The National Marine Manufacturers Association has launched a new video series. “Memory Makers” doesn’t focus on boats flying across the screen, wakesurfers tearing up the water or anglers pulling in a huge fish.
Instead, it focuses on the people who make the boats.
“We’re trying to personalize the industry and the jobs,” Thom Dammrich, NMMA president, told Trade Only Today. “Many policy makers and members of Congress, you talk to them about boating and fishing and the first thing that comes to mind is fun.”
Dammrich says that it’s important for legislators to remember that there are people who make the boats that provide those memories. “We’re trying to remind them that boating and fishing are about families and we want to put a face to these jobs,” he says. “Numbers can be kind of cold. Putting a face on those numbers warms them up a little bit.”
Erik Rancatore, director of association marketing at NMMA, told Trade Only Today that the idea was a collaboration between staff members. “There are so many fascinating companies, people and communities that create the boats, engines and accessories that millions of Americans use to spend time on the water,” said Rancatore. “This video series provides an opportunity to share their stories.”
The monthly series will appear on the NMMA’s YouTube channel and there are plans to showcase the series at the American Boating Congress in May.
The first video was shot at Smokercraft, a manufacturer of aluminum fishing and pontoon boats in Elkhart, Ind. Rancatore reached out to Smokercraft’s marketing coordinator, Steve Huber, explaining what he was hoping to do.
In late March, Rancatore arrived in Elkhart on a cold morning at about 4:30 a.m. and shot footage of a town that was still asleep. He caught the Smokercraft employees arriving at the facility and getting ready to get to work.
Huber said the video is an accurate representation of what goes on at Smokercraft. “I would say a lot of the boat manufacturers represent middle America,” he said. “The people building these boats are quality people who care about what they do.”
Smokercraft employs about 700 people, with many local to Elkhart. When Rancatore arrived, Huber said the employees started their day the same way they do any other. He had an idea of what he wanted to portray and the company gave him open access to film whatever he wanted.
“It makes it pretty easy because we go through the same routine every day,” said Huber. “He was able to do a good portrayal of the process in the video.”
Huber appreciated the video’s approach. While it’s easy to talk about the issues affecting the industry as a whole, Huber says “it hits closer to home when we’re reminded who they’re impacting.”
“These are real people doing their jobs,” says Huber. “What is happening with the tariffs and E85, these affect people’s lives.”
Rancatore said that people interested in the series can subscribe to the NMMA’s YouTube channel to see the next installment of Memory Makers.