I was a corporate brat. I’ve lived in Germany, I’ve lived in Pennsylvania, I’ve lived on the south shore of Boston—my parents and I moved around as they progressed up the ladder . . . But we kept coming back to the Boston area. In fact, we always kept one boat or another here at Kingman Yacht Center. So coming back was, in a lot of ways, like coming home.
I learned to sail here in Red Brook Harbor. I dumped my first boat in this harbor—I learned how to swim in this harbor (laughs).
I remember coming in the south channel around Bassetts Island on a Sunday afternoon—I was maybe seven or eight years old. It was a very narrow channel, and since it was a Sunday afternoon, there was a ton of traffic. We were coming back from a day sail someplace, and we had a little Dyer sailing dinghy that we towed, and I told my parents, “I bet I could race you back in,” because they would have to go around the channel and I could come straight across. My dad pulled the dinghy up to the stern of the sailboat as we were coming in the channel, I stepped into the dinghy, and I turtled the thing in the middle of the channel on a Sunday afternoon (laughs). There were boats coming by, honking their horns, and I just looked at my dad with this bewildered expression, like, “What am I supposed to do now?” He said, “Get up and walk.” The fact was I was only in about four feet of water.
After finishing graduate school, I went to work at WBCN, which was at that time the up-and-coming rock station in Boston, when nobody knew what rock radio was all about. That was back in 1980 or so—it was a fascinating time. It was all about the creativity, all about the fun. It was sex, drugs, and rock and roll, and we were trying to merge this with the corporate world, trying to sell advertisers on the idea that there really was an audience here. It was just a battle.
It was like working on the floor of the stock exchange. I did that for 22 years in one place or another before I thought, Maybe it’s time to start thinking about something else and building some equity.
I bought Kingman Yacht Center with my father in 2000—I’ve since bought him out. At that time and still today, it’s the largest marina on the Cape, in terms of the number of boats that are involved here.
There are several different worlds operating at the same time. You have the seasonal boaters, the people that sign up with you to keep their boat in a slip or mooring for the season. We have 235 slips for the boats, and 130 moorings, so that’s 365 boats in the water. Then we have about 700 boats that come to us during the course of the season for a week, for a weekend, for a night . . . Then we have the Chart Room Restaurant, which is a tenant that’s been here for more than 40 years. They’ll make about 120,000 meals in 16 weeks . . . We also founded the Kingman Yacht Club, which has a 125 full-member families.
I only really see the good side of the boating business. I see how it makes people feel when they come down from Boston on a Friday afternoon. They pull into the parking lot, take their tie off, and you can just see it. “Ah—I’m here.”
The reason why people come here is because of the beautiful natural harbor—you can go swimming on Bassetts Island and just enjoy Cape Cod in its natural state. If this harbor is ruined, then people won’t want to come here anymore. So we’ve got to do something to protect the water that is our livelihood, and we have the concentration of resources to take a proactive step.
I commissioned some engineers to put up a system to catch and capture storm water, filter it through plants and sands and whatnot, and then release it into the environment . . . We were years ahead of any requirements for pressure wash treatment—everything is circulated, reused, and cleaned through filtration systems, so that we capture most of what we spray without releasing it into the water. We were one of the first marinas in the northeast to dispense exclusively biodiesel fuels. We generate about 23 percent of our energy through solar, and we’ve been doing that since 2009.
The Cape Cod Canal creates a completely different mentality between the north and south sides of Bourne. They’re different worlds. On this side of the canal, there’s a lot less density, and it’s really a collection of small villages that sort of think independently of one another. When I travel around here, I get the sense that I’m in Cataumet, or Pocasset, or Sagamore, or Gray Gables, or Monument Beach.
I identify as a villager. I love going up into The Daily Brew and not having to order my coffee—they hand it to me because they know what I want. Driving down the street and seeing the same people on my way back and forth to work—I never had that growing up. I was a corporate brat. I never lived anywhere for more than four or five years at a time, so that’s hugely attractive to me. It’s a small town, in the middle of a beautiful place, an hour from an airport that will take me anywhere. How bad can that be?