’ve wanted a farm since I was four years old,” said Lou. “This property is more than I was looking for but I’m happier than I could possibly have imagined. There’s so much to do everyday—you’ve got to pick your battles.”
Indeed you do. The morning we talked, he was chafing to fire up one of the tractors and
start mowing hay—the first of two cuttings he’d do this summer. And then there was work to
do on the horse paddock—for Pete, the palomino—and fencing for the coming arrival of a litter of
Gloucestershire Old Spot pigs, thanks to a pregnant sow. The Gloucestershires aren’t just any old pig,
Lou explained, the breed is favored by the Queen of England and the pork they produce is served at
Lou joined the marine world in the late 1980s as a researcher with the International Marina Institute. A three-year stint with Roberson Shipmate was next, followed by more than a decade with Northstar. He went to work for Simrad in 2006 as vice president of sales but soon accepted a job offer from
FLIR. He said at the time he had never heard of FLIR but researched the company and got excited
about applying the technology to the marine industry. Lou retired this February at the age of 61.
As a respected key player in the marine industry who spent many years as a Manufacturer Director
on the NMEA Board, we thought it’d be interesting to get his take on several issues. Here’s what he
What are the most significant changes you observed in the marine electronics industry
over the years you were involved?
The industry changed dramatically since I joined it. Trends that began years ago continue. There’s
been a lot of consolidation and migration to full-line manufacturers and a decrease in boutique manufacturers with just one or two products—like Northstar. We moved to the “big four”—Furuno,
Lou Rota’s tractor-eye view of the industry
Earlier this year Lou Rota traded
in his desk as VP of Worldwide
Sales for Maritime Thermal Imaging at FLIR Systems for a 130-acre
farm with all the trimmings in
southern New Hampshire. His
new full-time gig includes a farm
house originally built in 1857,
two barns, 15 acres of hay fields,
apple orchard, pond and vegetable garden in addition to a
pair of John Deere tractors and
an assortment of mowing, haying, bailing, manure spreading
and other attachments.
Retiring from FLIR in February, Lou Rota has his hands full tending a 130-acre farm complete with fields to mow, hay to bail and store and animals to tend.
Nonetheless, his new active life style is just what he wanted from a very young age.
Down on the