Busted in Florida; Workforce issues at NMTC meeting

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Law enforcement agencies in Florida scored a big-time victory in efforts to curb marine thefts, while attendees at the annual National Marine Trades Council meeting opening tomorrow in Rhode Island will tackle workforce issues, among many others.

First, members of the Southwest Florida Marine Industries Association are applauding detectives and investigators from several agencies that have made a critical bust in an ongoing effort to stem break-ins and thefts from dealerships and marinas. Moreover, it’s a great example of how a marine trade association can successfully work with law enforcement to address ongoing problems, in this case thefts.

Led by the Marine Unit of the Lee County Sheriff's Office and, specifically, Sgt. Tim Galloway, this multi-agency effort has been investigating the growing thefts of outboards and marine electronics throughout central and southwest Florida.

“These crimes have been occurring regularly over the past few years and have been affecting everyone,” says Sgt. Galloway. “I can report that detectives from Pinellas County [in the] Tampa Bay area collected physical evidence, identified and developed probable cause for the issuance of an arrest warrant for one of the main players committing these burglaries.”

Galloway continued: “Detectives from three Florida west coast counties — Lee, Pinellas and Collier — conducted an undercover surveillance operation and successfully located and arrested the individual. Stolen property from a Lee County investigation was recovered, but at this time, no other property has been located.”

Additional details and specifics could not be revealed by Galloway because there are still open investigations. That said, however, he did note that this perpetrator will be charged with numerous felony theft crimes in multiple jurisdictions. “To that end, I want to stress that this arrest has been successful due to communication between all agencies and good old fashion investigative work,” said Galloway.

SWFMIA has been aggressive in tackling dealership theft issues including holding several member forums and working closely with Sgt. Galloway.

“Building an open and solid relationship with an agency like the Lee County Sheriff is paramount in helping them to help us,” says John Good, executive director of the SWFMIA, “Once we communicated the major costs of equipment and damage from these thefts, law enforcement’s response was to tackle the problem head on by assigning Sgt. Galloway to be a full-time lead investigator. The results now speak for themselves.”

NMTC Meeting Starts Tomorrow

Leaders of the marine industry’s major trade associations will convene in Newport, R.I., beginning tomorrow for the annual meeting of the National Marine Trades Council. Topping the opening day agenda will be key presentations and discussions about the industry’s workforce issues.

Guest speaker Scott Jensen, director of the Rhode Island Department of Labor, and colleagues Julie O’Connell and Angelika Pellegrino, will address “association-led workforce development efforts.” In addition, Matt Gruhn, president of the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas, will present an update on a national workforce plan, while a “Strategies and Best Practices” session will be led by Ed Sherman, ABYC education vice president.

The focus of all will be on identifying the most significant opportunity for impacting the workforce challenges such as generating a “library of effective program models and standardize for replication.” Specifically, the goal is to create a follow-up publication outlining all workforce programs that exist around the industry as a comprehensive resource.

But workforce is just one of many subjects NMTC attendees will examine. According to Melissa Danko, executive director of the Marine Trades Association of New Jersey and the current NMTC chairperson, all the traditional subjects shared by the NMTC members are slated for the meeting that winds up Friday. These include open discussions of successful association management trends, programs and new initiatives; a review of and future projections for the boat shows produced by MTAs around the country; and reports from the states on issues they’re dealing with that could impact others.

The NMTC, founded in 1972, is a peer to peer organization open to all marine trade association executives.  


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