In a follow up conversation with BOOSTPOWER USA’s founder Alexi Sahagian from our recent interview with him, we got onto the subject of just how extreme or wild many situations this marine engine business can lead you into. I got him to pull away from his busy day at Boostpower Marine just to share some highlights of these most recent wild experiences with his customers around the globe. We’ll leave out the (Actual) names to protect the guilty or for that matter maybe ourselves!
Alexi’s first story involved a bullet-ridden offshore boat in South Florida:
I meet him at the mansion and while inspecting the boat, I could see that there were bullet holes through the side of the boat? I immediately asked him what happened. He stated that it was parked on the street and someone shot it up! I said, ok, so you want us to take this back to California and pull the motors, do fiberglass repairs, upgrade and freshen the motors etc. and bring it back? He stated “yes”! It was all weird and we had a hunch there was more to the story, but we thought-“It’s just another job for us and we can’t be concerned with outside measures!”
After Alexi shared this with us we said “Wow”! That would have been an eye opener to anyone, especially in South Florida, wouldn’t it? Alexi says these weird situations are not much of a surprise to him anymore as he went into another example of how the same type of stuff happens with his international customers abroad. As an interviewer, I know a bit about Alexi, and he seems to always be somewhat of a thick skinned, connected world traveler as he has family all over the globe. He exclaims his worldly heritage has made serving the customer base abroad almost natural for him and his diverse team.
Another Story Alexi Recalls involved a Russian Politican:
“I had a client involved with the Russian government. He was a highly influential political mogul in Russia. His vacation home was abroad in a beautiful location on the Adriatic Sea. A city called Split in the country of Croatia just south of Bosnia. For those that don’t know this, Croatia is truly a mecca of opulence for Europeans and especially Russians in the summer time.”
My customer had a very nice 47′ Fountain that had been outfitted with our Boostpower Marine engine packages. While he was in love with this boat, he had an extreme desire for speed and had a desire to send the engines here to the US for more power. Whether with his boats, cars, etc… His desire was to go fast! Although our meetings regarding the upgrades were awkward through translators from time to time, we made extreme efforts to get to know each other and had a great idea of what the customer’s goals and desires were with their performance boat. Alexi states “We are committed to those performance desires in every language”! There was in fact a difficult language barrier even though I speak more than English. So much of our communication came through a translator team in which we meet in person and on Skype calls throughout the relationship. His translator was living here in the USA and the translator was asked to continually deliver progress reports so we had a lot of communication that allowed us to build quite a relationship. From a customer experience, it was amazing I would receive the best Vodka money can buy as weekly gifts. It was amazing as we had built quite a close customer/friend relationship although most of it was all done through the Russian translators over a period of time.
We were approaching completion of his most recent request to freshen and upgrade his engine packages. It was all around a deadline, as time was of the essence in this type of deal due to the short boating season they had to enjoy the Boostpower Engines in their offshore boat. His engines were shipped back to Boostpower Marine in California via overnight airfreight for the rebuild/upgrades.
Upon delivery of the engines to Croatia, I was asked to oversee and manage the Croatian mechanics there locally who would install the engines in his boat, test it and go to run the boat in the Adriatic Sea following my lead.
Upon completion, we were to go to his private Island to celebrate the accomplishments, or should I say His dream to own the ultimate twin supercharged Fountain in all of Europe! (Even Faster Now)
All the tickets for travel for me and one of my staff to London were paid for and we were set to go meet the engines at the destination shop. His private Leer jet was picking us up in London to fly to Frankfurt Germany- refuel and pick up another European mechanic, then head over to Croatia to complete the job. This type of arrangement was not necessarily new to me as we have done these types of deals for 20 plus years.
About a week before we were set to go, the translator and his wife came to our shop shaking. Startled, I approached and asked what was wrong? They stated in tears that the Russian owner had died! We said what? They said he had drowned swimming. We asked: How can that be, he is an avid swimmer? They replied: That’s all they know! We were all devastated here at Boostpower Marine. We felt so close to him and his colleagues even though we had only built this relationship through texts, translators and body language in present.
Nothing felt right and of course wouldn’t you know that he was due to pay the balance of the bill however we had yet to receive the funds. Through more of my own investigation, I found out that it was a murder investigation. At this point all I could think was we were about to possibly go into harms way just because of my desire to deliver this customer his dream engines. I was both thankful and saddened at the same time as we were due there a week prior.
We never heard a thing for several months thereafter and just left the pallets shrink wrapped in the US. Here we had the customers engines, transmissions etc, yet no contact or of course payment. I told the guys to store them upstairs and wait for some contact. I stated that eventually someone will pop up. Sure enough, just recently, a random email came through from someone trying to claim the big hp motors. Of course it was a mysterious claimant! After researching we found out it was someone just trying to claim $300k worth of engines and drives knowing of the situation in Russia. What a scam!
Soon thereafter, the wife of the deceased contacted us and decided to continue the project as her husband wanted it and really loved the passion that myself and my staff had for his project. She stated that he had a love for what we do and really had a bond through a simple text/translator/body-language relationship. I was touched as it was a crazy journey over the years. Meanwhile, we are now fixing to ship and finish the boat abroad again.
It just proved what a new world and modern era we live in. This whole translation I don’t suppose could have happened as recent as ten years ago. Modern technology is changing the way we do business around the world. To have a relationship so close through text, email and translation. The bottom line is people are people, some are shady, some are not, however if you know how to handle them, a positive relationship can become from anything! We will miss him very much and the emotions of loss are UN explainable.
When we travel this time, there will be armed Militants with us at all times.