Trade Only announces winners of its Top 10 Most Innovative Marine Company Awards

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John Giglio, president of Freedom Boat Club.

John Giglio, president of Freedom Boat Club.

Soundings Trade Only today announced the winners of its first Top 10 Most Innovative Marine Company Awards. Designed to recognize innovative business models, company cultures and initiatives, the awards drew 54 entries. A story about the award winners is in the November issue of Soundings Trade Only.

“We started these awards to go beyond just recognizing new products,” said Michael Verdon, Trade Only editor-in-chief and lead judge on the panel. “We wanted to find marine companies that were reinventing themselves or challenging employees with a sea-change in culture. Or maybe bringing products to market in a new way. I was surprised how much positive change is going on in the industry, both with our biggest companies and small, family-owned businesses.”

Freedom Boat Club was the overall winner of the awards. “We loved their business model because it shows no signs of slowing down,” Verdon said. “It continues to grow in the U.S. and Canada, and now it’s moving to Europe. Freedom is also entering the RV sector with its membership model. All the judges had this company at or near the top of their lists.”

The other top 10 winners:

2. Mercury Marine

3. Brunswick Corp.

4. Garmin

5. Volvo Penta

6. Correct Craft

7. Lippert Components

8. Structural Composites

9. Seakeeper

10. Siren Marine

Honorable mentions were given to Navico, SureShade and Torqeedo. The judges also noted Nautic-On as a “Company to Watch.”

“It wasn’t easy coming up with a shortlist, much less choosing the winners,” Verdon said. “The quality and range of entries were really strong, but we felt like we got the list right in the end.”

Three outside judges worked with Soundings Trade Only editorial staff to create a shortlist, but the editorial staff chose the finalists.

“We’re going to tweak the contest next year to divide the larger and smaller companies,” Verdon said. “But for the first year, we’re very pleased with the results. We think these awards show the transitions taking place across the industry. We also think it tapped into a need to recognize the hard work that makes our industry unique.”

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