Little firm makes big splash in industry – July 24, 2006
July 24, 2006
Filed under Features
WaterTop Unlimited LLC has barely celebrated its one-year anniversary, but already the Florida-based company has begun to show the experience of a seasoned veteran in the personal watercraft industry.
Handling a diverse range of work, from events like the Florida Rally Series to marketing duties for Sea-Doo, Formula, Nissan and Perry Performance Group, WaterTop has quickly lived up to its tagline that sometimes the littlest kid on the block can make the biggest splash.
Most of the credit for that success is a result of the efforts of company founder Tim McKercher. A man who has seen his career path span from enthusiast, to Sea-Doo test pilot, to competitive racer, to Sea World stunt show personality, and ultimately Sea-Doo’s North American public relations manager for more than a decade, McKercher remains the very definition of a true personal watercraft enthusiast. Today, as head of WaterTop, the 36-year-old Floridian has continued to market the sport of personal watercraft in diverse fashion.
While the success of WaterTop is certainly cause to celebrate for McKercher and his close-knit staff, the decision to start the company was only part vision. The driving force was far more primal — job security.
“I have always wanted to be my own boss again, but honestly the catalyst was because I was forced to make a decision when BRP moved all of their Sea-Doo marketing offices from Florida to Canada,” McKercher said of his decision to create the company in 2005. “That move simply wasn’t going to work for me. The other reason is I have always been entrepreneurial and always enjoyed working for myself.”
Jumping from employee to company owner, however, wasn’t always easy. McKercher had to face all the challenges starting up WaterTop that anyone faces with any new business, including learning how to handle accounting, shipping, payroll, equipment purchases, storage and the loss of corporate benefits like health care and profit sharing. McKercher also notes that WaterTop recently purchased a building for its offices, but hasn’t found the time to work on its planned remodel. Overall, however, the rewards have been far more plentiful.
“The biggest reward is being able to have Sea-Doo as our main client today, and work with other brands that fall within our passions, such as Evinrude and Can-Am ATV,” says McKercher. “We have also done some odd jobs for Red Bull, and others, and we will be working with a small airplane manufacturer in the very near future. We are also having fun producing our rally events, while event and show transportation is growing very fast for us.”
McKercher’s unique background in the personal watercraft industry has enabled WaterTop to offer a diverse range of services. Naturally, the majority of the agency’s work lies in the public relations, event production and product demo areas, as well as sales training and transportation services.
The company also has found itself doing a fair amount of additional work, including some freelance photography and editorial, and print ad production. McKercher says the company also can assist prospective clients with marine film stunt work, water stunt shows and mobile floating billboard advertising.
And there are other plans further down the pipeline. “One of our dreams is to have a watercraft tour, similar to Garry Yaworski’s Island Watersports in Key West, but in Cape Canaveral.”
For the immediate future, however, the growing number of rally series events the company has been producing for the past two years occupies much of WaterTop — and McKercher’s — time. WaterTop’s Florida Rally Series is already a proven success in the PWC industry. This year, the company has branched out beyond Florida’s borders, hosting the Twin Cities River Rally in Minnesota and producing the recently completed Bimini Road Rally, an exclusive, all-inclusive touring concept that saw nearly 20 paying PWC enthusiasts venturing to the Bahamian island of Bimini. psb