Six Decades of the Ultimate Boating Experience with Grady-White Boats
Six Decades of Evolution for Today’s Ultimate Boating Experience Grady-White Boats adds its power to Pitt County’s success Business North Carolina Magazine
A long relationship with the community and a newly-expanded manufacturing facility anchor one of the nation’s premier boat-building companies to Pitt County.
Established in 1959 in Greenville, Grady-White has earned a reputation for building ruggedly elegant coastal fishing boats, developing great craftsmen and nurturing strong customer relationships. Grady-White builds 28 models of fiberglass offshore, sportfishing and family fishing boats ranging from 18 to 45 feet.
“I never wanted to be the biggest,” says Eddie Smith, who bought the company in 1968, “I wanted to be the best.”
That attitude has paid off in loyal customers and employees.
The company’s leadership team reads every customer survey and has two-way communication through the website, informal customer forums and social media as well. Grady-White posts the highest satisfaction rankings in every third-party survey ever done in the marine industry.
More than 50 of the company’s craftsmen and leaders are members of the Grady-White Captain’s Club, signifying over 25 years’ experience at Grady-White. Every Friday, Grady-White’s workforce gathers for their “Friday Morning Focus”. There, they reinforce values and principles and teach serious lessons, while reviewing key goals, issues and future plans.
Kris Carroll, president of Grady-White, says, “Human hearts and hands are the most important part of boat building. Grady-White produces exceptional quality with engaged, focused and happy craftsmen.”
The company hasn’t stood still, though, and has worked with local and state leaders to ensure Grady-White’s continued position as an important corporate citizen of Pitt County. The company is an advocate and contributor to fisheries conservation, education and waterways management.
This summer, Grady-White re-affirmed its commitment to the community with the expansion of its manufacturing facility northeast of Greenville. The project added 70,000 square feet and more than 65 jobs.
The North Carolina Department of Commerce’s Rural Economic Development Grant program, matching funds from the Pitt County Development Commission and funds for educational credits for training at Pitt Community College all went toward the project.
“It is exciting and rewarding to work with a company like Grady-White Boats on this project. Grady-White has been here since 1959, employing our residents, paying taxes and being an excellent corporate citizen. We are thrilled to give this long-term company this support,” said Wanda Yuhas, PCDC executive director.