Contributing speedonthewater.com editor Eric Colby’s fine coverage of last weekend’s Outerlimits Offshore Powerboats Factory Fun Run celebrating the custom high-performance V-bottom and catamaran builder’s 30th anniversary lacked for nothing. Colby’s story painted a beautiful, poignant picture of the Bristol, R.I., company and how its extended family of employees and clients has carried the legacy of founder Mike Fiore through the darkest times, starting with Fiore’s death in 2014.
Celebrating the 30th anniversary of Outerlimits, the second-year Factory Fun Run was an intimate extended family gathering of some of the brand’s most loyal fans. Photo by Halsey Fulton copyright Outerlimits Offshore Powerboats.
Among the guests at the event was Stephen Miles of Stephen Miles Design in Owensboro, Ky. Thanks to Fiore, a man with a gift for spotting untapped talent, Miles started painting for Outerlimits that year. Fiore’s death emotionally leveled him. But he stuck with the company—even after the death of its president Joe Sgro in 2017—and continued to build his business and reputation in the custom high-performance powerboat graphics world.
Miles has been back from Bristol for a week. Business is booming at his Kentucky home-base, so he wasted no time getting back to work. But he still hasn’t stopped thinking about the weekend he just spent with his Outerlimits employee- and customer-family in Bristol.
“It was so crazy riding around that little town in an Uber,” he explained. “So many memories and emotions came flooding over me.
“Because of Mike, Dan Kleitz (the company’s longtime national sales manager) and Donna (Fiore, Mike’s sister) and everything that happened, everything about those first couple of months I spent there in the beginning changed my life,” he continued. “It was like a lateral course correction for my life and the lives of my family members. I cannot even describe the gratitude I have.”
And opportunity couldn’t have knocked at a better time. Miles was at a crossroads in his painting career, which had evolved into success painting radio-control boats. Fiore gave him the opportunity to paint the real thing.
“Mike looked me in my eyes and told me I was special,” he said. “Up to that point in my life, I never really believed I was very special. And even though Mike is gone, I have always put my heart and soul into every Outerlimits project I have ever done in the interest of making him proud.”
Just reconnecting in person with members of the Outerlimits team, many of whom he’s known for 10 years, was moving for the superb graphic designer and painter.
“You should have seen the faces of some of the employees when I showed up last week,” he said. “There must have been at least 12 of them that just lit up when they saw me—the same way I did when I saw them. Those guys understand the passion that I’ve had as much or maybe even more than my wife.”
Miles paused for a moment, then continued.
“The whole trip created a huge amount of reflection and gratitude for me,” he said. “I’m proud that I have stuck in there and always treated them the same way they’ve treated me.
“I love the life that this community has created for me and my family—I love and appreciate the relationships I have built with other boat builders.,” he said. “I just couldn’t be any happier than I am right now.”
Back home in Kentucky now, Stephen and Heather Miles are still thinking about last weekend’s pilgrimage to Rhode Island.
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