Lakeshore, Manufacturing, and Sports Business

Industry vet to lead blended company

August 9, 2017
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Chuck Smith
Charles Smith

A newly created lakeshore watercraft manufacturer has named its new top executive.

Muskegon-based KL Outdoor-GSC named outdoor sports and recreation industry vet Charles L. Smith as the company’s new CEO. Smith will head up KL Outdoor-GSC, a New Water Capital portfolio company born from a merger between KL Outdoor and GSC/Future Beach in April.

"I am honored to have the opportunity to help lead this exciting new company," Smith said. "I am thrilled at the opportunity to develop new product offerings, and leverage multiple shipping points and increased manufacturing capacity to better serve our customers in this fast-growing sector.”

Smith began his career in the consumer products industry at Hunter Fan, where he eventually moved into a product development role. In 1998, he signed on at outdoor products supplier Wenzel Company, where he oversaw substantial revenue growth both as president and group president. Smith returned to Hunter Fan as president in 2005 and was named chairman and CEO in 2007.

New Water partner John Disa cited Smith’s business and entrepreneurial experience in sales and market development and maintaining big-box retailer relationships in praising his appointment.

"Chuck has an impressive track record of increasing sales and expanding market share at several companies, both in the recreational products category and other consumer sectors," Disa said. "We were inspired by his enthusiasm for the potential of this great new company."

Smith’s appointment also drew praise from Tom Harris, who served as president of KL Outdoor prior to the April merger. Harris said Smith “has a great ability” to identify customer needs and spur retailer growth.

Smith was named CEO following a search headed up by Bryant Park Search Partners.

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