Ron Pickle, VP of Manufacturing for Hargrave Custom Yachts died at age 66 in Ft. Lauderdale on April 14th after a short battle with pancreatic cancer. Ron’s career started in 1959 when he graduated from high school in Lancaster, Pa. and joined Trojan Yachts as a carpenter’s apprentice. Over the next 24 years he rose through the organization to become plant manager and finally VP of Sales, Manufacturing, and Engineering for the 600-man company.
In 1980 he, along with Trojan President Don Seith, and designer Harry Schoell, conceived, built and launched the revolutionary Trojan 10 Meter, which lead the American boat building industry into the world of compound curves and “Euro-Styling,” and away from the boxy look and square corners that were typical at the time. After two years Trojan surpassed its sister company Bertram (both were owned by the Whittaker Corp.) in annual sales due to the success of the 10 Meter and boats that followed in the same style.
In 1983 he started his own company with partner Don Seith, manufacturing center console boats. The company was sold to Larson in the late ‘80s. Then, he and Seith began importing Princess motoryachts into the U.S. and set up a national dealer network.
Pickle, has been recognized for his work with the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC), playing an important role in establishing the standards that still guide the boating industry to this day, and which are the bedrock of NMMA Builder Certification.
In the ‘90s Pickle was a consultant to a number of companies including Fountain, Wellcraft, Schoell Marine, Celebrity and Bombardier.
He joined Hargrave Custom Yachts in 1999 as Vice President of Manufacturing and worked closely with both buyers of custom-built large motoryachts to find out what they wanted, then translated those wishes into practical reality with a boat yard in Taiwan. He had the wonderful ability to visualize things in three dimensions and figure out how to get things to work in a boat.
But after nearly 50 years in the boat industry he will be remembered by those who knew him for his compassion for other people as much for his documented skills in boat building.
Pickle is survived by his fiancée Joyce Phillips, two sons, Tim and Jeff Pickle, and two grandchildren Kayla and Logan Pickle.
There will be a memorial reception held for Ron on Saturday April 21st at the Coral Ridge Yacht Club in Ft. Lauderdale from 6pm to 8pm. RSVP is requested at 954-463-0555.