Wind is behind this CEO’s sales

Sam Brown may reside in Solana Beach, but his work takes him to National City, where he owns and operates two companies - Knight & Carver YachtCenter and Knight & Carver Wind Group.

With a finance degree from the University of Miami and a law degree from California Western School of Law, Brown brought his bottom-line skills to both firms in 2001. Now he presides over a combined work force of nearly 400 employees.

KC YachtCenter, regarded worldwide as a megayacht refit center, services a vast array of large vessels, including luxury yachts as large as 300 feet. Some of the world’s largest yachts have been refurbished at Knight & Carver in recent years.

The Wind Group has enjoyed rapid growth, a rarity in this time of layoffs and economic woes. The company operates two wind blade factories - one in National City, another in Howard, S.D. - with other locations in the works.

Naturally, with his hectic schedule and extensive travel, Brown’s favorite resting place is his Solana Beach home, along with his wife, Maureen, and the couple’s two children, Brittany, 12, and Joseph, 17.

What brought you to Solana Beach?

I came to San Diego to go to law school (at California Western School of Law) back in 1980.

My very first day I was here, some friends took me to the San Diego County Fair. I thought, “This is really cool.” Growing up in Massachusetts, it was how I had always pictured Southern California. At that moment, I decided I wanted to live here. And I’ve lived here ever since.

What keeps you in Solana Beach?

Our proximity to the ocean, great restaurants and schools.

If you could snap your fingers and have it done, what might you add, subtract or improve in Solana Beach?

It’d be great if we had a better selection of family-friendly restaurants. And a skateboard park like they have in Carmel Valley.

Who or what inspires you?

My wife, Maureen, is my greatest source of inspiration.

If you hosted a dinner party for eight, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?

I think President Obama would be great. He’d be my No. 1 choice. Former GE CEO Jack Welch, because he changed American business. T. Boone Pickens, because he believes in wind energy as much as I do. Winston Churchill, because he’s a great negotiator and smoked cigars, like I used to. And Howard Stern, because he’s outrageous. Also, my son, Joseph, because he’d be inspired. And my daughter, Brittany, because she’d get all their autographs. And me. Am I invited?

What are you listening to currently?

I’m listening to classic rock. I just got Sirius/XM satellite radio installed in my vehicles, including my Harley-Davidson Soft-tail motorcycle.

What was the last thing you read?

“Hot, Flat, and Crowded” by Thomas L. Friedman. It’s the gold standard guide to sustainable living in the 21st century.

What is your most prized possession?

My family and my Harley - in that order.

Describe your greatest accomplishment.

Succeeding in a financial turnaround of our companies (yacht repair and wind energy) and creating 400 good-paying jobs here in San Diego and in South Dakota.

What is your motto?

Profit isn’t optional.