The Hammond Marine Industry Leadership Award was presented to Maverick Boats president Scott Deal, the first time the award has been bestowed at the American Boating Congress.
Deal received the award for “tireless efforts” in fishing and saltwater advocacy, said National Marine Manufacturers Association president Thom Dammrich, who announced the honor during an American Boating Congress luncheon at the Renaissance Hotel in Washington, D.C.
“Get involved. You’ll get more out of it than you put into it,” Deal told the audience as he accepted the award.
Shimano American Corp. president and CEO Dave Pfeiffer received the Eddie Smith Manufacturer of the Year Award, which is named for the chairman and CEO of Grady-White Boats.
Center for Sportfishing Policy president Jeff Angers introduced Pfeiffer.
“Eddie is a friend, a competitor and a partner with everyone in this room,” Angers said. “He is also a visionary leader who has impacted marine conservation in a way that few others have.”
The 2015 award winner, American Fish and Tackle Co. president Bill Shedd, presented the award — an antique sextant — to Pfeiffer.
“Like the man for whom this award is named, our honoree has wanted to share his passion for fishing with others and ensure recreational fishing exists for future generations,” Angers says. “His has been the leadership role in important battles for access to America’s public fishery resources.”
“The thing that was instilled in me was keep only what you need, respect the resources and take care of them,” Pfeiffer said as he accepted the award, saying he was very humbled.
John Giglio, CEO of lunch sponsor Freedom Boat Club, addressed the group after the awards were presented. “We are a very large contributor to the marine ecosystem, and it’s partnerships with customers like you that help make that happen,” Giglio said. “We specialize in several different groups of people that we introduce to boating or keep in boating.”
The boat club introduces lots of newcomers to boating, but also keeps lapsed and aging boaters in the recreation once they’ve decided against boat ownership, Giglio said.
The company, which continues to grow as the oldest boat club in the nation, also is placing a large focus on the Hispanic community, he said, adding: “We feel that’s a huge opportunity.”
The States Organization for Boating Access presented its 2017 Congressional Award to Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., during the event. The executive board of SOBA awards the honor annually to a member of Congress or state representative who has made significant contributions to public boating access in the United States.
SOBA said Scott has been a dedicated champion of recreational boating for many years. He has been a voice for the industry on Capitol Hill and a member of the Congressional Boating Caucus.
The award was presented for his “strong leadership in conservation, promoting boating access, supporting recreational boating facilities and boating opportunities in the state of South Carolina and nationwide,” SOBA said.
“It was an incredible honor to have been recognized by the States Organization for Boating Access,” Scott said. “Thank you for all you do in helping to promote safety for our recreational boaters by ensuring they have access to some of our nation’s waterways. South Carolinians are able to better enjoy our amazing coastline and bodies of water because of the work your team continues to do.”
Past recipients include Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., and Reps. Lois Frankel, D-Fla.; Rob Wittman, R-Va.; Bill Shuster, R-Pa.; and former Rep. Nick Rahall II, D-W.Va.
The Connecticut Marine Trades Association received the ABC Co-Host Marketing Award, which recognizes a co-host that goes above the call of duty to promote the conference through marketing initiatives.
“We’re proud to bestow this year’s Co-Host Marketing Award to the Connecticut Marine Trades Association,” said Dammrich. “Their outstanding marketing efforts and achievements greatly contributed to raising awareness of the 2017 American Boating Congress, building enthusiasm for boating advocacy and driving attendance to this year’s conference.”
The NMMA, which organizes the conference, said that after a comprehensive nomination and review process the CMTA stood out as a marketing leader in 2017 for its efforts to endorse and raise awareness around the ABC. The CMTA launched its 2017 marketing strategy for the conference nearly a year in advance, reaching out to members, industry leaders and other stakeholders, emphasizing the importance of attending.
Marketing initiatives included daily and weekly newsletters, emails and social media updates. Taking it a step further, during U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy’s “walk across the state” last September, the CMTA met with Murphy at a marina stop, encouraging him to support the Congressional Boating Caucus and welcome members during Hill visits this year.
Lastly, in March during the general session of the CMTA’s annual meeting, the association included a full presentation about the ABC and its importance to the industry, encouraging member participation.
The NMMA said 25 industry organizations came together in 2017 as co-hosts of the ABC, spending months planning and promoting the conference to raise awareness and bring the industry together to present a unified front on Capitol Hill.
Co-hosts sent emails to their network of contacts, included articles in their newsletters, provided ads on websites and in magazines and included content on their social media channels.
“The American Boating Congress would like to thank all of our co-host organizations for their efforts in making this year’s event such a success,” Dammrich said. “With our co-hosts’ help ABC has evolved into the marine industry’s premier political and legislative event, effecting positive change in Washington for recreational boating.”
Lastly, Grady-White Boats received the Champions for Growth Award. It is given by BoatPAC, the political action committee of the NMMA and the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas, in recognition of outstanding commitment to BoatPAC’s mission of advocacy for recreational boating.
“Grady-White Boats has been a compelling and consistent voice for the importance of BoatPAC among colleagues, industry influencers, stakeholders and our members,” Dammrich said. “As they continue to carry the torch for BoatPAC it’s a pleasure to honor Grady-White Boats, CEO Eddie Smith Jr. and President Kris Carroll for their never-ending dedication and commitment to BoatPAC with the Champions for Growth Award.”
“Eddie Smith Jr. has set the example for other industry leaders and our own Grady-White leadership team for what true advocacy efforts entail, from the very beginning,” Carroll said. “Winning this year’s BoatPAC Champions for Growth Award is an honor, but a real win for us would be having the full commitment of all NMMA/MRAA member companies to make a true and lasting impact in Washington for issues relating to recreational boating. Grady-White leadership will continue to advocate for the industry and for our customers, the recreational boater.”
This article originally appeared in the July 2017 issue.