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Young Professionals: Carve a Path to Success at MDCE 2014

Monday, September 29, 2014   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Lindsey Johnson
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Today’s young professionals are the future of the retail marine industry. But if the next generation is not ready to face the unique challenges that come with being a dealership proprietor, it risks jeopardizing business stability and making the march forward an uphill climb.

At the 2014 Marine Dealer Conference & Expo, taking place Nov. 16-19 in Orlando, Fla., bestselling author and family business expert Tom Deans, Ph.D. will lead a group of young marine industry professionals through a discussion of the right questions to ask if you’re next in line to take over your dealership’s operations.

In his workshop titled "The Path Forward For Young Professionals,” Deans will help dealership staffers being groomed to assume an owner’s responsibilities open up a dialogue with current leadership regarding succession.

Attendees will walk away from Deans’ presentation with a 130-page guidebook to help them protect their family’s wealth and plan for their dealership’s future. The workshop will take place Monday, Nov. 17 from 9:45 to 11:15 a.m. ET as part of MDCE’s Pre-Conference Workshops.

"If the transition of today’s marine businesses to the next generation is to be successful, it’s critical that these young professionals have an open, honest dialog about succession with current ownership,” explains Liz Walz, director of education for the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas, which produces the annual event in partnership with Boating Industry. "Tom is uniquely suited to guide them, having worked in several of his family’s companies and as a consultant for family-run businesses for the last several decades. He knows how to get the conversation started and help soon-to-be principals plan for a bright future.”

In 2014, workshop topics will include leadership, sales, marketing, social media, succession planning, video production and editing, and the service department. Each workshop will feature takeaways (job descriptions, workbooks/guidebooks, report cards, tip sheets, etc.) to help attendees implement what they learned in the pre-conference sessions without delay upon returning to their respective dealerships.

"While Tom’s experience working with his father and grandfather will resonate with young people from the many family-owned dealerships out there, his advice will be useful to almost any young person interested in running their own dealership someday,” says Boating Industry editor-in-chief Jonathan Sweet. "His understanding of what the next generation needs to be successful is certain to resonate with attendees, making this a can’t-miss workshop at this year’s event.”

The 2014 MDCE will offer 30 educational sessions in all, the most the event has ever offered, including seven Pre-Conference Workshops. The conference has traditionally included three educational tracks, but in 2014, it has expanded to four tracks: Leadership, Sales, Marketing and Service Plus. A Closing Keynote address also has been added this year.

Pre-Conference Workshop seating is limited and is available on a first come, first served basis. Attendees can select the workshop(s) they wish to attend during the MDCE registration process. Workshop discounts are available for MRAA retail members.

The MDCE is scheduled for Nov. 16-19 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla. It has attracted an increasing number of dealers every year since 2007. In 2013, MDCE featured double-digit growth in dealer attendance, for a total of 615 marine retail professionals. MRAA’s goal is to grow the event to more than 1,000 dealer attendees. To learn more, visit

About the Marine Dealer Conference & Expo
The Marine Dealer Conference & Expo is the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas’ annual conference and member meeting. As the marine industry’s only dealer-specific educational conference, the MDCE offers an in-depth lineup of educational topics, a full-featured expo hall and a series of fixed networking opportunities, all of which are designed to help marine dealers connect with and learn from others who can foster their success. The MDCE is co-produced by MRAA and Boating Industry, and it features Pre-Conference Workshops, Opening and Closing keynote presentations, four tracks of educational content and 30 sessions in all. It will be held Nov. 16-19 at the Orange County Convention Center and Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando, Fla. For more information, visit