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Martin Boyer and Kathy Bense Receive 2014 Kevin Lodder Scholarship

Wednesday, November 19, 2014   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Lindsey Johnson
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Martin Boyer, vice president and general manager of Austin Boats & Motors in Lakeway, Texas, and Kathy Bense, co-owner of Superior Boat Repair & Sales in Rancho Cordova, Calif., each were selected as recipients of the 2014 Kevin Lodder Scholarship. The scholarships were presented to Boyer and Bense by MRAA Educational Foundation board member Matt Lodder of Lodder’s Marine Wednesday morning, Nov. 19, during the Marine Dealer Conference & Expo Awards Breakfast at the Rosen Centre Hotel, Fla.

The Kevin Lodder Scholarship Fund, which was founded in memory of Kevin Lodder of Lodder’s Marine in Fairfield, Ohio, provides a full scholarship to attend a weeklong Spader Business Management Total Management 1 Workshop to an employee of a MRAA Retail Member.

“Congratulations to both Martin and Kathy on earning this incredible opportunity to learn and grow even more in their already-successful marine industry careers,” says Liz Walz, MRAA director of education and executive director of the MRAA Educational Foundation. “The skills they’ll take away from Spader’s Total Management 1 Workshop will serve to benefit their dealerships tremendously, not to mention what it will do for them each personally, as managers in their individual organizations.”

Boyer began his career with Austin Boats & Motors at age 15, working the wash rack and detailing boats. While still in high school, he transitioned into the service side of the business, repairing personal watercraft and continuing to manage the dealership’s lot porter duties. From service he made the leap into sales, and at just 21 years old he became a record-setting salesman; he still holds the dealership’s all-time record for selling 37 boats in one month. After college, Boyer decided to stay on at the dealership, eventually talking over as general manager at just 24 years old.

“Martin’s commitment to the marine industry is evident in several ways,” writes Austin Boats & Motors’ Donna Parker, in her application nominating Boyer for the scholarship. “Today, as vice president and partial owner of the corporation, his knowledge and expertise in marketing and finance has aided our company in being successful. Martin’s youthful leadership has moved us into internet markets and social media years ahead of our competitors. His knowledge of all areas of the marine business is invaluable for our company.”

Bense and her husband, Bob, have had a love affair — literally — with the marine industry. The couple’s first date in 1982 was to the Sacramento Boat Show (for which Bob’s then-boss gave him free tickets), and for the next 31 years, the pair has been firmly rooted in the business of boat sales and service. After decades working with Correct Craft, Bob lost his job in the 2009 downturn, and as a result of their unexpected life change, Bob and Kathy decided to open up a dealership of their very own; a partnership in life and work. That year, the Benses christened what would eventually become Superior Boat Repair & Sales, first as a service center and boat storage facility, and graduating to become the region’s major Nautique dealer — a full-circle return to Bob’s Correct Craft roots. Today, Kathy and Bob work side-by-side in the business, and their efforts and determination have paid off; Superior has been a Boating Industry Top 100 Dealer for the last two years running, and Kathy seeks to further her knowledge of and commitment to the industry by exploring educational opportunities like that afforded by the Lodder Scholarship.

“Over the last few years, I’ve learned a lot about managing a boat dealership and all that it entails, but I have so much more to learn,” writes Bense in her scholarship application. “I will take what I learn during the workshop and use that knowledge to improve the quality of our dealership and the lives of all who work here. Ultimately, it’s our goal to get more people out on the water on their own boat; we hope the information I obtain at the Spader Total Management 1 Workshop will help me achieve this goal.”

The Total Management Workshop details skills that will increase profits, stability and growth for the dealership. Attendees leave the workshop with a clear set of principles, processes and tools to take their company to new levels of performance and profitability.

Any employee of an MRAA dealership member is eligible to apply for the Kevin Lodder Scholarship, which is valued at nearly $3,800. The scholarship includes the registration fee for the workshop ($2,995) and a travel allowance of $800.

For more information, contact Liz Walz at 315-692-4533 or

About MRAA Educational Foundation
As part of its mission to create a strong and healthy boating industry, the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas is committed to offering training, education and professional development opportunities to its members and the entire marine dealer community. In 2004, the association launched the MRAA Educational Foundation, a not-for-profit 501(c) 3 corporation, to provide financial support for education, training and professional development in the recreational marine trades. For more information, visit

About Marine Retailers Association of the Americas
At the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas, 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. The 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