Michigan trade group hands out Lighthouse Awards


The Michigan Boating Industries Association honored four contributors to the industry with Lighthouse Awards.

Josh Gunn, of Michigan Sea Grant, is being recognized for his achievements and dedication to the Michigan Clean Marina Program, the MBIA announced.

Bret Marr and Ray Underwood, of the lobbying firm Muchmore Harrington Smalley and Associates, are being recognized for their efforts to achieve the passage of a tax break for boat buyers in Michigan who have trade-ins.

Michigan now follows the same policy as surrounding states, which allow consumers to pay sales tax only on the difference between the trade-in value and the new purchase price. The association said that because of Muchmore Harrington’s lobbying, Michigan will no longer be at a competitive disadvantage with neighboring states when it comes to watercraft sales.

Bill Rustem, director of strategy to Gov. Rick Snyder, is being recognized for his leadership and support of Michigan’s boating industry. Earlier this year, Rustem was a leader in gaining state and federal funding in moving legislation for the dredging of Michigan’s waterways quickly. At a time of crisis for many industries in the state, including recreational boating, state and federal legislators came together to provide relief with dredging funds.

The association created the Lighthouse Award in 2004 to recognize people for dedication and contributions to the industry.