Pursuit Staff Member Interview: Matthew Clark

Pursuit Staff Member Interview: Matthew Clark


We are super excited to bring you the first in a brand new series of Meet the Team articles. In this series, we’ll introduce you to the hard-working men and women at the Pursuit Boats factory and find out what goes on behind the scenes to build our amazing boats.

Today, we introduce you to Matthew Clark, our Production Supervisor of Trim Assembly.


From baseball to boats

Matthew is originally from Augusta, Georgia, home of the Masters Golf Tournament. In the early 2000s, he moved to Vero Beach in Florida where he initially worked for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team. “I was the manager of the minor league clubhouse and spring training facilities in Vero Beach,” he recalled. “They eventually made a decision to move their minor leagues and Spring training from Florida to Arizona and, being much younger, I had no interest at all in moving to Arizona!” he said, chuckling.


He began the search for a new career and, luckily for us, found a job at Pursuit Boats, even though his boat knowledge was basically zero. “I came from as far away from boats as you can get. When I came in, I knew nothing, but I had some great mentors during my time here; they were willing to share their knowledge with me and now I love doing the same thing for others.”


He’s now been at Pursuit Boats for over 20 years; a remarkable accomplishment by any measure. As you might imagine, in that time he’s worked on almost every aspect of the production process of our boats.


Learning step by step

Matthew is honored for 20 years at Pursuit

Matthew’s first job at Pursuit Boats was in the lamination department where, of course, he had to learn everything from scratch. “I learned day-by-day, about all the different types of fiberglass and resins, and all of the chemistry and science involved with producing boats. I honestly never thought I’d learn this stuff, but I really enjoyed it! While I wasn’t involved in the design process, I did make the molds, including building the mold, then spraying and fiberglass it.”


He specifically recalled his surprise at discovering the kinds of facilities that are available on boats. “One of the weirdest experiences for me was when I first started and the team in the lamination department was telling me that our boats have beds, kitchens, refrigerators, bathrooms, showers and so on, on board. And remember, I knew nothing about boats at the time except that they float! So I’m listening to all of this and I’m just wondering, “How does all of this fit in there? How does it work?”


The chemistry involved with fiberglass and gelcoats was also a shock to him. “It was such a strange thing seeing people spray gelcoat on a mold, then apply fiberglass, then pouring on a liquid, and then in the end, you’ve got something so hard that it’ll just about stop a bullet. It blew my mind.”

“But once I started doing it myself, it was amazing in the end to see what you’d created because before you know it, the next thing you see is a complete boat that sells for $500,000. And inside, you can walk downstairs, lay in a bed or sit in a chair. I thought, “This is amazing; we made this from literally nothing! That was really wild for me!”


OS445_helm and gally up photo


Trimmed to perfection

Matthew soon graduated from the lamination department and went on to serve in - literally - every single other department in the factory. But this constant evolution of his role in the company was the perfect match for his personality and his ambitions. “I love constantly learning new things and doing something new,” he explained. “When I first joined the company, I wasn’t even thinking I’d be here for 20 years. But as time went on, I moved from one department to another and that’s what I like doing - I like doing new things every day, because that’s what gets me through my day, otherwise I’ll get bored easily, and I don’t want to get bored. So the fact that I get to do all of these new tasks all the time and confront new challenges, is great. I love constantly doing and learning new things.”


In December 2022 he was given the opportunity to move into his current role as Production Supervisor of Trim Assembly. He’s responsible for a highly skilled team of experts who are responsible for putting together various sub-assemblies so that they’re ready for final assembly by the responsible departments. His team is involved with, for example, assembling parts onto center consoles and into hard tops, as well as various plumbed systems, and various interior modules.


As the department’s supervisor, Matthew’s job is to ensure that the Trim Assembly department staff are happy, healthy and have everything they need at all times, to stay on schedule, while also ensuring that there is a constant flow of communication to the departments that are next in the process from the Trim Assembly department. This communication is facilitated by an early morning daily meeting with all of the Department Heads. “At 6 am, all of the production supervisors walk from area to area and give everyone a chance to discuss any production issues they’re experiencing or parts that they’re missing or waiting on. The intent with this meeting is to ensure that the communication between each area is very good,” he said.

Pursuit Plant Shot - Boat going into pond

The rest of the day is spent ensuring that the staff in his department have everything they need. “During the day, I routinely check up on the staff to ensure that everyone is doing well and is able to take care of their own areas and the work that they’re currently assigned. If they need anything, I note it down in my book that I always carry with me, and I’ll bring it to them to ensure that they can stay on station. I’m doing what I can to get them even more organized and perfectly on schedule. Everybody in the team is doing very well.”


Precise quality

Matthew’s vast experience throughout the Pursuit Factory has given him a unique insight into the work that goes into producing the finished product that our customers are so familiar with. As an example of the expertise and precision of the Pursuit Boats factory teams, he highlighted the precision involved in producing the gelcoat for Pursuit Boats.  “Our gelcoat needs to be a very specific thickness: It has to be precisely 24mm of gelcoat. Any thicker and there’s a risk that it’ll crack, discolor or pre-release from the mold or end up misshapen. If it’s too thin, you don’t get the correct coverage of the gelcoat - the resin we use will bleed through the gelcoat and that becomes a huge headache to deal with. We use small ultrasound machines to inspect the gelcoat thickness to ensure that we always get it right.”


“For that reason, our gelcoat guys keep our gelcoat as precise as possible to keep the strength and look of the boat up to the exacting standards that Pursuit Boats are known for.”


Behind the scenes

Matthew Clark and his daughter

Matthew is a proud father of a beautiful 16-year-old girl, and in his time off, the two of them make an effort to spend lots of quality time having fun together. Conveniently, the two of them live in Vero Beach, only a short 10-minute drive from the Pursuit Boats factory.


Before we allowed him to leave, we asked him to fill us in on an unusual fact about him personally and his answer didn’t disappoint! “Only a very small handful of people know that I once got the opportunity to try out for the Los Angeles Dodgers! While I was working for the Dodgers, I spent a lot of time helping one of the pitchers, playing my high-school position of catcher. The coach was impressed with what he saw in me and invited me to try out for the team. Of course, I never got the position. They wanted a catcher with a little more power, able to hit home runs all the time. But my daughter thinks that it’s really cool that I got a trial! That was an interesting and very enjoyable time.”

S328 Running Shot

Stay tuned to our blog for future articles just like this one, where you’ll get a chance to meet the people who build our boats and find out what it takes to make some of the best boats in America.