Though he’s already been on the job for six weeks as the general manager of Chief Performance, Ryan Ward has been involved behind the scenes with the Spring Lake, Mich., company owned by Ben Wiersum since it was formed through the pairing of Precision Power and Chief Engines. But with what Ward described as “dynamics of hardship” involving staff turnover, which led to significant engine-build and service delays during the past year, he decided to join the company.
Ryan Ward (shown here with his wife, Kim) has been on board with Chief Performance for six weeks.
“Ben was trying to do everything himself,” said Ward, who formerly ran a Tier 1 parts supplier to General Motors. “And when you’re doing that, you can’t be effective getting product out the door. I came on board to take over the operations and customer service sides of the business that Ben’s primary role is building engines and overseeing the service techs we have here.”
A longtime friend of Ward, Michigan-based Chief Performance customer Devin Conlee said he believes the 41-year-old already has made a significant impact on the business. The company refreshed the engines in Conlee’s 39-foot Hustler V-bottom last winter.
“I never doubted Ben or his quality and I had no problem taking my motors to him,” he said. “But you can’t run a business and build engines at the same time, so the work wasn’t getting done in a timely manner and engines weren’t getting out the door. The first thing I learned in business school was that you can’t grow your business if you’re stuck running your business.
Devin Conlee had his boat’s engines (above) refreshed by Chief Performance last winter and said he is confident that Ward is having a positive impact on the business.
“I think that’s where Ryan comes in and is helping out,” he continued. “He comes from a background of running a business and he understands and learned time management very well.”