Will the unassuming owner of Iconic Marine Group, the parent company of the Washington, N.C.-based Baja Marine, Donzi Marine and Fountain Powerboats brands, be ecstatic if the Fountain team and its boat—put together specifically to set a V-bottom kilometer speed record—is able to bounce back after its unsuccessful efforts in late February and establish a new mark? Of course, and there’d likely be no one happier, well maybe the legendary Reggie Fountain, II.
Pictured with the legendary Reggie Fountain (right), Fred Ross wants to make sure the popular Baja, Donzi and Fountain brands are around for a long time to come. Photo by Jason Johnson
Either way, the point is that Fred Ross, who has likely invested more than $1 million into the project, is not going to let the success (or failure) of the record attempt affect his plans for the resurgence of the Fountain brand. The Kansas City, Mo.-based businessman is, for lack of a better expression, a true believer in the brand. A kilo record would surely bolster his strategy for the comeback. But that strategy does not depend on it, not even close.
A self-made, customer service-driven man of formidable intellect and means, Ross has, in less than two years, not just revived Fountain’s business but is bringing its boat building processes into the modern era. Under his brief ownership, Fountain has introduced its first new models in roughly 20 years.
Passionate as he is about the brands in the Iconic Marine Group stable, Ross, whose primary business is in trucking equipment, tends to avoid the spotlight. He doesn’t do many interviews. Still, he was gracious enough to sit down with my speedonthewater.com colleagues Matt Trulio and Pete Boden for about 45 minutes at the Miami International Boat Show. A week later, he showed me around the production facility during a visit to North Carolina for the kilo attempt. (A week after that, he visited with Trulio during the second round of kilo record attempts on the Pamlico River behind the Fountain plant.