Just a few weeks ago, John Tomlinson, the multi-time world champion offshore powerboat racing throttleman and co-owner of TNT Custom Marine in Miami, turned 50 years old. Of course, thanks to a steady diet of intense daily exercise—Tomlinson is an endurance athlete—and his movie-star features, he doesn’t look his age. Most people who meet him put him in his early 40s. Tomlinson is smart and engaging, often funny—we often laughed ourselves stupid during long, hot days testing boats for Powerboat magazine—married to a lovely woman, Donna, and widely well-respected in his field.
All that plus when he’s not working on some of the world’s hottest pleasure and race boats, he’s testing them or getting paid to throttle them. From all outside appearances, John Tomlinson appears to have “the life.”
And guess what? He does. But don’t think for a moment that Tomlinson, who started TNT Custom Marine in 1984 with his business partner, Mike Thomas, and started offshore racing two years later, didn’t work for it and doesn’t continue to work for it every day.
“I get up early and hit the gym, and try to be here by 8 a.m.,” says Tomlinson. “I usually stay till 6 or 7 p.m. I get here, make my rounds on the marina side [TNT Marine Center, which Tomlinson and his partner purchased eight years ago], the outboard side, the service side and the rigging shop. I go over the previous day’s tickets, and then I’m off to quoting rigging jobs, quoting outboard jobs, quoting outboard sales. Once I get caught up in the late morning, I’m out in the yard helping out with anything or out on the water testing boats. I deal with customers who pop in with questions—it’s constant communication between me, my guys, and our customers.
“I pretty much stay in touch and have my hands in everything, but I am more running the business side,” he continues. “My partner, Mike, and his guys like Gary are hands-on in the rigging shop. But I stay involved in everything.”
Source: www.offshoreonly.com; Matt Trulio; September 11, 2012.