Fountain Powerboats, was given a $12 million Job Development Investment Grant by the state of North Carolina on Monday. The grant is designed to help Fountain Powerboats with its new acquisition, Baja Marine, and create 250 additional jobs during the next five years in Washington and Chocowinity, NC. “We know times are tight,” Fountain said. “By Baja coming here, it is giving us a good insurance policy for the jobs we have now. It give us two companies to take care of the overhead.”
School of Boatbuilding
Reggie Fountain also announced Monday that Baja boats will be manufactured in North Carolina factories. Fountain Powerboats currently employs 333 people.
Fountain said, “This is very good news today. We are going to gain a company (Baja Marine) during these tough economic times that will come in here and give us a second company to help things continue to roll at Fountain (Powerboats),” said Fountain, founder and chief executive officer of Fountain Powerboats. “When the economy turns around, we are really going to gain steam and begin to really roll with Fountain and Baja boats.”
is Job Creation
Reggie Fountain said, “We look forward to all of this for the betterment of our area and for the increased prosperity for our people. When people hear our boats on the river, they will be listening to money in the bank for so many local folks. Today is an awesome day. More people from this county will be hired by the company to build Baja boats and join Fountain boats as the fastest and safest boats of this class of boats in the world,” Fountain said. “We’ve been here for 30 years and intend to be here for 30 more years. I plan for this company to be here when I’m gone.”
Fountain said he is proud to say that the average wage earned by an employee at his factory is about $34,000 per year. “Reggie Fountain is paying good wages for people in Beaufort County,” said Jay McRoy, chairman of the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners. “As long as we see action like this in our county, people are going to have opportunity from organizations like Fountain and Baja.”
Raising the Dead
Tom Thompson, executive director of the Beaufort
County Economic Development Commission, said the state grant will bring more wealth
to the county. “Despite some negative information in the news about Fountain’s stock
position, Fountain Powerboats is doing very well,” Thompson said. “Baja came to
Fountain because it knew Fountain can raise it from the ashes. Reggie will make
Baja a better boat.”
Reggie has always been a glass-half-full kind of guy.
High (Job) Performance Required
Donna Phillips, a senior economic developer/manager with the N.C. Department of Commerce, said the state grant received by Fountain is a performance-driven grant. “This grant is only for industrial projects where the benefits for the state will exceed the costs to the state,” Phillips said. “If they don’t get things going like is planned during the next five years, this grant will not play out.”
and Chevy” says The Man
“Fountain is like a Cadillac, and Baja is like a Chevrolet,” Fountain said. “We are going to build both of them. In effect, we will be the largest sportboat builder in the world when we get things going with Baja. Between Fountain and Baja, we will be producing more than $100 million per year when we get going. That is conservative. I expect we will do more.”
What’s Next for Reggie?
In the middle of June Fountain Powerboats received a notice from the American Stock Exchange warning that its listing was in “jeopardy,” giving the company until July 11th to submit a plan. "If the company does not submit a plan, or if any plan it submits is not accepted by AMEX, the company will be subject to delisting proceedings," Fountain management said in an SEC filing in June.
Evidently Fountain submitted a plan and AMEX was satisfied because as we go to press on July 23rd Fountain (FPB) was trading on the American Exchange for $.83, down from $2.80, its 52-week high.
Now that the AMEX hurtle is behind him, he has consummated the $4 million purchase (borrowed) of Baja Marine from Brunswick, and has landed a $12 million grant from North Carolina, what new mountains are left for Reggie to climb?