We’re excited to announce some changes within our OEM Sales and Customer Service Departments at TACO Metals!
Renowned sport fishing Captain Mark Henderson is now our OEM Sales Manager! Henderson, who originally came onboard as our Strategic Product Category Manager, will still be involved in the product management process, but will now take on the role of leading our OEM Sales Department. Henderson has extensive sales and management experience, which will add significant value to our OEM Sales team.
Long-time TACO employee Richard Cadien, who has 25 years of sales and customer service experience, is slated to transition back into the OEM Sales Department and will fill the role of Inside Sales Representative, a position he held in the past with great success.
South Florida native and avid fishing enthusiast Daniel Avila, who’s been on our Customer Service team for the past two years, is also moving over to OEM Sales on a full-time basis. He will cover all of South Florida.
Kathy Meza, a current member of our Customer Service team, is now promoted to the role of Customer Service Representative. Meza joined TACO and quickly proved herself as a vital member of our team.
Summerville, S.C. Warehouse Manager Nick Essenmacher will be adding Customer Service responsibilities to his repertoire, which will help us better serve our growing customer base in the Carolinas. Essenmacher consistently exceeds expectations and we are excited for his next chapter here at TACO.
At the beginning of September, we transitioned long-time TACO team member Gary Beasley into a full-time Customer Service Representative, reporting to Ernie Santiago, our Customer Service Manager. Beasley has been with TACO for an astounding 35 years! Undoubtedly, he brings a wealth of knowledge to the team.
Last, but certainly not least, TACO employee Bob Mitchell is also joining our Customer Service team. With five years of experience at TACO in sales, Mitchell has proven to be a valuable member of our team in the North East and we know he will continue to excel in his new role in Customer Service.
During the past 60 years, we’ve been fortunate at TACO to have longevity, passion and specialization with our team of outstanding employees. Congratulations to all these individuals as they begin their new and enhanced roles at TACO!
Six years ago on October 1, baby Chase Edward Warren was born. Although he passed away at the tender age of just 10 months old from Gaucher Type 2, a rare neurological condition, Chase’s memory lives on through his family and the ChaseN’Tailz Fishing Tournament.
This year, a record $100,000 was raised in the events leading up to and during the fifth annual ChazeN’Tailz tournament, which took place Sept. 8 in Jupiter, Florida. An astounding 165 boats competed – making it the most popular year yet for the charity tournament.
Because of the resounding success this year, Summer and Jay Warren, Chase’s parents, said the Foundation was able to directly support four very needy families with children suffering from rare illnesses.
Additionally, Summer said the couple plans to add an option on the Foundation’s Web site where needy families with sick children can directly apply for grants. She said the grant application is slated to go live in three weeks – making it possible for families to receive help without waiting until after the annual tournament.
“This is huge,” said Summer. “It is because of people and companies like TACO Marine that believe in us and our mission.”
Summer and Jay understand all too well the physical, mental and emotional toll of having a sick child. On top of that, the financial strain to pay for costly medical treatment and other services can be overwhelming.
“These families are going through the hardest times of their lives,” said Summer. “It can be a very lonely time. They can now be assured that they are not alone and [that] ChaseN’Tailz is here to help.”
In addition to directly supporting families, ChaseN’Tailz also supports the Quantum House, which is located on the campus of St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Florida. The Quantum House provides a safe haven for families to stay whose children are receiving treatment for serious medical conditions. ChaseN’Tailz has helped support the Quantum House since the tournament’s inception in 2013.
ChaseN’Tailz also helps support the Live Like Jack Foundation, which promotes drowning awareness and water safety in memory of Jake Morrison, who passed away in a drowning accident in 2013.
“Oct 1st, my son Chase would have been 6 years old,” said Summer. “As much as I wish he was here, I cannot think of a better way to honor him than to present these families with donation checks.”
An estimated 165 boats are slated to compete in this year’s ChaseN’Tailz Fishing Tournament Sept. 8 – a Florida charity event created in memory of Chase Warren and dedicated to helping families with children who have rare diseases.
The story of ChaseN’Tailz began Oct. 1, 2012, when Chase Edward Warren was born – a dream come true for parents Summer and Jay, who struggled for years to conceive. While baby Chase first appeared healthy and normal, signs that something was wrong quickly began to surface.
In the 10 months that followed Chase’s birth, he lost his ability to move, his organs became enlarged and his breathing labored. Meanwhile, doctors were stumped at the cause because his symptoms were so varied and severe.
Baby Chase passed away Aug. 7, 2013. Two days later, he was officially diagnosed with Gaucher Type 2 – a rare neurological disorder that has no treatment or cure.
Formerly called Infantile Gaucher Disease, the Gauchers Association describes Type 2 as a rare, rapidly progressing disease that affects the brain, spleen, liver, lungs and bones.
“Fewer than 1 in 100,000 newborn babies have Type 2 disease,” states the Gauchers Association. “Babies usually appear normal at birth but develop symptoms by the age of 3 to 6 months.”
As fishing and boating enthusiasts who own Canvas & Towers in Lake Park, Florida, Summer and Jay wanted to host a marine-based event in honor of Chase. In 2013, they launched ChaseN’Tailz Fishing Tournament – helping to spread awareness about rare diseases and raise funds for research and support.
“Most of these diseases are closely related and research for one greatly impacts 16 others,” writes Summer on the foundation’s Web site chasentailz.com. Summer and Jay have since had a daughter, who is a healthy 2-year-old.
Now in its fifth consecutive year, ChaseN’Tailz has donated more than $120,000 toward research and also to deserving families and organizations.
In addition to the popular fishing tournament, ChaseN’Tailz also hosts four smaller events throughout the year, including a youth painting class, a Calavares Cantina party, the tournament kick-off party and a fundraising booth at the Palm Beach International Boat Show.
On the day of the tournament, ChaseN’Tailz hosts a free community festival, which includes a silent auction, raffle, waterslide, games, vendors, a car show, food and drinks.
“Chase’s family is similar to ours, a marine industry family,” said Kushner, “so the charity and their passions are very parallel to ours.”
This year, Summer said some of the money raised through ChaseN’Tailz will go directly to the families in need who have a child with a rare, life-threatening disease – helping to pay medical bills, utilities, mortgages and other expenses.
Another benefactor is the Quantum House, located on the campus of St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Florida. The Quantum House provides a safe haven for families to stay whose children are receiving treatment for serious medical conditions. ChaseN’Tailz has helped support the Quantum House since the tournament’s inception in 2013.
“The Warrens, as well as their extended family and friends, have provided a meal each year for our 30 families (75 people) who reside at Quantum House, in memory of their son, Chase Warren,” wrote Megan Thompson, Quantum House manager of family programs and operations, in a statement to TACO Marine. “These meals mean so much to our families who are going through traumatic situations with a child, either in the hospital or receiving medical treatment.”
ChaseN’Tailz also helps support the Live Like Jake Foundation, which promotes drowning awareness and water safety in memory of Jake Morrison, who passed away in a drowning accident in 2013.
“We have been able to provide 61 scholarships for the [Infant Swimming Resource] self rescue swim lessons in 2018 right here in Palm Beach County,” wrote Keri Morrison, founder of Live Like Jake, in a statement to TACO Marine. “Drowning is the leading cause of death in children 1 to 4 years old, with five deaths last year just in Palm Beach County.”
For Summer and Jay, supporting families with children who have a rare disease and organizations in need through ChaseN’Tailz is a way to keep the memory of Chase alive.
“As a grieving parent, your biggest fear is that your child will be forgotten,” said Summer. “This name ensured that wouldn’t happen.”
Anglers can still register to compete in ChaseN’Tailz from now through Sept. 6 at the Captain’s Meeting. To learn more and donate, visit chasentailz.com.
Cancer survivor, sailor and second-generation boat builder Johannes “Jopie” Helsen plans to embark on a $1 million around-the-world fundraiser for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Born in Holland and now living in St. Petersburg, Fla., Helsen, the owner of Sailor’s Wharf Yacht Yard, was diagnosed with throat cancer five years ago after experiencing pain and soreness during a sailing trip in the Mediterranean.
“We’re so grateful for what he’s done to support and increase awareness of our organization,” said Siederer, who’s been with the LLS for nearly 40 years. “People like Jopie are just incredible ambassadors, whether you’re into the sailing community or not, to help cure cancer. That’s a very high quality and we’re so grateful for his help.”
With Siederer’s support, the first step toward such an adventure meant that Helsen, alongside his girlfriend Heidi Trilsch, needed a boat – a hearty, seaworthy vessel built to withstand the 15-month voyage known as the World Arc.
Hosted by the World Cruising Club, World Arc is a 26,000 nautical-mile trade wind circumnavigation that departs Jan. 12, 2019 from Saint Lucia island in the Caribbean to sail around the globe – most of which in the southern hemisphere.
While Helsen and Trilsch, whose stepmother is a Lymphoma survivor, will have long stretches at sea (the longest leg is 2,980 miles across the Pacific), World Arc includes opportunities for on-shore exploration – with close to 30 stops around the world at destinations like the Galapagos Islands, Bora Bora and Cape Town, South Africa.
Finding the right boat for such a venture was no easy task. For Helsen, it not only had to be strong and capable for the harsh conditions at sea, but also comfortable and spacious enough for he and Trilsch, a videographer and an occasional crew member.
“We actually made an offer on two different boats that we did not get,” said Helsen, aged 71. “And now, looking back on it, we realize how impressive this boat is.”
With its sky-blue hull and matching spinnaker, Helsen purchased the aptly named and visually stunning SKY – a 57-foot dual-helm Vaudrey Miller monohull built in New Zealand and designed by Simonis Voogdin 2004.
While originally built for the extremes of circumnavigation, Helsen said SKY had taken a beating over the years and needed some remodeling and upgrades ahead of the 2019 voyage.
Over the course of nearly one year, Helsen and his 13-person crew at his yacht yard worked on renovating SKY– outfitting the boat with a self-furling boom, enlarging the cockpit and making it possible for Helsen to sail single-handedly, should the need arise.
Because 100 percent of donations go to the LLS, Helsen said he needs sponsors to help offset the costs and supply parts and equipment.
“He’s one of these guys who’s very passionate and very active in the boating industry,” said Kushner, who first met Helsen more than 30 years ago. “Having done the TACO Marine Project Boat fundraiser myself, I have a better sense of appreciation for what he’s trying to do. It’s a really cool project.”
Another fan of Helsen’s fundraiser and someone with many friends and relatives diagnosed with Lymphoma is National Marine Manufacturers Association President Thom Dammrich, who’s known the sailor for several years because of his participation in the marine industry.
“I admire his adventurous spirit,” said Dammrich, who also has an endorsement published on Helsen’s website. “This is a life adventure and for a great cause. I wish them a safe voyage and return.”
With six months to go before he sets sail, Helsen said there’s still plenty to do on SKY to prep for departure, including installing new satellite equipment, rigging new electronics and conducting sea trials. He also hopes to recruit a few more sponsors to help fund the expenses while also raising awareness for the cause.
To donate to Helsen’s SV SKY 57 fundraiser for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, visit svsky57.com and its donation page.
One hundred percent of every donation toward Helsen’s round-the-world fundraiser goes to the LLS, which is the largest nonprofit dedicated to curing blood cancers. Since 1949, LLS has donated more than $1.2 billion toward cancer research. The charity also provides patient support and has a grassroots network of more than 100,000 volunteers advocating at state and local levels for policy change and program funding.
In the coming months, we’ll be writing more about Helsen and following his journey around the globe. For more updates, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagramand YouTube.
TACO fans, we have some exciting news! We’re debuting our new sport fishing Deluxe Hybrid Aluminum Tele-Outrigger Poles at the ICAST showNew Product Showcase July 11 – 13 in Orlando, FL!
Designed for offshore trolling in search of bigger fish, these poles have a thicker wall for enhanced durability and feature patent-pending 360-degree swivel rollers for better natural bait presentation and reduced halyard friction.
The Hybrid Poles telescope below eight feet for trailering, storage and bridge clearance and extend to 18 feet – increasing the strike zone when fishing. They pair with TACO Grand Slam 280, 380 and 400 mounts and will be available in silver/silver and black/silver.
3-piece telescopic pole
Easily collapsed and stowed
Patent-pending 360-degree swivel collars
Roller bearing halyard pulleys
Increased aluminum wall thickness for durability
Additional swivel collar to separate halyard lines
Fits all GS-280, GS-380 and GS-400 outrigger bases
Come see these poles and more great TACO products in booth 3706! Stay up to date on all things TACO Marine by following us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and by subscribing to this blog.
This is part one in a multi-blog series recognizing members of our amazing Team TACO.
In 2009, when we first sponsored Captain Mark Henderson and the Liquid Fire Fishing Team, it quickly became apparent that we hit the jackpot.
Not only is Mark a serious sport fisherman, but he is passionate about the boating and fishing industries – something we greatly value at TACO Marine. After nine years of sponsorship, Mark officially joined Team TACO as our Strategic Product Category Manager in March.
In addition to meeting with boat builders and working closely with our design and engineering team on new product development, Mark is also our FISH TACO TV host, product specialist and the go-to expert for consumers.
A recent consumer example comes from Bryan, who emailed us for help on selecting the appropriate outrigger kit – bases and poles – for his Pursuit OS 334.
“I am not sure of the top thickness and I don’t want to buy the wrong TACO model,” wrote Bryan.
Mark got the message and called the phone number given by Bryan. Beyond providing him with information about our various outriggers, Mark said he would personally inspect Bryan’s boat to recommend the most appropriate outrigger system – taking into consideration the boat’s hardtop, horsepower and size.
After making the drive to Bryan’s house, Mark not only recommended an appropriate pair of mounts and poles, but also possible accessories to make the outrigger system as high performing as possible.
“I have to say, when I sent an information request on the TACO website, I did not expect the level of professionalism you have given me,” wrote Bryan. “Not only did you take the time to email me a very detailed message of the outrigger equipment we spoke about by telephone, but also you took the time to look at my boat, take photos and advise me on the best application that TACO offers to satisfy my needs.”
“I tell you, I am blown away with the level of effort you gave me with no strings attached,” continued Bryan. “I know a lot about giving great service as a business owner and also when I receive it as a consumer. I truly appreciate the attention and how you went out of your way for me! It is almost unheard of these days and I am completely impressed!”
Nowadays, it’s common for boaters and fishing enthusiasts to reach out to us via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for help, concerns, advice or to share their TACO product pictures. In addition to helping Bryan, Mark is also a key responder to questions on social media – doing his best to not only provide answers, but to supply complete solutions to boaters and fishing enthusiasts in need.
We’re proud to recognize the outstanding service Mark gave Bryan. It’s because of TACO members like Mark that our reputation for exceptional customer service continues.
While many across America will be outdoors this Memorial Day, retired Army Lieutenant Colonel Tim Hoffmann will be in his truck driving more than 1,000 miles from Maine to Indiana to help veterans in need.
It all started in 2013 after Hoffmann retired from both his civilian and Army Reserve careers in Nursing Administration. As a lifelong fisherman and boater looking for ways to give back, he saw an opportunity for the boating and fishing industries to come together to help veterans.
“We could reach many deserving vets who had served in combat and were experiencing significant challenges and hardship on their return to civilian life,” said Hoffmann, who was drafted into the military in 1968 during the Vietnam War.
In 2014, Hoffmann and his daughter Ann launched Vets On The Water [VOTW], a Maine-based nonprofit dedicated to helping active duty, disabled veterans and Gold Star families experience and enjoy time on the water. Activities include fresh and saltwater fishing, sailing, cruising and ice fishing.
While Hoffmann would normally be on the water with veterans this Memorial Day, he instead is adding another boat to the VOTW program – a specially adapted SunChaser Geneva 22 Fish Deluxe pontoon by Smokercraft with a Yamaha Outboard engine, electronics from Raymarine and a trailer from BassPro.
On Sunday, May 27, Hoffmann and his daughter are departing Rockport, Maine for the Smokercraft headquarters in New Paris, Indiana – a 16-hour drive taking place over Sunday and Monday, Memorial Day. On Tuesday, Hoffmann said he plans to tour the facility and meet the entire Smokercraft team before heading back to Maine with the new boat in tow – arriving just in time to prep for another day with Vets On The Water.
Phil Smoker, Smokercraft Vice President of Sales, said the pontoon is the second boat the family-owned company is donating to VOTW. He said the addition of the pontoon will provide veterans in wheelchairs an opportunity to participate because of the accessible boarding and ability to more easily maneuver around the deck.
“We love what he’s doing for our vets and we hope that the program only continues to grow,” said Smoker.
VOTW is entirely volunteer based. There’s no overhead costs and 100 percent of every donation, whether fishing or boating products, gas cards or meals, goes to veterans. Because of this, Hoffmann’s mantra is that the program belongs to all who give their time, equipment or services to the cause.
Hoffmann also works with the VA Maine Health Care System in Togus, which identifies eligible clients, obtains physician orders for participation and provides transportation and VA staff on each watercraft during the weekly trips.
Weather permitting, Hoffmann and his team of volunteers conduct nearly 60 trips per year for an estimated 1,000 veterans.
Shortly after the program first launched, Hoffmann reached out to TACO for some aluminum rod holders. After speaking with Mike Kushner, TACO’s Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Hoffmann said he was surprised when a pair of brand new Grand Slam Outrigger Mounts, Aluminum Tele-Outrigger Poles and a pair of 4-rod Aluminum Rod Holders arrived at his house just five days later.
“I think we’re the only people in the country who are using outriggers for fishing mackerel, which is a very small fish,” said Hoffmann. “But it allows us to get another two or more lines in the water and not get tangled.”
“What I really like about Tim’s effort is that it’s totally volunteer driven,” said Dammrich, who first learned of Hoffmann and the VOTW program two years ago. “He wants to find other volunteers like himself in other parts of the country who are willing to take this on, with the support of the boating industry, to get veterans on the water.”
Hoffmann said he is optimistic VOTW will continue to grow because of the many organizations and individuals who believe in the program.
“I had the idea, but the program truly belongs to the people who participate and support it,” said Hoffmann. “We create the opportunity for the vets, but the real opportunity is for people like Mike Kushner and others, the boaters and fishermen, who step up and take the vets out.”
Looking to the future, Hoffmann is hoping to network with scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Woods Holes, Mass. to plan offshore shark and bottom fishing excursions. Additionally, he said he has no plans of slowing down his work for veterans in Maine and the surrounding areas.
While the VOTW does not have an official Web site, Hoffmann encourages veterans and others who want to learn more to visit the organization’s Facebook page, “VETS on the WATER.”
In the coming days, we’ll be posting updates about Hoffmann’s road trip and Smokercraft visit to our TACO Marine Twitter and Facebook pages. Until then, thank you to all the amazing military men and women who have served our great nation. We wish everyone a happy and safe Memorial Day.
Introducing Kathy Meza, the new Account Support Specialist with our Customer Service team in Miami, Florida.
Meza, a South Florida native with a wealth of customer service experience, said her role with TACO is more behind-the-scenes.
“I’m entering orders and making sure the shipment is correct and everything goes smoothly,” said Meza, who follows orders from beginning to end to ensure customer satisfaction.
Meza said she was drawn to work at TACO, not only because of its commitment to customers, but because of the environment within the office and abundance of long-lasting employees.
“A significant portion of the employees have been here a long time, which says a lot about the company itself,” said Meza.
Meza said one of the reasons TACO is successful in the metals, plastics and marine industries is because they go above and beyond to deliver what every customer needs.
“[Customers] don’t care how much we sell, they care about whether we can get them the material they need on time,” she said. “I think that’s what brings our customers over more than anything.”
Meza said she is excited for the potential to grow within TACO. Additionally, she said her goals with the company include helping to further streamline the customer experience while also maintaining the company’s goals.