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Orlando is the site for major meetings

Retailers, marine trade association executives, lobbyists and others will all converge on the Florida’s “fantasyland” — Orlando — starting this weekend for a series of annual industry meetings.

The Advisory Council of Marine Associations will start things on Saturday. National and state legislative activities are the sole focus of this group. The advisory council is made up of representatives from industry associations and is tasked with advising the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas’ board on needed legislative initiatives and concerns.

The advisory council members will have a full plate of national issues ranging from contentious tax reform proposals flying around Congress that could eliminate the second-home interest deduction to the serious concerns about regulatory overreach and the E15 debacle. Various state issues affecting boating will also be examined.

Next up, the National Marine Trades Council will convene Sunday and Monday. Some 28 representatives from 18 national and state associations will be gathered for this annual meeting. The trade council has met every year since 1972 and is among the longest continuous gatherings in the industry.

The trade council agenda spends a day each exploring two activities — the changing missions, management and development of our trade associations and the operation and growth of association-produced boat shows.

“This meeting has endured all these years,” council chairman George Harris of the Northwest Marine Trades Association said, “because it’s a frank and open sharing of both successful and failed programs. Obviously, the goal is to identify and implement successful ideas from one part of the country to others.”

The associations slated to attend this year’s trade council meeting include: Northwest MTA; South Carolina MTA; BIA of Upstate New York; Wisconsin Marine Association, Lake Erie MTA, Michigan BIA; Association of Marina Industries; Connecticut MTA; Central New York MTA; Boating Association of Metropolitan Houston; MIA of Palm Beach; MIA of South Florida; New York MTA; NMMA; MRAA; Sail America; and ABYC.

Finally, on Monday evening, the 2013 Marine Dealer Conference and Expo, the largest in its history, will rocket off the launching pad with opening keynoter Jeffrey Gilomer, best-selling author, sales and leadership guru. He’s expected to be addressing some 700 marine dealers and industry members from around the nation.

But a pre-conference event opens Monday morning with the inaugural Pre-Conference Workshop slate. It includes seven different sessions ranging from “Building a Service Menu for Profitability” to “Put Mobile Apps to Work for Your Dealership.”

For the next two days, the MDCE schedule features the largest selection of sessions boasting key speakers. These educational tracks will leave attendees with a wealth of information and ideas designed for marine dealers. In fact, the MDCE is the largest annual meeting of marine retailers because of its educational agenda and an accompanying exposition filled with retail business services and products. Frankly, there’s really no question this is the one conference every marine dealer should be attending every year!

The MDCE is staged by MRAA and Boating Industry magazine. Honestly, there is still time to catch a last-minute flight to Orlando by Monday and make the opening of the conference. Information is at


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