Southwest Florida Yachts


Luckiest People in the World
y Barb Hansen
May  2006

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 did.

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.

We let our customers grade us. Most write how great our staff is, quite often adding, “Give him a raise!” So noted.

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.

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Southwest Florida Yachts
3444 Marinatown Lane N.W. • North Fort Myers • Florida 33903
(239) 656-1339 (800) 262-7939 Fax (239) 656-2628

Marinatown Marina 26° 38.5'N 81° 53.0'W
Burnt Store Marina 26° 45.71' N 82° 04.20'W

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