Globe South People

Around the world, then back to Marion

By Paul E. Kandarian
November 1, 2009

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Marblehead sailor Rich Wilson, who cut his sailing teeth in Marion and is the second American to finish the Vendee Globe Race - a solo, around-the-world nonstop event of some 28,790 miles - is speaking about his adventures Nov. 14 in Marion. He finished the race in March, having started last November from Les Sable d’Olonne in western France.

During the 121-day race, during bad weather on storm-tossed seas, Wilson suffered broken ribs, a gash to his face, gale winds, and brutal fatigue. He said his primary objective for the Vendee Globe Race was to “use this unique global event to excite and engage young students about science, math, and geography by connecting them to a live adventure. That was the best part.’’

Wilson, who founded Sites Alive, an education company and website that creates interactive learning material for school children, sailed as a child in Buzzards Bay and remembers sailing in Marion.

“It was in Marion where my dad first let me row a dinghy without being attached by the painter to the boat,’’ said Wilson, who holds master’s degrees from Harvard University and MIT and is considered one of the best single-handed offshore sailors. “I sailed in the Buzzards Bay Regatta out of Marion in the late ’90s with our 53-foot trimaran, Great American II, and enjoyed it.’’

His list of accomplishments is lengthy. In 1980, he was the youngest skipper to win overall in the Newport-Bermuda Race on Holger Danske. Between 1993 and 2003, he set world records on the Great American II, including a record-setting sail in 1993 of 69 days and 20 hours from San Francisco to Boston.

Wilson’s appearance is sponsored by the Beverly Yacht Club in Marion, and is being held at the Marion Music Hall on Front Street at 5 p.m. Tickets are $15; free to those 18 and under.

DEDHAM COUPLE HONORED: Dan and Polly Pierce of Dedham have been recognized by The Trustees of Reservations, the Sharon-based regional land trust and conservation organization that is the nation’s oldest. The Pierces were given the group’s Life Trustee Award, one of the highest honors given by the conservation group recognizing extraordinary gifts of property, financial assets, or service to the organization. The Pierces have been members of the group for 50 years.

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Denise Smigliani of Plymouth, district sales coordinator for Boston Bread; Loraine Fields of Hanover, financial advisor for Edward Jones Investments; and Megan M. Grew, a lawyer with The Rogers Law Firm in Braintree, have joined the South Shore Women’s Business Network.

Sean Killgoar of Whitman has been named an audit manager at the Braintree-based KAF Financial Group, managing a portfolio of audit engagements, as well as developing, supervising, and training staff.

Fenway Sports Group of Boston, a sports marketing organization, has entered into a strategic partnership with Norwell-based Athletes’ Performance to become its exclusive sponsorship sales agency. Athletes’ Performance is a leader in training of elite athletes, company officials said, and has trained nine first-round draft picks in the 2009 National Football League draft and eight of this year’s Major League Baseball All-Stars. The company recently began offering its training approach to consumers through its core performance program.

Jiffy Lube franchisee Joseph Menendez of Cape Cod Ventures & Bay State Ventures has received two Jiffy Lube International awards, The Harold Burney Award and the Fleet Growth Award. He was honored for “consistently offering advice and mentoring fellow franchisees on various business issues,’’ Jiffy Lube officials said, and for the sales growth of his fleet. His store locations include Braintree, Canton, Kingston, Norwell, Norwood, Randolph, Weymouth, and Whitman.

Quincy Memorials principals Jeffrey Poirier of Quincy, Bryan Poirier of West Bridgewater, and Yves Poirier of Abington highlighted their rose quartz, mausoleum, and cremation products and services at the National Funeral Directors Association’s 128th annual International Convention & Expo held recently in Boston. The convention brought together approximately 6,000 funeral directors, mortuary science students, exhibitors, and other allied professionals from around the world.

Paul E. Kandarian can be reached at