Kevin Merrigan

Chairman, Northrop & Johnson

Allow me to introduce myself, I am Kevin Merrigan, Chairman of Northrop & Johnson. A native of San Diego, California, I have sailed since childhood. After graduating from the University of Colorado in Boulder, I entered the working world as a petroleum landman based in Denver, CO. With an itch to get back on the water and a plan to buy a boat, I made a return trip to the west coast that didn’t quite go as expected. In the late 1980’s I was an impetuous kid in my late twenties, and I’d made a little money. I’d gone back to California to buy an Irwin-52, but when I met a fantastic yacht broker. It occurred to me that his job was much cooler than mine. Long story short, I furled the plan to buy the Irwin and instead researched all the yacht brokerages along the eastern seaboard. At the time, Northrop & Johnson was the only brokerage in the US with an international presence, so I decided it was the right place to be. Given my incredibly limited experience, the only N&J office that would hire me was in Newport, RI. I bought a Whitby 24 in Fort Lauderdale and sailed up to Newport to begin my career as a yacht broker. During my tenure, I have negotiated purchase and sale agreements on over 300 yachts, have contracted ten new construction projects and have closed deals in 15 countries. I was also a founder of the International Yacht Council and served on the Board of Directors of the Florida Yacht Brokers Association (FYBA) from 1994-2005. I have served as Treasurer for both the Florida Yacht Brokers Association and the International Yacht Council. I am a member of FYBA, MYBA, YBAA, CYBA and LYBA. In 2020, I embraced an opportunity to merge Northrop & Johnson with the resources, stability, and influence of the Marine Max brand. Following the merger, I remain committed and engaged as Northrop & Johnson's Chairman. Carpe Diem!   I’m married to my college sweetheart, Mariette, who was the Vice President and CFO of Northrop & Johnson for 26 years. We have a son, Matthew, who recently graduated from Princeton and has journeyed west to attend grad school at Stanford. We divide our year between residences in Fort Lauderdale, FL, and Jamestown, RI. Mariette and I are proud to support charity organizations such as Kids-In-Distress, raising over $1M for the organization. Fast Facts : I have flown balloons all over the world. I’m one of the first Americans to have flown in Russia and jumped out of a balloon I climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro and Mt. Fuji thanks to my son.


What does it mean to you to be an ISS judge? It means the opportunity to interact with incredibly dedicated knowledgeable people in this fantastic industry. To learn to discover and observe the progress the industry is developing.


What do you like about the ISS Design & Awards Gala? The excitement of the awards and opportunity to connect with the best and the brightest.


How did you get your start in the yachting industry? I went to buy a boat and I decided the yacht broker had a much cooler job than I did in the oil and gas business!


What do you consider to be your most significant accomplishment in your career? Growing N &J and working with the top people in the industry. Our team is incredible and it is an honor to work with them.


If you could choose one location for your next travel adventure, where would you go and why? I just summited Kilimanjaro with our son Matthew…that was pretty amazing. My next adventure would be diving with whale sharks in Djibouti.


What is your favorite part of your job? Client satisfaction, team member satisfaction, being on the water. Who has influenced you the most? Joe Bartram was wonderful influence on me.


What is the most effective daily habit you possess? Waking up!


What advice do you have for the next generation? This business is not a marathon, not a sprint! There are incredible highs and very tough lows…it is an all-consuming business, so make sure you enjoy it and practice the Golden Rule.


What do you see are upcoming trends in the industry? Increasing the level of client satisfaction. Yachting is a cottage industry, partially because it is so customized. We continually work to improve our client’s experience and make it as simple an enjoyable as possible.


How do you manage life balance? No such thing


Where are you the happiest? On our boat with my wife Mariette.


What is the greatest piece of advice you’ve gotten?

May, 1994: YOU SHOULD MARRY THIS GIRL! (Thank you Bill)!