In recognition of his positive contributions to the classic and collector boat lifestyle, Lee Anderson is the newest member of the Hagerty Marine Hall of Fame. His induction was announced Sept. 25 at the ACBS International Boat Show in Brainerd, Minn., not far from his home.
Anderson, the 20th member of the Hall of Fame, is an enthusiastic collector of classic boats and cars and is committed to philanthropy and higher education.
“Lee has established one of the finest collections of vintage boats in the world, but to me the most compelling aspect is his personal interest in the history of each boat, and the context of each boat in the broader scope of American history,” said longtime friend Dave Bortner, of Freedom Boat Service. “He can walk down his docks and tell the story of each boat in great detail. For him, it’s about more than acquiring and preserving the best.”
Previous Hall of Fame inductees were Bob Speltz, Dick Clarke and the Antique and Classic Boat Society (ACBS), 2009; Lou Rauh, Jim Shotwell and the father-son duo of Norm and Jim Wangard, 2010; Chris Smith, Al Schinnerer and Chuck Miklos, 2011; Tony Mollica, Ken MacStephen and the Antique Boat Museum, 2012; Jean Hoffman, Syd Young and the Chris-Craft Antique Boat Club, 2013; and Charles Mistele, Matt Smith and the Lyman Boat Owners Association, 2014.
Anderson said he learned the value of hard work at an early age, working summers in local warehouses before earning an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1957. He earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and began a highly promising military career, but everything changed when his father suffered a heart attack and Lee returned to Minnesota to run his family’s construction business.
With Anderson’s leadership, the company – now APi Group, Inc., based in New Brighton – grew from 13 employees to more than 10,000 throughout North America and Europe.
Anderson’s love of classic boats also grew, as did his collection. Among the 39 vessels in his Anderson Classic Boats Museum are names like Hackercraft, Garwood and Nevins.
Not surprisingly, Anderson’s Hagerty Marine Hall of Fame induction is hardly his first honor. Last year, he was given the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans Award for “leadership while overcoming significant personal challenges.” He also received the 2002 John F. Cade Award for entrepreneurial excellence; the 2009 National Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the Real Estate, Hospitality and Construction Division; and in 2010 he received – along with his wife, Penny – Minnesota’s Outstanding Individual Philanthropist Award.