Q&A with Bertram CEO: Peter Truslow
In the first edition of the Bertram Master Class Series posting every Wednesday, Anglers Journal Editor-at-Large John Brownlee recently posed a few questions to incoming Bertram CEO Peter Truslow about his new position.
JB: First, Peter, congratulations on your new position. Is it exciting to lead a company with such a distinctive heritage into a new chapter?
PT: Thanks John. It’s incredibly exciting for me because I am so familiar with the Bertram, the boats and the company. I believe in what the brand stands for: rugged offshore performance, and classic American styling. I came on board because the new team is completely committed and capable of growing the business properly.
JB: In broad strokes, please outline the company’s strategy for re-entering the market.
PT: I think our tagline “Inspired by Tradition. Driven by Excellence” describes our general vision well. We are laying the groundwork for a solid, sustainable business. We have been developing a world class team, the best production and service facilities possible, and a product line-up that meets the needs of modern Bertram customers. We have been reaching out extensively to customers from around the world to get their insights on the future company. The “voice of the customer” will be critical to how we manage our business going forward.
JB: Bertram has built an all-new 35 with the classic lines of the original 31, and you’ve also announced a 58. Will further models come quickly or will it be a gradual process?
PT: The new 35 has struck a nerve in the marketplace. I am shocked at the positive response we have had from around the world about this boat. All experienced boaters and offshore fisherman love the great lines and performance of the original 31 and other classic Bertrams. What is so great about the new 35 is that it reflects the styling of the classic boats, but it was designed and built with the most modern features, performance and technologies. Future models will come at a steady, measured pace. The new models like the 58 will be extremely modern yet distinctly Bertram.
JB: You’ve spent much of your career in the boating business running EdgeWater, a company that built smaller outboard boats. Do you see Bertram as a different set of challenges or will it be essentially similar to that endeavor?
PT: Yes, the challenges are different and the potential is incredible. With EdgeWater we created a brand and built a business around it. With Bertram the brand is so strong. Our job will be to continue to expand the promise of the brand and to build boats that live up to the brand reputation. For me this is particularly exciting because we have the opportunity to build the business using the latest methods in boat design and construction, sales, and customer service. Certainly, the boats are more complex to build than I am used to; however, the basic principles of manufacturing are similar and our team has extensive experience building larger yachts.
JB: In the decades you’ve been involved in the boating business, how have you seen the customer’s expectations evolve?
PT: Customer expectations have changed in many ways. People have less time to spend on their boats than they did 20-30 years ago, but they are as passionate as ever about their boats. Today’s boats need to be easier to operate and maintain. They need to be more versatile and better for day trips. A positive, complete ownership experience is essential. The new Bertram will be uniquely qualified to serve today’s customer because of our modern designs, and in-house sales and service capabilities.
JB: Describe your favorite day on the water, and what’s your favorite place to go boating?
PT: I spend a lot of time on the water. Almost any day on a boat is good. A perfect day for me is diving and bottom fishing in the northern Abacos with friends and family. There’s nothing better than a calm day with 100 foot water visibility, no other boats in the area for 20 miles and a few grouper in the box.
JB: Finally, where do you see Bertram, and yourself, in five years?
PT: We are laying the ground work for what will be a great, enduring business. Within 5 years we will be develop a full, but focused line of offshore boats. The boats will be produced in a world class facility that will offer full service and customer support. For demanding offshore boaters and fisherman, Bertram will continue to be a great boat to own for decades to come. JB: Good luck!