Meet Our New Owners: Ross and Evelyn Tennant - NW Explorations

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Meet Our New Owners: Ross and Evelyn Tennant

All of us at NW Explorations are incredibly excited to introduce our new owners, Ross and Evelyn Tennant.

Ross and Evelyn live just north of us in British Columbia and have three sons, Brett, Dean, and Scott, and one grandchild. As high school sweethearts, Ross and Evelyn have been together for 40 years and married for 37.

Ross spent the early part of his career working in the computer and software development fields throughout Canada and the US, and Evie focused on creating a great home-life for the family.

They are thrilled to take the helm at NWE and get to know the NWE family! Speaking of NWE family, Brian Pemberton is still heavily involved as CEO and continuing to lead portions of the Mother Goose Flotilla.

1. How did you get involved with NW Explorations?

We were introduced to NWE by a Canadian firm that was researching “best practices” in the marine-services field; out of all their research, they found NWE to be a standout in terms of how the company was run and how enthusiastic their customers were.

Brian Pemberton (NWE’s owner) was very kind to describe the company’s foundational principles, and we were incredibly impressed by NWE’s core values and how they implement them on a daily basis.

2. What’s your boating background?

We both boated with our families as kids. Ross’s father built a small Sabot that later served as the dinghy for a Cal 29 sailboat. Evelyn’s father built a small runabout (ski boat) that the family enjoyed on Vancouver Island.

When we started our own family, we wanted to share similar experiences with our boys and owned several boats (power and sail), that we enjoyed on family trips.

3. What’s your favorite boating spot?

We have a couple – both in Desolation Sound. The first is Roscoe Bay on West Redonda Island. The shallow/challenging entrance leads to a lovely anchorage that offers a quick hike to Black Lake. Our sons enjoyed the opportunity to swim in both fresh and salt water and chase frogs in the lake.

We also enjoyed Walsh Cove at the north end of West Redonda. It was a quiet, protected anchorage with steep bluffs that our sons enjoyed climbing and then seeing who could jump into the water from the highest point.

4. What do you appreciate most about your job?

It’s a privilege to work with a team that’s passionate about introducing people to this part of the world. The Pacific Northwest is an amazing area – beautiful, rugged, unspoiled, and relatively safe (when you know what you’re doing).

NWE helps people explore and develop an appreciation for the cultural and natural history of the area in ways that are experientially rich and environmentally sustainable.

NWE’s experiences create a strong personal impact, while leaving the areas unspoiled for future visitors.

The experience leaves people changed and the environment unchanged.

5. What’s your favorite NWE story?

There was a charter client several years ago who had difficulties with their tender/dinghy at the north end of Vancouver Island (while on their way to Alaska).

Brian Pemberton sourced a replacement and drove for two days, catching a series of ferries along the way with a new tender and outboard on a trailer in order to deliver it to the guests, prior to them leaving port.

Not only were they delighted by how NWE handled the situation, they went on to enjoy an incredible trip to Alaska. Brian loved the opportunity to demonstrate his commitment to delivering an exceptional experience! It spoke volumes about how the company is run.

Ross with his granddaughter, Maddie.

6. What are three concepts that describe working at NWE?

-Respect for the individual
-Pursuing tasks with excellence
-Doing the right thing

7. Do you have an office nickname? What is it?

If I do, I don’t know it and I’m happy to leave it that way!

8. What’s your favorite quote/motto?

“Each of us guards a gate of change that can only be opened from the inside”
–Dr. Stephen R. Covey

9. What’s your dream vacation?

Anywhere warm and near water with my wife and children.

Paradoxically, we also enjoy huddling together on a cold ski-hill!

10. People would be surprised if they knew . . .

That Evelyn cannot whistle and Ross cannot dance.

11. What’s your favorite book?

Good to Great by Jim Collins

12. What’s your favorite movie?

The Shawshank Redemption

13. Anything else you’d like to add?

We really are “living the dream!”


Want to say “hello” to our new owner? Leave a comment below or reach out to him driectly at 

10 thoughts on “Meet Our New Owners: Ross and Evelyn Tennant”

  1. Welcome! Very nice to meet you and hear your thoughts about the business.. I have been a charter customer since Andy Lund owned the company and it has always been the same commitment to quality and service. We live on Orcas so we come to Bellingham often. You mentioned in your very warm and friendly video chat that you were thinking about incremental inovations. One thing that we asked Brian and the staff about last summer, and they seem to be already thinking about, is having a “base camp” in Campbell River. Charters would do customs at the airport, save days of transit time and cost, and be just hours from Desolation. Very cool, if it pencils out. Thank you for being there for us.

    1. Hi Toby – Thanks for making contact and nice to “meet you” (virtually)! Your suggestion of a CR base camp is an interesting one and one that we are interested in exploring. There are some x-border factors to consider and some other business issues, but the idea has lots of appeal to me (as someone whose family is largely on Vancouver Island).
      Btw, I know that Orcas is a small community and you may know Jake White and/or his family. Jake is one of the incredible marine technicians working at NWE when we arrived here. While most people continue to associate NWE as (primarily) a charter company, a growing part of what they do is look after boats in the fleet (as well as third-party boats) that may not be in charter but whose owners wish to have them kept to the charter standard). Jake works alongside of 14 other talented technicians that make what we do possible. Today is Jake’s 2 year anniversary of coming to work with NWE and we are sure pleased to have him on the team!

  2. We have been looking at doing a “Mother Goose” trip at some point. We lived on a Kadey Krogen 48 Northsea for 9 years from Maine to Key West, FL and everywhere in between, FL west coast and the Bahamas

    1. Hi Jamie! We sure would love to have you join us on a flotilla trip sometime. Please let us know when the time is right!

  3. Hi Evie and Ross-
    Nancy and I send our very best wishes to you as you embark on your adventure with NWE. You two are the absolute perfect fit
    to assume the helm and continue to improve on what is already a great company.
    We are trying to coordinate our busy schedule to attend this year’s rendezvous.
    We would very much look forward to spending time with you.
    Hope to see you soon.
    Nancy and Bill

    1. Hi Nancy and Bill!

      Really nice to hear from you and thank you for your well-wishes. I hope that you know how influential the time that we spent with you at the 2017 PSGBOA was in this outcome. Evie and I enjoyed that group of Grand Banks owners so much, that the prospect of doing that on a regular basis (i.e. as part of our work) was very appealing. We came away from that experience with a strong sense that the boats were a strong reflection of the people that owned and enjoyed them (fine boats seem to attract fine people). In saying that, I’m not referring to the “elegance” of the boat (although there were some elegant people there 🙂 ), but more about the “quality and character” of the boats and people! It struck us a very enjoyable group to spend time with and most were seriously interested in being good mariners. We are looking forward to learning lots and spending time on the water with this group of people.

      Btw, as the complexion of the NWE fleet has morphed into a diverse group of yachts (now including Fleming, Kadey-Krogen, DeFever, Sabre etc.) we have been pleased to find a similar mindset within those groups! We are thrilled to be involved with this company and friends-of-the -company and want you to know that the relationship that we struck up with you (at the PSGBOA) was a factor in what happened next – thank you!

      Ross and Evie.

      PS – We also enjoyed your book recommendation and have been working to integrate it into our lives!

  4. Hello Evelyn and Ross: We have chartered from NWE on many ocassions, including 2 legs on an Alaska Mother Goose Trip. At all times, we found the experiences to be exemplary not just the quality of the boats but also the quality of the people from cleaner to CEO. Simply excellent. I am jealous of your purchase…I am sure you won’t be disappointed. Mary and I look forward to meeting you on the water or at dock. Scott Hean and Mary Macdonald.

    1. Hi Scott – As my wife and I were getting introduced to NWE, we also participated in one of the flotilla trips (in our case to Desolation Sound with Jordan Pemberton – Brian’s grandson – leading) in September. The agreement to get involved with NWE was done, but had not closed yet and it was a great time for us to see how the flotilla aspect of NWE works and experience (as you noted) one of the reasons that people have come to feel passionately about their experiences. The “business model”, for lack of a better word, is based on trying to deliver the best high-touch, adventure tourism experience possible. It sounds like we both enjoyed a great adventure. This summer, Evie and I are planning to participate in one of the Alaska legs that’d being lead by Brian so I will be able to compare experiences with you after that!
      Looking forward to meeting you and Mary!
      Ross and Evie

  5. Hi, Ross & Evelyn. I’m writing as someone who is really old! I was involved way back when it was Intrepid Yacht Sales, then through the years with Andy and then Brian, and I worked a lot as a skipper and trainer, as Ross knows. But unlike you two, I’ve known the entire Bellingham boating community for those same years, and when you say “Brian Pemberton has built a great organization, it’s true and a very high standard here in this amazing boating town. I’m so glad that it’s what impressed you, too. You are assuming leadership of an absolute standard-setting organization; I wish I could claim that I taught them all that they know, but it was Brian and his outstanding, dedicated team that have such high standards. Congratulations! I look forward to meeting you and watching NWE continue to set new standards for excellence in the years to come just as they have in the past…

  6. Hi Joe – thanks for the note and we are thrilled to be working alongside of this group of people. I was reading through one of your yacht maneuvering guides the other day and some of the background info on the many things that you’ve been involved with in the industry. Its a real privilege to be joining an industry and company and I look forward to getting to know you better in the process. Thanks for leading the way!


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