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Network like you mean it

Organizers of the International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition & Conference have set up multiple networking opportunities through different events, in addition to the show’s educational program and exhibitions. IBEX runs from October 2-4, at the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, Florida.

Anne Dunbar, IBEX show director, said the networking events were part of the show’s overall design to “educate and connect” exhibitors and attendees in “unique and informal” ways. “We work hard to offer events that will appeal to the varied interests of people coming to the show, with the goal of ensuring that IBEX is both educational and enjoyable,” said Dunbar in a statement.

The events include a reception by Soundings Trade Only magazine following its TradeTalks Roundtable Panel on Monday October 1, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The discussion will cover the changing landscape of the marine industry aftermarket. Panelists include Ron Japinga, CEO and president of Guitar Center, Colin Puckett, head of seller marketing at Amazon Business, and Tom Schuessler, president of Land ‘N’ Sea Distributing and several others. A reception will follow the panel discussion.

Fourteen boat designers will present their designs at Sparks!: An Inspirational Night of Boat Design Concepts. The event is sponsored by the Sparks! Group and Tides Marine and presented by media partner Professional BoatBuilder magazine. It takes place from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. in the CAMLS Center at 124 S. Franklin Street, Tampa.

On Tuesday, from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., the annual IBEX Industry Breakfast and Awards Ceremony will be held at the Tampa Waterside Marriott Hotel, Grand Ballroom. At the event, industry awards will be presented, including the National Marine Representatives Association (NMRA) Mel Barr, Boating Industry Movers & Shakers, the IBI Export Excellence Award and the IBEX Innovation Awards. NMMA President Thom Dammrich and best-selling author and motivational business speaker Rich Karlgaard are the keynote speakers.

At 6 p.m., exhibitors and visitors can attend the Opening Night Party at The Sail Pavilion for IBEX’s opening day. It is located just outside of the convention center. There will be drink specials, live entertainment, and food trucks.

On Wednesday, October 3, there are live product presentations with IBEX Product Pitches between 11 a.m. and 12 p.m. in the Tech Talk Theater of the 3rd Floor Exhibit Hall. The presentations by exhibiting companies last two minutes with a one-minute Q&A for press and buyers.

At 1:00 p.m., attendees can watch IBEX’s first-ever Vacuum Bagging Challenge. Teams of two will compete to get the tightest vacuum seal on a balloon without popping it.

From 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. is a Happy Hour in the Exhibit Halls. The organizers said that all industry professionals are welcome to walk the show floor to have quality time in the displays, while exhibitors will provide drinks and hors d’oeuvres.

The organizers have also set up networking opportunities for young professionals through its Marine Millennials group. “IBEX serves as an industry event for the young professionals in Marine Millennials to meet and create valuable relationships within the marine sector,” said Dunbar. 


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