Mercury Racing Propeller Manager Scott Reichow—for decades a respected source of design vision, innovation, and prop wisdom to racers and high-performance boat owners—retired Jan. 29, closing out a career with the company that began in 1977.
“Scott has been the guy boat builders, Mercury Racing dealers and our customers have turned to for advice and propeller product knowledge,” said Steve Miller, Mercury Racing director of marketing, sales and service. “At boat shows, poker runs, dealer meetings, fishing tournaments, and races, people were always looking for Scott, and he could speak with passion and intelligence about propeller performance with anyone, from offshore racers to walleye anglers.”
Reichow will pass the propeller torch to Nick Petersen.
A high school friendship landed Reichow his first job at Mercury Marine. “I was racing motocross with the son of Gary Garbrecht, who had retired from tunnel boat racing to become the first director of Mercury Racing and Mercury Hi-Performance,” recalls Reichow. “The shop was located on the river in Oshkosh, and right after I graduated from West High School he offered me a job in the parts department. The business was all about racing at the time, so we were always on call to help the racers. More than once Gary would find me on Friday and ask ‘kid, what are you doing this weekend?’ and I’d be sent off on some mission. Once it was to drive to Indianapolis on Saturday to pick up an outboard powerhead and bring it back to the shop for a re-build. On Sunday, I loaded the refreshed powerhead back into the trunk of my Camaro and drove it back to Indy. And turned around and drove home.”
Reichow was promoted to Mercury Hi-Performance sales and service rep in 1979 but left the company in 1981 to pursue a degree in marketing at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. He returned in 1988 to work in the Mercury Marine warranty department, and later moved to Mercury Exhibits, where he helped design displays for boat shows and dealer meetings. He left in 1995 to try his hand at some personal business ventures, but returned to Mercury in 2000 as a manager for Mercury, Quicksilver and Typhoon propellers, before moving to Mercury Racing in 2003. At Mercury Racing, Reichow spent five years under the tutelage of propeller guru Ron Steiner.
“I’d always been into performance, racing motorcycles and karts, but I’m not an engineer, so I had a lot to learn,” said Reichow. “Ron was a key contributor to my growth in that regard. He lived and breathed propellers, designing them and using them. I was a sponge, soaking up all that knowledge and experience.”
Over the years Reichow developed an intuitive understanding of how propellers worked and, more importantly, how a propeller could influence boat performance. “We have always counted on Scott’s experience,” said Myrick Coil, veteran racer and shop foreman at Performance Boat Center in Osage Beach, Mo. “I could just tell Scott how the boat felt on the water, and that was enough. He knew what it would take to make the boat run better and faster, and he’d take care of us. More than once I was waiting on the UPS truck in a hotel room in Key West, trusting that Scott would have a winning set of props in my hands for race day. He always came through.”
Reichow plans to devote his retirement to hunting, fishing, biking and spending time with his grandchildren.