Viking Life, by Kevin Koenig (continued)
Thanks in large part to the Healeys’ efforts, the tax was repealed in August 1993, and the boat industry collectively picked itself up and brushed itself off—some companies faster than others. You see, Viking, thanks to the vision of Bill Healey, had slowed production to a crawl during the tax years—to the tune of just 12 boats in 18 months—but they had never stopped coming up with designs. Bill rightly foresaw that once the tax was batted down, owners would come roaring back to the sport ready to buy. And he and his brother would be standing right there in the door at the Viking factory waiting to greet them.
And that’s true. Despite Bill and Bob having reached the peak of success in the boating industry, with—one would have to imagine—enough money to care for their family for generations, they still come into the factory often, though they’ve passed the day-to-day stuff onto Bill’s son Pat (Bob’s son Bob Jr. stays involved with some ancillary business). In fact, legendarily, when he’s at the factory, Bill Healey still says goodbye to every single one of his 1,000 employees (plus a company dog) on their way out the door at night—most by name.