“I’ve been in the industry all my life,” says Ron Schmitt, President of G. G. Schmitt and Sons. “I don’t know what else I’d rather do. Working with the marine industry is like being in a fraternity. Every day is a challenge but the dedication of all the people around me that has made us successful is more cherished than you can believe.”
On September 19, 2017, NMRA announced this year’s winner of the Mel Barr Award as Ron Schmitt.
“The Mel Barr Award was created in memory of Mel Barr; an independent marine rep who was deeply involved in the boating industry,” says Tim Henneker of Boating Magazine. “He was one of the founders of the NMRA and its first president. It honors an individual who has contributed to the improvement of the marine industry through personal involvement. And, gets voted on by the NMRA full members.”
Left speechless, Ron feels fortunate. He’s made many friends. “It’s fun to go to work,” he says. “Hectic at times building boats, there are so many variations of what everybody wants to do.”
It’s hard for Ron to talk about himself without throwing in things about GG Schmitt and Sons.
In 1971, Ron started with the company after graduating from college as a floor worker. Before that he worked for the family machine shop starting at age 12. Only given tasks he could do as a young man.
He’s a sailor and used to do a lot of racing in Annapolis, MD. It’s one of his favorite cities in the world. As a younger man he used to do a lot of self-sailing. He owned a 25ft sailboat that he self-rigged and found it relaxing.
About GG Schmitt & Sons
Family owned biz started in 1951, Lancaster, PA. His father (G.G.) became a supplier for Trojan Yacht, also in Lancaster. They [Trojan] needed vendors for hardware which was mostly chrome plated brass.
Ron’s uncle had also just started a foundry for brass castings. Together Ron’s father and uncle got into the marine industry to fulfill Trojan Yacht’s needs.
In the 80’s, boat building took off from the Carolinas to Florida. As a result, GG added a plant in Sarasota, FL.
Today, they try to keep within a hub of a day’s travel to service their accounts. Plus, work with the engineering department of all different boat companies. They provide the highest quality that you can buy in stainless steel and aluminum products.
“Today’s marine and boating industry is becoming very sophisticated,” says Ron. “Much more so than 10 years ago. So many new things. The styling has changed tremendously. That changes what we do with our product line. Working all those details out is what our forte really is. I’m still traditional in my ways, that’s why I go out and seek good people.”
“We don’t make a huge production number of any one product because we’re so highly customized with everything we do. Every boat is different regardless of the bow rail, handrails and port windows.”
“As a family business we picked an industry that I don’t think we can compare to anything else,” says Ron. “It’s the people that make it great!” Ron says he’s grateful for the contributions his brothers, Gere and Steve, have made to their success.