All posts by Karen


In these last 6 months, visiting yacht crew and Thunderbolt Marine employees have generously answered the call to help improve the quality of lives of many who were affected by the recent hurricanes in both Texas and Georgia.  Thanks to Paula Reinitz (Accounts Payable), we embarked upon a massive drive to gather much needed goods for those in devastated areas where provisions and supplies were exhausted in the wake of Harvey.  Her request garnered remarkable support from so many here who were able to search their hearts and closets for everyday necessities like food and toiletries – things we all take for granted until we are without.  Little did we know at that time in late August, that we would be requesting similar once again for those in our own area affected by hurricane Irma.  

The depths of some people’s kindness knows no bounds and for the holidays this year, we rallied together to “adopt angels” through the Salvation Army.  Again, boat crew and yard employees did us all proud!  We had bicycles and scooters, and tablets, and toys, and clothing, and games, and balls for every sport, treasures for all ages and for all sizes lining the corridors of the Project Management offices here at TMI.  Our contact for the charity was entirely overwhelmed with the response as were our customers and subcontractors who dipped into their pockets offering cash, checks and even more toys!

Our most sincere thanks to all of those who participated in this program as your tangible contributions will make a huge difference to little ones in our area, but I hope that the act of giving gives you as great a reward as a new bike will to a 10 year old!


Wes Canady of Canady Signs. Com

Having always had more of an interest in designing graphics and doodling on his folders than a lean towards academics, Wes jumped with both feet first into his planned future, by starting his own business the minute he left high school.  Having previously worked for years with his cousin Mark who taught him the basics of the sign industry – in a day when all pieces were hand lettered with paint and brushes, the technique now seems entirely antiquated, but of course there is still a small market for everything “old style” and Wes still possesses the skills, if the demand is there.

Canady Signs opened in 1991 and now mostly caters to the boating industry, but a good deal of his business still stems from store front signs and on vehicles as he had an 8 year hiatus learning to paint cars. Though TMI and other nautical ventures keep him busy, his largest and most regular account is with Old Town Trolley Tours of Savannah.  Wes offers a comprehensive array of services, but for TMI customers, he predominantly focuses on or is requested to renew or replace existing lighted signs, decals, hailing ports or even design something entirely new for a recently purchased vessel with a name change.

Wes operates his business alone, but occasionally recruits a helper, sometimes even calling upon his wife to lend a hand!  A family man at heart, he dedicates a large part of his free time to his 13 year old son’s pursuit of sports – particularly basketball and soccer.  Wes and his wife believe that Evan has the talent and interest required to go on professionally in the field of athletics. His family and his 2 Beagles (Max & Mabel) keep him busy enough that his own passion for golfing is taking a backseat to their combined mutual interests, often with the dogs getting first choice for some group activities!

His great pal, Billy Gartside of Waterline-Up (who is scheduled to feature in a future TMI newsletter) recommended Wes’ services to a few in the yard.  Word got around and not before long, Canady Signs was a regular at our facility.  Wes says he owes Billy big thanks for introducing him to TMI, but it would seem that we owe Billy too!

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TMI Support: Coastal Concepts Inc

Robert  Clements, founder and sole owner of Coastal Concepts Inc., was born in Savannah but spent his formative years in Marlow, GA., a land locked town NW of Guyton.   He returned to his hometown in 1970 where he was able to pursue his interest in all things “boat” and was able to indulge in water sports, a particularly favorite pass time.  In 1978, he started making acrylic windshields on a homemade bending table during his spare time.  He posted an ad in a local newspaper and found the response so overwhelming that he had to decide between his day job and his hobby.  He told me that he  “likes everything he does” and went on further  to say that “it doesn’t seem like work if you enjoy what you do”.  A good thought to live by on all accounts.

Trained by a certified installer using Sika Flex products and further certified by Sika Flex themselves to install glass and acrylic panels, Robert keeps busy all year around and practically every day of the week. He tries to leave Sundays free for family time and/or working on cars as he is passionate about building Hot Rods and everything Motocross.

Robert has 3 sons and a daughter.  Two of his boys are college students still living at home; the older of the two at 21 is studying Structural Engineering and the other at only 18,  is taking a course in Certified Welding.

Though known to us for his marine related repair skills, his business also covers residential and commercial needs.  He has 2 helpers for bigger jobs, though often works alone and primarily focuses on glass replacement, plastic fabrication, finish caulking, mirrors, shower doors, glass scratch removal & polishing, and automatic door repairs.

The biggest job he undertook here at TMI was on a 154 ft Alloy motor yacht where he replaced all the windows on the superstructure, the largest being around 900 lbs.   Though he has no plans at the moment to expand, it seems to me, perhaps he should!

Mark & Judy Godwin (Canvas)

Spotlight on Judy & Mark Godwin (Upholstery/Canvas)

Judy and Mark both enjoyed fairly diverse backgrounds prior to working at Thunderbolt Marine in the Canvas & Upholstery Department since 2013/14.  Judy hailed from Ohio – a far cry from ocean and the associated nautical demands of stitching and Mark worked for several local yacht builders before they met in 2002 when their stars aligned (as did their careers) and they joined a company known to many as Sea Stitch, but now part of Thunderbolt Marine.  Having been married since 2010 and working for the same business, they are together 24/7 – not unlike many boat crew couples which can prove difficult for some, but not for these two who complement each other’s skills harmoniously both professionally and personally!

Mark processes and installs all the canvas covers (like Bimini tops and covers for example) that Judy, as the seamstress, makes with passion she nurtured 35 years ago.  Having been involved in many big projects since joining the TMI team, they both enjoy the challenge that each task presents even when the deadline is tight.

Their granddaughter Makayla who is their proud and joy, is now 17 and a senior at Islands High School.  She has been in their care and loved as their own child since she was 6 years old.  When they have a quiet moment, they travel to their “retreat” in Helen, GA  to get away from their Wilmington Island life with Makayla and their other two “kids” – Misty (a 10 year old Shih-tzu) and Skittles (a 6 year old Yorkie).

Mark particularly wanted to add that among their many combined achievements, he felt that wearing the TMI uniform was one of his personal greatest!!


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TMI Support: Roxtec Inc.,

For nearly 5 years, Sarah Mueller has been providing technical expertise and safety-focused solutions for cable and pipe transits to the shipyards and marine contractors in the Southeast US.   As the electronic and mechanical systems on today’s yachts become more advanced, upgrades to these systems are frequent.  In many cases, the components of these systems transition between watertight and fire boundaries and must be properly sealed to meet USCG and Class Society approvals. These are required to provide the owners of the vessels with reliable and safe transit systems.

Originally from Michigan and now living in Charleston, SC, Sarah frequently visits TMI to provide the marine engineers and installers with up-to-date product and approval information.   She also works with the TMI team on special projects, engineered solutions, and teaching the proper procedures for installing the Roxtec System.   With TMI’s expertise and reputation as the leading, world-class yacht repair facility on the eastern seaboard and Roxtec being the world leader in cable and pipe seals, Sarah has been able to help increase the abilities of TMI, keeping both companies on the forefront of the yacht repair industry.


Reid F. for TMI

TMI Support – Fleming Marine Composites

At just 17 and just out of high school but with a passionate interest for  building boats, Reid secured a 4 year apprenticeship in carbon/composites with the world renowned McConaghy Boats in Australia.  After gaining experience on some high profile names like Alfa Romeo and Wild Oats XI, Reid backpacked around Europe working with racing teams before setting up his own business in Riviera Beach, Florida in 2011.  Shortly after meeting his business partner Martin Ford, Fleming Marine Composites expanded and still in its relative infancy, now has 7 employees in Florida – and further, expanding into Georgia, where FMC hired 3 employees to manage the work an association he formed with Thunderbolt Marine, brings in.  Reid and his partner Martin both divide their time between the two locations, working hands on along with their team on any size boat.  Their interest to work with a well-known yard, the customer’s requirements and our own needs for FMC’s level of skill has proved successful for all parties involved.  Most recently, they repaired a delaminated section measuring 10’ x 30’ in size on a 105’ Windship sailing vessel here at TMI.

Using only the latest technology in composites and tooling to ensure the highest quality end product in an efficient timeframe, FMC take pride in their professional commitment to their customers.  The FMC team has diverse experience in repairs and modifications on both racing and luxury yachts, and some of the best sports fishing boats on the water today.  They pride themselves in providing their customers with only the best materials and components, all the while aiming to remain in the forefront of composite component manufacturing.




Spotlight on Igor Miskovic

IGOR MISKOVIC – Project Manager

Early in life, Igor carved out a path dedicated to the marine industry.  In his youth, he was a semi-professional soccer player but went on to become an accomplished sailor, earning his Coastal Skipper Certification in the Adriatic Sea before going on to sail around Europe. Igor attended universities in Belgium, France and Italy where he specialized in Motor Yacht and Sailing Design, graduating with 2 Master’s degrees – one of which was in Naval Architecture.

His love of travel coupled with his ability to speak more than one language afforded him the opportunity to work in Italy for a luxury yacht manufacturer exposing him to the world of superyacht project management.  This knowledge opened the door for a move to the USA where he received further certification in Project Management in New York City.  In 2015, Igor joined the TMI team and brought with him a wealth of experience in new build project management and of equal importance, is his enthusiasm.  His passion for success is a benefit for all of us.


Employee Spotlight: Paula Reinitz (Accounts Payable)

Paula, who graduated from Lloyd Memorial High School in her hometown of Erlanger, KY first visited Savannah in 1994 at the tender age of 28, with her family.  In 2002, she committed to a new life here with her husband Mike,  their 4 children and their 7 grandchildren – initially working for Gulfstream, an internationally renowned private jet building facility as office administrator with payroll responsibilities.  After meeting Mr. Tom Brooks (a colleague here at TMI), she developed an interest in accounting thanks to his guidance and his enthusiasm for the subject of numbers.  As a result of his tutelage, Paula has been responsible for the Accounts Payable Dept., which includes preparing our paychecks and so understandably, she is loved and respected by all at TMI, but for all the RIGHT reasons!

In 2015, Paula ran the JCB Mud Race for charity.  Such was her enthusiasm, that she managed to coax a number of other employees to join her in 2016 – all of whom have vowed to relive the experience and support the same charity again this year,  in the summer of 2017.  She is passionate about trains, steam  in particular, taking her vacation riding one whenever time permits.  She has 2 personal wishes in life, one is to ride the Orient Express from “wherever it starts, until wherever it ends” and the other is to become a published author as writing is an equally strong interest of hers.   “The Diary of a Steam Train Traveller” comes to my mind…


Ongoing Commitment to Service: Cabinetry Dept. Machine Upgrade.

Thunderbolt Marine is proud to announce that we will be adding a 3-axis CNC  (computer numerical control) router to our inventory in mid-January.  The industrial sized CNC router that is manufactured in Cartersville, right here in Georgia,  has a 5’ x 10’ bed with an 8” vertical travel.   Furthermore,  the CNC router is equipped with a probe for digital scanning and copy routing.

With our new router,  we expect to reduce time producing a vast variety of items such as panel cutting, molding making, jigs, plugs, molds and acrylic nesting making.   However,  this wonderful machine has many more possibilities that our innovative craftsmen and customers alike,  are sure to explore.

This tool has long been on our wish list and we believe that combined with our existing skilled crafts, it will bring us up to date with today’s demands.


Employee Spotlight: Ed Erskine – Machine Foreman

Ed has been working in the Machine/Mechanics Dept., for the last 8 years since he joined TMI.  After 2 tours in Vietnam as a UHI helicopter pilot, Ed, a native of New Jersey, continued his army career as an Instructor at Hunter AAF.   Upon leaving the army, he enrolled at Armstrong State to major in Economics.   For summer work,  he joined the  Savannah Machine & Foundry Company shipyard because of his interest with “all things boating.”   Working his way up the system through various departments and in a variety of jobs, he became a Ship Supervisor but has owned many titles in his 45 years within the industry.  Married with 1 child and several pets, Ed owns both a sailboat and a center console which he will put to good use during his retirement in June 2017. We will be very sorry to see Ed go but envy his opportunity to enjoy all the things he most appreciates when he has time on his hands – like finishing a custom made model boat which hasn’t (apparently) seen daylight since the late 80’s!   He enjoys every aspect of the ship repair business, evidenced by his work ethics and is no more partial to one particular task than another.  On behalf of everyone here at TMI and his loyal customer base, we wish him well for the fun years ahead and we thank him for his services to our country.