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.
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.”
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.”