SAFE Boats Adds 2 Board Members

Tom Norton. Photo via SAFE Boats.
William “Dean” Lee. Photo via SAFE Boats.

SAFE Boats International has added two new veteran members to its board of directors, the Bremerton, Washington-based company announced Sept. 22.

Retired U.S. Coast Guard Vice Admiral William “Dean” Lee and Tom Norton have joined the board of the company, which supplies aluminum vessels globally for the public and private sector, including first responders and military.

“I am extremely honored that Dean and Tom have accepted positions on our board of

directors,” SAFE Boats CEO Richard Schwarz said. “As a newly formed 100% employee-owned company, their leadership, business expertise and keen focus on the customer, mission and people will provide tremendous value as we chart the way ahead for SAFE Boats.”

For more than 36 years, Lee served in the Coast Guard in various commander and staff member roles that specialized in search and rescue and small boat operations, according to the company.

He recently served as the commander of the Atlantic Area overseeing Coast Guard operations from the Rocky Mountains to the Arabian Gulf. In a statement, he said he’s “honored to join the SAFE Boats team and looks forward to helping this company reach new heights in the global maritime realm.”

“As a former customer, I am keenly aware of the high quality and unique capabilities of their growing product line,” has added. “These factors, coupled with the ethical manner in which they have always done business, rendered this an easy decision.”

Norton brings experience as an aviation veteran of the U. S. Marine Corps and U. S. Army, as well as 20 years with Customs and Border Protection’s Air and Marine Operations, where he served in several leadership roles, including director of the National Marine Center.

In that role, he oversaw asset acquisition, training and sustainment of all CBP maritime operations, according to SAFE Boats. Norton later moved to the private sector, working for FLIR Systems as director of business development of federal and airborne law enforcement, then as corporate vice president of global customer support.

Currently, he is president of Los Angeles area-based HeliNet Aviation.

In a statement, Norton said he’s excited to join the SAFE Boats team.

“The men and women at SAFE Boats consistently demonstrate the traits and qualities found in high performing organizations,” he said. “Their commitment to excellence is unparalleled in the industry; I am especially impressed with their cohesiveness, relentless pursuit of perfection and unyielding standard of quality.”

By Karen Robes Meeks