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Fountain boats speed towardmajor growth

By Staff
Expected to add
250 new positions
in next five years
By CLAUD HODGES
Newsroom Manager
Reggie Fountain announced Monday that Baja Marine is coming to his factory to become a part of the manufacturing team at Fountain Powerboats.
Fountain Powerboats, with its headquarters and plant operations located on Whichard’s Beach Road between Washington and Chocowinity, was granted a Job Development Investment Grant by the state of North Carolina on Monday. The grant is designed to help Fountain Powerboats and Baja Marine create 250 jobs and infuse $12 million in investment in the organization by the company during the next five years.
Fountain Powerboats employs 333 people.
Fountain said he is proud to say that the average wage earned by an employee at his factory is about $34,000 per year.
Tom Thompson, executive director of the Beaufort County Economic Development Commission, said the state grant will bring more wealth to the county.
Donna Phillips, a senior economic developer/manager with the N.C. Department of Commerce, said the state grant received by Fountain is a performance-driven grant.
Chocowinity Mayor Jimmy Mobley is happy with Monday’s announcement.
Washington Mayor Judy Meier Jennette agreed.
Baja Marine boats are sportboats that are not as racy as Fountain boats, Fountain said.
Fountain boats include fishing boats from 23 feet long to 38 feet long, sportboats from 27 feet long to 47 feet long and sport cruisers from 38 feet long to 48 feet long. Sport cruisers are likened to fast yachts, Fountain said.
Baja boats will range from 27 feet long to 42 feet long, and they will be sold as sportboats.
Workers to support Baja Marine operations will be hired during the next five years, and training for those jobs will be facilitated by Beaufort County Community College and East Carolina University, Fountain said.