With the retirement of Scott Reichow at the end of January, Mercury Racing didn’t just bid farewell to the manager of its extensive propeller program. The high-performance marine engine and accessories company lost one of the most knowledgeable, dedicated, humble and gracious team members to stroll through the doors of its Fond du Lac, Wis., headquarters.
Though a few industry insiders and consumers knew Reichow, who started with the company—then called Mercury Hi-Performance—more than 40 years ago, was retiring at the end of January, Mercury Racing officially announced the news of his departure this morning.
With the departure of propeller manager Scott Reichow, Mercury Racing is losing one of its most knowledgeable and beloved employees. All photos courtesy/copyright Mercury Racing.
“Scott was the prop wizard at Mercury Racing and he helped us a lot,” said Randy Scism, the founder and owner of high-performance catamaran and center console builder MTI in Wentzville, Mo. “You could ask him for changes and he was always willing make us custom props that worked best on our boats. And he is a super nice guy.”
No stranger to high-performance powerboat setup, John Tomlinson of TNT Custom Marine in Miami also came to rely on Reichow.
“Scott was great to work with,” he said. “He was always very helpful and he referred a lot of people my way during the years. And he always did his best to get me what I needed as quickly as possible. I was always able to go over notes with him comparing propellers.
“I am going to miss him,” Tomlinson added. “He’s too young to retire.”
A high school friend helped Reichow score his first job at Mercury Marine in Oshkosh, Wis., in 1977. Two years later, he was promoted to Mercury Hi-Performance sales and service representative, but he left the company in 1981 to earn a marketing degree from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. He returned to Mercury Marine in 1988 and went to work in the company’s warranty department and later moved to Mercury’s exhibits department to help design displays for boat shows and dealer meetings. He departed Mercury in 1995 to pursue personal ventures, but returned to the company in 2000 as a manager for Mercury, Quicksilver and Typhoon propellers.
By 1979, Reichow (second from left) had become a Mercury Hi-Performance sales and service rep.
Reichow moved to Mercury Racing three years later and spent the next five years learning from propeller guru Ron Steiner.
“I’d always been into performance, racing motorcycles and karts, but I’m not an engineer, so I had a lot to learn,” he said. “Ron was a key contributor to my growth in that regard. He lived and breathed propellers, designing them and using them. I was a sponge, soaking up all that knowledge and experience.”
His ability to blend experienced-based intuition, combined with current technology, of how propellers worked and affected a given boat’s performance helped him build an outstanding reputation and respect throughout the high-performance powerboating world.
Said Steve Miller, Mercury Racing’s director of marketing, sales and service, “Scott could speak with passion and intelligence about propeller performance with anyone, from offshore racers to walleye anglers.”
“Scotty thought out of the box,” said Skip Braver, the owner and chief executive officer of Cigarette Racing Team in Opa-locka, Fla. “He went out of his way to make sure our customers got every bit of the Cigarette difference.”
Reichow will pass the propeller torch to the more-than-capable hands of Nick Petersen. But on a personal and professional level, he’ll be sorely missed by the industry and the customers who support it. And he’ll be particularly missed by Mercury Racing colleagues.
“Scott has been the guy boatbuilders, Mercury Racing dealers and our customers have turned to for advice and propeller product knowledge,” said Steve Miller, Mercury Racing’s director of marketing, sales and service, in the release announcing his departure. “At boat shows, poker runs, dealer meetings, fishing tournaments and races, people were always looking for Scott, and he could speak with passion and intelligence about propeller performance with anyone, from offshore racers to walleye anglers.”
Added former Mercury Racing president Fred Kiekhaefer, who worked with Reichow for decades, “Scott was a boss’ favorite kind of person—he knew what he was doing, his customers loved working with him and he didn’t have to be ‘managed.’ He will be difficult to replace.”