POMPANO BEACH, Fla. – Feb. 20, 2009 – Dometic Marine, a division of the Swedish Dometic Group celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Cruisair® marine air-conditioning brand in 2009. At a ceremony during the Miami International Boat Show on Thursday February 12th, Frank Marciano, President of Dometic Marine presented Cruisair founder, L Jeremy (Jere) Crews with an Outstanding Engineering Invention and Innovation Award in recognition of his contribution to the company and the boating industry. The Award was accepted on his behalf by Tom Alley, who helped install the first marine air-conditioner and has been the premier Florida Cruisair distributor for over 27 years.
Frank Marciano commented, 'Jere Crews is a true boating industry pioneer. He was a visionary who was the first to recognise the enormous potential for marine air-conditioning technology. Starting from humble beginnings, building the first product in his garage, Jere built a very successful company, Marine Development Corporation and single-handedly created an entire industry segment.'
'His legacy is still with us at Dometic Marine. He built a highly successful company on the foundation of engineering excellence, continuing innovation and, most importantly, a total commitment to customer service. These are the cornerstones of our business philosophy today.'
In late 1959, there were not many options for air-conditioning on boats. A boat owner could buy a window unit and try to jury-rig an installation by cutting a hole in the cabin and blowing hot air from the condenser across the deck, or they could seek out one of the small number of specialists who were fabricating custom one-off water-cooled air-conditioners. In the same year Crews built a water-cooled air-conditioner in his garage for a friend's 50-foot Alden schooner. It worked so well that in 1960, Crews formed a company to build similar systems, anticipating that production boat builders would soon be specifying and installing air-conditioning on new boats to meet the growing demand. The company was called Marine Development Corporation and the products sold under the Cruisair brand name.
'We were lucky to hit the market at the right time with the right product,' said Crews recently. 'The mass market for boats was just breaking open in the US as boat builders started moving into larger-scale production of fibreglass hulls. A new generation of affluent boat buyers, accustomed to the comforts of air-conditioning in their homes, offices and cars, was beginning to ask for the same comfort and convenience in their boats, which they regarded as a second home on the water.'
During his tenure as President and Chairman of Marine Development Corporation, Crews - who never lost his passion for engineering and inventing - spearheaded many important innovations in marine air-conditioning technology. His company led the way with the first reverse-cycle heat pumps with automatic switch-over from cooling to heating, the first marine battery charger with automatic shut-off to protect batteries from overcharging, the first computer-based air-conditioning controls, the first automatic dehumidification routine for unattended boats, the first portable hatch-top air-conditioner, the first tempered-water systems for large yachts and many other innovations.
In the 1990s, Crews retired from active management of the company, which was later merged with the Marine Air brand under the Taylor Made Group's ownership and acquired by Dometic Corporation in 2003.
For more information, contact:
+1 954 633 3110
Georgina Bartlett or Louise Bennett
+44 (0) 1202 669244
About Dometic Marine:
Dometic Marine, an ISO 9001:2000 business unit of Dometic Group, is a world leader in air conditioning and refrigeration technology for marine, vehicular and other applications. The company’s products are marketed under the Dometic, Cruisair, Marine Air Systems, Grunert and Sentry brand names, with a heritage dating back over 45 years. Corporate headquarters and operations are in Pompano Beach, Fla., with operations also in Richmond, Va. Service facilities with factory-trained employees are located throughout the world.