Like Father, Like Son

In honor of Father’s Day, we talked to a few Treasure Coast men who followed in their dads’ footsteps and never looked back

The Scheffers on one of their builds. Photography by Steven Martine
The Scheffers on one of their builds. Photography by Steven Martine

Building Bonds

Rich Scheffer Sr., Rich Scheffer Jr., Tristen Scheffer, Grant Scheffer

When Rich Scheffer Sr. founded Tribute Boats in Palm City in 1992, the company name commemorated Jim Smith, the legendary sportfish pioneer who help Rich launch his career as a boat builder. The business has since become a tribute to the three generations of Scheffers who today build some of the best designed and engineered sportfish boats in the industry. “My dad was one of the first guys to use naval architects,” says 50-year-old Port Salerno resident Rich Jr., who joined his father at the company after earning a degree in electronics engineering from Indian River Community College (now Indian River State College) in 1993. “All the boats he has built have been around for decades.” Rich Jr.’s first position at Tribute was overseeing the complicated web of electrical components that go into each boat, and now his own passion for boat building has inspired his sons to follow in his footsteps.

Grant, Rich Jr., Rich Sr., Tristen. Photography by Steven Martine
Grant, Rich Jr., Rich Sr., Tristen

Stuart residents Tristen, 24, and Grant, 22, are currently learning everything about the business from their dad—from electrical to rigging to composite work. The youngest Scheffer men are part of the company’s most challenging build yet: a 63-foot boat that Rich Sr. describes as “the world’s most high-tech sportfish boat.” While the hierarchy of a family business can sometimes prove challenging, the Scheffer men say they all work well together. “They’re generally good bosses,” says Tristen. His grandfather laughs and points to Rich Jr.: “I think the last time I disciplined him was when he was 3 years old.”

Steve and Kevin Helseth at Tradition Square in Port St. Lucie. Photography by Steven Martine
Steve and Kevin Helseth at Tradition Square in Port St. Lucie

Blue Bloods

Steve and Kevin Helseth

Steve (left) and Kevin. Photography by Steven Martine
Steve (left) and Kevin

After graduating from Lincoln Park Academy in Fort Pierce, Kevin Helseth was on the path to becoming an attorney. He attended the University of Central Florida, where he pursued a double major in criminal justice and legal studies. But by the time he graduated in 2018, things had changed…. “One weekend, he came home [from Tallahassee, where he was still living at the time] and told us he didn’t want to be an attorney,” recalls his father, Steve, a master sergeant in the Port St. Lucie Police Department who lives in Fort Pierce. Two years later, in March 2020, Steve—who has been in law enforcement since 1993—found himself presenting his son with a badge at Kevin’s swearing-in ceremony.

Now a patrol officer in the same police department as his dad, 26-year-old Kevin says he was inspired by his father to trade practicing law for enforcing it. “Seeing what my dad got to do every day, I realized there was a lot more freedom than being stuck at a desk all day,” says Kevin, who also lives in Fort Pierce. “As a cop, I get to meet a lot of people and help a lot of people.” Working in the same department with his father means expectations are high. “People keep asking when I am going to try out for SWAT,” says Kevin, whose father served on SWAT for 23 years. Steve acknowledges that his son has a lot to live up to. “The Helseth name has a pretty good reputation here—but I haven’t heard any complaints about him yet,” he jokes.  

Bob Baldassari helps his son, Robert, line up a shot at PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie. Photography by Steven Martine
Bob Baldassari helps his son, Robert, line up a shot at PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie.

Fore Father

Bob and Robert Baldassari

PGA professional Bob Baldassari has accomplished a lot in his career, but two things remain on his bucket list. “I’d like to get a hole-in-one, and I’d like to go to Scotland with Robert,” says the 60-year-old Palm City resident, referring to his 26-year-old son. Bob’s own father, Robert Baldassari Sr., was a 53-year member of the PGA himself, and Bob entered the league in 1991, earning a slew of accolades over the past three decades. He has served as past president of PGA of America and was named PGA Golf Professional of the Year in 2000. Today, he oversees golf operations at Sandpiper Bay Golf Club in Port St. Lucie and consults through his company, Reimagine Golf, helping course owners reimagine the golf experience and continue to grow the industry. Given his legacy, it’s no surprise that Bob’s son, Robert, found himself swinging a club at an early age.

Robert (left) and Bob. Photography by Steven Martine
Robert (left) and Bob

The Stuart resident played golf at Martin County High School and began a career at PGA Village before eventually landing at Stuart’s Willoughby Golf Club in 2022, where he works as an assistant pro. He credits his father with teaching him how to play—and making it fun along the way. “He’s seen my bad habits for 26 years, so he knows exactly what to tell me,” says Robert. On his own bucket list? “I want to play Pebble Beach with my dad.”

The Lewis men at their law office in Stuart. Photography by Steven Martine
The Lewis men at their law office in Stuart.

Legal Legacy

J.D. Lewis III, J.D. Lewis IV, and Christopher Lewis

A love for the law runs in the Lewis family. Brothers J.D. Lewis IV, 49, and Christopher Lewis, 45, wanted to be lawyers from childhood, and today they work side by side with their father at The Lewis Law Group in Stuart. At 74, J.D. Lewis III has the same passion for law as he did when he first started his practice nearly 40 years ago. “It’s a situation where I can help people when their lives are turned upside down,” J.D. III says of his work in personal injury law. Growing up, his sons saw firsthand their father’s commitment to his clients. “The first time I thought about law, I was around 7,” recalls J.D. IV. “I saw Dad with all these legal pads, and he was walking around talking to himself.” J.D. IV graduated from Martin County High School before attending Duke University and eventually earning a law degree from the University of Florida in 1998. After a two-year stint as a public defender, he decided to join his father at the family firm. His younger brother, Christopher, also graduated from UF’s College of Law after earning an undergraduate degree there. Like his brother, Christopher began his career as a public defender before joining his family at the Stuart practice.

Christopher, J.D. III, J.D. IV. Photography by Steven Martine
Christopher, J.D. III, J.D. IV

Working in the same office can have its challenges for three strong-willed attorneys who are also family. “I have my old-school ways, and a lot of the time that doesn’t work,” says J.D. III. “Sometimes, I have to sit back and learn.” Both of his sons smile at this, as J.D. IV points out that, in the end, their differences only make them a stronger team. “As much alike as we are, we are that much different,” he says. “We balance each other out.”

Craig and Edward Wengler at Edward’s home in Stuart. Photography by Steven Martine
Craig and Edward Wengler at Edward’s home in Stuart.

Family Practice

Dr. Edward Wengler and Dr. Craig Wengler

As a kid, Dr. Craig Wengler remembers his father watching videos of laparoscopic surgery on VHS tapes. “He was always learning and wanting to do more for his patients,” says Craig, 40, who credits his dad’s passion for patient care as the reason he also decided to pursue medicine. Born at Martin Memorial Hospital, Craig earned a doctorate in medicine from the University of South Florida and, after completing his internship and residency, landed a fellowship in breast surgical oncology at Cleveland Clinic in Ohio in 2014. A year later, he returned home to Stuart, where he now resides and serves as director of the Cleveland Clinic Martin Health Breast Center.

Edward (left) and Craig. Photography by Steven Martine
Edward (left) and Craig

His father, Dr. Edward Wengler, 70, a breast surgeon at Martin Health for 42 years, found his own career inspiration back in high school when his family hosted a foreign exchange student from Bolivia. “His dad was a physician, and my decision to go into medicine was influenced by many hours of talking with him,” recalls Edward, who also lives in Stuart. He continues: “For Craig to have chosen breast surgery and join me in practice was tremendous. The opportunity to work side by side with him is amazing and has certainly kept me in practice beyond when I might have otherwise retired.”

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