Talk that leads to action

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Diversity, advocacy, youth, affordability, the aging of our fleet and the graying of our core market — these issues have become part of regular industry dialogue during the past two years, thanks in large part to the inaugural Growth Summit in December 2011 and the continuing work of the Recreational Boating Leadership Council.

Knowledge, as the cliché goes, is power. And all of us, I think, have a lot more understanding of the major issues that sit on the near and far horizons because of the work that began two years ago. Moving these issues from a simmer to the front burner will be one of the enduring legacies of the summits and the RBLC. And for that, the participants who contributed their time and thought power to the many hours of brainstorming and strategizing deserve our thanks.

The goal, of course, is long-term growth. And having a clearer picture of the hurdles, challenges, opportunities, and the shifting cultural and demographic landscape that affect recreational boating is critical to achieving that shared aim.

Each of us, of course, approach the future with business plans and strategies tailored for what we build or sell or service, and the particular markets and locations we serve. But I also believe that collectively we move forward with more clarity and intelligence — even purpose — because of the conversations we’ve had and actions we’ve taken since the first summit two years ago. Consider that a brief reflection on the distance we’ve covered since that first gathering.

We need to continue the momentum and tell the story of our industry whenever and wherever possible. There’s no better place to start than May 5-7 at the American Boating Congress in Washington, D.C.

Look for a report on the December leadership council meeting in the February issue of Soundings Trade Only.

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