STO Innovation Awards to donate entry fees to ABYC Foundation

The entry fees for the STO Innovation Awards will go to ABYC-sponsored workforce training programs.

The entry fees for the STO Innovation Awards will go to ABYC-sponsored workforce training programs.

Soundings Trade Only said that most of the entry fees for its Most Innovative Marine Company Awards will benefit the ABYC Foundation’s workforce initiatives program. The American Boat and Yacht Council has designed multiple programs to help fill technical and manufacturing roles across the boating industry.

“The staff of Soundings Trade Only considered many worthy industry charities before deciding on one they believed would benefit the industry,” said Michael Verdon, the magazine’s editor-in-chief, in a statement. "The ABYC Foundation is working with a variety of programs to attract new talent to the marine industry. We think the companies entering our awards this year will appreciate knowing that entry fee is going back into a cause that will help the industry.”

“We are honored to be recognized by Soundings Trade Only with this outstanding donation,” said Margaret Podlich, executive director of the ABYC Foundation. “This will certainly provide much needed funding to further our goal of getting more qualified technicians into factories and service centers.”

The Most Innovative Marine Company Awards honor companies that are transforming the marine industry. Several companies told Trade Only Today that last year’s awards impacted their businesses.

“I can’t express how much this award meant for Freedom Boat Club,” John Giglio, CEO of Freedom Boat Club, which won the top award, told Trade Only Today. “While FBC has been recognized nationally over the years, this was the first time we were presented any type of award from inside the recreational marine industry. When you look at the evolution of the club concept from industry outsider, to mildly accepted and now mainstream, this award helped validate Freedom Boat Club.”

Daniel Harper, founder of Siren Marine, said winning an award had a “dramatic, positive effect” on the business. “At a time when much of our energy and resources were focused on building important OEM partnerships for our Connected Boat technology, this industry award helped cement our position as a leader in this rapidly evolving category,” Harper told Trade Only Today. “This recognition was felt and appreciated throughout our company.”

The 2019 awards cover from Sept. 1, 2018, through Aug. 31, 2019. The winners will be announced at the Soundings Trade Only anniversary gala Sept. 30. The top winner will be announced at the IBEX industry breakfast, and an article profiling all Top 10 Most Innovative Marine Companies will appear in the November issue of Soundings Trade Only and on 


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