From working at Innovation Marine and Nor-Tech to starting his own renowned engine business, Ron Potter, the founder and extremely hands-on owner of Potter Performance Engines in Bradenton, Fla., boasts a mighty impressive resume. A successful automobile mechanic—Potter held a New York State Certified master mechanic’s designation—whose sideline in building, rebuilding and go-fast boat engines became his real passion—Potter and his wife, Elizabeth, moved to Sarasota, Fla., in 1996 where he had been offered a job at famed Innovation Marine.
“We were tired of the winters in Syracuse and wanted to get out,” Potter said, then laughed. “I applied for a job via fax and a couple of months later during a weekend I got a call asking me if I could come down to Florida on Monday. And that’s how I went to work for Innovation Marine. We built engines for the Navy, Volvo, Race teams and individuals as well. I learned a lot from ‘the old man’ (founder Rick LaMore, Sr.) and since Innovation was a Mercury service center I spent a lot of time working on engines for various boat builders in the area. At the time, Sarasota was the hub for performance boats—Wellcraft, Scarab and Donzi were there.”
Ron Potter: “I’m looking forward to talking about engine rebuilds and upgrades as we perform them, as well as showcasing the new engines we produce.”
Four years later, Nor-Tech Hi-Performance boats hired Potter to develop its engine program. What started with a 625-hp carbureted engine built in a bare bones corner of the factory became a serious shop producing supercharged fuel-injected engines up to 1,150 hp in an immaculate engine-building shop with its own dynamometer.
In 2006, Potter decided to strike out on his own, and Potter Performance Engines was born. Needing more space as it’s grown, the company now is on its third location and offers new custom-built engines, engine rebuilds and upgrades, complete engine service, full machining capabilities, its own paint and complete powerboat restorations. The 11,000-square-foot facility even offers plenty of storage for Potter’s long-term clients such as Bob Christie, whose twin Potter 1,350-hp engine-powered 44-foot MTI Speed Racer catamaran helped put the engine builder on the map.
Now Potter is bringing his considerable talents to speedonthewater.com as a weekly columnist. Potter will tackle three categories in his articles: new engine builds, engine rebuilds and maintenance. On the final topic, he is particularly passionate.
“So many of the problems we see are due to overheating, corrosion, and a lack of proper maintenance.” he said. “It’s something I look forward to writing about. “I’m also looking forward to talking about engine rebuilds and upgrades as we perform them, as well as showcasing the new engines we produce.”
Please join us in welcoming Ron Potter to the Speedontehwater.com team. Starting with his first column on Monday, Jan. 18, Potter’s contributions will appear every Monday on the site.