By Meg Olson
Mark and Tami Pondelick, new owners of Westwind Marine Corporation at the Point Roberts Marina, are bringing a sturdy combination of business acumen and technical experience to the local marine service business.
Mark, a mechanical engineer, has decades of experience in marine and aerospace manufacturing. He was most recently the vice president and general manager of B/E Aerospace in Rockford, Illinois.
Tami has a background in accounting. They owned their own business manufacturing custom tooling from 2005 to 2010. Mark said the decision to purchase Westwind came partially from a desire to be his own boss again.
“I’ve traveled out here quite a bit working in various positions and we’ve always really liked the area,” Mark said.
When their daughter moved west to attend Washington State University it seemed like a good time for a change, and they came across Westwind Marine for sale.
“It seemed like something that would be a good fit – what we were looking for,” he said.
The couple sealed the deal and took over on March 21, and their first month has gone well. “It’s been great,” Mark said. “The weather’s been helping out and it’s been quite busy. We’re very happy with our decision.”
Their plans for the near future are to learn and grow. “We’ll make adjustments and branch out into other areas as we get a better understanding of the people and the business,” Mark said.
They also are enjoying getting to know the area. Mark holds a private pilot’s license and their four-seater Cessna is home at the Point Roberts airstrip. They recently flew to Friday Harbor for lunch and to explore.
“We really like the area,” he said. “It’s a beautiful place to live. We’re really excited to be here on the water with the mountains and the beautiful views.” He added that they sold their boat when they left Illinois, but were definitely looking to get a new one to explore local waters.
Former Westwind owners Ben and Sheila Lazarus plan to stay in Point Roberts and focus on their marine canvas business, Beyond Canvas. They manufacture biminis, dodgers, enclosures, sail covers and any other custom canvas work that comes in the door. Contact Marine Canvas at 360/525-5041.