MRAA hands out awards at annual meeting

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The Marine Retailers Association of the Americas announced that the following awards were presented last month at the Marine Dealers Conference and Expo in Orlando, Fla.

Past MRAA chairman Ed Lofgren, of 3A Marine Service, received the Irv Rosenthal Award. It is presented annually to an individual who has contributed significantly to the work of the MRAA.

As a board member and chairman, Lofgren helped to form the group’s Young Leaders Advisory Council and assisted in orchestrating the deal with Boating Industry magazine to partner on the annual dealer conference. Lofgren also has been president of the MRAA’s Educational Foundation for a number of years.

The Bill Ferguson Award was presented to the Boating Trades Association of Metropolitan Houston for its support of members, particularly through the lobbying and ultimate passage of a bill outlining agreements between dealers and manufacturers operating in Texas. The Legislative Award was presented to Texas state Sen. Mike Jackson and state Rep. Joe Deshotel for their work on behalf of the boating industry in their state.

Julie Crowe, co-owner and secretary/treasurer of Eatonton, Ga.-based Crowe Marine, was named the 2011 Darlene Briggs Award winner. The honor is given annually to an outstanding woman in the marine industry.

It is presented to someone who demonstrates leadership and commitment to the boating business. It was established in 1987 in honor of Darlene Briggs, of Wayzata Marine, who was the first retail saleswoman in Minnesota and the first female member of that state’s marine trades group.

The Jerry Martin Journalism Award was given to creative marketing agency Olson for its work and success with the “Welcome to the Water” campaign, which helped reignite the industry’s Discover Boating program.

One of the most successful elements of the campaign has been its ability to engage consumers wherever they are, inviting them to experience the water at DiscoverBoating.com and creating an immediate connection to the boating lifestyle. In 2011 the campaign generated a 46 percent increase in visits to the Discover Boating website, a 5 percent increase in prospects and a 30 percent increase in hot leads and site referrals.

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