Skip to main content

The industry conference you might not know about

The 2017 MLA conference, an event that gathers marine industry leaders in small settings, took place at Fairmong Mayakoba in Riviera Maya, Mexico.

The 2017 MLA conference, an event that gathers marine industry leaders in small settings, took place at Fairmong Mayakoba in Riviera Maya, Mexico.

The Marine Leadership Alliance, which has been in existence since about 2010, held its annual conference at The Lodge at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif., April 22-24.

Those who haven’t heard of the industry event are probably not alone, Transhield Inc. executive vice president Matt Peat told Trade Only Today.

“It’s kind of a lower-key type event where everybody mixes and mingles in the evenings and then the during day, I’d say there’s some very heavy content — the kind of stuff where you need to get the slides and look at it all again later to really take it in,” said Peat.

The alliance used to be the Marine Design Resource Alliance, said Peat. After the recession, the group took a hiatus. When it reconvened, members decided to change direction.

“Instead of being a design resource, it really became more of a leadership resource and we thought the name needed to reflect that,” Peat said.

“It’s very relationship-building driven,” said ASA Electronics marine industry manager Matt Wood, who serves as the alliance secretary and will be conference chair at next year’s event, which will take place in Grand Cayman. “Sales, product and services isn’t part of the program at all. We have bylaws, we do not bring up business during this conference. It is not a selling conference at all.”

There are 16 members of the alliance, and about 30 people from those companies attend. The group also invites 24 boatbuilders.

Other industry heavyweights like National Marine Manufacturers Association president Thom Dammrich, and IBEX show producer Anne Dunbar, but that group is capped at 25, said Peat.

“We try to get people not to just speak about the marine industry, to challenge our builders on design, creativity, and liability,” said Merrimac Insurance president and MLA member Pat Duggan.

Speakers at this year’s event included strategy advisory services and solutions leader for The Palmer Group, Jim Turner; consultant Gair Maxwell, who has worked with Apple and Mitsubishi; web marketing guru Marcus Sheridan; and ITR Economics program economist Connor Lokar.

“We do limit boatbuilders and we don’t take any supplier that wants to throw money at us,” said Peat. “We don’t want competing companies.”

“Most of us have known each other for 20-plus years, and we don’t want to change that environment,” said Duggan. “It would change the whole event if we had more than 25 builders there. It’s designed to be small.”

“If there’s limited release on products, there’s always demand for products in that exclusive field,” said Peat. “We’re not trying to create that; if we over-dilute it and get 35 or 40 boatbuilders and bunch of suppliers, how is it any different from anything else out there? We want speakers to be able to walk the room, and have opportunity to spend time with everyone in the room.”

Invitations for next year’s event will be issued in November. 

Related

VOLVO-EARNINGS

Volvo Penta Reports Q4, FY22 Results

Net sales of $470 million for the quarter were a 33% increase compared to the prior year period.

Pulse-Report

DEALERS: Are You Improving the Service Experience?

Our monthly Pulse Report survey asks this and other questions about your dealership. Take the survey here.

NMRA-SCHOLARSHIP

NMRA Sets Scholarship Deadline

Students pursuing education in the marine trades can apply for the National Marine Representatives Association awards until April 1.

MARINE-PRODUCTS

Marine Products Reports Record Q4

The builder of Chaparral and Robalo boats reported net sales were up 42% for the quarter and 28% for fiscal year 2022.

1_SHURHOLD

Shurhold Appoints COO

Forrest Ferrari has years of management, business development, IT and quality-assurance experience.

MOBILE-CATCH-CENTER

RBFF, Pure Fishing Partner for a First Catch Center

Pure Fishing will equip a mobile trailer with tackle and gear to bring fishing experiences to areas of South Carolina where participation is low.

Norm

An Oft-Overlooked Sales Opportunity

A recent report from the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation showed that women comprise 37% of all anglers. If you haven’t tapped this segment, you’re missing out.

1. 2023 new boat retail outlook

Too Many High-Priced Boats

To wrap up 2022, marine retailers reported lower demand, expressed more negative sentiment and voiced concerns about rising inventory. Boat prices and the economy remained top of mind for dealers in December.

Soundings Nov 2022

New-Boat Registrations Continue to Slide

As the gaudy sales figures from the pandemic continue to return to more realistic numbers, the main segments of the recreational boating industry saw new-model registrations of 4,421 in November, a 30.3% drop from 6,340 during the same time in 2021. .