IMBC opens today in Fort Lauderdale

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The International Marina & Boatyard Conference starts at 6 p.m. today with a networking reception at the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center, followed Thursday and Friday by a full schedule of seminars.

This year’s keynote speaker, Vince Morvillo, who overcame blindness from birth to become a successful venture capital investor, business consultant, owner of Sea Lake Yacht Sales in Houston and champion Ensign racer, will talk about how to keep moving forward, even in these challenging economic times.

During the next two days, speakers will dig into topics that include past, present and future trends in the marina and boatyard business; engine problems related to ethanol in gasoline; using the Internet to manage and market retail and service operations; winning consumer loyalty; hurricane preparedness and the importance of anticipating surge; the drivers behind boat-buying decisions; trends in marina renovations; how to prepare for a possible ban on copper in bottom paints; what the ‘new normal’ in the marina industry is; and working with subcontractors.

Vendors will showcase products and services in the exhibition hall, which also opens at 6 p.m. today.

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