Carl Blackwell to leave NMMA

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The National Marine Manufacturers Association announced today that Carl Blackwell, chief marketing officer and the president of Discover Boating, has decided to step down.

The association said in today’s Currents newsletter that the “move comes as the Discover Boating campaign reaches key milestones.” Blackwell will remain at NMMA through the end of March to ensure a smooth transition.

Ellen Bradley, NMMA chief communications officer, will now lead both marketing and communications.

Blackwell helped launch Discover Boating more than 16 years ago and is credited with driving the campaign’s success. “Carl’s determination in establishing Discover Boating as a leading national consumer lifestyle brand has no doubt put boating on the map as a preferred choice in outdoor recreation,” said NMMA president Frank Hugelmeyer in the news release. “He’s been tireless in guiding NMMA’s marketing while building the best team in the business, leaving behind an impactful legacy.”

“We’ve built a tremendous team that’s been able to get Discover Boating to a place where it’s doing exactly what it should — attracting new boaters and getting them excited about being on the water — meaning it’s time for me to leave it in the team’s hands,” Blackwell said in the release. He said that this was the right time to “step back and find my next challenge.”

In 2019, Discover Boating websites attracted nearly 4.5 million visits, sending 2.3 million referrals to boatbuilder websites, an increase of 9 percent over 2018. Blackwell has also overseen the creation of more than 275 boat-show marketing plans during his time at NMMA.