Regulator Marine shows off $7M expansion project
By Nicole Bowman-Layton
Sunday, September 22, 2019
EDENTON — More than a decade after the plans were first drawn up, Regulator Marine is celebrating completion of its $7 million expansion project.
The boat maker recently held an open house to showcase its plant improvements, which include two new structures and renovations to its current facility on its 25-acre site on Peanut Drive in Edenton. About 200 people attended the event.
Addressing attendees in the company’s new two-story assembly building, Regulator President Joan Maxwell said some odds and ends are still being completed, but otherwise, the plant is operational.
Regulator originally had plans to start construction of the improvements in 2008, said Maxwell, the company’s co-founder. In fact, the company already had the plans drawn up.
“We were ready to start construction in 2008, and then along came this thing called a recession,” she said. “So at that point, our focus was not on building, but on survival. Thanks be to God, Regulator not only just survived, the Lord sent more than enough orders.”
By 2016, the company began to feel confident enough to again consider expansion.
“In fact, if we did not expand, we would not have the ability to take on the opportunities that were before us,” Maxwell said. “So every every business comes to a crossroads, and they must decide at that point ‘Do we grow?’ or ‘Do we stay the same size?’”
For Regulator, the choice was clear.
Company co-founder Owen Maxwell said he pulled out the expansion plans initially drawn up in 2006 and worked with Mitchell Ayers of A.R. Chesson to come up with a full campus plan that now covers 121,414 square feet.
Regulator received both a state grant and private sector funding to help finance the expansion. To qualify for the grant, Regulator had to increase its workforce. It’s done so, going from 145 employees in 2017 to 213 today.
Joan Maxwell said the expansion helps ensure Regulator’s longevity and allows the company to bring new and innovative boats to market. For example, the first of what is scheduled to be a new line of boats, the XO — or a “crossover” series — debuted in June. The company also completed its most extensive model year change ever, she said.
Al Partin, Regulator’s head of customer service, was among the company employees who gave tours of the remodeled facilities after Maxwell’s presentation.
The project included a number of renovations to Regulator’s existing plant building. The reception area has been expanded to include a comfortable seating area where sales staff can now talk with potential clients. The human resources department now has its own entryway as well as separate offices complete with a conference room for training purposes. The executive and customer service offices are still in the existing building. It’s also used to fabricate boat parts as well as store parts ordered from outside companies, Partin said.
A new, 12,000-square-foot building for storing boat molds is now located in back of the Regulator building. It helps keep molds for the boats’ hulls clean and in good condition. Partin noted that the new assembly area allows Regulator to switch up its production schedule from one of each boat every seven days to two of one kind of boat — either a 26-footer or 28-footer — and five others, depending on market demands.
The new two-story assembly area also features a break room with windows overlooking the final production area. The company’s in-house engineers are now located upstairs in the assembly area, which also includes a few conference rooms.