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The Editor Factory

During the short ride from Fountain Powerboats in Washington, N.C., to the regional micro-airport in nearby Greensville last December, a thought occurred that made me smile. Former Powerboat magazine editor Mark Spencer, now handling marketing for Fountain, Donzi and Baja was behind the wheel. Jason Johnson, another former Powerboat magazine editor, was in the seat behind me.

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Powerboat magazine was a proving ground for several noteworthy editors in the go-fast boating media world—and most of them are still in the game.

“You know you started all this, right?” I said to Spencer.

He just chuckled and grinned.

But I was right. Spencer, you see, worked over Eric Colby—the guy who ended up hiring me as his managing editor at Powerboat in late 1993. Driven by Bob Nordksog, the magazine’s wealthy industrialist publisher, Spencer was pivotal in developing the monthly publication’s annual Performance Trials and awards program. He worked closely with Nordskog, as well as Bob and Norm Teague, to make it the finest—and most marketable—program of its kind.

I worked at Powerboat, a Ventura, Calif.-based outfit that had all the wonderful intimacy and massive dysfunction of any family-owned business, for the next seven years before leaving to help start boats.com in San Francisco. By the time I departed, Doug Thompson had taken over for Colby, Jo Stich had taken over for Thompson and Brett Becker had taken over for Stich.

By the time I returned to Powerboat as a freelance writer with the title of editor-at-large, Gregg Mansfield was running the show. (Sadly, boats.com did not turn out to be the last job I would ever have as I had hoped it would—most of us in the dotcom world learned the hard way when the bubble burst.) A few years later, Jason Johnson—my speedonthewater.com co-publisher and fellow offshoreonly.com columnist—took over for Mansfield. And that was the way it was until 2011 when Powerboat went dark.

Read More: The Editor Factory

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