17-3coverIn the 1980s when performance-boat owners were using their vessels for some rather questionable endeavors, Bill Tweedie, Vice President of Myco Trailers in Bradenton, FL. would receive a lot of phone calls from a South Florida United States Customs Agent named Ed Hamilton. The law enforcement officer would see a trailer sitting in a launch ramp parking lot for an extended time or at a strange hour. He then would call Tweedie, give him the serial number and request the name of the owner.

“There were so many guys who got nailed, but that’s how we got involved with customs,” said Tweedie. “If they didn’t have a trailer for a confiscated boat we would build them one and that how we became involved in getting government work.” When Fountain Powerboats got a contract to build boats for the U.S. Navy, Myco provided all the trailers.

While the company might be best known for building custom trailers for the most famous names in offshore racing and poker running, Tweedie explained approximately 45 percent of the company’s business comes from the military. United States Marine Incorporated in Gulfport, Miss., has been building boats for the military since the 1980s and has been Myco’s largest single client ever since.

Just recently, the U.S. Navy placed a trailer order for a 60-foot boat and the package has to be air transportable on a C130. The trailer has two independent frames, which adjust with hydraulics to clear the loading ramps. Tweedie said the company also does a lot of business in foreign military markets including the Egyptian, Kuwaiti and Australian navies.

In the 1980s when performance-boat owners were using their vessels for some rather questionable endeavors, Bill Tweedie, Vice President of Myco Trailers in Bradenton, FL. would receive a lot of phone calls from a South Florida United States Customs Agent named Ed Hamilton. The law enforcement officer would see a trailer sitting in a launch ramp parking lot for an extended time or at a strange hour. He then would call Tweedie, give him the serial number and request the name of the owner.

“There were so many guys who got nailed, but that’s how we got involved with customs,” said Tweedie. “If they didn’t have a trailer for a confiscated boat we would build them one and that how we became involved in getting government work.” When Fountain Powerboats got a contract to build boats for the U.S. Navy, Myco provided all the trailers.

hile the company might be best known for building custom trailers for the most famous names in offshore racing and poker running, Tweedie explained approximately 45 percent of the company’s business comes from the military. United States Marine Incorporated in Gulfport, Miss., has been building boats for the military since the 1980s and has been Myco’s largest single client ever since.

Just recently, the U.S. Navy placed a trailer order for a 60-foot boat and the package has to be air transportable on a C130. The trailer has two independent frames, which adjust with hydraulics to clear the loading ramps. Tweedie said the company also does a lot of business in foreign military markets including the Egyptian, Kuwaiti and Australian navies.

tweetiebill12Tweedie said that one of the most important reasons why Myco can build such a diverse range of custom trailers is the presence of his business partner, Don King, a mechanical engineer. “He designs all the trailers,” said Tweedie. Having a mechanical engineer on staff separated us from everybody else on the market.”
Tweedie and King are two of the five owners of the company. The other three are Tim Moran, who is the company president, Beverly Barnes, the Purchasing Director and Dan Behrens.

Part of what makes the 40-year-old company so successful is the team-based approach. Tweedie, 60, and his wife Debbie, a professional photographer, live in Melbourne Beach, Fla., and Tweedie drives to the Myco offices every Tuesday for meetings and then handles the sales and marketing from his home when he’s not surfing off the Florida coast. Ironically, the Tweedies’ personal boat is a Nordic Tug, not what you would expect for a company that puts trailers under the fastest boats in the world. “It’s the slowest boat on the planet,” Tweedie laughed.

It’s often said that the best products speak for themselves and Myco Trailers definitely fit into that category. “The best part is never having to say you’re sorry about your product,” says Tweedie. “I go from boat shows to dealer meetings and having people coming to you and saying, ‘Thank you for building a really great product.’”

Tweedie makes sure he relays those testimonials to the guys in the shop so they know how much they are appreciated. “We still have the same welders, painters and riggers we had 25 years ago. They are very proud of the products they build.”

Like fellow innovators such as Outerlimits, Sterling Performance and Latham Marine, Myco remains at the forefront of its branch of the marine industry by constantly innovating. Myco was the first to introduce tilt trailers under CUV and Tencara catamarans when they first premiered in offshore racing in the 1990s. Top teams over the years that used Myco trailers include Alcone Motorsports; Don Q; Special Edition; Popeyes; Jesse James; Gentry Eagle; Little Ceasar’s Pizza; Don Johnson‘s Team USA; and one of the fastest boats of its time, Howard Arneson’s turbine-powered 46’ Skater. Their recitation still stands strong today as many of the top teams pull with Myco.

tweediebill8Aside from the who’s who of offshore, famous customers have resorted to Myco such as King Hussein of Jordan, former U.S. Presidential Candidate and business magnet H. Ross Perot, fire fighter Red Adair and the legendary late Bernie Little, one of the most successful owners in Unlimited Hydroplane racing history.
“You mention anybody from the royal families to the movie stars to the race teams out there, we cover it all,” said Tweedie. When he started at Myco around 40 years ago, Tweedie wanted to establish a global dealer network right away and explained that when boat manufacturers are trying to establish their own dealers, they contact Tweedie. “I’ve got the biggest rolodex in the performance marine industry,” he said.

Because King’s presence allows Myco to respond efficiently to custom requests, Tweedie said the company gets virtually all the big-boat business in the performance world and now, manufacturers and buyers of large center consoles in the 35- to 40-foot range are turning to Myco. Myco is now a regular on the Southern Kingfish Association (SKA) schedule and Tweedie explained said the Myco is the only company to build aluminum fifth wheel and goose neck trailers in the larger sizes.

“If somebody would have asked me 10 years ago if I was going to be building center console trailers, I would have laughed,” he said. “What’s happened is that the size of the center consoles is getting to the point where 36 foot models are the average length now.” Regardless of the type of boat, if it’s in the 38’ to 50’ range, Tweedie said people come to Myco.

tweediebill13In addition to being able to answer the call with trailers for center consoles, Myco was one of the first to see the evolution of aluminum as a material for trailers. In 1999, Myco was the first to use the lightweight, non-corroding metal and it was an instant hit. “About 10 years ago, I said in about seven to eight years, I bet that instead of 70 percent steel, 30 percent aluminum, we’re going to be 80 percent aluminum and 20 percent steel. Myco fabricators have developed a way to etch the aluminum and paint them with DuPont Imron paint for a strong, attractive finish. The tilt trailers continue to be steel.

The average size trailer Myco builds is around 44 feet, according to Tweedie and given the ever-shrinking performance market, Tweedie is grateful for the four or five trailers the company fabricates for the U.S. Navy’s special forces since each one has a price tag of about $200,000. He added that it’s now unusual for the company to build a trailer shorter for a boat shorter than 35 feet.

For the future, Myco is working on building the first wet-launch trailer for a catamaran for the new Mystic 40 that is under construction. The trailer is constructed from galvanized steel and painted so it can go into saltwater without concern for corrosion issues. The first of these trailers will be at the Miami Boat Show in February. Between now and then, you can bet that Tweedie will be taking phone calls for custom trailers that only Myco can build. If he gets a call from a U.S. Customs agent about one of his trailers, you can be sure Tweedie will answer.