Industry veteran William Clewes has been appointed CEO of Miami yacht repair yard RMK Merrill-Stevens, charged with leading Florida’s oldest shipyard through a period or redevelopment, reopening and beyond.
“I am excited about building a team and a new facility to bring the RMK Merrill-Stevens facility back to its former glory and beyond,” said Clewes in January after accepting the position. Clewes will lead the North and South yards, which straddle the Miami River, the ongoing redevelopment of both, upcoming renovations and the grand reopening of the yards.
Clewes brings to the role decades of experience in manufacturing and facilities management, process improvement, ISO systems and lean manufacturing, having previously led the development of a $170 million state-of-the-art manufacturing facility and served as the Director of Operations for Seaspan and Plant Manager for Canfor.
The first half of the year has not been easy on any business; however, Clewes has used this time to get comfortable in his new role and prepare the shipyard for future growth. “I have settled into the role of CEO understanding the challenges that the boating community faces in the yacht and commercial part of the business,” Clewes said. “I believe RMK MS is fully prepared to take the challenge on.”
The ongoing pandemic has not changed the focus or plans for the North and South yards. Clewes said he is “very optimistic that we will grow to be the premier superyacht facility to service the South Florida community in the coming years.”
Behind the scenes at the shipyard, the past six months have included a transformation in the construction of the North Yard and numerous upgrades to the South yard, including a new parts department, workspaces and more. Clewes noted there is “an excitement building in the management team and trades with anticipation of the upgrades to the business.”
The shipyard recently completed the commission of a new 2,700-ton Pearlson shiplift on the North Yard, which first arrived at RMK Merrill-Stevens in August 2019. The new 2,700-ton Pearlson shiplift enables RMK MS to service yachts and superyachts up to and exceeding 200-feet, which was previously unavailable in South Florida.
The shipyard’s location on the Miami River gives superyacht clients easy access to the yard without requiring the use of a tugboat or straps that increase the risk of damage. The North Yard is now accepting reservations for service, maintenance, classification inspections for classed vessels and refits.
In the upcoming months, Clewes expects the North Yard to be filled with yachts and superyachts, and that the RMK MS team will continue to grow to meet the demands of the business. “We will always be looking to enhance the team and the experience of our customers,” Clewes said. “We are thankful to ownership for putting their faith in the growth of the Merrill-Stevens team to bring the shipyard back to its former glory.”