- March 17, 2017
Aaron Hendry had family connections in the Tampa area maritime and ship repair industry through his dad, Captain F.M. Hendry.
But when a teenage Aaron Hendry went to work for Hendry Corp., which his father launched in 1926, he started as a deckhand. That was in 1952. The young Hendry worked his way up to boatman, foreman, mate and leverman. And later in life he was a top executive at the company, where he led it to new markets and nearly 400 employees. Another notable accomplishment: He initiated an employee stock ownership plan last year, an uncommon feat in the maritime industry.
Hendry died at his home Oct. 3, after a battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 80.
“Aaron Hendry was a wonderful businessman, and a giant in the maritime industry,” says Hendry Marine CFO and General Counsel Dennis Manelli in a statement. “He grew up in the maritime community and had great empathy and loyalty to his employees. He treated them like family — and appreciated the hard, dangerous work they performed every day.”
A fourth-generation Floridian, Hendry earned a civil engineering degree from Georgia Tech and an M.B.A. from the University of Tampa. He also graduated from the Harvard Business School's prestigious business owners program, according to his obituary.
That combination of on-the-job experience and classroom education keyed the growth at Hendry Marine Industries. Hendry Marine is a holding company for Hendry Corp.; Gulf Marine Repair; Universal Environmental Solutions, which provides marine environmental services; and Port Hendry Terminals, a stevedoring and terminal operations company.
In January, Hendry hired a CEO for the company, Jim Long, who is the company's first non-family leader. “The positive impact that Aaron leaves behind can hardly be put into words,” says Long in the statement. “He will be missed each and every day. It's an honor for me to play a part in continuing to build this great organization that Aaron led so well for so many years.”
Hendry had several community and civic groups he supported with his time and donations, including Robinson High School, The University of Tampa and the Tampa Bay History Center. He also built the Palma Ceia Little League, where, according to his obituary, he operated the bulldozer himself.
Hendry is survived by his wife, Barbara, six children, and three grandchildren. Funeral arrangements were pending as of Oct. 4.