Lex Raas, President, Aquila
Lex Raas, President, Aquila at MarineMax, is integral in the design and development of the innovative Aquila Power Catamaran line. An industry veteran, Lex brings a wealth of knowledge as well as fresh new ideas for game-changing features.
In 2012, experts from multiple development, design and manufacturing firms; Sino Eagle Group, J&J Design Group, Seaway and MarineMax all collaborated to expand the Aquila range by developing a new, purebred power cat. This international team consisted of Lex Raas, a highly experienced boat developer and charter industry veteran, and J&J Design group and their development arm, Seaway, who have worked on designs for Azimut, Bavaria, Beneteau, Dufour, Jeanneau and Monte Carlo. This highly regarded, award-winning group began the process of designing the first true Aquila Power Catamaran, the Aquila 48.
Lex added to this team a long, successful career in the yacht design and charter industry having previously worked at Beneteau and the Moorings as well as brought to market the South African Catamaran brand Leopard built by Robertson and Caine, among others. Throughout his career Lex has championed new innovations in boat models, many of which became standard features that we now take for granted. During his earlier career, catamarans were a small percentage of the charter fleets but Lex was convinced they were the future of yachting if properly adapted for their intended use. While at the Moorings, Lex reinvented the sailing catamaran for easier use, comfort and an overall better charter experience. Lex has proven himself to have a knack for identifying what boaters want before they know themselves. After 16 years at the Moorings and a year's sabbatical to travel around the world, Lex joined MarineMax. By this point, Lex had decided the next big advances were to be found in power catamarans. This is when the unique and talented team of Sino Eagle Group, J&J Design Group, Seaway and MarineMax came together to design, develop and build Aquila Power Catamarans. Today, Aquila has a line of award-winning power catamarans ranging from thirty-six to forty-eight feet with a new thirty-foot model on the way. Aquila models are designed to be power catamarans, whereas many other companies convert sailing catamarans to power. This unique approach shows as Aquila sets the new standard in quality and innovation. From outboard power with joystick docking to direct access from the flybridge to the bow, Aquila raises the bar. The future for Aquila is exciting!
Dave Bigge, Vice President, Aquila International Sales
Dave's 30 year career began as he pursued his sailing and power boat passions, fueling his desire to become deeply involved in the marine industry including manufacturing, design, and dealership operations. This combined experience drives all facets of Aquila International Sales as he supports the team to continually raise the standards of excellence.
Frank Xiong, CEO and Managing Director, Sino Eagle Yacht Company
Construction of Aquila power catamarans began in 2012 through a partnership between Sino Eagle Group and MarineMax, the world’s largest power boat dealer. Later that year, experts from multiple development, design and manufacturing firms; Sino Eagle Group, J&J Design Group, Seaway and MarineMax all collaborated to expand the Aquila range by developing a new, purebred power catamaran. As new models have been introduced, Aquila Power Catamarans continue to be constructed by Sino Eagle Group. The combined knowledge and advanced experience of the most talented group in the yachting industry is changing the marketplace, producing innovative and award-winning boats.
Today, we'd like to introduce you to one of the members of this talented group, Frank Xiong, CEO and Managing Director of Sino Eagle Yacht Company.
Frank was born and raised in China, spending some of his years of college in Australia where we first experienced western culture. After completing college in Australia, Frank joined the Flying Eagle Boat Company in China. This company was a subsidiary of Sino Eagle Group that specialized in building Olympic class rowing shells. Spending two years working with the production line, he gained knowledge of advanced composite materials like fiberglass, Kevlar, carbon and others as well as application methodology.
Next Frank join the International Affairs Department at Flying Eagle Boat Company and was in charge of international sales and business development until 2007. With a good understanding of western culture and international trade rules, he was successful in this position and promoted to Vice President. His responsibilities expanded to include the domestic market. In 2010 Frank was again promoted, now to Chief Executive Officer of Flying Eagle Boat Company. While in this position, Sino Eagle Group entered into a join venture with the builder of Leopard Catamarans, and Frank was one of the team members who initiate the business relationship with R&D. He was standing Executive Director of the joint venture until its termination in 2011.
Later in 2011, Sing Eagle Group decided to continue building catamarans, creating Aquila Power Catamarans. Aquila was a key component in the business development and expansion strategy for Sino Eagle Group. At this time, Frank moved from Flying Eagle Boat Company to the newly created Sino Eagle Yacht Company as Managing Director. His role was to supervise the business operation and help the team achieve their goals. Since 2012, Frank has been an instrumental team member of the entire team at Sino Eagle Yacht Company as well as the other partners who have made Aquila into an award-winning brand that continually raises the bar for power catamarans. Sino Eagle Yacht Company built a new 70,000 facility and grew from the first Aquila model to four in full production with new models in development. Production has increased from 10 units in 2012 to 60 units in 2018. New processes have been introduced to ensure high quality parts are built with consistent finishes, further enhancing the uncompromising design of Aquila Power Catamarans. Today, Frank is the CEO and Managing Director of Sino Eagle Yacht Company as sales continue to grow throughout the world and new innovations are introducted.
A very important member of the international team driving Aquila Power Catamarans, we are excited to share Frank and Aquila's story with you.
Jean Raas, CEO, Sino Eagle USA
Jean Raas, a water enthusiast and lifetime boater, is the CEO of the Sino Eagle USA offices, launching them in October 2011 in Dunedin, Florida. He was part of the launch of the Aqulia brand with Sino Eagle Yachts and has been a key team member in the development of each of Aquila's model from the beginning with the Aquila 38 to the now in development Aquila 30. Jean works with the engineering and technical teams for implementation of new equipment and forward innovation across all the models.
Approximately 65% of the materials used in the manufacturing of an Aquila are purchased from highly recognized marine OEM suppliers in the United States and shipped to the Aquila factory in China for installation. Jean works with these key suppliers bringing the best products to Aquila Power Catamarans. He is also an important link for sales in the US to the factory providing warranty claims administration, order processing and fulfillment and support for customization of ordered boats or boats after the sale. He works closely with Harry Mountain, the Aquila Brand Manager, and the MarineMax team.
Jean's unique background is an asset to Aquila and Sino Eagle Yachts. He's been on the water since before he started walking, showing his expertise for boating and water sports by competing in the 2000 USA Olympic Trials for windsurfing and as a member of the US Olympic Sailing Team for three years. Born in South Africa, he spent his childhood moving between Europe and USA, giving him experience working within different cultures. He also brings experience from his time with TUI Marine as Head of Global Purchasing and Logistics. Today is resides in Clearwater, Florida with his wife and two sons.
Through the dedication of team members like Jean Raas and many others, Aquila Power Catamarans continue to expand, improve and raise the bar for innovation.