13 Dec Meet RIMTA’s New President Brandon Kidd
When you meet Brandon Kidd–owner/manager of Pirate Cove Marina in Portsmouth and the new president of RIMTA–it doesn’t take long to realize that RIMTA is in very good hands. As the third generation to take over his family business, the marine trades are in his DNA and Brandon has been around our industry since he was young.
“I worked at the yard in the summers, and I sort of fell in love with it,” he says of the family yard that his grandfather opened in 1967. With an older brother who was focused on the business, Brandon went off to college with a goal of becoming a doctor. But when family tragedy struck and his brother passed away, Brandon moved home to be with his family. And as his circumstances shifted, so too did his ideas about his future.
He switched to a business degree at Bryant University and focused on Pirate Cove Marina. When his father gave up the reins ten years ago, Brandon took the helm of what has become a thriving operation.
Brandon joined the RIMTA Board when he was invited to head up the Marina Committee, but before he joined, “I was the guy who would go to meetings, but didn’t think my involvement was necessary.”
Now, he knows otherwise. He brings valuable insights to the organization as a business owner and has had an opportunity to work with and learn from industry leaders, including past RIMTA presidents Michael Keyworth, Andy Tyska and Dick Cromwell. “It’s important for all of us to realize that each one of us has a role to play,” he says.
As the RIMTA Board goes through a strategic planning process, Brandon knows everyone needs a larger goal. “Whether that is something you come up with on your own, or something that is given to you, we all need something greater than a job description: something to reach for.” For Brandon, that has been working on legislative issues and keeping policymakers informed about the value of the marine trades in Rhode Island.
At Pirate Cove, Brandon is also focused on running an environmentally sustainable operation, but another challenge he shares with other RIMTA businesses is the graying of our workforce and our customer base.
Pirate Cove has utilized RIMTA’s workforce development programs to connect with entry-level employees, and Brandon’s best advice for those who want to tap into these programs is to get involved early. Many of the trainees are not familiar with the different yards and marine companies when they begin. If they get to know your operation early in the program, they may develop an interest in working there after graduation.
Attracting younger customers is a more complex challenge—and Brandon sees the life cycle of young people in boating first-hand. His eight-year-old daughter Meredith is already in the Tiverton Yacht Club program. “They are chock full with kids in that program,” he says. But there is a disconnect between boating as a kid and boating as a young professional. “These young professionals are skiing, they are doing all these other things. We need to draw them to boating.”
So for Brandon Kidd, his charge as RIMTA president is a big and multi-faceted one. RIMTA has a lot of moving parts, and his focus is to maintain the momentum the organization has already achieved. Marine professionals working together on behalf of the organization and putting the industry’s needs first and foremost is for Brandon the bedrock of our collective future.
“Michael Keyworth used to say that what is good for the industry should be good for everybody,” says Brandon. “That is something I always admired about him. When you come together as a trade association, you put your personal aspirations on the back burner. And there is a lot of power in doing that.”
NOTE TO RIMTA MEMBERS: If you are interested in getting involved with the organization and serving on one of our committees, email RIMTA.