2021 inductees to NMMA Hall of Fame
Published on September 21st, 2021
The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) will induct into the organization’s Hall of Fame Joan Maxwell, President and Co-Founder of Regulator Marine, and Bill Watters, President of Syntec Industries. The 2021 ceremony takes place at the International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition & Conference on September 28 in Tampa, FL.
The NMMA Hall of Fame was established in 1988 and recognizes individuals who have made, or continue to generate, substantial and lasting contributions toward the advancement of the marine industry. It honors individuals whose names and deeds are synonymous with the pursuit of quality, innovation, and perfection within their respective spheres of expertise.
Details about past NMMA Hall of Fame inductees: http://www.nmma.org/industry-awards/hall-of-fame-award
Maxwell is a trailblazer who has devoted her working life to the marine industry. Through her determination and faith, Regulator has grown to be a leading manufacturer of offshore boats, and earned a reputation as one of the most well-respected brands in the boating industry for more than 30 years running.
Having founded the company with her husband Owen in 1988 in an abandoned A&P Grocery Store, Regulator set out to reinvent the deep-vee center console experience and engineered what is known today as an unbeatably smooth and dry ride. The company now operates in a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Edenton, NC where their team continues the legacy Joan and Owen started years ago – always evolving to meet customer demand while staying true to their heritage.
As a respected leader of a premier boat company, Maxwell has long been actively engaged in the recreational boating industry’s leading organization, the NMMA. In an historically male dominated industry, she became the first woman to Chair the NMMA board of Directors and currently remains on the Boat Divisional Manufacturer’s Board.
Her dedication to service is evident not only at Regulator, but also to the local community in which Regulator is located, where she currently serves on the Edenton-Chowan Partnership Board. Maxwell established a Volunteer Program at Regulator Marine which pays employees their regular wages during working hours while they volunteer their time and services to local organizations of their choosing.
In 2018, she established the “In His Service” program at Regulator, which oversees Regulator’s charitable giving, as well as its employee emergency assistance fund. Currently, she is a member of C12, a Christian based leaders’ roundtable that focuses on building better businesses for a greater purpose.
Here previous accomplishments include the 2018 Hammond Marine Industry Leadership Award, the Darlene Briggs Marine Woman of the Year Award, and the National Association of Manufacturer’s STEP award.
President of Syntec Industries, Bill Watters has been a driving force in the recreational boating industry for more than three decades. He has a passion for the industry like no other, and has selflessly contributed his time, resources and leadership throughout his career.
Watters attended the University of Georgia and graduated with a degree in Agricultural Engineering. Upon graduation, he began working at his father’s yarn manufacturing company, Integrated Products. He began selling yarn to Sea Ray, and after attending Marketing Days at the Miami Boat Show and IMTEC in Chicago, realized there was a great potential for carpet sales in the marine industry.
In 1986, he and his brothers Tom, Thad, and Joe formed Syntec Industries and began selling carpet to the marine industry. Syntec has been a major supplier to the marine industry ever since. He brought innovative products to market and set trends for boat builders that positively influenced boat sales.
Thanks to his forward thinking, Syntec successfully weathered economic downturns and kept up with industry trends by diversifying its product lineup and expanding into other OEM markets, including the RV industry in the 90s, and the manufactured housing and multi-family markets in 2000 and 2009, respectively.
Watters’ leadership and service have also been instrumental to the growth of the recreational boating industry—every committee, board and industry initiative that he’s worked on have benefited from his involvement.
He has long been an ardent supporter of NMMA. He’s served in multiple roles on the MACD, NMMA, Grow Boating and MLA Boards, including Chairman of each. He has been AMD Chair- and Vice Chairperson, and a member of the Recreational Boating Leadership Council. To help expose boat builders to the best suppliers in the marine industry, he has also been a driving force behind IBEX, and has served as IBEX Planning Committee Chairperson.
Watters also gives back to his community with his time, energy, and financial support. He supports multiple youth groups, local organizations and charities in his hometown of Rome, Georgia, including the Darlington School Board, YMCA, Jaycees, Boy Scouts of America, Floyd Healthcare Foundation, Kiki’s Kids, Coosa Valley Soil & Water Conservancy & Development and the Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission, to name just a few.