Robert Deputy, former President and CEO of Godfrey Marine, received the National Marine Manufacturers Association's (NMMA) highest honour this month by being inducted into the NMMA Hall of Fame. Deputy's career-long achievements were recognized during the 21st annual International Boat Builders' Exhibition & Conference’s (IBEX) Industry Breakfast at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, KY.
The NMMA Hall of Fame, established in 1988, recognizes individuals who make or have made substantial contributions toward the advancement of the marine industry.
“Bob Deputy is incredibly deserving of NMMA's most prestigious honour, for the thriving business he built, his unwavering dedication and leadership throughout the years, and personifying what it means to treat everyone as family – his company, his community, and the industry,” said Jason Pajonk-Taylor, President of Taylor-Made Products and NMMA chairman. “Deputy left a lasting mark on the recreational marine industry, and I'm honoured to be announcing his induction into the NMMA Hall of Fame.”
As president and CEO of Godfrey Marine, Deputy's leadership, commitment to relationships with employees, dealers and suppliers, and dedication to product development were instrumental to the company's success. Under his direction, Godfrey Marine thrived. When the company was sold in 2005, it had grown from a small manufacturing plant into the largest family-owned independent builder of recreational boating and fishing boats in the US.
Deputy's leadership and family involvement helped the company grow from one factory in Elkhart to 13 plants in four states with more than one million square feet of manufacturing capacity, and a family of brands that offered a “Boat for Every Passion”-Sanpan, Aqua patio, Sweetwater and Parti Kraft pontoons, Hurricane deck boats and Polar Kraft, Polar and Fishmaster fishing boats.
As other family members took on management responsibilities, Deputy's focus shifted to key industry and community issues. He was a founding member of the Independent Boat Builders (IBBI) buying group, served on the NMMA Board and as Chairman of the National Association of Boat Manufacturers, and actively lobbied in Washington, D.C. to protect and promote the boating industry. His belief in growing the industry rather than trading market share led to his support of the industry's initial “Grow Boating” campaign.
Deputy's family recently told the NMMA: “Bob exhibits leadership in every endeavor, whether business or philanthropic. He is humble and generous, but the one word that most aptly describes Bob is “family.” His greatest joy is in spending time with his family, which now includes 17 grandchildren. His most enduring legacy is to treat everyone as if they were family-and to remember that it's not where you start but where you finish.”