Growing up with a passion for sailing, Peter Smith found himself drawn to the marine industry. He attended the University of Michigan, graduating in 1979 with a degree in mechanical engineering. Smith has dedicated more than 30 years to the marine industry, starting out at Hinckley Yachts in Portsmouth, R.I., in the early 1980s. There he became familiar with everything from hand lay-up to vacuum infusion and post curing to gain a broad-based knowledge of composites. The company primarily used hand lay-up techniques with a focus on straight e-glass and polyester resins. Smith was instrumental in Hinckley’s transition to infusing all its parts with carbon and Kevlar/e-glass as well as a variety of core materials.
Nearly a decade ago, Smith left Hinckley Yachts to join Morris Yachts, where he once again introduced the vacuum infusion process to help evolve the company from hand lay-up and allow the use of more advanced resin systems. Today, he is the company’s chief engineer. “My official title is chief engineer but that spreads over a lot of things such as sale support, production support, product design, product development and so on,” says Smith.
Early adoption of infusion has been the biggest transformation for both Hinckley Yachts and Morris Yachts because products are lighter, stiffer, stronger and more cost effective. “Although several people were skeptical about infusion, it has proven to be a less expensive option,” he says.
Co-workers praise Smith’s enthusiasm and work ethic. “Day in and day out, Peter finds creative solutions to the thorniest of problems,” says Stephen Mullane, production director at Morris Yachts. “His energy is infectious, and his attitude inspires all of us.”
Smith, who currently resides in Somesville, Maine, is the father of four and has been married for 10 years. While the family enjoys skiing together, Smith remains a fan of sailing.