Wesmar; changing hands after 52 years
Wesmar founder and president Bruce H. Blakey has announced today that he has sold his company to local businessman Roger Fellows. He founded Western Marine Electronics in 1965 to develop sonar to help commercial fishermen find fish.
Over the subsequent years his company developed the world’s first solid state sonar and the world’s first colour radar, and as the size of private yachts grew, the company added the development of bow and stern thrusters and roll fin stabilizers, answering the need for commercial grade equipment for yachts to add comfort to cruising and protection in crowded, windy conditions.
Over the years the company has adapted these basic ideas into a suite of highly sophisticated products that serve the needs of commercial and non-commercial, private and public marine operations, municipalities and governments around the world.
The company has been through some of the most tumultuous times of the marine industry’s history and thanks to innovation, vision, and sound financial practices, Wesmar remained while many others closed or switched to overseas production. Along the way his innovative product designs and early attention to automation created recognition of him as not only an industry leader but also an industry pioneer.
From its beginning, Wesmar exported its products throughout the world. Today the company remains the only US marine sonar manufacturer to design and build products in the USA. Wesmar has twice received the Department of Commerce’s E-Award for Export Excellence; and has been honoured by the Washington State World Trade Association for its contributions to the State’s Exports.
Bruce Blakey is selling his life’s work to a new innovator whom he says is poised to take the company and its products to new heights. The name of the company will remain the same. Headquarter operations will remain in Woodinville and employees will remain with the company, says its new owner and president Roger Fellows, an experienced executive and skilled leader, with a manufacturing, industrial and underwater product background.
“Wesmar is impressive,” he said.
“It is not every day someone can purchase a company with great potential and a 52-year-old-brand known worldwide. I’ve been looking for a company to purchase for the past year. My background includes innovative and specialised underwater products for the oil and gas industry, and I believe it fits with Wesmar’s underwater product focus,” he said at a recent Wesmar company meeting.
“Wesmar has an established international network of loyal dealers, customers that include private and public, government and municipalities including sonar, bow thrusters, stabilisers serving a wide range of markets.
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