Nielsen Beaumont's Secret is Excellence

Tom NielsenPhoto: Tom Nielsen of Nielsen Beaumont

Nielsen Beaumont Marine must have something special happening in their boatyard to survive and even prosper in the shadow of two giant competitors.

It seems the secret is excellence.

Sandwiched between Driscoll Boat Works and Shelter Island Boat Yard on Shelter Island in San Diego, Nielsen Beaumont has gained a reputation in their 18 years of operation of providing quality workmanship and service.

The genesis of this operation took place years before the boatyard was purchased from Mauriccio & Sons, when Tom Nielsen, a track star who had recently graduated from Humboldt College, and Don Beaumont, who left his job as a successful advertiser, started a yacht-management business.

"I didn't know what I wanted to do when I graduated from college so I came back to San Diego and was sanding boats at the San Diego Yacht Club," Nielsen told BoatingNews in a February interview. "I contacted Don and suggested we start a business taking care of boats for people who were out of town."

The synergy between the two friends sparked an eventual "million-dollar-a-year" business and poised the two partners for an opportunity to buy Mauriccio & Sons when it came up for sale.

Beaumont's marketing sense and Nielsen's experience in competitive sports provided good mojo for the company as they gathered a team of experts around them. Quality workmen and women gravitated toward the business as Nielsen Beaumont held up its end of the bargain by instituting programs for sending the workers to advanced schools.

The gambit paid off. Today Nielsen Beaumont has assembled approximately 25 highly educated and trained craftsmen and women and built them a state-of-the-art machine shop so they can provide the best of service to their customers.

Hanging in the workshop is an array of diplomas from institutions around the country proclaiming the mastery of the workers there.

Although they are presently still hauling many of their boats out of the water by rail (one of two boatyards in San Diego still doing this), Nielsen Beaumont is in the planning stages of undergoing a sweeping redevelopment of their yard. In order to accommodate the greater number of boats coming their way, they will be rebuilding their piers and bringing in a new 75-ton lift.

But, the present charm of the old yard (they have to buy their railroad spikes from the San Diego Railroad Museum) has not slowed down business. Nielsen Beaumont's level of expertise has earned them dealerships in Volvo Penta and Mercury Marine.

We've made a conscious effort to change our focus," Nielsen said when talking about the new dealerships. "To do this, you really need good quality mechanics, which we have. We have some really great people."

The yard now sees a steady stream of boats being hauled in by trailer and will send their workforce off site to accomplish repairs according to Jay Danna, one of the craftsmen at Nielsen Beaumont. "We'll go to almost anywhere we have to in Southern California to fix a boat," Danna said.

Although the boatyard already has a fine collection of craftsmen, including Steve Mercado who has his master's mechanic certificate for Volvo and is sitting for his masters for Mercury Marine in April, they are constantly in touch with schools in the San Diego area looking for new blood.

Twenty-year-old Lara Stepp is part of this new generation. Stepp recently returned from a course where she achieved top honors in the class. "They're paying a lot of money to send me to these classes," she said when asked about her success. "I take it very seriously."

"The days of the shade-tree mechanic are gone," Nielsen told BoatingNews. "It's impossible to work on these new engines without great people and proper equipment."

Nielsen Beaumont is located at 2420 Shelter Island Drive in San Diego and can be reached at (619) 222-4255. Their Web site is www.nielsenbeaumont.com.

San Diego Port Tenants Association