WaterMark informed 18 employees, including company executives Dean Hart, vice president of marketing, and Charlie Jordan, vice president of demand planning, that their positions were being eliminated, effective immediately. The layoffs, affecting approximately 4 percent of WaterMark's current 450 domestic workforce, impacted six departments, including manufacturing, demand planning, sales operations, facilities and information systems.
Mark Pate, vice president of marketing for WaterMark boats prior to the layoffs, and Hart's counterpart based in the company's Easley offices, has assumed the duties of marketing of all of WaterMark's brands. As a result of Hart's layoff, Pate adds to his plate marketing responsibilities for Yakima and Rhode Gear car racks, Yakima Earliest Explorer Products, Yakima snowshoes, Harmony paddlesports accessories, and Sospenders personal floatation devices.
"Consolidation will happen for everyone in light of the current economic climate," Jim Clark, CEO of WaterMark, told SNEWS today. "These layoffs, as painful as they are, are an essential continuation of our efforts to streamline our business processes, an effort started over a year ago. We've begun to accelerate the activity in light of the economic challenges we face.
"Looking forward, we are realistically saying that perhaps the economy is going to recover soon, and perhaps it is not. Either way, we have to be responsible and proactive to the needs of our business and our customers," Clark said.
SNEWS View: WaterMark is certainly not alone in the company's assessment of the economic climate and the resulting reaction to it -- layoffs. We'll undoubtedly see more layoffs from other companies in the months to come, and that is unfortunate. WaterMark is fortunate that it had two highly skilled and quality individuals wearing marketing hats -- Pate and Hart. While we understand layoffs, we think that slashing the staff in the marketing department and essentially dumping Hart's entire load onto Pate's plate will only serve to overload and severely stress the abilities of a marketing department at a time when the company desperately needs marketing to be firing on all cylinders. Pate's got oodles of talent, no doubt. Now we're going to find out just how much energy he has, too. As for Hart, he'll land at another company quickly, we are sure. He's highly respected by the media and, lest anyone forget, he's a large reason why Yakima is the company it is today.