About UsWelcome Aboard

Welcome Aboard From the New Pilot Publisher

I’m new to the world of marine publishing. With years of experience in local newspaper publishing and one-off special publications, the new challenge of spreading the word of marine living and local businesses is one that excites me to no end.

I met Mike Aldridge unexpectedly in November 2023 when he approached me about taking the helm of the Pilot and I’ve since learned so much about his contributions to our local waterways, dealerships, marinas, service locations, eateries, captains, fishermen and the like.

I plan to run with his legacy and build on the brand he and his business partner, Bob McGrath, have created over the past 23 years by offering new and exciting ways for locals and tourists to interact with these family-run businesses. We have plans to reinvigorate the digital landscape of the local marine world to further educate and engage future generations of boating enthusiasts both here and around North and South Carolina

We all owe a lot to Mike and Bob for their ability to connect us with their boating expertise and guidance on making sure that we continue to put out the publications that make an impact around these parts.

Be sure to check back for updated content and more feature stories on locals making an impact in the scene. In this issue we spotlight both the Talley family’s success in being named No. 1 in customer satisfaction as a Regal dealer and their 40 years in business as they premiere the Regal 38 Surf — the largest surf boat in the world (pages 54-57).

Our goal at the Pilot is to always remain a free resource for local enthusiasts while we push forward with new and exciting material and editorial content to keep our readers engaged, and offer our local business partners the recognition they deserve throughout our pages.

Let’s look forward to getting those boats ready for the spring (find those resources on pages 71-72) and our upcoming area boat shows including the Mid-Atlantic Boat Show (Feb. 8-11) the Central Carolina Boat & Fishing Expo (Feb. 23-25) the RVA Family Boat Show (Feb. 16-18) the Chantilly Family Boat Show (March 8-10) and the Raleigh Convention Center Boat Show (March 22-24).

I am elated to begin this journey in captaining the Pilot. In the meantime, let’s raise a glass to Mike Aldridge and Bob McGrath for all they have done for us since the Pilot’s inception.

See you on the water!

Justin LaFrancois
Publisher, Piedmont Lakes Pilot

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