Bob Arthur, from New Bern, has held more than 10 job titles during his 46 years with Hatteras Yachts and has seen it change in the hands of five different owners.
Growing up on the family farm, he learned the importance of hard work from an early age. After graduating from New Bern Senior High School in 1971, he continued his education at East Carolina University.
While earning a bachelor’s degree in sociology, Arthur worked in campus labs, Hardee’s, and was a manager at Waffle House and a local Mexican restaurant.
However, the most important thing he gained from ECU was not his degree which prepared him for future success.
“It was around this time that I found the woman I would marry. We met while I was dating her roommate,” Arthur said. “She always teases me about it.”
Returning to New Bern as newlyweds after graduation in 1975, Arthur’s wife was hired to teach special education in schools in New Bern city and he needed a use.
This is where Hatteras comes in.
46 years as a Hatteras employee
1. When did you start working for Hatteras and what made you want to work there?
While I was looking for a job, we [Arthur and his wife] worked in tobacco for a friend. It was a challenge for my city-dweller. I found a temporary job selling equipment at a discount store, but continued to apply nearby.
I applied to Hatteras and within a week the HR manager Don Packard called me for an interview. After going through all the formal questions, Don looked at me and asked if I knew any chemistry.
“Some,” I replied.
He asked me if I knew what a gram, a liter and a kilogram were and I said “Yes sir! ” He said,
“Well you’ve finished your college education, that means you can be trained,” Packard said.
He told me the goal was to set up a laboratory in Hatteras and he welcomed me on board and told me to report on September 22, 1975.
2. What are the different positions you have held at Hatteras?
My first job was a stock runner, delivering parts to production on the waterfront. After ninety days I was transferred to the owner’s warehouse where I loaded the owner’s personal items onto the boats. I found it very interesting and it was a pleasure to meet our clients.
After a year I transferred to engineering as a fiberglass kits clerk and slowly trained to do inbound analysis on our chemicals used in boat building. I became a quality inspector and an engineering technician.
As I became more familiar with the processes, I went to Craven Community College to study all of the chemistry on offer. Frequent meetings with arrivals of resin, fiberglass and gelcoat chemists allowed me to learn more about the technical aspects of boat building.
Then, I had the privilege of occupying one of the two positions of technician in materials and processes with Bob Silman. While we were there, our supervisor arranged for us to visit research and manufacturing centers and study with some of the best academics in the industry. At the end of 1981, I was offered the position of Senior Materials and Processes Engineer. This forced my family and I to move to High Point, Hatteras’ original home and corporate headquarters.
At High Point, I spent much of my time making service calls, being part of a team that tested new products and processed and maintained the High Point and New Bern Hatteras factories as well as the Robalo plant in Sanford, Florida. This evolved into the position of Chief Materials and Process Engineer.
- Summer 1995: I was transferred to New Bern in the same post.
- Fall 1995: It was decided to move production from High Point to New Bern, as neither High Point nor New Bern was operating at full capacity.
- 2002: I received a certificate for Six Sigma Green Belt training.
- May 2003: I was offered the position of Production Engineering Manager.
- July 2006: I became director of fiberglass operations.
- November 2010: I resigned from the operations position and returned to engineering as a Senior Fiberglass Engineer.
- 2011: I assumed the post of director of structural engineering.
- 2021: I am responsible for engineering
3. How do you see Hatteras evolving over the years?
Hatteras has changed in many ways over the years. Since I’ve been here we’ve had five different owners and many different management teams. We have had to modify our marketing plans, prepare for a constant change of customer base and modify many of our processes.
The only thing that has not changed is the drive to produce a robust product that our customers can enjoy and feel comfortable with with their families.
I look forward to the changes White River Marine Group will make to our plant. It will be great to see our factory become the world famous saltwater hub of the White River Marine group.
4. What is one of your favorite memories of working for Hatteras?
I cannot cite a single memory. I’m proud that in 1984 Hatteras won the Society of Plastics Industry Marine Products Award for a lightweight hardtop. In 1988 we were awarded for producing the largest single rudders and rudders for our 65 Motor sailor. Our 75 Motor Yacht won Robb Reports’ Best of the Best yacht. Our 90 engine also won the Robb Reports “Best of the Best” award.
5. What is your favorite part of your job?
My favorite part is seeing a challenge and meeting it successfully and providing a positive addition to our goals as well as developing friendships with my colleagues.
6. What is the hardest part of working at Hatteras?
Deciding how best to determine the next job to take and how to balance work and family are the most difficult parts of my job.
7. Do you have a favorite Hatteras boat?
There are many favorites including the old 53MY series which is still sought after since production ceased in the early 1980s and the 130 MY series which are the largest yachts we have built. I also like the M75 which has received a lot of praise in the marine market. Today I have to say that the new GT65 convertible is my favorite.
8. What does Hatteras mean to the New Bern community?
Since Hatteras started delivering yachts to New Bern, they have changed the community. The wages paid reach the entire community. The purchases that the company makes from local businesses help support businesses large and small.
Beyond that, the company and our outfitters (team members) are involved in numerous charities, such as:
- The YMCA building
- United Way
- Relay for Life
- Toddler Toys
- Red Cross blood drive
- Hurricane relief
- New Bern City Fire Department
- Habitat for Humanity
- Refuge for women
One thing that warms me inside is when I see an outfitter taking money to help a local worker or a family in times of need.
Growth and Development reporter Julia Masters can be reached at [email protected] or 828-318-3108.