2012 Charles Chapman Award
The Charles Chapman Award honors individuals or groups within the marine industry who have made outstanding contributions to the sport of boating for the benefit of the recreational boating industry and boating public. NMMA and its managing Board of Directors would like to congratulate the 2012 Charles Chapman Award Recipients Geoff Eisenberg and Randy Repass of West Marine:
Geoff Eisenberg, President and Chief Executive Officer, West Marine, has had a hand in shaping West Marine’s service-driven culture and in formulating its current strategy, as both an executive of the Company and a member of its Board, since joining the company in 1976. Since Dec. 2007, Mr. Eisenberg has served as West Marine’s President and CEO. He held various senior executive positions from 1976 until 1994 and has been active with the Company in one senior capacity or another right through to his current role.
While away from operational duties at West Marine from 1994-2007, Geoff ran a successful management and strategic consulting business specializing in CEO training and professional management development. Eisenberg is a past CEO of Salz Leathers Inc., a manufacturer of high quality leather, and is a past CEO of Greenhorn Creek Associates, a Real Estate and Golf Development company.
An experienced sailor, Geoff has extensive experience in both local and long distance ocean racing and cruising.
Randy Repass is the founder of West Marine, Inc. and Chairman of the Board of Directors, graduated from Duke University with a BSEE in 1966 and began his career in engineering and marketing with Fairchild Semiconductor. In 1973, he founded Semiconductor Engineering Associates, specializing in programming of computer-controlled testers for complex integrated circuits. Earnings from this business provided the initial financing for West Marine.
In 1968, Mr. Repass founded West Coast Ropes, later to be renamed West Marine, a mail order purveyor of quality three-strand rope. The first retail store was opened in Palo Alto, CA in 1975. Mr. Repass’ sailing background includes frostbite sailing, dinghy racing in FJs and lasers, club racing, coastal cruising in New England, the Northwest and Mexico and several ocean races to Mexico and Hawaii. He has also cruised extensively in the Northwest aboard a traditional New England lobster yacht. He is a former commodore of the Santa Cruz Yacht Club.
For the past few years, Randy and his family have been “product testing” in the Mediterranean aboard their Wylie 66 performance passagemaker Convergence.
2011: Ralph Lambrecht
The 2011 Charles Chapman recipient was Ralph Lambrecht. Ralph started racing boats in 1948. After graduating from Purdue University with a Mechanical Engineering BS in 1951 he began his career with OMC. However, due to company policy, Ralph was forced to give up his boat racing endeavors. Throughout his career at OMC, Ralph developed an enduring attraction to the marine industry and had numerous accomplishments. A few highlights during his successful career includes many patents on boats and marine engines, developing the P-250 Fire Pump for the US Navy (over 20,000 built and on virtually all naval vessels), building two world record speed boats (StarFlight II and Starflight III in 1959 and 1960), authoring SAE technical papers and serving as ABYC Technical Vice President and President of ABYC (1975-1976). One of Ralph’s major accomplishments with ABYC was restructuring the technical committees from over 50 to 17. The structure for the PTC’s that Ralph pioneered is still in place today. Ralph retired from OMC as Director of Service in 1987 after having worked on outboards, stern drives, boats and special projects. Most people would be quite happy with a distinguished career spanning 36 years…but that simply is not Ralph’s style.