The National Marine Distributors Association STEP purchasing conference kicked off at its new Rosemont, Ill., venue on Monday with the NMDA’s annual meeting.
Approximately 75 distributors, more than 170 manufacturers and 73 manufacturers sales representatives are attending the conference, and 300-plus buyer/supplier meetings will occur through Friday.
Keynote speaker Alan Beaulieu, president of ITR Economics, projected a slowing of the economy for the remainder of this year and through the first quarter of 2020, with an upswing beginning in the second quarter next year.
NMDA president Laura Leon of Medart outlined highlights from the past year, including a significant contribution to the American Boat and Yacht Council’s workforce initiatives in conjunction with Evinrude's engine donation program targeting schools. She also honored retiring board member Rick Chang of C.C. Marine Distributors.
The annual meeting ended with a look at future NMDA data and training initiatives.