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New Connecticut trade group director takes the helm

 Kathleen Burns

Kathleen Burns

Marine industry associations should focus on all aspects of the industry —from marinas to dealerships, insurers to subcontractors —as they make plans for the future.

That’s the top priority for Kathleen Burns, the new executive director of the Connecticut Marine Trades Association, who took over for Grant Westerson on Monday.

“I think it’s critically important in this day and age that all of the industry is working together and that each of the different disciplines in the industry is represented,”Burns told Trade Only during her first day on the job. “We want to be sure our overall plan is impactful for all parts of this industry.”

The path to doing that effectively is to lay out a strategic plan, Burns said. “We believe we can really rally an ongoing and a growing base of involvement by laying out a dynamic program,”she said. “It just takes some planning and some time, and getting everybody’s feedback.”

Goals include being active on issues facing the industry, but also looking at new and different ways to provide innovative programming.

Before accepting the position, Burns was general manager at Noank Shipyard.In that role she oversaw all operations, including the service department, fuel operations, marina slips and moorings, in addition to tenant leasing and customer relations.

Burns also supervised the renovation of the marina, as well as the acquisition and development of a second marina.

She was on the CMTA board as marina manager and chaired the board for two terms, she said. “So it’s really exciting to be on this side of the desk. I’m really looking forward to reconnecting with membership and to really grow our membership, and promote and grow this tremendous industry in our state,” she said.

“It’s a really exciting time,”Burns said. “We’ve had some tough years. I’ve been on the marina side very recently and I know what it’s like in the day-to-day.”

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