Bill Goggins to Build Upon Great Foundation as Sail America’s New President
Bill Goggins, commercial manager at Harken Yacht Equipment, has been elected Sail America’s new president. “To be asked to lead an organization like Sail America is an honor,” he said. “I plan to inject some of my own-communications-based style and high energy management into the leadership of this great organization. There is a lot to do, but thanks to Bill Bolin’s leadership, Sail America has a fantastic foundation, one which we can build upon in the future.”
In his role with Harken, Goggins’ responsibilities include executing Harken’s global marketing and brand strategy as well as coordinating their worldwide sales force from the company’s headquarters in the USA and its offices in Italy, France, England, Australia, New Zealand and Slovenia.
Goggins was born in Maryland, where, as a toddler, his father introduced him to sailing on the Chesapeake Bay. After moving to Milwaukee, WI, he continued sailing competitively in one designs and keelboats on the Great Lakes and worldwide. He races Lasers weekly and looks forward to playing with his newest toy, an A Class Catamaran.
Prior to joining Harken, Goggins worked through graduate school at a local Milwaukee-based advertising agency that specialized in outdoor sports. He earned his BA and MBA at Marquette University where he met his wife, Susan. The couple recently welcomed their first child, Jack, to their family on December 11, 2007.
Goggins recently shared his perspective about Sail America and its future in this interview:
Question: What Sail America programs have you thought especially valuable?
“Our organization is focused on three areas: managing Strictly Sail Shows, marketing sailing to newcomers, and serving our membership through an organized association. We’re fortunate to have fantastic industry volunteers leading all three of these committees and we have a fantastic board of directors. Most importantly, I know in my gut that we have the right leader in Executive Director Jonathan Banks. We struggled with a transitional period between the old Sail America and where we are today, but I’m certain that under Jonathan and our board, we have the right after guard to successfully navigate our industry into a promising future.”
Question: Is there a particular area of Sail America that you would like to focus upon during your tenure as president?
“I have some internal and internal areas that I feel we can help affect some change with Sail America.
Internally, I want to focus on Sail America’s need for further stability in the future. Stability comes from sound financials, smart use of our limited resources, improved communication and partnership amongst our staff, board, committees, the NMMA and other organizations in sailing. I can’t emphasize enough that we are too small to be reinventing the wheel – we all need to think collaboratively if we want to survive and thrive in the near future.
Externally, Sail America needs to be more dedicated to excellence. Sail America’s ultimate target market (the sailor) is a highly educated, successful affluent consumer. We all know that. Sailors expect more than we are currently providing them as an industry and as individual companies. Enforcing a standard commitment to excellence in all of our decision making is critical.”
Question: What have you thought about being a member of Sail America? How has Sail America membership helped you and helped Harken professionally?
“Peter and Olaf Harken were both involved since the foundation of Sail America, with Olaf being the organization’s first president. Harken’s involvement in Sail America has helped shape Harken’s role in the US marketplace, and helped us understand our own position better globally. I want to encourage each of the companies that supply products or services to sailors to take an active role in Sail America. Their participation, at any level, will benefit their businesses and our organization as a whole.”
Question: Where can Sail America improve?
“To be simple and blunt, we need to do a better job with choosing, running and marketing our Strictly Sail Shows. Shows are our core competency, and we have been missing clear direction here. We are very fortunate to have one of the industry’s talents at the helm of the show team – Wayne Burdick from Beneteau USA has already started to affect real change – positive change. I expect great things to come.
Secondly, to improve on all three areas (shows, marketing and association) by obtaining a better definition of the roles and responsibilities within each committee would be a practical improvement. We have started this process in the marketing committee and we hope to expand this level of management to the Shows and Association committees.
Question: Is there anything you would like to say about Sail America’s outgoing president, Bill Bolin?
I think the entire sailing industry owes a great deal of gratitude to Bill Bolin for leading us through one of the most challenging phases in the history of Sail America. From show difficulties to serious challenges with executive director changes, Bill kept our organization on course while rebuilding a crew that is one of the best Sail America has ever seen. With this team in place, my job is simply to get them looking upwind for the next shifts and preparing for the next tack. It will be good.”