Joan Maxwell grew up in rural Fairfield, NC. She graduated from Mattamuskeet High School and the University of North Carolina, where she received a BA in history. She is married to Owen Maxwell and together they currently reside in Edenton, NC.
In 1988, Joan and Owen founded Regulator Marine in an abandoned A&P Grocery Store in Edenton. Regulator is now operating in an 121,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility and is one of the most well-respected brands in the boating industry.
Joan and her team transitioned Regulator Marine from a job shop/manufacturing process to a highly sophisticated lean manufacturing process. Under Joan’s leadership, Regulator received ISO 9000:2008 certification, as well as the North Carolina Department of Labor’s top safety award, the North Carolina Star.
In a historically male dominated industry, Joan remains active in the boating industry’s leading organization, the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), where she served as the first female Chairperson and currently remains on the Boat Divisional Manufacturer’s Board while also serving on the NMMA’s Board.
Joan focuses on learning innovative ways to improve the business that God has entrusted to her care. Currently, she is a member of C12, a Christian based leaders’ roundtable that focuses on building better businesses for a greater purpose.
Joan Maxwell demonstrates and demands from her leadership team at Regulator Marine a high level of integrity and positive leadership. Her service is evident in her dedication to not only Regulator Marine, but also to the local community in which Regulator is located. Joan established a Volunteer Program at Regulator Marine which pays employees their regular wages during working hours while they volunteer their time and services to various local organizations of their choosing. In 2018, Joan established the “In His Service” program at Regulator, which oversees Regulator’s charitable giving, as well as its employee emergency assistance fund. Joan’s passion is to personally live out Regulator’s core values and to lead her team to do the same.
Some of Joan’s past accomplishments include: receiving the 2018 Hammond Marine Industry Leadership Award along with her friend Kris Carroll; the Darlene Briggs Marine Woman of the Year Award and the National Association of Manufacturer’s STEP award. In the late 1990’s she worked with Erskine Bowles (former Chief of Staff for President Clinton) when both he and she were appointed to the North Carolina Rural Prosperity Taskforce by then-Governor of North Carolina, Jim Hunt. In 2004, Regulator and the Maxwells were recognized by former President George H. W. Bush when they were invited to the White House along with three other businesses from across the country to discuss the needs of small businesses. In addition, she served as a past Chairman of the Edenton, North Carolina Chamber of Commerce, recognized as Chamber Person of the Year and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Edenton Chowan Partnership – focusing on economic development.
Joan on her faith: “I really believe each of us is on a journey. Those things poured into me by my parents – especially my dad – led me to the place that I am today. When I was a little girl, I’d read my Bible and when I didn’t understand I’d go to my dad to explain it. He was a great man of faith, who in his 77 years of life taught me how to both live and to die. I am humbled each day to have been his daughter. My mother was a wonderful kind person that loved and shared. There were many times we’d sit down for Thanksgiving lunch with people who were not family – just someone she knew needed to feel the love of a family on that holiday…What I have come to know and understand is that I am a beloved daughter of God. I don’t have to have all the answers. What I get the privilege of doing is praying, listening and as difficult as it is for someone who wants to “fix it” and move along – to wait on God’s perfect plan.”