Marcel Rijnbeek, general manager of Brunswick Netherlands, picked up a Lifetime Achievement Award from the company last month in recognition of his 50th anniversary in the boating industry.

“Few can boast a career spanning 50 years dedicated to gaining expertise in a single industry while maintaining the passion and energy required to drive results year after year,” says Brunswick in a statement.

Rijnbeek began his career at age 15, when he worked in Amsterdam at local builder and retailer EW Driessen – an experience that gave him the confidence to grow as a business leader, says Brunswick, and to “develop the strong, direct communication style he is known for today.”

When Brunswick eventually purchased the EW Driessen operation, Rijnbeek took the lead in developing an international presence for three US brands – Sea Ray, Boston Whaler and Baja. He built a strong dealer network throughout all of Europe, Middle East, and Africa and successfully grew the market for each of these brands.

Rijnbeek also championed the idea of finding capacity to support European manufacturing and to localise models as appropriate to meet European market needs. "He has been able to demonstrate leadership during high growth times and also throughout the downturns to continue to build the brand despite challenging economic environments," the statement says.

Rijnbeek and his wife raised their family less than 50m away from the EW Driessen retail store and he still works in the same office location, which today is Brunswick Netherlands’ headquarters. Rijnbeek maintains his passion for the marine industry and is currently overseeing the Sea Ray brand.