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NEW YORK BOAT SHOW: Industry leaders meet with students during career day

Larry Russo of MarineMax Russo speaks Thursday to some of the 100 New York-area high school students who gathered for the Progressive New York International Boat Show’s first career day.

Larry Russo of MarineMax Russo speaks Thursday to some of the 100 New York-area high school students who gathered for the Progressive New York International Boat Show’s first career day.

NEW YORK — The Progressive New York International Boat Show hosted its first career day, inviting about 100 marine high school students in the area to hear from industry veterans and tour the show.

The young people seemed engaged with presentations by Regulator president Joan Maxwell, Boston Whaler engineering manager Spencer Traynom, Capt. Donovan Withers from the Office of Maritime Technology at Kingsborough Community College and MarineMax Russo’s Larry Russo.

“Even if you’re not just interested in the nuts and bolts, there are so many opportunities in this industry,” Russo told a group of about 50 students Thursday morning at the Javits Center in New York. “You have to figure out how to sell them, service them, put on events like this.”

The students asked questions at the end of each presentation, some focused on personal interests and others focused on the business and financial side of things. How much does it cost to build a boat, one asked Traynom. He responded by not only listing the materials and labor, but also research and development, the cost of making molds and bringing that boat to market.

Eric Soto attends the New York Harbor School on Governor’s Island, a decision he made because he had a bad experience in middle school uptown and wanted a change. He liked the fact that the school was 30 percent classroom time and 70 percent hands-on training.

“I’m going the marine system technology route,” Soto said, adding that he will take his American Boat and Yacht Council exam this spring. He then plans to go to college and major in political science while working on marine systems on the side.

“During high school I discovered not only my love of boats, but also my love of politics,” Soto said. “People don’t think it connects, but it does.”

National Marine Manufacturers Association president Thom Dammrich spent 15 minutes describing to Soto the many areas where boating and politics overlap.

NMMA president Thom Dammrich talks with student Eric Soto.

NMMA president Thom Dammrich talks with student Eric Soto.

“We have a full team in Washington, D.C., full time,” Dammrich said. “We deal with fishing regulations, access issues, with the U.S. Coast Guard, with [the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration], the Army Corps of Engineers, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Labor, the Department of Commerce — it’s amazing how much political involvement there is. We certify these boats. We need people on Capitol Hill who understand these standards and interface with regulators and the EPA and all those other entities.”

“This was a great investment,” said Boston Whaler East Coast manager Doug Nettles.

The show also hosted “Touch a Boat,” a program designed to get the students through the entire show.

“Kids are always looking at screens, and then they go to touch a boat, and we’re going to tell them not to,” said show manager Jon Pritko.

The NMMA also will host a career day at the New England International Boat Show on Feb. 12.

Student Binh Bentsen photographed the entire group prior to the career day event.

Student Binh Bentsen photographed the entire group prior to the career day event.

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