Love letters to the brand
When a company is successful enough to reach its 75th birthday, history is bound to repeat itself — sometimes in the most remarkable ways.
Take the stories of Dick Snyder and Rick Mackie, both lifelong Mercury employees, whose career paths — though separated by 30 years — are eerily similar.
Both men grew up boating near a family cottage, Snyder in Wisconsin, Mackie in Michigan.
It was on that Wisconsin vacation lake that Snyder saw his first Mercury outboard, and “fell in love,” he said. Back at home in Illinois, while most 16-year-olds were saving money for cars, Snyder bought his first Mercury outboard. During his junior year in high school, Snyder went to the Chicago Boat Show and asked at the Mercury display about future employment. He was told to write the head of engineering, Charlie Strang, which he did. He inquired about the course work he should take at college and other recommendations for landing a job with Mercury. Strang replied and the two began corresponding.
In 1971, 10-year-old Mackie watched his older brother build a small boat, then helped him work on a Mercury outboard to power it. He began writing letters to Mercury Racing, requesting decals and product literature. In return, the youngster sent pictures he drew of boats with Mercury motors.
During his third year at the University of Illinois, Snyder again wrote Strang, who invited him to Mercury for a visit. After a day of interviews, Snyder was offered a job upon his graduation — still more than a year away. He started working at Mercury in 1959.
While a high school junior, Mackie landed an invitation for a tour of Mercury Racing. Afterward, “Mike Butler told me to contact him about a job when I had my degree,” Mackie said. They kept in touch by mail.
In the summer of 1988, Mackie’s phone rang. It was Butler, asking him to interview for a product support specialist position. The rest, as they say, is history.
Today, Snyder is retired, but still consults for Mercury on patent, safety and legal issues. Mackie is the senior marketing manager for Mercury Racing.