Where Are They Now? Chad Taylor

• Catching up with 2018 Duane Spader Leadership Development Scholarship recipient, Chad Taylor, President and General Manager, Taylor’s South Shore Marina and MRAA Board Member

Chad Taylor, Taylor’s South Shore Marina President, General Manager and second-generation owner, oversaw a relocation to a new, larger facility in 2018, the same year he received the MRAA Educational Foundation Duane Spader Leadership Development Scholarship. From the stage to the front office, Taylor’s journey over the past six years has included numerous learning experiences, leadership opportunities and consistent hard work!

Where are they now? Chad Taylor
Chad Taylor (second from left) attended the 2024 American Boating Congress in Washington with the MRAA staff (L-R: Mike Sayre, Mike Davin, Matt Gruhn and Chad Tokowicz) and fellow MRAA Board Members Jeff Strong and Joe Lewis (far right).

Q: As a second-generation owner, success doesn’t come easy, so how have you maintained your determination to succeed and carry on your family’s legacy?

Taylor: When I was in high school, one of our sports teams had T-shirts made with the slogan, “The only time success comes before work is in the dictionary.” I have never forgotten that slogan.

Q: What crosses your mind when you think about your father, Tom, starting his career as a 17-year-old?

Taylor: I think about that all the time. My father came from a very poor background and needed to work at an early age. He has always been a seven-days-a-week kind of guy. His work ethic is something myself and my brother carry on to this day.

Q: What did the big relocation to a new facility in 2018 teach you about yourself, your team and its preparedness?

Taylor: It taught me that I did not know how to prepare properly! LOL. I joined my 20 group once the expansion was already in motion. I think life might have been a little easier had I been active in my 20 group for a couple of years prior to the expansion. However, we prevailed and the team grew. That’s what really matters.

Q: You were the sixth recipient of the Duane Spader Leadership Development Scholarship in 2018. How did that opportunity for career growth help you and help you to help others?

Taylor: The program was pivotal in teaching me who I was and what we needed in team members. Once I really understood how to hire and interview better, our team shined. In addition, I learned what I should be managing on a day-to-day basis, and what I should not be handling. Time is the one commodity we never get back!

Q: What was the Duane Spader Leadership program time commitment, and how would you say it impacted who you are today as a person and leader?

Taylor: The time commitment was not terrible. To be honest, I was so happy to be going through the program, that I don’t even remember it being an issue. The time is the hardest thing for leaders to set aside. They should make a commitment to themselves and prioritize this time.

Where are they now? Chad Taylor
Chad Taylor

Q: You’ve witnessed growth at your dealership and significant changes, both the controllable and the uncontrollable, over the last five years, so how has your leadership style improved during that timeframe? 

Taylor: For me, it has been learning how to develop the younger staff members. The Duane Spader Leadership Development Program helped me realize that if you hire capable people, the job can get done better than you would do it.

Q: How would you rate Taylor’s South Shore Marina culture today vs. 2018 before you entered the Spader program?

Taylor: We have always had a good culture, but it is stronger today than in 2018. Our staff has more clarity now and they operate more efficiently as a team.

Q: How can these MRAA Educational Foundation scholarships help businesses retain valuable employees?

Taylor: These two scholarships will allow dealers to polish the key people in their operation. These are master’s degree-level training that many dealers do not have the funds to set aside. The LDP training will elevate not only the participants but everyone around them. I encourage everyone interested in being better to apply.

Q: The MRAA Educational Foundation scholarships honor people who have made a lasting impact on the industry and nurture our future leaders, so how can our industry help others carry the torch?

Taylor: Being a good leader requires you to give back. I believe the Educational Foundation is that vehicle that gives back to the industry. A better-educated dealer body simply means we all make more money. Dealers should focus on getting better, not bigger.

Q: You spent time on Capitol Hill at the American Boating Congress, so what messages did you want to make clear to lawmakers?

Taylor: Boating is big business! We represent a very large portion of the outdoor recreational industry. So it is important that they listen to our needs.

Meet Chad Taylor and the rest of the MRAA Board of Directors.