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Education, Detroit Boat Show and Career Day are MBIA priorities

When business is good, more time and money gets allocated to education. So it’s no surprise that the Michigan Boating Industries Association is focused on three related events.

A model program worth consideration by other marine trade groups is the MBIA’s annual Recreational Boating Educational Conference. It’s set for Dec. 6-7 in Lansing, and it has already seen an attendance jump this year of 100 percent-plus. The conference theme is “Raising the Bar.”

The MBIA has tapped the noted Disney Institute to present a keynote on leadership excellence. Disney also will conduct a training session that features the approach to its renowned customer service.

Other conference sessions will cover key industry and business topics, including electric shock drowning — what it is and how to prevent it; the red flags and cost of fraud; promoting and improving Michigan clean marinas; the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s maritime emphasis program; and insurance issues facing dealers.

There will also be a second keynote address from Michigan State University athletic director Mark Hollis.

“The increase in attendance shows the industry is passionate about learning and being involved in their association. We’re providing education targeted to our industry, networking opportunities and a chance to have some fun,” said Nicki Polan, the MBIA’s executive director.

Registration is still open at

Meanwhile, the MBIA has announced it will launch its first Career Day event at its Detroit Boat Show in February. “High school and college students from across the state are being invited to attend,” Polan explained.

Two MBIA staff members, Amanda Wendecker and Jorden Morin, recently attended a Southeast Michigan Automotive Teachers Association conference, where they shared information about the planned Career Day with colleagues from across the state. The group was very receptive to the idea, and many indicated that they’ve started to encourage students to consider a career as a marine technician.

Organizations interested in participating in Career Day as exhibitors can contact Morin at: or (734) 261-0123, Ext. 6.

Lastly, the Detroit Boat Show will be marking its “diamond” anniversary when it drops anchor in Cobo Center from Feb. 17-25. This show continues to see growth, and this year it will cover 420,000 square feet. Just a few exhibit spaces are still available.

“As we celebrate the show’s 60th year, it reflects a thriving boating industry in Michigan,” said Polan. “We have more exhibitors, taking more space and bringing in more products. Our surveys have shown more than 1,500 boats, worth an estimated $50 million, traditionally sell during the show’s nine-day run. We project more than 60,000 attendees will come through the gates [at the upcoming show].”

For show information, visit:



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