A self-made billionaire, Fred Ross started out as a mechanic and built one of the largest trucking companies in the United States. He’s also a performance boater who enjoys spending time on Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks. In 2015, he bought the go-fast boat dealership Big Thunder Marine, which was a dealer for Baja Marine and Fountain Powerboats, among other brands, on the famous Missouri lake.
Since 1979, Fountain Powerboats has been among the best-known brands in performance boating because of one person—Reggie Fountain, II (center with fans).
Soon after purchasing the dealership, Ross visited the longtime Fountain Powerboats headquarters in Washington, N.C., which at the time housed Fountain, Baja Marine, Donzi Marine and Pro-Line.
“The guy who owned the place was not pro-Reggie and it was a weird dynamic,” Ross said. “We had all the trophies and mementos and pictures, but we didn’t have any of Reggie.”
He researched the history of Fountain Powerboats. “I looked at YouTube and more things than you could shake a stick at,” Ross explained. “I understood the impact of Fountain, which was huge, and I wanted to be a part of it.”
Ross bought the company, which was known as Custom Marine Group, and not long thereafter changed the name to Iconic Marine Group.
“The first thing I did was get all of Reggie’s trophies and send them to him because they’re his trophies—they’re not mine,” Ross explained.