The Formula Boat that Never Retired

Christine King and Jack Telefus at their new home in Alton, NH
Christine King and Jack Telefus at their new home in Alton, NH

It’s always interesting to me to see how couples end up in The Lakes Region. For Jack Telefus & Christine King their story travels through several states for high-end corporate job positions with their prized boat in tow the whole way.

Jack was born and raised in upstate New York while Christine grew up in New Jersey. The couple met in 1971 while attending Orange County Community College. They both took jobs at IBM in Fishkill, NY. Christine later earned a degree in electrical engineering from Fairleigh Dickson University. Over the next 23 years she rose through the ranks at IBM, excelling in what was then a male-dominated corporate culture. After serving in Vietnam, Jack earned an engineering degree in Maryland and enjoyed a distinguished career at IBM for 30 years. The early years leading to 1971 were difficult times for Jack & Christine, “pinching pennies” was a common theme.

In 1976 they moved to Burlington, VT with IBM and they bought a used 27ft boat that they enjoyed cruising around on Lake Champlain for over 4 years. Once the linkage broke they decided it was finally time for a new boat. They wanted a Formula and with no dealers in the Lake Champlain area they journeyed to Lakeport Landing Marina here in Laconia, NH and purchased a new 38ft Formula Fastech. (Fun fact…I sold Lakeport Landing to Paul Blizzard that same year) Christine and Jack were ecstatic for their big boat. “We enjoyed boating on Champlain, the lake was big and open, but sometimes the large waves were difficult”.

By 1995 Christine had become the Vice President of IBM’s Semi-Conductor Division and VP of the networking business unit. She had 33,000 employees within the company which produced $6 billion in revenue at the time.

Along came a ‘head hunter’ in 2001 making an offer Christine and Jack just could not refuse… she was offered the top position of CEO of AMI Semi-Conductor (AMIS) with the understanding she could select the location for the company’s world headquarters in Pocatello, Idaho. The New Jersey native smiled and replied “I’ve always wanted to be a cowgirl” and off they went. AMIS had 10,000 employees worldwide and Chris became the first female CEO of a semi-conductor company in the world. Over seven years the company grew and Chris took it public, selling the company and made the investors a lot of money. Meanwhile “there was little lake water in the southeast corner of Idaho and our prized Formula did not have much playtime after we shipped it out…we had man-made lakes in our area, and everyone laughed at us in our oversized boat in only 10ft of water.”  Christine’s other passion is riding horses; she has seven quarter horses of her own. Thriving off competition and adrenaline she’s ranked 3rd in the world in the “Amateur Cow Cutting” class. Chris became the cowgirl she wanted to be.

Enjoying her retirement for only 2 months, Christine was again approached by another head hunter in 2008. She was offered the top position as CEO of Standard Microsystems (SMSC). They sold their home in Idaho and were off to Hauppauge/Long Island, NY. Sadly they had to ship the Formula to storage this time, so they sent it back to Lakeport Landing because they didn’t want her near salt water. At the same time, they purchased a home in Scottsdale, AZ so Christine could house her horses and keep up her cowgirl competitions. (Just last week she was in Las Vegas and won that competition!)

In 2011 their daughter was having her 4th baby. Their last family vacation had been on New Jersey‘s shore but this year their daughter didn’t want beach sand. “Mom, don’t you have a boat on Lake Winnipesaukee?” she asked. So for the first time in years they pulled the Formula out of storage and launched it for a vacation. They stayed at Church Landing in Meredith and later rented a lake house in Alton. The kids and grandkids just loved it up here; there was so much for the whole family to do. They visited for four summers; 3-4 weeks each year. “We liked the Lakes Region so much we started looking around for a place on the water.” Jack saw a sign on a place and called the REALTOR® twice, with no answer.  He met with Kevin Keenan at Paugus Bay Marina and mentioned the house he viewed from the road. Jack gets back to Scottsdale and gets a phone call from a different REALTOR®, John Goodhue who Mr. Keenan had referred. “After the call from John and 15 houses later we decided on a beautiful lake home in Alton on the Wolfeboro line. It had everything we needed…great views overlooking the Varney islands, 5-bedrooms, 7-baths, theatre room and an impressive exercise room for Jack. We love the peaceful setting on the lake where it’s so easy to boat to so many interesting restaurants. We also love the blue collar appeal of the region and feel of the people around the lake. Everyone’s so friendly.”

So the story continues on a happy note. Jack is retired from IBM and Christine sits on the Board of Directors of four public companies, one of which is in Boston. She still loves to drive horses but she’s found another passion…driving that Formula boat around all the islands of Lake Winnipesaukee.

This article was written by Frank Roche, president of Roche Realty Group in Meredith & Laconia, NH. Frank can be reached at (603) 279-7046

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