Sea Ray has announced the launch of its SLX 260 and SLX 260 Outboard, the company’s first boat designed by an all-women design team and the first Sport Boat to showcase the new SLX design language. The design team was led by Sea Ray Senior Design Manager Carrie Fodor and Brunswick Boat Group Senior Industrial Designer Kristin McGinnis.
“This launch not only sets a new benchmark for design, but further celebrates the advantages that a diverse workforce brings to the marine industry,” said Aine Denari, Brunswick Boat Group president. “Carrie and Kristin are rising stars in our industry, and I am thrilled to see their success and the success of this fantastic launch. We strongly value the significant benefits that our diverse senior leadership team brings.”
Born in Holland, Michigan, Fodor grew up on the Great Lakes in a boating family and joined the company in 2008. Throughout her early education, she gravitated to creative pursuits developing a passion for drawing and art. While exploring career paths as a student at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, she determined that boat design offered her the ability to use her talents to create exciting and impactful products for the marine industry.
“This SLX 260 project has been a long time in the making and I’m so excited to finally be able to share this new boat with the world,” said Fodor. “It’s equally exciting to be able to tell the story behind the boat. It’s an incredible opportunity to work for an industry leading company that has created a recognized culture, where an individual’s work is truly valued. For any woman or minority that didn’t realize a career in the marine industry or the ability to design a boat was an option, this is proof that you can do something great.”
McGinnis, for her part, never intended to be a designer. Growing up outside of Toledo, Ohio, she originally planned to pursue a law degree. Inspired by famous women designers that came before her, and embracing her love for cars and drawing, she returned to the University of Cincinnati for a design degree at the age of 25. An internship with Brunswick Boat Group brands Sea Ray and Boston Whaler led to her hiring in the summer of 2016 as part of the company’s design engineering team.
“I was surprised to learn that a career in boat design existed and how closely connected it is to the automotive industry,” said McGinnis. “Designing a boat is an amazing career where you can make a huge impact in a short amount of time. I always thought Sea Ray was one of the best-looking boats on the water, and the SLX line was always one of my favorites. I am very excited to have had the opportunity to be a part of this team and grateful for the trust Brunswick placed in me and my colleagues.”
“We are proud of the exceptional work our designers have brought to this and so many other projects,” said Denari. “This team epitomizes our commitment to maintaining diversity in our leadership ranks, inspiring underrepresented groups to work in the marine industry and transforming marine culture into a more inclusive and inviting community.”