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Grant Request Do-Over Reaps Big Rewards


Brownell Boat Stands & Equipment Company of Mattapoisett, Massachusetts, is known as the company that makes the highest quality boat stands on the market. Brownell Boat Stands revolutionized the way that boats were stored and created the unique stacking and nesting design that allows them to be neatly stored when not in use thereby taking up minimal space. Today it is possible to see the eye-catching blue and orange products of Brownell Boat Stands at professional boat yards and marinas all over the world.

The Challenge

Brownell Boat Stands was working with a third-party provider that was taking them through a lean manufacturing initiative when they decided to move to a new facility, which they would build, and which would be the company’s long-term home. The third-party provider introduced Brownell to MassMEP, part of the MEP National Network™, to provide systematic plant layout planning as Brownell began the process of strategizing their impending move.

Our partnership with the MassMEP over the last few years has been invaluable. The SLP training has helped ensure we optimize our new facility for long-term efficiency and make the most of the opportunity we have in front of us. We continue to improve our lean manufacturing capabilities, again in partnership with MEP, to make sure we continue to innovate and improve our operations. Partnering with MEP on the MMAP grant has also been hugely rewarding – the $250,000 award makes a real difference for our company and will be a great contribution toward the new building and the upgraded finishing system.

— Alex Kavanaugh, President

MEP's Role

MassMEP helped Brownell to analyze the current state of their existing facility, as well as to identify how to optimize space in the new facility in the future.  The MassMEP business development advisor provided Brownell with information about the Massachusetts Manufacturing Accelerate Program (MMAP) and a $250,000 capital equipment grant that was available. Brownell applied for the first round, requesting approximately $75,000 in funds for a new welding robot that would allow them to increase production. Brownell was not funded in the first round, but did move forward with the welding robot, and the new unit was put into production in late 2021, allowing them to produce their most popular products with greater efficiency. The increased production allowed Brownell to expand the range of products produced by the robots from three (3) SKUs to six (6), freeing up human welders to produce new and more complex products.


Brownell applied for the second round of MMAP funding when the application opened. They worked closely with MassMEP in developing their application and requested $250,000, which would go towards the new building and a new finishing system. This change of grant scope request would open new opportunities and the ability to expand into new markets for Brownell. Brownell was awarded the funding.

Created January 4, 2023, Updated April 21, 2023