Louis (Lou) Sandoval – Co-Owner/Co-Founder Karma Yacht Sales, LLC
Lou Sandoval is Co-Owner and Co-Founder of Karma Yacht Sales, the Midwest Dealership for Beneteau, C&C Yachts. Mr. Sandoval founded Karma Yacht Sales (KYS) in 2002 with lifelong friend/business partner Jack Buoscio fulfilling a lifelong dream of owning their own business. Shortly thereafter, they completed the purchase of the existing twenty-five year old Beneteau Sailboat Dealership- Darfin Yachts, LTD. As one of the top dealerships representing Beneteau Yachts in North America, they not only sought to change the name and image, but to modernize the operations of the Lake Michigan dealership. They emphasized delivering a quality product combined with exemplary customer service and satisfaction. KYS’ home office is in Chicago; their area of coverage encompasses a nine state region alongside Lake Michigan in the North Central portion of the United States. In 2013, KYS was appointed as the Midwest dealer for Alerion and C&C Yachts for the geography that extends from Lake St. Claire and covers the Western Great Lakes and North Central area.
In over a decade at the helm, Karma Yacht Sales, LLC has continued in its winning tradition. They have been perennially ranked in the Top 10 dealerships in North America for Sales and Customer Service winning the prestigious Beneteau President's Award. In 2008, KYS received the prestigious title of Beneteau Platinum Dealer reserved for the top tier North American dealers meeting stringent Sales and Service criteria. In 2011, Karma Yacht Sales earned the Beneteau Dealer of the Year award in Service for having achieved a rare-perfect Customer Service Initiative (CSI) score.
As a company leader, Lou's role spends his time on business development and determining the sales and marketing avenues that best represent Karma Yacht Sales, LLC's interests. An avid sailor himself, he understands that product representation is crucial- so much of his time is spent securing opportunities that extend brand growth to reach target customers and develop new avenues for the sailing market to grow. Lou brings over fifteen years of experience in the marine industry in the areas of business ownership, business development, marketing, sales and service.
Lou’s professional background spans 16 years of experience in sales and marketing in the pharmaceutical and medical devices industry. Having started his career at Abbott Laboratories, He has held domestic and International assignments in Sales, Management and Marketing with Abbott Laboratories, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, ALZA Pharmaceuticals and most recently with Ortho-McNeil in the Johnson & Johnson family of companies. The diverse portfolio of experience he has obtained working for the various Fortune 500 corporations, has prepared him well for running his own business. In January 2005, Lou completely left the corporate world to dedicate his full-time attention to Karma Yacht Sales.
Lou serves on several industry boards including the Yacht Broker’s Association of America (YBAA); Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation (RBFF) and is the Vice Chair of the Diversity Sub-Committee for the Recreational Boating Leadership Council (RBLC) - an industry-wide board that seeks to grow the reach of boating and improve participation of on-the-water activities in various marine disciplines. He has served on the Board of Directors for Chicago Yacht Club and was appointed to serve as the Chairman of the venerable Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac for the 104th and 105th running in 2012 and 2013. Lou is currently the Vice-Commodore for Chicago Yacht Club having started his two year term in January 2015. In 2013, Lou was recognized as one of four finalists in BOATING INDUSTRY Magazine’s list of Movers & Shakers for his leadership in the marine industry. NEGOCIOS NOW (Business Now) Business Magazine named Lou an Honoree for their inaugural issue of WHO’S WHO in Chicago Hispanic Business in 2014.
Lou has appeared often in the media where he is quoted both as a business leader, community leader, sports competitor and a noteworthy expert in issues related to the marine industry, leadership development, healthcare and political perspectives. Some areas where he has been featured include “ň-BEAT” Feature Special “TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS” on ABC-TV with Theresa Gutierrez, NBC-TV’s THE TALK with Marion Brooks, TELEMUNDO-TV, CRAINS Chicago Business, HOY Newspaper, EXTRA Newspaper, REFLEJOS Newspaper, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES and the CHICAGO TRIBUNE.
As a civic leader, Lou has been involved in ‘giving back’ through his involvement in various community based organizations on the local, regional and national level. He was recognized by the United States Sailing Association (the national governing body of sailing) as “Sailor of the Week” in May of 2011 for his contribution to the sport and the sailing community. In 2014, he was selected to speak on Diversity/Inclusion in the Sport of Sailing at the Inaugural US Sailing Leadership Forum in San Diego, California. He was the keynote speaker at the US Sailing National Conference in October 2014. Lou is a recipient of the Silver Beaver Award from the Boy Scouts of America for his work with the youth of Chicago and specifically for his impact in growing Scouting in the Hispanic community of Chicago. It is the highest Award possible for adult volunteers. He served as Commissioner of the Chicago Area Council-Boy Scouts of America and Vice-President of their Executive Board where he helped lead a four council mega-merger in the Chicago area consolidating assets and services into an entity that serves 30,000 youth with 13,000 volunteers and a combined operating budget of $18M.
In his spare time, Lou enjoys competitive sailboat racing. He has been a sectional winner in the prestigious Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac, seven out of the last ten years aboard his boat ‘Karma’ (owned with Jack Buoscio and Brother Martin Sandoval) and has place in the top of their section nine out of the last ten years.
Lou is a native Chicagoan. He is the oldest of four siblings born to first generation working class Mexican immigrants. He grew up on the Southeast side of Chicago, attended St. Francis De Sales H.S and later majored in Biochemistry at DePaul University. Lou has completed certification coursework at Kellogg Graduate School of Management with a concentration in Marketing and Strategic Management. Lou, his wife Sonia and their two daughters live in the Bridgeport neighborhood of Chicago.