TAMPA, Fla. — Jim Hunter opened the International Marina and Boatyard Conference on Thursday with a keynote speech in which he implored several hundred marina owners and managers to take on the challenges of servant leadership.
“Everything rises and falls on the tides of leadership,” Hunter said. “The world is tired of bad leaders. I challenge you to inspire your people to pursue excellence.”
Hunter’s informative address, “The Power of Servant Leadership,” jump-started a full day of seminars, workshops, presentations and training at the three-day conference, which runs through today at the Tampa Convention Center
Considered one of the world’s leading marina and boatyard conferences, IMBC is geared toward marina and boatyard owners, operators and managers, as well as dockmasters, harbormasters, boatbuilders and repairers, and industry consultants.
“Our registry numbers are up 15 percent over last year,” Association of Marina Industries director Mark Amaral said Thursday evening. “We currently have 830 attendees registered for this year’s conference, with one more day still to go. Friday traditionally has strong walk-in traffic.” The IMBC is produced by AMI.
This year’s conference has 130 exhibitor booths, which is up slightly from last year, Amaral said.
Westrec Marinas’ Jim Frye, a member of the AMI board of directors, introduced Thursday’s keynote speakers and said that an AMI membership drive is new to the conference this year. Color-coded name tags given out at registration helped in identifying AMI members.
“Those of you here that are not members now know why you have a yellow name tag. And now the rest of us know,” Frye said. He suggested taking note of those yellow tags and getting these participants to join AMI. “Nothing like a little peer pressure,” he said.
Wednesday’s events featured the American Society of Civil Engineers Marina Design Course and the IMBC field trip — a four-hour tour of three Tampa Bay properties designed to enhance participants’ knowledge of working marinas and boatyards and provide them with information and ideas to take back to their own businesses. Amaral said the marina tour had 125 participants, more than IMBC has ever had on the Wednesday field trip.
Thursday’s seminars were filled to capacity, including a timely seminar on ice damage led by Greg Weykamp, of Edgewater Resources, St. Joseph, Mich. Other seminars included Trends in Dry Storage Marinas; Boatyard Business Basics; Resilience on Inland Waterways — Dealing with the Effects of High and Low Water on Your Facility; Marina Design; The Latest in Southwest Florida Boatyards; Planning for a Successful Dredging Project; Marine Facilities Underwriters Loss Control Surveys; and Marina Trends Survey Results.
In addition to Hunter, inspirational speaker and author David McNair spoke at Thursday’s keynote address. McNair’s presentation, “Unleash the Unexpected,” provided data from in-depth, long-term research along with specific examples of how to stand out in a crowded field and how to make a memorable impression. Both Hunter and McNair held follow up seminars on leadership skills after the keynote address. Both seminars were filled to capacity.
Hunter said the marina and boatyard business is essentially a people business — marinas deal with people all day, every day. He spoke about the qualities needed for leadership and how to identify and meet the needs of employees.
“It is a deep human need to be appreciated,” he said. “Deposit respect and appreciation in that account. Identify the needs of your employees, meets those needs, and encourage them to own [their work and their successes]. Set the bar high, be ready with hugs, and be ready to spank.”
Hunter is the author of two bestselling books: “The Servant: A Simple StoryAbout the True Essence of Leadership”and “The World’s Most Powerful Leadership Principle: How to Become a Servant Leader.” His books are used in MBA and other higher-education curricula around the world, have been translated into more than two dozen languages, and have sold more than 4.5 million copies.
Hunter speaks about leadership and assists organizations in building high-performing teams. His clients includeAmerican Express, Johnson & Johnson,McDonald’s, Nestlé, Procter & Gamble, and the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps.