A Hobby Develops Into A Passion

Randy Skinner began building scale model shrimp vessels in 1976. He began by building exact replicas of fellow shrimper’s vessels during the shrimping off-seasons. The models were used as Christmas presents and home decorations. Several years later, after attending a trade show geared to work boats, Skinner decided to start his own model-building company and began building replicas for commercial companies and new construction projects.

The company Skinner founded primarily built maritime models and occasionally industrial, land-based structures. This company had many major milestones under the management of Skinner, such as the first computer-controlled industrial laser cutter in the state of Alabama.

A new large state of the art model shop was built with an impressive computer lab. One of only two Fused Deposition Modeling machines in the state was installed in the shop. The second FDM machine was located at the NASA Space Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Skinner's employee base grew from 1 person in 1976 to over 15 craftsmen by the year 2000.

Skinner's company continued to grow and prosper and created a name for itself as the best in the business. Located in Fairhope, Alabama, the company built more than one thousand one of-a-kind scale models.

 

Skinner Returns To His Roots

After making the decision to sell his company, model builder Skinner went back to his roots of commercial shrimping in the Gulf of Mexico. He bought a reclaimed shrimp boat from the Small Business Administration. The boat needed a lot of work and Skinner went from working on scale models to working on a full scale steel hull shrimper. Over a period of six months, Skinner rebuilt the 112 ton shrimper himself.  Skinner says, “I have enjoyed the last two years of being out of an office and on the Gulf.  I have faced all types of weather and problems that only shrimp fishing can bring. On the other hand, I have missed working with my employees and past customers.”

Skinner even took time over the past year to head up a work team to help fellow shrimpers in Venice, Louisiana, rebuild their homes and boats after hurricane Katrina. Fellow model-maker, Peco Forsman assisted in this effort.  The team raised thousands of dollars in materials and donated all their labor to these storm-damaged families. Skinner says, “There is still a lot of work to be done and a couple more trips will be made over this winter to help launch a stranded boat and install the engine and generator.”