Wright Maritime Group

AJ Anderson

Brittani Severn of RMK Merrill Stevens o

May 2018

May 2018
WMG Headquarters, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

It's not very often you get one of the most exclusive and elusive Yacht Managers in the industry to talk on the record, but when you do it's well worth taking 5 minutes to listen.

"That's why we have jars full of Unobtainium. To prove to ourselves and our clients that what looks impossible at first, may not be impossible after it's explored."

- Are we alright?

- I don't know.

- Do you want to get it on camera now?

- And we are back between Between Two Yetis with AJ Anderson. How are you doing sir?

- Good to see you.

- In his... it's not the lair, is it? What do you call this place? You've got names for each room, haven't you?

- We do.

- So this is--

- The whole thing is the academy. The building is the academy.

- The whole building's yours, isn't it?

- We control the building and this space is the ridge and the space just where you were a moment ago is the crow's nest and the other space that we were in is the campus where we do our education. It's internal education.

- Now I just have to give you a bit of, what is it, street cred? Thumbs up? This is one of the few places, certainly in Fort Lauderdale but maybe in America, that is so super-yacht focused. I don't know anyone else's office that is so... Has that magic to it.

- It is magic. We're still in business it's a little magic in that.

-it's the magic.

- We are operational managers for large yachts. It's the principal activity

- It's the principal headline.

- We're also involved in new construction and publishing and some other activities but operational management is our key role. Eric over there, he's from New York, I'm from New York. Some Carolinians, a few Jamaicans, Bahamian, Ethiopian, couple of Brits, two Australians, Cuban, Bulgarian, and we have a handful of people that are actually from Florida that live out in Plantation.

- It is amazing actually, especially South Florida. There is a mix of everything.

- Oh yeah.

- There really is.

- And it is amazing and we have nine nationalities here. All legal immigrants, by the way.

- Okay, absolutely.

- Just for the record. I told you we do some publishing, so we actually have some product that's physical that you can carry out of here other than human.

- What do you do?

- Technical books. But they're beautiful technical. They're beautiful and we love them because these guys create them. Jackie gets them in beautifully bound published books so we love them. But our product is Josh and Nicki and the people up top and Eric and Laura Savage and Eppy and, you know, everybody here. That's our product. So if you went to Publix or wherever you go grocery shopping and went to the fruit thing and you saw an apple and it had a bruise on it, you probably wouldn't pick that one up. I mean these guys have bruises but otherwise, other than their bruises, you would want to get the best apple. And so our thing is that, are we the best apples? The challenge in operations, anything that is continuous, is there's no ending. So there's no bell at the end of the match. There's winners and there's winners. There's achievements happening right now they're very quiet, I don't know why, but they--

- Normally they're shouting

- No, they're actually always quiet which is a little scary but that's how they are so you just get on with it. But right now, there's some achievements happening. These successes that take place. But there's no bell, there's no marker in the sand saying, "We did it". In operational management it just kind of continues on. So that professionalism is important for the confidence of the people that are actually paying for it.

- It's interesting actually because the captain of a boat, the crew, the uniforms - it all communicates a certain level of... Not rigor, not safety. Well, those things. But it's also a level of the respect.

- I think what you just said is true but I might add purpose. If an electrician comes into your house with a pipe wrench and a hammer you're gonna say, "This is not the right guy." So you want the electrician to come in with a multimeter and some electrical tools and then you say, "Okay, this is the right guy." You want the plumber to come in with the pipe wrench and maybe a hammer and some tape. The crew and their decorum, their outward appearance and behavioral aspect, it's important because it's part of the joy of actually providing the service in the first place is being the best at it and from the people that are relying on that crew, they need to have confidence so they can enjoy themselves. And the crew trusting other crew. If you're on that 100 meter yacht that you normally cruise on with your friends but for some reason they ran out of guest cabins so they put you up in a crew cabin all the way up at the bow and it's two o'clock in the morning, or excuse me, it's 11 o'clock in the evening, and it's time for you to go to bed and the boat's steaming along at 20 knots you go down into that bed and you're thinking, "Is the bridge crew paying attention right now? "Are they really engaged in their watch-keeping? "Were they trained properly in the first place "and is it rich resource management? "All of that that's going on up there, "is it being conducted in a professional way "so I know we won't be striking something "that we shouldn't strike, like the bottom, "while I'm sleeping in this bed?" So you need that. If someone in hotel department, who generally don't spend a lot of time in the wheelhouse or in the bridge, but they're up there and they see the officer, the watch, and the lookout kind of talking about the football scores and really not paying attention to their scheme and looking at each other, having a great conversation about the football scores then later on that afternoon or that evening that hotel staff goes to their cabin and they wonder, "Well that's what was happening at 11 o'clock this morning, "I wonder what's happening now at 11 o'clock at night." So it's important. Some of the things are just difficult and they ask for things. The first and easiest thing is to say, "That's not possible." But if you reach and you try and you think, "The likelihood of us "doing exactly what he's asking, or she's asking for, "is a very, very small likelihood. "But we might find out some really cool things "on the way to exploring it "and we might come up with a better thing "that actually suits the goal as well "but maybe suits some other things at the same time." So those challenges are really exciting and the folks that are really into it a lot, they tend to challenge the builders, the designers, and folks like us.

- You're a unique person in this industry. You're very quiet. You get on and do your own thing. But you're very successful in your own thing. It doesn't matter if it's money or not, it's the people that you seem to have around you.

- It's a miracle.

- Sets it up for you.

- That's America, yeah.

- No it's a miracle.

- Oh, it's a miracle.

- It is America but that's besides the point. As I said, there's only a few of us born here who's here.

- Yeah. Well AJ thank you very much for your time.

- Good to see you again.

- And thank you for, uh... I've been here probably longer than you thought I would be.

- Savage, you're alright.


AJ Anderson

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