September 21, 2014

Trendsetters

Marine Industry

Mike Vogel | 11/1/2010

ADAPTING

Mindi Doller
Mindi Doller Offshore Marine - Owner • Hollywood [Photo: Josh Ritchie]

Mindi Doller didn't come from a marine industry background in her native Massachusetts. She didn't own a boat. She was a personal trainer who came to Florida in 1980 and was introduced to the boat business in 1993 when she met her future husband, Ron Doller, owner of Doller Offshore Marine. When he passed away in 1999, she wanted to keep the company going for the sake of its employees and because Ron had put his heart into the business. "Everyone in town waited around for the personal trainer bimbo to fall on her face and they could steal the business," Doller says.

They're still waiting. Doller hasn't had an easy time of it. The aftermath of the 9/11 attack and a manufacturer's decision in 2001 to cede its parts distribution to wholesalers knocked away half the revenue at her 10-employee company. She's had to move the company twice. The economy's been terrible. "We had to adapt," Doller says.

She diversified into pleasure-boating niches (her husband's forte was high-performance boats) and a host of services and began sourcing any parts for any need and exporting. "We're busy," Doller says.

"Our employees have taught me an awful lot," says the 49-year-old. Plus, "I really hate when people tell me I can't do something."

Movers and Shakers


Dennis Cummings
Yacht Path Marine Group - Managing director
Palm Beach Gardens
[Photo: Ana Adams]

Back in 2001, two Queens, N.Y., brothers with a building materials business, Dennis and Kevin Cummings, landed a meeting with the CEO of a yacht builder. They pitched starting a company to transport yachts up and down the east coast. The CEO shot their idea down; the yachts could do it on their own bottoms. But he told the deflated pair that if they found a way to transport them to California, let him know.

Nine years later, the Cummings have a 40-employee business that does $30 million in revenue transporting yachts to California — and Canada, Alaska, Latin America, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. They gather yachts in central locations such as Fort Lauderdale and load them on cargo ships whose deck space they charter. Yacht Path crews then meet the ships to unload them. They moved 1,500 yachts last year. The biggest was a 161-foot yacht that was transported from Fort Lauderdale to China. Business has been strong from buyers in the Middle East, Asia and California, who buy in Florida because prices are lower and the selection is bigger. Buying in Florida works out cheaper, even after paying Yacht Path Marine, which charged $51,000 recently to transport one yacht to Ensenada, Mexico.

The brothers and sister Colleen, who encouraged her brothers into the marine business, moved their business to Florida in 2005.

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