Manufacturing

STEPHEN HEESE

PRESIDENT, CHRIS-CRAFT, SARASOTA

Heese is a partner in Stellican, the British investment firm that bought Chris-Craft from Outboard Marine, which went bankrupt in 1988. Heese had met Stephen Julius, the founder and managing director of Stellican, while both were attending Harvard Business School.

Heese has overseen the resurrection of the iconic boatmaker and re-established it as a premium brand, using top-quality fittings and re-creating distinctive designs that harkened to the brand’s heritage. In 2019, Winnebago Industries bought Chris-Craft, with Heese staying on as president.

With Winnebago’s backing, Heese plans to expand the firm’s manufacturing plant by some 80,000 square feet, add newer models of smaller boats and increase the number of employees from 340 to nearly 600.

Heese, a Tampa native who has a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Tulane and an MBA from Harvard, is a CPA. He worked for Erico International and Price Waterhouse’s management consulting group. Stellican has acquired other iconic brands that fell on hard times, including Indian Motorcycle and a luxury boat builder, Riva — both of which it has since sold after rehabilitating.

Michael Benstock

Superior Group of Companies

William Brown

L3Harris Technologies

Paul Browning

Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Americas

Kevin Carr

FLORIDAMAKES

Carol Craig

Craig Technologies

Brian R. D’Isernia

EASTERN SHIPBUILDING

Oscar Feldenkreis

Perry Ellis International

George Feldenkreis

Perry Ellis International

STEPHEN HEESE

CHRIS-CRAFT

Jeff Jackson

PGT Innovations

William Lowe Jr.

Kemet Electronics

Betsy McGee

ADI Metal

Kelly Ortberg

United Technologies

Robert Sires

American Elite Molding

Gary Spulak

Embraer Aircraft Holding

ROY SWEATMAN

SOUTHERN MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGIES

Bill Yeargin

Correct Craft