“Both are two strange activities I got into as an adult,” says Nando Zucchi, VP Special Marketing for Evinrude. Lucky for BRP Marine Group, Zucchi chose to stay with boats.
Growing up in Reading, Massachusetts, just 15 miles north of Boston, Zucchi didn’t do any boating. It wasn’t until he moved to Milwaukee. There he started his career with Johnson Wax marketing their classic consumer package goods (Pledge, Windex and Raid). Then moved over to canoes and kayaks with Johnston Outdoors in the early 2000’s. Since then he’s been in outdoor sporting and marketing goods, product development, and sales for roughly 15 years. This includes: canoes, kayaks, saws, knives and tools. Zucchi also did things that go boom with a company called Vista Outdoors. Then ran their ammunition and Savage Rifles in MA. “Now if things go boom,” says Zucchi, “it’s not so good.”
He became a boat geek. Built a wooden sea kayak. Then made a sailboat. “Now I mostly do bigger boats – 36ft trawlers, slow motion, 7.5 knots everywhere I go,” says Zucchi. “And, I’m having to get used to flying everywhere at 65mph on a pontoon boat which isn’t so bad. It puts a smile on my face.”
BRP Marine Group
In late June 2018 BRP announced the acquisition of AlumaCraft and the creation of BRP Marine Group. It was at that time they hired Zucchi. BRP Marine Group believes they can no longer be just an outboard engine company that pushes boats. Nor can they be disjointed from everything else; about the experience. “I was hired to integrate both,” says Zucchi. “The business of boating and the experience together. We need to get really more involved with the entire experience from the driver. More driver eccentric. And, understand the whole experience, not just the engine part of it. I’m also responsible for the Wincraft Manitou side of the business; as well.”
Zucchi claims the consumer side of business is actually really similar to what he’s used to. “It’s the trade side that’s different from all the other businesses,” he says. “The dealers and manufacturer side. There is much more of a gate keeper there that we need to work with. That’s been the big difference since I started. It’s been a whirlwind start – lots of fun. Really fun, steep learning curve. I have my comfort zone on the consumer side and the other side is a little bit steeper.”
In the short time with BRP, Zucchi has gone out on rides with consumers and dealers. Plus, showcased other dealers. “It was a great opportunity,” he says. “I got to hear the consumers interactions, watch them interact with the boats and meld that with some of my boating experiences.” He got first hand knowledge of what their frustrations were. Why boaters are willing to forego some things for others. The whole two-stroke versus four-stroke. “It was great to watch the boaters and how they experienced the product. How they talked about the products. Watching the women learn about idock and itrim.” You could tell he really enjoyed his time with the boaters and learning from them.
It was a pleasure interviewing Nando Zucchi. The best part for me was learning he grew up in the next town over. And, both of us started boating as adults. Myself in the inner Boston Harbor across from Logan Airport. Zucchi through the Milwaukee Sailing Center.
Watch out though! His enthusiasm for his new position and learning from the boaters and dealers is catchy. Zucchi recommends dealers be more user friendly. Start thinking about the whole experience. Build that relationship. Put boaters into the right boat and keep them (and their families) coming back for years to come. It’s no longer just about the inventory sitting on your showroom floor.
As for his hunting experience – Zucchi says the only hunting he’ll still try to do on his own is spring turkey. “If you want a really good turkey,” he says, “go buy yourself a butterball. It tastes better than pheasant. They’re not as meaty as your store-bought turkey.