Armstrong Consolidated, a new aluminum boat building company, has signed a lease agreement with the Port of Port Townsend that will bring nearly 30 marine trades jobs to Port Townsend. The company will reside in the Gold Star Marine Building, and in addition to building aluminum boats under the name ACI, will service the existing repair business that Gold Star operated until its closure in October, 2015. ACI builds all welded aluminum catamarans and monohulls that range from 24 to 60 feet in length. The line consists of several models and is designed to be robust, fast and reliable. Expanding upon Gold Star’s repair business, ACI is also offering repair and refit for vessels of all sizes.
President Cory Armstrong and partners Jeremy Cornelson and Peggy Barnett spent over a year conducting an extensive search to find a suitable location for their business. Their decision to locate in Port Townsend was largely the result of working with Peter Quinn, of EDC Team Jefferson, Jefferson County Economic Development. “In 2014, we were actively pursuing a boat builder to relocate to Port Townsend. Through a referral, I got in touch with Armstrong and his partners, and spent the next year looking at different parts of their business and how Port Townsend could benefit the company.”
Quinn notes that the strong collection of community resources made Port Townsend the best business decision for ACI. “Even though they were considering other west coast ports, the strength of the Port of Port Townsend’s marine trades, along with the robust involvement of local investors, made Port Townsend the best location for them to grow their business.”
Cory Armstrong, founder and president of Armstrong Consolidated, is a well rounded aluminum boat builder with decades of hands-on experience. Although he also was involved in the startup of Moose Boats, for the past 20 years Armstrong has been most well known in the industry as a partner in Armstrong Marine. In 2015 Armstrong formed ACI so that he could concentrate on fulfilling his own vision of efficiently building a line of welded aluminum boats. He states, “We design and build high-end welded aluminum vessels from several standard hull designs which can be customized to fit our clients’ needs.”
Partner Jeremy Cornelson, who has owned and operated Blue Water Boatworks out of Port Angeles for over 20 years, will be running the repair and re-fit side of the business. Like Armstrong, Cornelson also grew up in the marine industry, working on large and small vessels since high school. Peggy Barnett’s career has been spent in marketing and business operations, including owning several successful small businesses.
“We have a sales pipeline in place, and know where our initial sales revenue is coming from. We’re excited to be here, and to grow,” says Armstrong. The company currently has multiple catamarans and monohulls under construction and began accepting repair orders the first week of January.
EDC director Quinn believes that Armstrong Consolidated is an ideal business for the Port Townsend area. “In addition to bringing new maritime trades jobs to the Port, the indirect economic effect of suppliers and vendors that support that work, cannot be underestimated,” said Quinn. “We look for employers that have sustainable plans, and since ACI will be building new boats, as well as servicing the Gold Star repair business, they have a chance to succeed in a variety of economic cycles.”
Port of Port Townsend deputy director Jim Pivarnik gives the lion’s share of the credit for Armstrong’s choice to Quinn. “Job creation is difficult, and we have to hand it to Peter – and of course Cory, Jeremy and Peggy – for the perseverance and creativity required to make this deal happen.”