McMullen & Wing Appoint New Senior Members

By Ben Roberts

McMullen & Wing has announced a number of senior appointments to help lead the company in the delivery of their current 50m custom luxury expedition yacht project and several further projects in development.

Experienced yacht builder and Dutch national Stef Smeenk has been appointed to the position of Production Manager, bringing eight years’ experience in a similar role as Manager Business Office with Feadship De Vries Aalsmeer, where he was responsible for managing and overseeing shipyard activities including progress of all work on their projects and leading and directing their building coordinators.

At McMullen & Wing, Smeenk has overall responsibility for all building operations at the shipyard, directing operations through an experienced team of six departmental supervisors.

New Zealander Steve Bates joins McMullen & Wing as Design Manager, from fellow New Zealand superyacht builder Alloy Yachts. Bates brings over 20 years’ experience across the full range of design disciplines, with a particular specialty in systems engineering. Bates has responsibility for all design activities, managing McMullen & Wing’s multi-disciplinary in-house design office, through a design leadership team of four departmental lead designers.

Well-known fellow New Zealander and former yacht captain Richard Low joins McMullen & Wing as Project Coordinator. Low has over 20 years’ and some 300,000 nautical miles of experience as captain and chief engineer on a range of sailing and motor yachts, most notably the 45m Imagine D and 33m Imagine B.

Low’s extensive experience in superyacht operations and project management around the globe, together with close personal experience representing clients in new build and refit projects gives Low a unique first-hand knowledge of the reasons why clients choose to build their new yachts in New Zealand. Low will play a lead role in liaison between McMullen & Wing and the clients’ project teams.

Long time McMullen & Wing team member Jeff Porter has been appointed to the role of Chief Technical Officer with responsibility for overall technical delivery. Porter is a professional engineer with 18 years yacht building experience at McMullen & Wing including design management and project management. Moving from direct project management into an oversight role will enable Porter to contribute more broadly to design, project management and production as well as being more available to share his exceptional technical strengths in the project development and pre-contract stages.

Overall leadership of the organisation has been assigned to Michael Eaglen, who takes the role of Chief Executive, having been Commercial Manager for the past three years. Eaglen’s own background is also technical, having qualified as a naval architect and spent time as a designer, engineer and more recently manager of New Zealand-based global composites engineering consultancy High Modulus (now Gurit).

An internationally acclaimed custom yacht builder with specialist new build and refit capability up to 60m, McMullen & Wing is rare in the yacht building world in their ability to build to the highest world standards in steel, aluminium and advanced composites, leading to the moniker “A Jack of All Trades, and a Master of Every Single One”.

McMullen & Wing recently signed a contract for a 50m steel/aluminium motor yacht, a close sister ship to their multi award winning 45m Big Fish (recently recognised by IPC Superyacht World as one of the 50 finest yachts ever built). The new yacht, known only by its yard number “1016” will be delivered in early 2016. 

By Ben Roberts