WASHINGTON — Phil Dyskow, the former president of Yamaha Motor Corp. U.S.A., received the Eddie Smith Manufacturer of the Year Award from the Center for Coastal Conservation at a luncheon held Wednesday to welcome conferees to the American Boating Congress.
"It's an honor to have my name on the same award as Eddie Smith," Dyskow said of Eddie Smith Jr., the longtime owner of Grady-White Boats and a pioneer and advocate for marine conservation.
Dyskow referred to Smith as his mentor in his acceptance speech, noting that he and colleagues used to require ideas to pass what he called "the Eddie Smith test: What would Eddie think of this? How would Eddie react to this?" The Yamaha veteran received a standing ovation from an audience that probably numbered 200 or more.
It was Smith who encouraged Dyskow to get involved in the Center for Coastal Conservation, a coalition of advocates from the recreational boating and fishing communities dedicated to promoting sound marine conservation. Dyskow echoed that call on Wednesday.
Regarding threats to the nation's fisheries, he said help from across the industry is needed "if we are going to stem the anti-fishing tide that emanates from this city."
Center for Coastal Conservation president Jim Angers said in a statement that Dyskow "embodies the spirit of the Eddie Smith Manufacturer of the Year Award. He has given of his time, talent and treasure for decades to support his vocation. Phil's leadership has been a blessing to anglers and boaters across the country."
Dyskow serves on the Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee, which advises the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on fisheries issues, and the National Boating Safety Advisory Council, which advises the Coast Guard on developing standards and regulations for the construction of recreational boats.
He became the first Yamaha boat dealer in the United States in 1975. He joined Yamaha Motor Corp. USA in 1981 and played a leading role in the introduction of Yamaha outboards in the U.S. market.
Dyskow became president of the company in 1997 and grew the engine manufacturer to third in the U.S. outboard market by the time he retired in 2010. He remains a senior adviser to current Yamaha Marine Group president Ben Speciale and was inducted last year into the NMMA Hall of Fame.
— Rich Armstrong