Member Profile: John Allen, Quantum Stabilizers June 28, 2017
When John Allen, a native of Nottingham, England, first made landfall in the U.S., specifically at Pier 66 in Fort Lauderdale, he was working as an engineer on a yacht making its way from Antibes, France in 1980, and he was armed with expert advice from several of his mates familiar with the destination: you must go directly to Carlos & Pepe’s for this fantastic drink called a margarita and tasty handheld bites known as tacos; you’ve never tasted anything quite as delicious as the barbecue at the Georgia Pig; and if you want a job on a yacht in America, you start at Chuck’s Steakhouse because that’s where everybody is. John followed that advise to the letter and along the way also discovered a little place called Dunkin’ Donuts. Needless to say, he never went back.
John, who jokingly claims he only graduated from college because “they felt bad for him”, served as an apprentice engineer with England’s Ministry of Defense before becoming an engineer on a private yacht. It was back in the days before certification compliance was necessary, and as long as you could get the boat running they called you the engineer. He was interested in working on an American’s boat because he heard they weren’t as frugal as Europeans and crew didn’t have to work as hard.
By 1983, John was offered a position with Derecktor Shipyard in Rhode Island as an engineer, and worked there until 1985, when he decided to start Quantum on his own. His inspiration for making the move from employee to entrepreneur was that he didn’t want to work at Derecktor forever, and in Newport, Rhode Island there wasn’t much else to do. At 26, he began the company in a warehouse his wife found, and was able to secure alignment and high-end surveying work from the U.S. Coast Guard. After a few months, John brought on a partner and by 1988 they were installing and repairing stabilizers built by someone else.
In 1991 John and three other Quantum members decided to collectively move to Florida, feeling that there was not a long-term future for them in Newport, and within two to three years they started building their own stabilizers with about 10 employees at a facility on Sunrise Boulevard, west of 441. While there, the group eventually teamed-up and designed Quantum Stabilizers for yachts with a talented and renowned trio from Holland – Theo Koop, Hans Ooms, and Lambert Dennissen, eventually moving to a group of buildings in Fort Lauderdale where they remained for 12 years.
With 56 local employees and 36 more in Holland, John and his partners had an idea that it would be better to have their own building, one that would be architecturally pleasing to the eye and a cool place to work. John’s philosophy is successful business is all about the people, and if you want good people you have to have a great place for them to work. Being in three separate buildings was not conducive to development, production, or really anything. The company felt they owed it to everyone to move into the new state-of-the art facility they had built earlier this year. It has definitely taken the pressure off – and they have their own bar!
According to John, the future of Quantum lies with owning the technology they have and working more with the military. For example, Quantum will participate in only three yacht shows this year, as opposed to exhibiting in seven military shows. The company is working hard to get beyond the 30% mark in military contracts, and is engaged in building stabilizers for the U.S. Navy, Moroccan Navy, Egyptian Navy, Brunei Navy, and the U.S. Coast Guard. It is working with Dutch Navy frigates and is equipping the largest yachts in the world with the largest stabilizers ever built. With three world patents and 1,000 stabilizers in the world, John and the Quantum group continue to go forward with no plans to ever stop.