Important week ahead for industry leaders

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Leaders of the major boating industry trade associations on the national, state and local levels will gather next week in Orlando for three days of meetings and discussions on a wide range of subjects.

First, attendees will join the annual meeting of the Advisory Council of Marina Associations on Monday. The ACMA meeting traditionally includes a review and discussion of current industry legislative and regulatory issues on the national level. Ultimately, ACMA members will send a series of recommendations on priorities to the board of the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas.

Of equal importance, ACMA participants will report on state legislative matters from around the country. “This is a very important exchange of information,” said Michigan Boating Industry Association executive director Nicki Polan, who serves as the ACMA chairman. “Knowledge of legislation happening in one state can be very valuable to other states. This is a unique forum for sharing such information.”

It’s a similar case for the National Marine Trades Council meeting that will follow on Tuesday and Wednesday in which association management and boat show production discussions are held.

The NMTC was formed in 1972 and has met annually ever since. One full day is devoted exclusively to discussions of topics related to successful management of association services for members. Some examples: strategic planning, member engagement and benefits, work force development and many others.

“Learning from both the successes and failures shared by all the associations represented is a focal point of this day,” said Polan, who also serves as NMTC chairmand along with vice chair Melissa Danko, who is the executive director of the a Marine Trades Association of New Jersey. “In so many instances, association leaders can avoid recreating the wheel when another has already tackled it. The value of these discussions can’t be overstated.”

Creating world-class boat shows shapes the agenda for the final meeting day. Subjects range from driving a diverse attendance that produces success for exhibitors to the “care and feeding” of today’s all-embracing media.

Association leaders recognize the days of just having great displays of boats as the event draw are history. Today, it’s all about the experience that show attendees are demanding if they’re to be drawn through the gate. It has resulted in managers constantly seeking new features and programming to heighten the experiences at each event.

“Features that work in one part of the country can work in another,” Danko said, “and the real power of this meeting is the chance to share and learn from counterparts things that have worked and what to avoid. Our mutual goal is to add value to our shows and, thereby, build platforms on which our exhibitors can reach their goals.”

The NMTC is open to all industry association leaders. This year’s meeting is being sponsored, in part, by: Adstrategies, Capital International Productions, Rainprotection Insurance Company and the American Boat and Yacht Council.

For last-minute registration information, contact Nicki Polan at npolan@mbia.org.

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