More than 50 friends and co-workers gathered last night in the Crystal Ballroom of the swank Hotel Retlaw in downtown Fond du Lac, Wis. to fete Rick Mackie of Mercury Racing. The recently retired, 57-year-old Mercury Racing senior marketing manager wrapped up a 30-year career with the company in mid-August.
From left: Mercury Racing general manager Stuart Halley, Rick Mackie and Mercury Racing director of marketing, sales and service Steve Miller. Photo courtesy/copyright Charles Plueddeman.
Following remarks by Mercury Racing director of marketing, sales and service Steve Miller, Mackie—wearing his best Hawaiian shirt—was handed the microphone and surprised the gathering by pulling three pages of typed notes from his back pocket. Mackie recalled being a grade-schooler who sent letters with his hand-drawn pictures of race boats to Mike Butler, the former head of Mercury Hi-Performance, then visiting Hi-Performance in Oshkosh, Wis., when in high school.
Mackie eventually turned that connection into a job offer from Butler in 1988. He was hired to drive a van filled with Mercury caps and T-shirts to races, and eventually moved into the marketing department, where he was a key contact to customers and the media. In his remarks to the gathering, Mackie recalled various adventures at races in North American and Europe, meeting celebrities and the racing heroes he idolized as a kid.
Mackie also noted the motto he learned from Butler.
“Always treat everyone, racers, customers and co-workers, as you’d like to be treated,” he said. “This business is all about relationships.”
That lesson served Rick Mackie well for more than 30 years.
Editor’s note: A noted marine industry journalist, Boatiing magazine editor-at-large Charles Plueddeman lives in in Oshkosh, Wis.
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