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Feature: Bertram's NEW Merritt Island Facility

Discussion in 'Bertram Yacht' started by YachtForums, May 10, 2012.

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  1. Bertram Finds Merit on the Space Coast​

    by YF Publisher Carl Camper​

    After looking at 30 different sites spanning Florida to the outer banks of the Carolinas, Bertram found the perfect place to start a new chapter. This massive facility was once home to Sea Ray and is located at 1230 Sea Ray Drive in Merritt Island. As of yesterday, a county official announced the new name of the street... Bertram Drive. This picture shows the "Bertram Camp" sorta speak, located in front of a space shuttle sized, 4-bay building large enough to accommodate all of Bertram's builds, including the B-80 sportfish.
  2. This is the other half of that building, along with a curing shed out back. Notice the overhead cranes already in place for mounting superstructures. This facility was not only the perfect fit for Bertram, but the city & county made for perfect joinery too. The Space Coast Economic Development Council is luring BIG high-tech companies to fill the void left behind by a grounded space program, putting a plethora of engineering and assembly talent back to work. Companies such as Boeing and Embraer have taken up residence nearby with more on the way.
  3. On display was the superstructure mold for the B80. Another location plus for the new Bertram plant is proximity to Vectorworx who provide engineering, tooling and complete manufacturing of composite components for vessels up to 300+ feet in length. Vectorworx is located nearby in Titusville and will be producing Bertram's new resin infused molds, along with a proposed restyling of the entire Bertram line. One of my oldest friends, Tom Houliares who is Ferretti's vice president of sales for North America informed me that engineering and design will return to the states, where a top-name naval architect & design firm is being selected to take Bertram to the next level.
  4. The Bertram Media Event was held inside one of the assembly bays. An assortment of media types were invited ranging from television stations to sportfish magazines, including one rogue internet website publisher who arrived in a logo-free blue shirt hoping to blend in among these SOB's!
  5. That's right... SOB's! Sons or Sisters Of Bertram. Few people know, I'm actually one of them. Dick Bertram was a friend of the family and was instrumental in guiding my career. His wife Moppie was good friends with my mom.
  6. First to take the podium was Brett Keating, the marketing director for Bertram and the Ferretti Group in North America. A few years ago, the marketing arm of Bertram had no reach, because nobody was extending an arm to communicate with the press. It was one of the problems plaguing the brand. That all changed when Brett took over.
  7. Next up was former Hatteras president and Carolina resident turned Miami homeboy and Bertram COO; Alton Herndon, who took the reigns of Bertram in 2010. Alton was surrounding by cheering fans, but there was a distant silence that could be heard emanating from New Bern.
  8. And finally, Norberto Ferretti took the podium. In somewhat broken English, which is a lot better than anyone's Italian in this country, he talked about his 20 year friendship with Alton and how he used extortion or bribery to dislodge him from the Carolinas. Not sure on this. My Italian isn't so good.
  9. Here's a picture of Norberto and Dick a few years ago. The half model looks vaguely familiar...
  10. Much water has passed under the Bertram bridge in recent years with a little debris left in the wake. Yesterday's press conference put to rest any concerns about the brand, the boats and most importantly... the people who build them. Merritt Island has a space-age talent pool that can only be matched by Seattle's software and aviation industry. Dedicated and educated labor is needed to build world class boats. The space coast was the right choice to expand the brand. I grew up believing the only thing solid in life was a Bertram; much like Dick, who was a very strong figure. But just how strong was yet to be seen. Allow me to share a story...

    Several days after publishing pictures and a story about a boat that 'Absolutely' sank, I received a certified letter from an attorney representing the Ferretti Group requesting certain omissions and corrections. As the publisher of a completely new, relatively untested media, I was concerned. I immediately sought legal council to evaluate my position.

    Ferretti's attorney was based in Miami, along Brickell Avenue, about 100 miles south of where I live in Northern Palm Beach County. A few days after receiving this certified letter, I was cruising A1A in Jupiter, FL and I stopped to look at an open house. As I walked up the driveway, a man and his wife were leaving the house and I noticed several patches on the sleeve of his jacket including CRN, Pershing, Ferretti & Bertram. He was obviously someone in the biz so I asked if he worked for one of the companies. This gentleman shook my hand and said "I'm Bob Allen, Ferretti Group's attorney". I can't recall what ran through my mind at the time, but I can tell you a chill ran down my spine. As I shook his hand, I said "You're not going to believe this... I'm Carl Camper from YachtForums". It may have been the first time in history that an attorney was speechless.

    I can't even begin to calculate the odds of us meeting, especially under the circumstances. I'm not a believer in the paranormal and honestly, I'm not an overly religious type either. But this meeting was WAY beyond happenstance. I can only surmise that Dick was looking down from the heavens on that day and he played a role in this. Maybe this gives you an idea how strong a figure Dick Bertram was. At least in my life.

    ***​
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