Management Team

Steve_Schmidt.JPGSteven Schmidt, Director and Chief Designer

Naiad’s founder also leads the company’s design team. Steve is highly respected as one of New Zealand’s leading marine designers, with over 30 years practical design and boat building experience behind him.

Steve’s formal qualifications include a Diploma of Industrial Design from Sydney University. Soon after qualifying he returned to New Zealand and turned his design energies to the water and specifically the design of rigid hull inflatable boats. Under Steve’s guidance, Naiad has developed the concept of RHIBs in Australia and New Zealand from infancy to their acceptance as the de facto standard for hard working rescue, patrol and commercial boats that can operate in extreme conditions.

Design projects start with a clear definition of requirements and operating conditions. Steve draws concepts by hand, following which extensive 3D modelling is used to verify designs and allow customers to see exactly how their vessel will look.

John Cowan, Director

John's varied background and enthusiasm has been valuable to the company, its builders and and customers. Before the marine industry, John was in the Information Technology sector. In 1983 he co-founded Automation One and developed the CBA accounting system, which went on to become the most popular accounting package in Australia and New Zealand. He sold the company in 1994 to an American corporation.

An Australian by birth, water activities have always been an important part of his life. From the age of 8 he was keen junior surf lifesaver on Sydney’s northern beaches. After his family moved to Auckland he started boating, first in kayaks, progressing on to small yachts, powerboats and launches.  He has been involved with Coastguard since 1995, and currently holds the operational positions of Duty Officer and Search and Rescue Controller. He is also heavily involved in the education arm of Coastguard, and is a board member of Water Safety New Zealand.

He has worked in the marine industry since 1995, when he purchased the classic 73-foot vessel Parimar, which he operated as a commercial charter vessel for 11 years. He joined Naiad Design in 2005 and has overseen substantial growth by the company in its international operations. 

John spends his time between his family home in Auckland and work base in Picton. Outside of boating, his interests include travel, skiing, aviation, technology, and motor racing.
Jenny Schmidt. Jenny Schmidt, Customer Service Manager

Looking after people is Jenny's passion, and she is the person our builders turn to for ordering parts, organising shipments, and looking after accounts.  

Jenny has been involved with Naiad since its inception, with some time off for raising her and Steve's two sons.

Jenny's interest include: book club, wine club, driving, cooking, property and travel.

Jenny and Steven live in the Marlborough Sounds and travel to work every day in their 7.3m Naiad that sports an impressive 350hp V8 Yamaha outboard. Which Jenny is more than happy to drive.



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