A 25-Year Success Story: Livorsi Marine

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Livorsi Marine has been providing reliable, quality product for performance boats—and more—for 25 years.

 

What started two and half decades ago with a single product—a liquid-filled speedometer—has blossomed into one of the most recognizable names in the marine industry. I’m talking about Livorsi Marine, but I probably didn’t need to tell you that. I’m sure you also know the man who started it all is Mike Livorsi. So, as Livorsi Marine celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, what better time to reflect on Livorsi’s career and let him recollect and look down the road.

The oldest of five children, Livorsi was born and raised in Illinois and resides on Fox Lake—one of the Chain O’Lakes in Northern Illinois—with his wife, Victoria. The couple has two daughters, Gina, 22, and Ashtyn, 19. From furniture stores to bars and restaurants, Livorsi, 61, has started many businesses in his lifetime, but it’s the one he formed in 1988 that changed his life. While he no longer owns Livorsi Marine—CompX International bought the company as well as Custom Marine Inc. in 2006, creating the CompX Marine division—you’d never know it.

He still runs the day-to-day operations as president and says that “the hours are long, but the rewards are good as Livorsi Marine continues to press toward another incredible year.”  When not boating the Chain O’Lakes or the Intracoastal near his second home in Cape Coral, Fla., Livorsi spends much of his free time fishing, riding his Harley and cooking for friends and family in his lakeside wood-fire pizza oven.

As part of this interview, Livorsi told me that boating is his life—”it is my work and my leisure activity,” he said emphatically. That was obvious from the day I met him at a poker run in Chicago and is quite evident from his company’s product line, which includes more than 3,500 items. From taking on gauge customization and introducing the GPS speedometer to the powerboat world in 1996 to developing the DataTach Prop Slip gauge and embracing electronic technology, it’s no wonder the Grayslake, Ill., company has lasted 25 years.

Over the years Mike Livorsi has owned more than 20 boats, including models from Baja, Cigarette, Donzi, Fountain, Nor-Tech, Spectre and many other non-performance brands.

JASON JOHNSON: So Mike, do you have a favorite boating location?

MIKE LIVORSI: One of my favorite places to boat is the Fort Myers Beach/Cape Coral area because there are thousands of miles of Intracoastal waterway, canals, rivers, bays and, of course, the Gulf of Mexico. There are so many places to visit for fishing, cruising, lunching, scuba diving, sightseeing and swimming. Not to mention that it’s a great testing ground for Livorsi products.

JJ: Do you still own your 36-foot Spectre? Speaking of that, do you know how many boats you’ve owned over the years and do you have a favorite?

ML: No, I sold the Spectre at the end of the (Illinois) season last year and haven’t found the “right” boat yet. I will have one come summer in Illinois. Being in the business and testing so many products, I go through A LOT of boats. I’ve owned boats from Nor-Tech, Fountain, Spectre, Cigarette, Donzi, Motion, HTM, Baja, Hovercraft, Sylvan, Starcraft and even Lund fishing boats. I have gone from cats to center consoles to V-bottoms—I love boating and changing it up. I’m not at liberty to quote my favorite but I have enjoyed them all throughout my lifetime. Each has a special story and memory of that part of my life.

JJ: What motivated you to get into the boat business with the speedometers?

ML: In 1987 I owned an establishment called JP Murphs in Chicago and one of my patrons had a business selling liquid-filled speedometers and mufflers. The late-night hours and stress of running a bar began to take its toll on me. The marine industry appealed to me on a personal level and I noticed the rising trend of offshore boats thanks to the popularity of “Miami Vice”. In March of 1988 I bought the rights to the liquid-filled speedometers. Back then this became the standard in performance and race boats. After I established my name for quality and service of the Livorsi product with builders, I went on to develop more products.

“Boating is my life; it is my work and my leisure activity,” said Mike Livorsi, who runs his business like his boats—with 100 percent effort.

JJ: 
How have you continued to reinvent your business over the years?

ML: Companies must reinvent themselves today if they are to survive. This year, Livorsi will be celebrating 25 years in business. We are no longer just known for products for performance boats. Livorsi has products in ski boats, center consoles, cruisers, runabouts, workboats, airboats, Naval Special Warfare Development crafts and Military boats. We’ve also expanded into specialty automotive like sand cars and hot rods. We’ve transferred the quality and options of our performance boat products over to other boat builders and car builders around the world.

JJ: Did you always anticipate the business growing beyond performance boats?

ML: Back in the early ’90s, the go-fast business was booming with companies like Cigarette, Fountain, Formula, Apache, Skater, Hustler and the list goes on and on. To tell you the truth, my business was growing so fast with the development of new throttle controls, gauges and accessories that I never even thought of going into other boating markets.

From Mercury-licensed DTS controls and Vantage View gauges with a built-in LCD screen to LED position indicators and DataTach Prop Slip gauges, Livorsi Marine’s catalog of innovative products is immense.

JJ: How has the acquisition by CompX affected Livorsi Marine?

ML: With CompX behind us we’ve been able to take Livorsi to the next level. We now have engineering, manufacturing, QC, powder-coating and polishing in-house. It’s much easier to bring a product to the market with these amenities behind you.

JJ: So what’s next for Livorsi Marine?

ML: The future looks bright. We are developing many new products and adapting to the ever-changing technological advances. We just introduced LED Position Indicators, which can be used for a wide variety of applications such as drives, tabs, rudder or fuel, to name a few. They eliminate cables with a plug-and-play system or can be run through a NMEA 2000 or SmartCraft Can Buss system. We are in development of screens too. Larger boats today have a combination of screens and gauges but they don’t match. My goal is to make everything match so the dash looks like it is not put together from four different manufacturers. Our workboat and performance trim tabs will be out soon. We are on the verge of validating our mechanical side-mount and binnacle controls for the pontoon, ski-boat and smaller center console markets. Livorsi Marine intends to adapt as we strive to continue to meet the growing needs of the customer and the market.

*****

Livorsi concluded the interview by saying, “All this extra work and effort pays off. The legendary Don Aronow once said, ‘Those who put the most in, get the most out. They’re the winners.’ Come see us at the Miami International Boat Show (booth T-48) and bring us your ideas. We’d love to hear them.”

Photos courtesy of Livorsi Marine.

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Former Powerboat editor Jason Johnson was an integral part of the magazine staff from 2005 through 2011, utilizing journalistic integrity and experience in and around performance boats to report on all aspects of the go-fast lifestyle. The award-winning writer resides in Southern California and is the executive editor and co-publisher of speedonthewater.com, and writes for Sportboat and Powerboating in Paradise magazines.

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