Jon VanderMolen lives on Gull Lake in southwestern Michigan, where he grew up immersed in boats. His hobby and passion have always been sailboat racing, and he spends the majority of his time sailing in the Star class. Jon met Geoff at a Star regatta in 2005, and the two became fast friends. Often teaming up together to race the Star, Jon and Geoff always enjoyed success on the water. These two large personalities made for amazing teammates and even better friends.
Jon built his career in the marine industry. He spent his early years operating Gull Lake Marina, his middle years building it into a multi-location boat dealership. Later, he started the North American Sailing Center and became North America’s premier Olympic-class boat broker. He transitioned that into manufacturing Star and 2.4-meter boats for aspiring Olympians. Jon’s boats won the gold, silver and bronze medals in the 2012 London Games and the gold medal in the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Games. Along the way, Jon has been involved in many industry leadership councils and was appointed by Michigan’s governor to the Michigan State Waterways Commission. Jon most recently served as the executive director of the International Star Class Yacht Racing Association and currently serves as the commodore of the Gull Lake Yacht Club.
Jon’s mantra is: “Who has more fun?!” He carries that into every aspect of his life. Perhaps that is why Jon and Geoff were drawn to one another as friends. Laughter is the elixir of life, and Geoff’s laugh provided life energy to all he touched. The sound of that booming baritone laugh is something Jon draws upon to this day; it was a big part of Geoff’s spirit. Jon is committed to spreading this EWE Spirit to help those who are in immediate need.