Perko for over 50 years. His grandfather, Frederick Perkins, started the marine lamp and hardware manufacturer in 1907.
Perkins was a trailblazer of casting and plating technology in the industry. Under his guidance, Perko became the market leader for its products. The Perkins family have faithfully supported the use of independent manufacturers reps since the early 1930s.
Marvin was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. in 1927, served in the Merchant Marine in World War II and then attended the Poly Tech Institute of Brooklyn.
After graduating, Perkins joined his father in the family business, Perko, Inc., in 1947. The company was started by his grandfather, Frederick Perkins, in 1907.
Perkins assisted his father in relocating their facilities to Miami, Fla. in 1959 and became president of Perko in 1964. He oversaw massive growth and development, including the construction and expansion up to a 137,000 square-foot facility by 1965 and further additions in later years, growing the facility to nearly its present size of over 400,000 square feet.
To this day, all Perko products are made in America. Perko became the market leader for their products, in both the U.S. and abroad, during Marvin Perko’s tenure as president. He was well respected by everyone in the industry, and served as director of the Miami International Boat Show for several years due to his leadership and influence. He remained active with Perko until retiring in 2000.
Perkins also had a passion for restoring old cars and boats. Receiving them in less than pristine condition, he would work meticulously to bring them back to their former glory. He completed over one hundred such projects.
Perkins passed away in May of this year. Accepting the award in his honor Tuesday at IBEX was his granddaughter, Deborah Perkins Hilyard, who has been working at Perko since 2002.