On Thursday, May 19, Reggie Fountain III put up a simple post on Facebook that read, “Started working at Custom Marine Group.” It set off a proverbial firestorm of responses on the social media site. Earlier this year, Custom Marine Group bought (read the story) the parent company of Baja Marine, Donzi, Pro-Line Boats and most important as it relates to this story, Fountain Powerboats.
It couldn’t be a more natural fit. Reggie Fountain III literally grew up at the Fountain Powerboats facility in Washington, N.C., and that factory is now home to Custom Marine Group.
Said Fountain (shown here with his wife, Aime) on his famous father’s reaction to the news: “He told me to come in before everybody and leave after everybody.”
“After the Custom Marine Group venture happened, we knew that the growth of the company was going to change from center consoles to high performance and we started getting more and more requests for 38s, 42s and 47s with big engine packages,” said Carol Price, president of Custom Marine Group. Since she is his mother-in-law, she had direct access to Fountain III and the two started talking about him joining the company.
“I couldn’t think of anyone better than Reggie,” Price said. “He has the passion and enthusiasm to lead our high-performance efforts now and in the future.”
Of course, the big question is, “What did your father think?” His father is Reggie Fountain, the founder of Fountain Powerboats. In an acrimonious split, he departed the company several years. But in recent years, the relationship between the company’s management and the man who used to run it softened (read the story).
Fountain III had been working at Egret Boats, a company that builds high-end fishing boats, also in Washington. His father told Reggie III that he wanted to come over for lunch and see what was going on at Egret.
“I said, ‘Well I’m not going to be there,’” said Reggie III. When the younger Fountain told his father where he was going to be working, the elder Fountain gave his son his blessing and a piece of advice, “He told me to come in before everybody and leave after everybody,” said Fountain III.
The 32-year-old Fountain III has the title of High-Performance Engineer and he will be involved with new product development, quality control and other functions. When we spoke on Wednesday, he was planning to water test a Baja 247, a Donzi 22 Classic and a Pro-Line 29 Grand Sport.
Looking ahead, one of the priorities for the new ownership group is to take back the official/unofficial mark of world’s fastest V-bottom, which currently belongs to Outerlimits Powerboats at 180.47 mph. Anyone who knows Fountain III understands how strongly he believes that a Fountain could break that mark.
“We’re taking a platform that’s already proven itself as extremely fast and making tweaks on it to make it even better,” said Fountain III. “It’s a 200-mph boat as it sits.”
He did say that he thinks adding a third step to the twin-step bottom design on current Fountain models could be beneficial. When asked to name a favorite Fountain powerboat, he said he liked the P1 Edition 42’ Fountain the company built in 2008 or 2009. It was powered by Ilmor Marine V-10 engines with Arneson drives and had a higher level custom finish that he plans to utilize on future high-performance boats from Custom Marine Group.
Even though he and his wife, Aime, have three children, Courtney, 11, Nick, 8 and Kyndall, 7, Fountain III had an immediate response when asked if he would be in the boat that would attempt to break the record, a resounding “Yes.” He said that he would like to run the boat solo, but if he teams up with someone in the cockpit, his choice for a driver would be Mike Seebold, who has won numerous championships in offshore racing in Fountains.
The person asking that question was Price and she has literally seen Fountain III grow up before her eyes. When he would get dropped off at the Fountain factory after pre-school, if his father was busy, it was Price’s job to watch him.
Of the response to Fountain III’s return, Price said, “It’s like he’s home. These people love building high-performance boats. They get a lot of pride knowing that he’s here because they know his high-performance background.”
Fountain said he looks forward to working on new Fountain builds such as this Lightning model currenly in construction.