John and Jason Harrison know there’s no such thing as overnight success. Their company, AccuDock, was established by John more than nine years ago when he moved to Florida and recognized a need for floating work platforms and commercial docks. When Jason joined him as General Manager in 2009 after graduating from Florida State University, the father-son team upheld three main components they felt were critical to steadily building growth and success: ensure exceptional customer service and satisfaction with a high-quality product that is made in America, empower the team of AccuDock employees, and provide customized solutions to every customer’s needs.
Over the years they increasingly built a loyal client base, expanded AccuDock’s workforce, and most recently set their sights on winning a bid to provide docks at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. They spent more than a year planning and preparing for the opportunity, even going so far as to prebuild three of the nine containers-worth of the dock system that would be needed to accommodate the rowing teams from around the world. It was a risk, but one that would actually pay off.
Despite the Olympic Committee’s initial procrastination, things happened very quickly after a representative came to visit AccuDock’s facility and meet with John and Jason on a Friday afternoon. They spent about three hours talking about the company’s history and experience and confirming they had the capability of shipping the docks in time to meet the strict deadline for the upcoming test event. The representative stepped out briefly to make a telephone call, then came back in and shook hands on the deal. John and Jason were elated. They had known the competition was down to just one other company, and convinced themselves that it was validation enough to just be considered to present their products on the global stage. When John asked why AccuDock had won, the Olympic Committee representative said simply, “quality of product.”
Everything else was put on hold and by the end of the following week, 20% of the project was built, loaded into two shipping containers, and immediately sent to Rio. The Harrisons called their existing clients with orders in various stages of completion and explained the situation, then they began the complicated task of constructing six different complete docks. The full Olympic Committee added some challenges with increased interaction, and changing plans and configurations multiple times, but within 31 days they sent Charlie Everett to the event site to supervise the strategic installation. The entire system was completely installed five days prior to the test event and in time for use in the 2015 Junior World Rowing Championship. The docks are currently being used for trials in advance of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, which begin August 5th.
AccuDock continues to grow its business, expanding its commercial projects into additional markets like Tampa and Sarasota, not-to-mention India and Russia. They’ve even partnered with Polaritas, another father-son duo from Hungary that manufactures and sells timing and starting mechanisms used in rowing and other watersport races, in order to offer turn-key solutions in the United States and Europe. They have also begun preliminary discussions with the 2020 Olympic Committee in Tokyo. Though John and Jason continue to make forward progress with their family-owned business, they always manage to keep realistic expectations and never sacrifice quality for haste.