LOUISVILLE, Ky. — It was standing room only on Tuesday at the Millennial Lounge on the floor of the International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition & Conference and very few of the faces present could say they were around for the 1980s.
IBEX’s new Marine Millennial group met for the first time at a mentoring session with Marquis-Larson Group president and CEO Rob Parmentier. The unexpected full house and Parmentier’s high-energy, no-holds-barred advice gave everyone on the floor a bright outlook for the fledging group.
“When we first put this together, we didn’t know if anyone would show up or if it would work at all,” IBEX show director Anne Dunbar said. “The millennials have this energy, and we’ve been trying to figure out how to harness it. More than 80 people signed up online [to join the group] and today’s gathering was fantastic. It was a home run.”
The mentoring session was designed to allow the next generation to learn from industry leaders such as Parmentier and to open the floor to questions in a learning environment. Parmentier’s animated interaction with the group encouraged questions from all sides of the room and included practical advice and goal-setting ideals.
“Say yes to everything that comes your way,” Parmentier told the group. “Raise your hand, get your passport, get cross-trained, be fair and don’t lie.”
Parmentier told the group that what he’s looking for are employees that are willing to work hard. “Don’t say no to anything. Pressure your employers for more certificates and more training, and be ready and able to work with new ideas and different products,” he said.
“The small but mighty Marine Millennial Planning Team who worked with me to develop this program are Andrew Breece from WoodenBoat Publications Inc., Katie D’Antonio from Steve D’Antonio Marine Consulting Inc. and Will Watters from Syntec Industries, and we invite all young marine professionals to visit the web page and register to join the group,” Dunbar said.
The mission of the group is to identify who the next generation of leaders are and use IBEX as an opportunity for them to connect, learn, share and expand their presence in the industry. The program is designed to attract young professionals in the industry who are looking to connect with each other and industry leaders and be a part of the industry’s largest gathering.
The benefits of joining the group included a Louisville urban bourbon trail welcome passport; access to the Marine Millennial Lounge on the show floor; daily one-hour mentoring sessions with a variety of marine industry leaders; and the marine millennials’ after-hours gatherings at the Tavern on Fourth overlooking Fourth Street Live.
“The goal of the IBEX Millennial group is to instill a fresh, new perspective on the IBEX show while creating a voice for a new, younger demographic within the industry,” Watters said. “We are more than excited to bring together a talented young group to show the industry our generation’s interests and concerns.”
“My goal is to create a community for marine industry professionals who are under 35 years old and let IBEX be the gathering place for them to connect, learn, share and expand their presence in the industry,” Dunbar said.