Check out this awesome article about the Sweers, as they were featured in the Pelican Newspaper in Pompano Beach!
Husband-wife power team takes on luxury yachts, fishing and power boats with a team of expert technicians that keep them all ship-shape
Stepping into the world of yachting is as close as FastBoats Marine Group, 1490 N. Federal Hwy., Pompano Beach. Here in the showroom is an overwhelming array of luxury vessels where racers, cruisers and anglers will think they are at the end of the rainbow. And for Randy Sweers, who owns this business with his wife, Kim, FastBoats is a rainbow that continues to expand.
Randy’s MBA from the University of Toronto, led him to a banking position in South Florida, but he was, as the cliché goes, “a fish out of water.” Boating and racing were his adored hobbies, so it wasn’t surprising when he resigned to seek employment in the marine industry. With his educational background, Randy fielded lots of offers, but he didn’t jump for the first job.
He remembers a smoked-filled room for sales executives at one place and said, “I didn’t spend six years in college for that.” As he drove back from that offer, his eye caught a sight that changed his life.
“I saw a new marina with Cigarettes and Scarabs,” he said. “I pulled in and went to the front desk to ask about a job. That’s when I met Richie Powers, owner of Champion Marine at that time.” Now it was clear that those college years and his experience on the water were about to join forces for Randy. “In Canada, I had already gained experience importing boats and setting up dealerships. I was hired on the spot.”
After three years in sales, Randy moved on in 1994, when he opened Florida Powerboat Brokerage in Fort Lauderdale, now known as FastBoats Marine Group. Randy was ahead of the curve in the mid-90s with the Internet. While others were lagging behind about this new technology, Randy’s keyboards were smoking.
“We used the Internet to send pictures of boats to clients,” he said. Meanwhile, his competition was stuck on snail mail and in showrooms.
By 2009, Randy had two warehouses and a 24,000 square-foot showroom on Copans Road and North Dixie Highway in Pompano Beach. And he was not alone. He and Kim had married in 2002, and Kim’s business skills made this family, which now includes their son, Chase, a powerhouse partnership. Says Kim, “But it’s Chase that keeps us grounded.” She refers to the routine of school, sports and lots of family time. “We just have to work smart,” she adds. “I am responsible for the daily operations of FastBoats Marine Group (Pompano and Aventura locations) including financial management, operational policies and procedures, marketing, human resources, and IT. In addition, I assist Randy in the management of the Parts, Service and Sales departments.
Randy and Kim made it through the 2008 economic nightmare, and shortly after formed a strategic partnership with Aqua Marine Partners, the parent company of Hidden Harbour marina storage in Pompano Beach as well as six other marinas in the Southeastern United States. The fit was perfect. Randy was finally on the water; he could offer his clients excellent dry and wet storage, and he had an exclusive agreement for service work at Hidden Harbour.
By now his team of technicians, headed up by his first marine boss, Richie Powers, had grown to seven. They currently have 19 employees they prefer to call “team members.” Aqua Marine Partners runs the day-to-day operations at the marina, and the clients take advantage of FastBoats for their service needs. FastBoats has recently opened a new location at Hi-Lift Marina in Aventura where they have expanded their service and parts department and can now offer clients a second location for wet and dry storage.
The Sweers have committed to give back to the community that has contributed to their success. They strongly believe that the chains of poverty can be broken through educational and support services for underprivileged families. They sit on various community boards and support organizations such as the Jason Taylor Foundation, Take Stock in Children, Youth Automotive Training Center, and Jack and Jill Children’s Center. They have aligned their personal mission of educating the underprivileged with these charities in hopes of making a difference in South Florida. Kim and Randy’s belief is that you’re never complete until you change the life of one less fortunate.
They encourage others to donate their time to make a difference and leave their lasting legacy.