Canadian industrialist Rob Blair, the former owner of DCB Performance Marine, perished in a helicopter crash in Canada's Glacier National Park on Friday, it was reported. An investigation into the crash is ongoing, and few details are known about the circumstances. However, according to a post made by his daughter Kim on social media, Blair had sent a text from the helicopter stating that he was negotiating the trip from Alberta to British Columbia through bad weather. After going missing, rescuers located the crash site on Sunday.
A DCB customer and construction company owner, Blair bought out DCB founder Dave Hemmingson back in 2011. His financial role aside, Blair breathed life into the company in more ways than one, recalls Speedboat co-publisher Ray Lee. "Rob was a great man who I respected a great deal and I enjoyed his company whenever I saw him," Lee says. "His smile and charm were infectious, and so was his passion for the industry. I’m going to miss him. My heartfelt prayers to his family and friends.”
Adds Speedboat co-publisher Chris Davidson: "I found him to be genuine, friendly, and infinitely passionate about performance boats. His enthusiasm matched that of company founder Dave Hemmingson."
In 2023, another DCB customer—Scottsdale, AZ-based speedboat aficionado Craig Hargreaves—purchased a majority ownership of the company from Blair. Hargreaves is the owner of the Spooled Up Racing fleet, which includes his DCB M44 Widebody. DCB recently relocated from its longtime digs in El Cajon, CA, and moved its operations to Phoenix, AZ. At the time of the sale, both Hargreaves and DCB President Jeff Johnston were quick to praise Blair for working hard to get everything in order.
"Rob rescued the company," Hargreaves says of Blair's partnership with DCB. "Under his ownership and tenure, they introduced a variety of really great products. After everything was signed, Rob and I left off with a good conversation, and we were on good terms."
"We wouldn't be here right now if Rob Blair hadn't done what he did," adds Johnston. "And now, with Craig and his wife, Kim and his son, Jake involved, we've got the horsepower and the enthusiasm. It's a really good fit."
Longtime DCB employee and partner Tony Chiaramonte remembers Blair fondly. "He was a super good guy," he told Speedboat. "He wasn't a very big guy, but he came across as a big guy and a smart business guy. He was so full of passion. Basically, there was only one way to be in his book, and that was number one. When he bought the company from Dave, it was at a very crucial time, when things weren't so good. The economy was bad back then, so he bought Dave out, became the owner, and then offered Paul Miller, Jeff and I ownership in the company." With Hargreaves now the majority owner, Johnston, Chiaramonte and Miller retained their shares and continue to be co-owners in DCB.
Blair is survived by his wife, Gail, and their four children.