Byline: The Log Staff
MIAMI — The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) has honored Randy Repass and Geoff Eisenberg of West Marine with the Charles F. Chapman Award, recognizing “individuals or groups that have provided consistent promotion and protection of the sport of boating and its benefits to both the recreational boating industry and the public.”
They received the award during the annual Recreational Boating Industry Breakfast at this year’s Miami International Boat Show.
The award, presented each year since 1977, includes a $1,000 donation to a marine-oriented organization of the recipient’s choice. Repass and Eisenberg will donate their award to West Marine’s Blue Future, a companywide effort to make the world a better place focusing on sustainability in all its forms.
An industry veteran of 45 years, Randy Repass is the founder of West Marine, one of the world’s largest boating supply retailers, with nearly 300 stores in the U.S. and Canada.
In 1973, Repass 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.
Eventually, Repass said he became fed up with the impersonal nature of the technology industry, and after selling rope from his garage by mail order under the name West Coast Ropes (later to be renamed West Marine), he left his job in technology and opened his first West Marine retail location in 1975.
Repass said he saw an opportunity to improve how people shopped for boating supplies and designed West Marine to offer superior customer service, quality products and an enjoyable shopping experience.
Geoff Eisenberg served as president and chief executive officer of West Marine through the summer of 2012. He joined West Marine in 1976, becoming the second employee.
Under his leadership in various senior executive roles, including CEO, West Marine grew into the company it is today. He has had a hand in shaping West Marine’s service-driven culture and formulating its strategy.
Eisenberg left West Marine in 1994 to run a successful management and strategic consulting business specializing in CEO training and professional management development. He returned to West Marine as president and CEO in 2007.