Volvo Ocean Race’s Newport stopover director earns award

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Brad Read, executive director of Sail Newport, presents the Anchor Award to Susan Maffei Plowden, who was stopover director of the 2017/18 Volvo Ocean Race Newport.

Brad Read, executive director of Sail Newport, presents the Anchor Award to Susan Maffei Plowden, who was stopover director of the 2017/18 Volvo Ocean Race Newport.

Susan Maffei Plowden was presented the 2018 Anchor Award at the Rhode Island Marine Trade Association’s Industry Partnership Breakfast.

Sponsored by Gowrie Group, the event was held last weekend during the Newport International Boat Show.

Maffei Plowden was recognized for her role as stopover director of the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race, which drew more than 100,000 people to Newport, R.I. It generated global media attention and economic impact for the Ocean State.

RIMTA presents the Anchor Award annually to an individual or organization that draws international attention and promotion to the state’s marine trades. Past recipients include Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, Ken Read, Sail Newport, Discover Newport and Newport Shipyard.

Sail Newport executive director Brad Read, who has worked closely with Maffei Plowden on the two Volvo stopovers that have been held in Newport, presented the award.

As someone who had managed large events, Maffei Plowden, known as Suma, was the first person Read called to direct the stopover.

“Suma leads with a calm and confidence that ensures the team is running smoothly,” Read said in a statement. “She was truly the event’s heart and soul.”

Maffei Plowden, a Jamestown, R.I., resident, and her company, Suma Events, have managed and promoted events in nearly every international sailing arena.

She’s worked with the America’s Cup, Volvo Ocean Race, Olympic Games and other racing circuits in locations as far afield as Hong Kong, Australia, and New Zealand, as well as throughout North America and Europe.

“Rhode Island is rich with talented industry leaders,” said RIMTA CEO Wendy Mackie, “but Suma stands out as someone whose hard work and leadership have cast a spotlight on the Ocean State and our marine trades.” 

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