MTI At 25 Finale—The Scisms Look Back

The Scisms look back on 25 years of Marine Technology Inc. MTI, chronicling the company’s transition from sterndrive catamarans to the triumph of outboard-powered center consoles and the unforeseen rise of the 450R Factory Stock class. In this introspective interview, Randy Scism, accompanied by Cherell and Taylor, provides insights into MTI’s past, blending nostalgic reminiscence with an outlook on the exciting prospects ahead.

Time flies in the daily reporting world. Almost one year ago, we launched a weekly article series called “MTI At 25” to celebrate the Wentzville, Mo., high-performance catamaran and center console company’s 25th anniversary and chronicle much of its history. Every Wednesday for all but the first few weeks of 2023, a new installment of “MTI At 25” went live.

For Cherell, Randy and Taylor Scism, MTI is a true family affair. Photos by Pete Boden, Jeff Helmkamp and Tom Leigh copyright

Not for a moment did we worry about having enough material. First, MTI has figured large in reporting for the past 14 years. Second, we covered the company from its start when we worked at Powerboat magazine.

And now, some 49 articles later, the series is at an end. So what better way to finish than with an interview of MTI founder and owner Randy Scism, his wife, Cherell, and their younger daughter, Taylor, who works as the company’s client relations relation manager?

That’s exactly what we did today after the Scisms arrived in South Florida to host an MTI Owners New Year’s Fun Run to the Florida Keys.

Have you had a chance to go through MTI at 25? If so, do you have a favorite? And why?

RS: I liked all of them, man. There were so many good ones—I think I owe you.

CS: (Laughs) My favorite was the one you just did with Taylor because you said her smile was like mine.

If someone had told you would be building center consoles 25 years ago, what would you have said?

RS: I kind of always enjoy center consoles, because when I was in Dubai (with the Class 1 Victory team) I built them for the sheiks and they were always their favorite boats. I had a pretty good idea they would work here, though I didn’t know they would gain the momentum and traction that they have.

CS: I didn’t doubt the center consoles—Randy had never steered me wrong before.

RS: (Laughs) Can I get that on the record?

CS: But it’s always a little scary taking the leap, sticking your neck out and making that kind of investment.

Though its root lie in sterndrive engine-powered catamarans, MTI has developed a strong line of outboard-engine powered center consoles and catamarans.

You still build sterndrive-powered cats, but most are equipped with outboards. Did you see that trend coming? Explain.

RS: When we started building center consoles, we just realized how reliable the outboards were. Honestly, I have customers who could mess up a crowbar in a sandbox, so the outboards have been a phenomenon.

What prompted you to start the 450R Factory Stock class?

RS: Taylor had asked me a couple of times if she could go racing and I wasn’t going to put her in a Class 1 boat (laughs). So we pieced together the first 390XR. Then we made the investment to build dedicated tooling for it.

CS: I wasn’t overly thrilled (laughs). It was one thing to have your husband out there, but your youngest daughter? I was like, “Man, no, I don’t want this, never.”

RS: She was anti-Taylor racing. So we had to sneak it.

CS. It’s gotten better because, well, I am competitive. I want her to win.

TS: I definitely kept my mom in mind but we were pretty set on racing.

RS: Better to beg forgiveness than ask permission. 

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