Kiekhaefer of Mercury Racing Earns Top Award
Mercury Racing wins Publishers Award for Product Excellence
FOND DU LAC, Wisc. — Fred Kiekhaefer, president of Mercury Racing, was
presented Powerboat Magazine’s 2003 Publisher’s Award for Product Excellence on Saturday, May 3, at the magazine’s annual Performance Awards
ceremony. He was also the keynote speaker for the event, held at the Ritz
Carlton hotel at Lake Las Vegas, Henderson, Nevada.
Kiekhaefer won the award for guiding Mercury Racing into what Powerboat Publisher Jerry Nordskog described as “the most important and
influential company in high-performance boating today.”
Nordskog presented Kiekhaefer an engraved Publisher’s Award for
Product Excellence crystal trophy. Nordskog’s “Publisher’s Letter” column
in the June issue of the world’s leading performance-boating magazine
features a colorful interview with Kiekhaefer, son of the late Carl Kiekhaefer, founder of Mercury Marine in 1939.
Of 22 boats receiving the magazine’s 2003 Product Excellence award, 10
are powered by Mercury engines and 15 by Mercury drives – more than any
other manufacturer. Mercury Racing products, including the Pro Max 300X
outboard, HP500 EFI sterndrive and dry-sump Six drive, continue to lead the
performance-boating industry in innovation, quality and performance.
Kiekhaefer, 55, has been the president of the Fond du Lac, Wis., based
company for the past 13 years. He was born in Port Washington, Wis., and
grew up in Winter Haven, Fla. He graduated from high school in 1965, earned
a bachelor’s degree in physics from Ripon College in 1969 and a master’s
degree in engineering from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1972.
He also received a master’s degree in business administration from the Kellogg School of Business at Northwestern University in 1978.
Mercury Racing has been, and continues to be, one of the strongest
performing divisions of Mercury Marine. Much of that success is attributed
to Fred Kiekhaefer and his staff’s strategy, which took the business from a
90 percent focus on racing and 10 percent on consumer products, to what today is 90 percent consumer focused and 10 percent race.
“Fred obviously has done a sensational job, especially, in light of
motors like the fuel-injected HP500 and HP575 SCi sterndrives, and drive
packages such as the Integrated Transom System,” said Bob Leach, owner of
Eliminator Boats in Mira Loma, Calif. “They do have competition from
private engine builders, but in terms of complete drive-and-engine
packages, they’re in a very enviable position. The image of Mercury Racing
is worldwide, and in good part that image is due to Fred Kiekhaefer.”
Mike D’Anniballe, owner of Sterling Performance in Milford, Mich., went a step farther. “Mercury Racing always is a force to be reckoned with,” he said. “They’re very good about being consistent.”