Historic RMK Merrill-Stevens Shipyard Unveils Industry Veteran William Clewes as New CEO - Will Lead North and South Yards, Redevelopment, and Grand ReopeningDate: Thu, Jul 23, 2020
(MIAMI, FLORIDA) Florida's first and most historic shipyard, RMK Merrill-Stevens, has unveiled industry veteran William Clewes as its new CEO. "I am excited about building a team and a new facility to bring the RMK Merrill-Stevens facility back to its former glory and beyond," said Clewes in January after accepting the position. Clewes will lead the North and South yards, which straddle the Miami River, the ongoing redevelopment of both, upcoming renovations, and the grand reopening of the yards.
"I am here to build a team and facility to be part of the exciting future for the yacht community in South Florida, meeting customer satisfaction with a team of quality employees, and working together to do the right thing," Clewes states. Clewes brings decades of experience in manufacturing and facilities management, process improvement, ISO systems, and lean manufacturing with him to the role. Clewes previously led the development of a $170M state-of-the-art manufacturing facility and served as the Director of Operations for Seaspan and Plant Manager for Canfor.
The first half of the year has not been easy on any business; however, Clewes has used this time to get comfortable in his new role and prepare the shipyard for future growth. "I have settled into the role of CEO understanding the challenges that the boating community faces in the yacht and commercial part of the business," says Clewes. "I believe RMK MS is fully prepared to take the challenge on," he continues. The ongoing pandemic has not changed the focus or plans for the North and South yards. Clewes says that he is "very optimistic that we will grow to be the premier superyacht facility to service the South Florida community in the coming years."
Behind the scenes at the shipyard, the past six months have included a transformation in the construction of the North Yard and numerous upgrades to the South yard, including a new parts department, workspaces, and more. Clewes states that there is "an excitement building in the management team and trades with anticipation of the upgrades to the business." The shipyard recently completed the commission of a new 2,700-ton Pearlson shiplift on the North Yard, which first arrived at RMK Merrill-Stevens in August 2019. The new 2,700-ton Pearlson shiplift enables RMK MS to service yachts and superyachts up to and exceeding 200-feet, which was previously unavailable in South Florida.
The shipyard's convenient location on the Miami River gives superyacht clients easy access to the yard without requiring the use of a tugboat or straps that increase the risk of damage. The North Yard is now accepting reservations for service, maintenance, classification inspections for classed vessels, and refits.
In the upcoming months, Clewes expects the North Yard to be filled with yachts and superyachts, and that the RMK MS team will continue to grow to meet the demands of the business. "We will always be looking to enhance the team and the experience of our customers," says Clewes. "We are thankful to ownership for putting their faith in the growth of the Merrill-Stevens team to bring the shipyard back to its former glory," he concludes.