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MRAA, Wisconsin Marine Association Host Successful Educational Session for WMA Members

Thursday, April 24, 2014   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Lindsey Johnson
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Last week, the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas, in conjunction with the Wisconsin Marine Association, hosted a successful one-day educational session for WMA members. A total of 34 people representing 24 companies attended the eight-hour, information-packed day to learn about the latest industry trends and gain insight into a variety of hot-button topics currently impacting Wisconsin marine businesses specifically and the marine industry in general. The event took place Tuesday, April 15 at Gordy’s Lakefront Marine on Lake Geneva in Fontana, Wis. Gordy’s is a member of both MRAA and WMA.

The day’s event kicked off with a continental breakfast at Gordy’s Cobalt Lounge, followed by a series of informative and diverse sessions on subjects affecting marine businesses in the current marketplace: "Digital Marketing & Social Media,” presented by Dominion Marine Media’s Courtney Chalmers; "The Hidden Dangers of Electric Shock Drownings,” presented by Chris Dolan of Eaton Corporation, a leader in the field of marina light and power; and "The Latest Trends in Marine Insurance,” presented by Norman-Spencer’s Mark Yearn, who addressed several key areas of concern related to marina and dealership business insurance, including workers compensation, the Longshoreman’s Act and pollution-related liabilities.

After a break for lunch, the afternoon sessions resumed with a presentation by MRAA president Matt Gruhn titled "The Most Important Question,” where Gruhn encouraged attendees to consider "why” they do what they do at their specific dealerships and build their business model around this philosophy; followed by a presentation about and update on the Marine Industry Certified Dealership by program director Sonja Moseley. WMA president Jon Kukuk, owner of Nestegg Marine in Marinette, Wis., concluded the day’s speaker lineup by facilitating an open conversation on Wisconsin-specific matters affecting marine businesses in the state.

"We had a stellar turnout for this event, and MRAA couldn’t be more pleased with the enthusiasm and vigor members of the Wisconsin association showed for the health and continued success of their individual businesses and the industry as a whole, ” says MRAA’s Gruhn. "The idea behind these sessions was to give dealers the tools they need to be successful and competitive in today’s market. Attendees walked away with an excellent base on which to build and grow their businesses, in a format that was structured enough to be effective, yet casual enough to let dealers interact with presenters and easily ask questions. Gordy’s was an excellent host, and we appreciate them holding this incredible event at their facility, which is among the very best in the marine industry.”

On the evening of Monday, April 14, an informal networking session/dinner was held at The Abbey Resort, the host hotel for WMA’s event. Here, attendees and members of WMA and MRAA were able to gather in advance of the following day’s educational sessions and mingle with peers. It got event attendees talking about some of the key issues impacting marine businesses.

"I’ve been chairman of the WMA since the association’s inception five years ago, and this was probably the best meeting we’ve ever had for our membership,” says Kukuk. "The curriculum was really dedicated to learning and education. An overwhelming majority of session participants left with more educational content then they could possibly comprehend and put into action immediately. The subject matter discussed affects all of us on a daily basis, and the sessions were designed to address some of our most pressing concerns as Wisconsin-based marine businesses, helping us tackle problems and make our lives easier. We already gained some new WMA members as a result of the meeting.”

To inquire about MRAA hosting an educational session for your state or regional marine trade association, contact Matt Gruhn at 763-333-2421 or

About the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas
At the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas (MRAA), we believe that for the marine industry to thrive, the companies that interact with the boater in their community must thrive. Those businesses determine the boater’s experience and are the leading factor in the industry’s success. MRAA works to create a strong and healthy boating industry by uniting those businesses, providing them with opportunities for improvement and growth, and representing them with a powerful voice. For more information, visit