Melissa Danko, executive director of the Marine Trades Association of New Jersey, took over the helm of the National Marine Trades Council at the group’s spring meeting Monday in Washington, D.C. The NMTC meeting coincided with the opening of the American Boating Congress.
Danko succeeds Michigan Boating Industries Association executive director Nicki Polan, who has served the last two years as the NMTC chairwoman. Both Danko and Polan are industry association veterans. Polan has served as NMTC chairwoman since 2015.
Whether it’s drawing accolades as the 2015 Darlene Briggs Woman of the Year honoree or pursuing a major reduction of the state’s sales tax on boats, Danko and MTA/NJ worked tirelessly to win both a sales tax cap and the major reduction in the tax rate applied to boats.
Gaining favorable treatment for members is a hallmark of Danko’s leadership of MTA/NJ, now in its 16th year. She’s been instrumental in convincing FEMA to provide much more money and time to dredge open 131 channels leading to dealerships, marinas and facilities clogged with sand and silt by Hurricane Sandy.
The NMTC, created in 1972, is an informal organization comprised of marine trade associations across the country. Members meet twice annually to review association management subjects, industry marketing programs and boat show production studies and information.
In passing the baton, Polan told the meeting: “It is a very rewarding experience to chair a group comprised of your peers and the past two years have been great. NMTC has been meeting for more than 40 years and, while we are all very busy, we always make time for this group recognizing how valuable shared experiences and information can be.”
Allow me a personal note: I chaired the NMTC on two different occasions during my 34-year career with the Lake Erie Marine Trades Association. In all those years, I recall missing only one meeting (in San Francisco).
To me, the NMTC meetings were the most important industry meetings I could attend. The reason was simple: Being among peers willing to openly share experiences and ideas that could make each association more productive for its members and/or increase the sales success for dealers at boat shows was always a productive time.
I can say without reservation that the knowledge I would gain from the other attendees at every NMTC meeting helped me be a more successful leader at LEMTA. That, in turn, directly benefitted the association’s members.
If you are a leader in your local association and have not, for some reason, been attending the NMTC meetings, I recommend you contact Melissa Danko at firstname.lastname@example.org and stay up to date on the future meetings. I guarantee you’ll come back with new ideas you can put to work.