(Merced, CA) - The dream of Malibu Boats began with one man, but that man was wise enough to know a fulfilled goal requires many dedicated dreamers. Robert Alkema sponned the idea to build a better boat and for that reason he surrounded himself with a crew of fantastic visionaries. The synergy created by this group has pushed Malibu Boats to the top of the tow boat industry. This year Malibu's original five celebrate 20 years with the company along side a crowd of employee-owners sporting 10-year rings and working toward their 20th.
Five people have been a part of Malibu Boats from the very beginning. Alkema falls into this group. He is joined by Osmin Orellano, Randy Woods, Andy Soltero and Armando Casillas. Together these few pooled their talent and hand built the water sports industry leader that is Malibu Boats. To date, this group has literally had a hand in creating more than 30,000 Malibus.
Woods, known through the factory as "Woody", still shines with the samepassion he poured into the infant Malibu 20 years ago. Now Malibu's California Production Manager, Woods oversees the construction of thousands of Malibu boats each year. In the beginning, Malibu's inaugural five each had to be masters of many trades. Woods carried his weight as a delivery driver, loader and engine rigger. His less glamorous responsibilities included breakfast and lunch runs.
When asked about his decision to stay at Malibu for such a long time he answered, "You can't have this much fun anywhere else!"
Orellano runs the Assembly Department for Malibu's California Plant. He was originally chosen for his assembly expertise and he continues to direct that portion of Malibu construction process. Assembly is one of the most important stops on the production-line. Fusing the hull and deck together is a significant task. Orellano and his guys ensure the longevity of each Malibu boat with the same extreme attention to detail Orellano started with.
Alkema remains Malibu's President and CEO, but his days are no longer filled with the actual building of boats. Today he focuses on leadership and offering guidance to his more than 400 employees. Back in the day, Alkema designed and built the boats. He worked side by side on the factory floor with his fellow employee-owners. Now Alkema takes pride inempowering those same people to move Malibu Boats to the next level.
Soltero was joined by his son this year on the Malibu anniversary podium. Andy celebrated 20 years while his son Eddie accepted his 10-year Malibu ring. Now 28, Eddie was just a little guy when his dad started with Malibu. Soltero was brought on for his lamination skill and he has been honing that craft for Malibu ever since.
The art of gel coating requires special fundamental skills. Alkema saw that potential in Casillas and brought him on as a Malibu gel coater. The two worked together painting the first Malibus until Casillas was put in charge of an entire gel coat department when production increased.
Casillas recalls that opportunity like it was yesterday. "For two days I could not sleep thinking about the big responsibility and excitement of beginning as a painter." He continued to say, "I'm not tired of thanking
God for leading me inthe direction of a man like Bob."
These five men are the staying foundation of a company that has broken eleven world records and accepted more industry awards than any other tow boat manufacturer. These five are now supported by 403 co-workers who help continue the success of Malibu Boats. Of those employees 74 have over ten years invested into the company and they are striving for year 20.