Luckiest People in the World
Barbra Streisand sang that people who need people
are the luckiest people in the world. Vic and I
could sing that tune with different lyrics. The
luckiest people in the world are small business
owners like ourselves with great staffers who share
our labor of love.
How lucky can you be? If you’re lucky like Vic and
me, you are twice-lucky because then your well-oiled
business machine is also located at the water’s edge
and you’re working around boats. Best of all, in our
case, is the fact that we’re working alongside
terrific people who help our customers plan cruises
and take learn-to-yacht courses.
Our employees seem genuinely to like and respect
each other for their respective talents. Nobody has
an attitude. They work as a team. If one is out,
another takes up the slack. If one needs help,
another lends a hand. Management gurus call this
redundancy. Whatever it is, it is truly the
lubricant that oils the gears of all smooth running
enterprises. Ours, for sure.
For this, especially, we salute Marc Winkel, our
anchor, who has been with us almost 19 years, and
our chief captain, Gary Graham, with 15 years of
teaching students how to operate a yacht. They set
the standards by good example.
Here, standard one is making customers happy. If
charters or students arrive after hours after a long
day of travel the boat is ready for them with a
light on and the refrigerator chilled. Our dock
manager doesn’t just hand over the boat keys and
announce, “Here it is.” He spends at least a couple
of hours helping charters learn all about the vessel
and answering all their questions.
I'm always proud when a person calling on Saturday
or Sunday says in a surprised tone, "Oh, you are
there on the weekends?" Yep. For 22 years’ worth of
weekends callers have been treated to a real, live,
friendly voice on the other end of the line.
Vic and I just returned from a mini-vacation and,
alas, noted more than a few hospitality staffers
with an “I don’t really care” attitude. This is so
common that when you run into a friendly employee it
just about knocks you over.
Vic and I will celebrate anniversary number 22 this
year (marriage and business). I think we were in an
oh-what-the-heck frame of mind back in 1984. The
cold war was intense and there was talk of a nuclear
standoff. The prime loan rate was exhorbitant, 13
percent. Oh, what the heck, one Midwesterner said
to another, let’s get married, move to Florida, and
buy a yacht chartering company. And we’re glad we
There’s an expression that I like. “Get a job you
enjoy and you’ll never have to work again.” Now,
“work” is in the mind of the doer but I have to say
Vic and I enjoy our work. I can look out the window
12 months of the year and see blue water and boats
and people enjoying both. When our clients are happy
and excited, I’m happy and excited for them.
let our customers grade us. Most write how great our
staff is, quite often adding, “Give him a raise!” So
Our customers probably see Vic and me as the faces
of the business but I’m here to tell one and all
that it’s our employees who deserve all the credit
for making it work, for making our work so much fun,
and for keeping our customers happy.
We are so grateful.