office staff page

THE ATLANTA MARINE FAMILY

Kurt & Lisa Backus

Owners

Kurt and Lisa met in Texas and moved to Georgia in 1992 when Kurt accepted a position with Canon USA. They both fell in love with Lake Lanier as soon as they saw it and ultimately purchased a home and more importantly a Supra Boat at the first Atlanta Boat Show they visited. The next Atlanta Show was even more memorable in that Kurt discovered the Supra and Moomba lines had become available in the Atlanta market. Lisa still looks back at this time and laughs, “if only I had known dropping him off at a boat show, we would end up with more than a new boat…we had a new dealership full of boats!”

From here, it is truly an example of the American dream in action and execution. They started Atlanta Marine with a standard loan at a rate of 13.9%, purchasing two boats and used a credit card advance for the down payment. They started selling boats out of their driveway replacing one at a time as Lisa could afford to go pick a new one up from the factory in Tennessee. For three years, Lisa ran the day to day activities of the business while Kurt worked at Canon, coming home at night to handle service, rigging, and just about everything else together. With the biggest smile on his face, Kurt resigned from Canon and they both focused all of their efforts to growing the dealership.  The red boat in the picture is the first boat they ever sold on the day that Lisa got their business license. Since then, this customer has bought another boat from us and still has the Moomba Boomerang as well.

Today, Atlanta Marine has 6 locations, represents 5 of the best lines in the industry and employs over 30 people. The personal touch that Kurt and Lisa have given every customer can still be seen today. They strive to build a straightforward, honest, and no pressure sales team that invites you into their “family.”  Kurt and Lisa have been together since 1981 and have 3 sons. The Backus family still has the same passion for boating and can be found on the lake before and after work. They invite you to come meet the team, enjoy the boats, and maybe become part of the Atlanta Marine Family which is almost 10,000 and growing!

Martha Robbins

Office Manager

Martha is our long-timer.  Her smile has greeted people here since 2000.  She has worn several “hats” thru the years within her Office Manager position, but bookkeeping has always been her first and foremost job.  She takes pride in doing her job well and holds herself to the highest standards.

Not a day goes by without hearing a laugh (or a song) coming from Martha’s office.  Nothing and no one can keep her down (or quiet) for long.  She loves life, but if there’s something she doesn’t care for – you’ll know about it!  More often than not, she wears her “sassy pants” to work and keeps us on our toes.  Laughing, singing, dancing, DIY projects, enjoying life with her two kids and loving God are her passions in life; and she lives life to the fullest.

Stephen Backus

F&I Manager and Sales Associate

Stephen’s middle name should be water.  The lake has always been at the center of his life.  Having grown up on Lanier, he developed a passion for water sports of all kinds.  There’s nothing he won’t do behind a boat – besides fishing.  (He has neither luck, nor patience for it.)   Stephen landed on the UGA Ski Team in college and competed with other schools thru the Southeast before graduating in 2015 with a degree in Finance.  He also became a Certified Advanced Open Water Diver, so he goes scuba diving and snorkels any chance he gets.

Stephen even found a girl at the lake that loves the water as much as him.  He proposed to Jackie on a Bennington pontoon and married her in July 2018.  They plan to build a house on the lake as soon as possible.

Stephen enjoys using his degree and experience in the boating business to help put together deals so people can realize their dreams of owning a boat.  In his spare time (off the lake) he not only buys and collects guitars, but plays them and any other instrument he can put his hands on.  He is in a band and enjoys writing music as a group.

Jay Stewart

Bennington Pontoon Product Manager

Jay has been in boating and water sports since the young age of nine (38 years so far)!  Barely a year after graduating from Auburn University in 1994, he officially jumped into the marine industry in Suwanee, GA.  His first job gave him a ton of experience because he did it all – Service Writer, Warranty Administrator, Parts Manager, Delivery Captain and Yard Guy.  It didn’t take long to realize selling boats was going to be a better fit.

In 1997 he moved back to Auburn for a boat sales job.  Within a year or so, Jay got a great bonus – his best friend’s sister, Ashley as his wife.  They decided to move to Georgia to be closer to her parents in 2001.  Jay has been on “Boat Row” ever since, and started his career here in 2015 as the Product Manager of Bennington Pontoons.

Jay loves Benningtons and the customers that choose them.  It’s great … Everybody is happy!!  He said, “It’s been a lot of work, but also a lot of fun!  I wouldn’t change a thing!”

Jay and Ashley have three children – Hadyn (14), Maddie (11) and Jack (5).  They love boating and watersports.  Every Sunday you can find them on the water making memories.

Scott Zeh

Robalo Product Manager

Born in Milwaukee WI., Scott has grown up in the Atlanta area and now has his roots firmly planted on Lake Hartwell.  An avid boater for most of his life, he enjoys all types of water sports including white water kayaking and his favorite…floating on a noodle in the lake.

Scott is an actual customer of Atlanta Marine’s when he ordered his 2006 Supra 21V from Kurt and Lisa.  Since then he’s owned a Chaparral 264 and is currently enjoying the water on his Bennington pontoon boat.  He is such a boat enthusiast, and lingered so long, we gave him a sales job here in 2014.  He became the Robalo Product Manager shortly thereafter, but enjoys selling our entire product line.  You will certainly have a great experience finding YOUR perfect boat with Scott Zeh!

Scott lives on Lake Hartwell with his wife Kelly.  His son Travis and his wife Mindy are the proud parents of triplets making Scott a proud grandparent of two girls and a boy all at once.

Ronnie Martinez

Technician at Bennington Office

Ronnie owned a boat at the ripe old age of twelve!  That was the way life was in Key West.  Having grown up on the water, Ronnie has always had a passion for boats.  Where can you go to find one man with 41 years of experience working on boats?  Well, since 2015 he’s been here with us!

In the late 90’s Ronnie won Second Place in the Offshore Racing World Championships on his boat “Kracked Conches.”  Aside from that major achievement, Ronnie’s greatest joy comes from his family.  He’s been married for 32 years!  He has three sons, two daughter-in-laws (soon to be three) and one precious granddaughter that has Ronnie wrapped around her finger!  Barely a day goes by that he’s not showing off a picture or video of the sweet girl!

Scott "Drummy" Drumheller

Sales Manager at Surf Headquarters

Not to be confused with the two Scott’s we already had on staff, THIS Scott came to us as “Drummy” at the beginning of 2018.  An avid boater from Virginia, Drummy has been boating almost 40 years and in the actual business for 15 years.  He has eight years experience on the manufacturing level and seven in retail.  He can definitely handle all your boating needs from pontoons to yacht products (and everything in between)!

On a personal level, Drummy is a devoted husband to Veronica and the father of two lovely girls – Sally and Collin.  He is a big fan of the Georgia Bulldogs, Atlanta Braves and the Virginia Cavaliers (but we don’t hold this last one against him).  When time allows, he loves to play golf.

Mike LaMacchia

Supra & Moomba Product Manager

Mike is “double-trouble.”  Not only a twin to brother Nick, but he is the product manager of two boat lines!  He got a Bachelor’s Degree from University of Tampa, where he played soccer.  After 26 years in Florida, Mike made the move here to Atlanta in January 2018 with his fiancé, Sammie (whom he plans to wed in November).  Sammie taught Mike to wakesurf eight years ago and he began competing professionally four years ago.  Sammie competes at the Semi-Pro level.

Mike’s favorite hobbies include soccer, traveling and anything behind the boat!

Vinny Knapp

Sales Associate at Surf Headquarters

Vinny ran cross country and track all thru middle school and high school.  He got a full-ride scholarship but turned it down to pursue his passion in life – wake boarding.  And pursue it he did!  Vinny was nominated for Wakeboarding Move of the Year in 2009.  He was the first wakeboarder to do a flip off a waterfall!  He won the overall GA Wakeseries in 2016 and 2017, AND finished 15 overall in the world for wakeboarding in 2018!!

It was a no-brainer for Vinny to get a job in the boating business.  He started in 2004 rigging boats.  He joined our team in January 2018 as a sales rep and pro rider.  Aside from wakeboarding, he enjoys spending time with his family, traveling and getting other families out of the water.

Vinny and Katie are planning to wed in February 2019.

Adam Eash

Technician at Surf Headquarters

Adam started his career as an Army technician 25 years ago.  After serving for four years, he stayed in the mechanical industry and eventually joined our team in 2010.

While work takes up a lot of his focus, Adam still makes time to watch the Georgia Bulldogs and Falcons.  He has been happily married for 20 years!  He and his wife have three children – two boys and a girl.  They are his heart and the reason he works so hard.  His family enjoys riding four-wheelers, dirt bikes and spending as much time as possible on the lake.

Karl Helpling

Pre-Owned Sales Manager

Karl is a 23 year industry veteran.  He started in boat sales in 1996 and developed a strong passion for the business.  Within a few years he was promoted to Sales Manager, then added in Finance duties a couple years later.  After setting many company records, he was promoted to VP of Sales.  Karl decided to get out of the corporate world for our family run business in 2007, becoming Atlanta Marine’s Finance Manager and Sales Rep.

Karl left us for a bit and started up a pre-owned boutique-sized business.  After six years he rejoined us as our Pre-Owned Sales Manager in 2017.  He takes great measures to make sure our pre-owned boats are the finest you can find anywhere.

Scott Ledwith

Chaparral Product Manager

Scott’s love for all things boating began as a teen, detailing and doing boat show work for a local marina.  After a brief stint as a police officer, he started his own detailing business.  That brought him to our doors in 2011 to start an amazing career – first, as our Service Manager.  The following year he moved into sales at our Hideaway Bay Marina location.  Since being promoted to Chaparral Product Manager two years later, Scott has helped land us in the Top 10 Dealers in the World for Chaparral, with a most recent award of being a Top 5 World Dealer!

Scott feels very lucky to work with such great people.  He also enjoys the bond he’s made with his customers and getting to see their families making memories on the water.

Scott married the love of his life over 17 years ago.  Together they have a perfect 10 year old boy.  In his spare time he enjoys boating with his family, lying by his pool, exercising and watching his son play sports.

Michael Norris

Baja Product Manager

Michael started “in the biz” 22 years ago as a young kid working around the marina washing and cleaning boats.  He spent many years as a marine technician.  He came to us in that role in 2014.  Michael moved up the ladder into sales, and was recently promoted to Baja Product Manager.

Michael’s passions are hunting, boating and spending time with his family.  He and his wife have two lovely kids.  There is hardly a weekend that passes without them enjoying the great outdoors together!  It doesn’t get much better than that!

Justin Gillespie

Technician at Hideaway Bay Office

Justin started his technical skills as an auto mechanic, but soon learned he had more passion for working on boats.  He has been in the marine industry for a little over six years spanning from the coast to here on “Boat Row.”  Justin was a much needed addition to our Hideaway Bay location in March of 2018.

With a total of sixteen years together (six of which, being married), Justin and his wife will be celebrating their son’s first birthday in mid-October.  Family togetherness is very important to Justin and he enjoys spending time with his extended family in his down time.

Jimmy Williams

General Manager at Lake Oconee Office

Jimmy came to help us with sales at the 2018 Atlanta Boat Show.  He was very successful at that job and proved his worth.  We hired him full time shortly after and he will soon start as GM of our newest location at Lake Oconee in 2019.  This store will feature our Crest Pontoons, Supra/Moomba wakeboard boats, and a variety of fishing style set ups as well.

He graduated from Georgia Southern with a computer science degree and owned his own construction business in underground utilities for 10 years following.  He’s definitely an asset that’s not afraid to get his hands dirty. Jimmy is good with computers, hand tools, heavy equipment and now making a lifestyle out of the boating industry for over 8 years selling anything and everything from sport yachts to kayaks.

You name an activity on the water, and Jimmy has done it – wake surfing/boarding, tournament fishing, speed boating, sailing, diving, kite surfing, and tubing down the river.  He also loves hunting, camping, hiking, football/baseball, and generally anything outdoors!

Jimmy’s one goal in life is to live as Christ like as possible.  Nothing matters more to him than leading others down the right path. He is happily married to his wife Tracy.  They have two wonderful children – Connor and Carington.

David Davis

Service Manager

Originally from Warner Robins, GA, David joined our team in 2017.  He has more under his Second Degree Black Belt in Isshin-ryu Karate than you would imagine.  He is an Eagle Scout and is ASE Certified as a Parts Specialist, Service Consultant, Brakes, Steering & Suspension.  He is also Yamaha and BRP Rotax Certified.

David is happily married to Jennifer, a Doctor of Audiology.  They have a beautiful three year old girl.  He enjoys knife making and woodworking in his spare time.

Cynde Martin

Parts Manager

Cynde started in the marine industry at a Florida marina/ship store back in 1994.  Thankfully she headed north and settled with us in 2011.  Cynde works along side of her husband, Dave.  He is a highly experienced, certified technician in our service department.  Together they have four kids and seven grandkids!  They own a 24’ Switzer go fast boat and love spending time on it.

Cassandra Gorisek

Warranty Specialist & Service Administrator

Born and raised in Buford, Cassandra has always been a country girl at heart.  Put her by a body of water and she’s in her happy place – camping, fishing, kayaking, hiking and more.  While she enjoys time “in the city,” her dream is to have her own “mini-farm” loaded with mini animals.

Cassandra had a career in the Salon industry for 25 years, but her greatest accomplishment is being the mother of two amazing young men.  She had the privilege to be able to stay home and be very involved in their upbringing.  In her spare time Cassandra enjoys traveling and exploring new places, trying new things and most recently, trying her hand at target shooting.  (Be warned – she’s a good shot!)

Cassandra joined us to help out at the Atlanta Boat Show in 2018 and we decided to keep her!

Mary Metz

Service Advisor

Mary began in the boating business 12 years ago as a detailer.  She found her niche when promoted to Service Advisor in early 2018.  She is wonderful with our customers.

Mary has an inner joy that shines to everyone with whom she interacts.  It’s a rare day to catch her without a smile on her face.  And why not?  She has a lot to be happy about.  Mary has a beautiful daughter that she calls her greatest accomplishment in life AND she is a cancer survivor!  She anticipates the life before her and all the yet to be discovered possibilities it holds.

Tim Kirby

Service Advisor

Tim has been with us two years so far.  He came from a 40 year career in grocery store management.  He decided to change directions because boating has been his passion since 1972.  Tim bought his first boat when he was only 17.  He is a big enthusiast of all water sports.

Tim’s other passion is snowboarding.  He’ll have to do a little traveling to keep that hobby going!  When asked his greatest accomplishment in life, he said, “Making it to 58!”  Tim is married with two kids and two step-kids.