A GOLDEN ANNIVERSARY: BELLINGHAM MARINE MARKS 50 YEARS OF GROWTH AND SERVICE TO THE MARINA INDUSTRY
February 26, 2008
There are two pieces of wisdom that apply when reading articles about industry pioneers: history is written by the winners; and when winners write history, events that appear inevitable in hindsight were not at all inevitable at the time.
With that in mind, you might think a story about Bellingham Marine, the largest marina builder in the world, would start with a Cinderella debut and march relentlessly forward to everlasting glory and acclaim.
The real story is different. Soggy boxes nearly sank the company’s fledgling marina business and with it, perhaps, the whole concept of concrete floating docks. Were it not for a few believers (and more than a few well-timed engineering changes) we might never have heard of Bellingham Marine.
To learn the genesis of the modern concrete floating marina we interviewed the man who was there from the beginning, Pete Gaasland. Pete worked on many of the foundational projects that built the industry we know today. Pete is the former owner of Bellingham Marine. He still keeps an office on the waterfront in Bellingham, not far from Bellingham Marine’s world headquarters. He sold the company to Japanese and Canadian interests in 1995. Pete continues to have business interests in the area and commutes between the Pacific Northwest and his other home in Sun Valley, Idaho with his charming wife Sue.
In 1958 Pete Gaasland was just out of college and ready to learn the family business. As he tells it, the company did not seek to build marinas; the marina business came to them.
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MAGAZINE: Marina World
ISSUE: January/February 2008