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The drive to continuously grow and improve is at the heart of the MRAA, our members and our staff. That’s why we’re launching this blog: to share what we’re learning in our work and in our lives with you – and in hopes you’ll share what you’re learning too.


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Member Spotlight: Patrick Green

Posted By Mickaela Hilleren, Tuesday, November 27, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, April 23, 2019

As a young professional in the boating world, he understands the importance of continuous improvement. Since his first job, Patrick Green has grown as a professional at some of the industry's most reputable organizations.  Read on to learn more about how Patrick navigates the workplace in order to create a positive work culture.

Q: How did you get started in the boating industry?

Green: I got my first job working summers at Gordy’s in Fontana, Wisconsin on Geneva Lake. I actually was able to save enough money working my first two summers to buy a car on my own before I turned 16.

Q: Being a young professional, you fall into the category of Millennial. How do you navigate the workplace, as a leader, with that “label”?

Green: Reading the room. One of the biggest lessons I hope to carry with me 20 years from now, is understanding & learning from the generational gap. When a company's culture becomes stagnant so do its people.

Q: Tobler Marina is a Marine Industry Certified Dealership. As the Director of Certification, what benefits are you seeing within the dealership after completing and actively participating in the program?

Green: We’ve gotten in the habit of including the Certification Curriculum in our weekly manager meetings, and then trickling it down through weekly dept meetings. This has enabled us to reflect, but also allowed us to push forward with simplifying process. The accountability tools have also helped us understand why the process is so important. Employee feedback is key.

Q: As a professional who puts an emphasis on growing and continuously learning, what would you say was the most important thing you learned in the business this year?

Green: It’s important to have values in an organization that match personal values. This also relates to employees and customers - and the relationships that coincide.

Q: We always end our Member Spotlight interview with this… What are 5 things that people may not know about you?

  1. I was a zipline guide in Alaska for one summer after college.

  2. I went snowboarding every month for 23 months in a row.

  3. I love to rock climb.

  4. I studied Philosophy in college.

  5. I aspire to do the Great Loop.

    Tags:  business advice  fun facts  marine industry  member spotlight  MRAA member 

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    Member Spotlight: Susan York-Duquette

    Posted By Mickaela Hilleren, Wednesday, October 31, 2018
    Updated: Tuesday, April 23, 2019

    As a marine industry leader, who has spent her whole life in the boating business, Susan York-Duquette understands the importance of honesty and fostering positive relationships with the individuals of her community.

    Q: Since 2010, you and your husband, Rory, have owned and managed Lakeview Marine. What made you decide to take on the role of owner?

    York-Duquette: I became the owner of Lakeview Marine after the sudden passing of my father, who owned a dealership in our location since the early 1990s. I felt a sense of responsibility to our employees and clients to continue the business and the services we provide. Both my husband and my mother are both important members of our staff, and the decision to keep the business going was truly because of their support and also based on my love of the industry and a desire to make my career in the boating business.

    Q: What is the most interesting decision you’ve made while in the boating business?

    York-Duquette: Interesting decisions I believe are ones that are made with more of the big picture in mind, and not purely based on profits. There is a lot of talk in the industry about our customer base aging, and the need to encourage younger people to get on the water. In our community, many people feel like if they cannot afford a boat, they cannot enjoy our lake. With this in mind, we made the decision to expand our offerings to kayak and paddleboard rentals. These rentals are not a profit center but we feel that it is important to give the people of the community more chances to enjoy our lake. I am proud to offer this service and we hope that through it, we may gain new water enthusiasts and future boaters.   

    Q: We know that many of your family members can be found around the dealership. Do you have certain family values that carry over into your business?

    York-Duquette: I grew up in my father’s dealership, and as a result our family was centered around the business in many ways. Today, my children already spend time interacting with our customers and employees. I always advocate for honesty with everyone, and expect that my children will pick up on that as they grow up. I feel that you “get what you give” and if you work hard and treat people fairly then good things will happen for you and your organization. I learned this from my parents in watching how they did business and built positive community relationships over the years.

    Q: You currently sit on MRAA Young Leaders Advisory Council. Why do you feel it’s important that the younger side of the industry get involved with YLAC?

    York-Duquette: I believe that it is very important for the younger people in the industry to get involved with trade groups because the future of all of our marine businesses depends on having a vibrant and well-organized advocacy group on our side. Issues are being debated on the state and national levels of government that will have direct impact on how we do business, and there needs to be a voice of the industry working on our behalf.  Also, there are many issues that are found in common in dealerships around the country, and by working together to face these problems and by learning from each other’s successes and failures, we will be able to better serve the customers. There is strong leadership now working on important matters such as ethanol, water access, and technician availability, and now is the time for the next generation to step up and learn from them, so we may take over those roles in the future.

    Q: As always, we want to end with this... What are 5 things that people may not know about you?


    • My husband and I live in the house I grew up in with our two daughters (Raegan 5 & Sydney 3) and our American bulldog Linkin.

    • I am a big sports fan, particularly of the Boston Red Sox and New England Patriots! (I know most everyone from outside of NE stopped reading here, but that is ok)

    • I have a degree in Sport Management and before I took over the dealership I was intending to have a career in the professional sports world.

    • I love to travel and enjoy exploring new places. We are fortunate to be able to travel for dealer meetings each year, and always try to extend one or two of these trips into a vacation in a new place.

    • Christmas is my favorite holiday! I love decorating and hosting gatherings for family and friends. It is the one time of the year I get to spend time at home!

    Tags:  business advice  fun facts  marine industry  member spotlight  MRAA member 

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    Member Spotlight: Monica Reed-Hurst

    Posted By Mickaela Hilleren, Tuesday, October 16, 2018
    Updated: Tuesday, April 23, 2019

    Over the course of her career, Monica Reed-Hurst, of Spend-A-Day Marina, has held many titles (balloon inflator, Sales rep, leader of the conga line, just to name a few).  But regardless of title, she knows her passion lies in the boating industry and will continue to be a strong advocate for the future of boating.

    Q: You have been part of the boating world for a while, how did you get started in the boating industry?

    Hurst: I got started in the boating industry at a very young age.  My grandfather started Spend-A-Day Marina in 1950 as a boat rental facility and through the years it has grown to be what we are today sales, service, rental and marina.  I started by inflating clown balloons at the boat show when I was around 8 years old, then I graduated to giving customers their popcorn and soda and labeling mailers, at 14 I started working on the gas dock and in the rental department.  After college, and testing the waters outside of the industry, I realized that once the boating industry is in your blood, it is there to stay.  I came back to the marina in 2005 and I haven’t looked back since.

    Q: You currently sit on MRAA Young Leaders Advisory Council. Why do you feel it’s important that the younger side of the industry get involved with YLAC? What was your reason for joining?

    Hurst: It is very important that the younger generations in the industry get involved because we have to be in touch with the heartbeat of what is happening in the industry to secure a place for recreational boating in the future.  We have to look bigger picture and see who is going to be buying boats, not only today but in 20 years, what do they want, what do our manufacturer environments look like, what legislation do we need to be aware of and support.

    The boating industry's success is much greater than each individual stores’ success and YLAC is an excellent opportunity to share ideas, exchange best practices, and to learn and develop what we need as a boating community to continue to prosper and share the lifestyle we love.

    Q: What would you do for a career if you weren’t doing what you do now?

    Hurst: If I wasn’t involved at the dealership level, I would probably be involved in some other aspect of the marine industry.  I have tried a couple other avenues before re-entering our family business and realized that my passion lies in the boating lifestyle.  My degree is in marketing so I would probably be working with a marketing company with a marine industry focus or at the manufacturer level focusing on dealer relations and marketing.

    Q: What is your proudest moment at Spend-A-Day Marina?

    Hurst: My proudest moment…when I came back we decided to become Marine Dealer Certified, which is a very extensive process with a lot of mapping and documentation involved initially.  I led that project and we maintained the certification going forward.  I have also been able to create and implement some very successful events at our dealership, including scavenger hunts, raft-offs, cookouts, and poker runs.  These are important to me because they really allow us to see how much customers’ enjoy their boating lifestyle, young and old alike.  When our customers enthusiastically ask about the next event and look forward to sharing it with their family and friends it makes me realize we are doing something right here…this is what it is all about…making and sharing the boating memories.

    Q: As always, we want to end with this... What are 4 things that people may not know about you?


    1. I lived in NYC for two years and was a dermatology rep.

    2. I have visited 27 countries…goal is to visit one new country a year…well that was the goal before my husband and I had kids.

    3. I have two beautiful little girls, Giovanna 5 ½, and Maia 4.

    4. My big break was about 10 years ago when I was an extra in a Kevin Bacon movie that was filmed in Cleveland, Ohio.

    Tags:  business advice  fun facts  marine industry  member spotlight  MRAA member 

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    Member Spotlight: Shawn Easton

    Posted By Mickaela Hilleren, Wednesday, September 19, 2018
    Updated: Tuesday, April 23, 2019


    This industry leader is the chairman of the MRAA's Young Leaders Advisory Council, the owner of Norris Marine, and a new dad. We had the privilege to learn about his background and what he is contributing to the future success of the marine industry.

    Q: Your family has been in the marine industry for years. Tell us about that and how you ended up where you are today.

    Easton: My father has been in the boat business since 1965.  He still owns and operates a dealership in southwest Oklahoma.  I certainly grew up around the business, but actually didn’t jump right in after college.  After college, I working as a mortgage banker for 6 years.  An opportunity came up to acquire Norris Marine and I am 7+ years in.

    Q: It seems to be a year for growth at Norris Marine. What are you doing differently today versus this time last year that has helped you stay competitive in your market?

    Easton: I can’t say there is any one thing that stands out this year over last year, moreover I believe our growth is a culmination of our strategic plan put in place 3 years ago.  Our team is always striving to be better and we are far from where we want to be.   But with hard work and a commitment to delivering first class service we look to continue to build our brand within our market.

    Q: We know that the Young Leaders Advisory Council is currently working on a few projects to help combat our industry’s workforce crisis. As the YLAC Chair, what are some of the ideas being discussed by our young leaders that you feel will have a positive effect on our industry?

    Easton: It's no secret that our industry has a skilled labor shortage, specifically a technician shortage.  The reality of most dealerships is that its nearly impossible to simply hire an experienced technician at will.  YLAC is focused on helping the MRAA potentially create a ‘blueprint’ for dealers on how to implement an apprenticeship program within their dealership and/or service department.  There are certainly talented young people that are willing to learn and by successfully implementing an apprenticeship program dealers can grown their own workforce.

    Q: To stay on the hot topic of workforce, what advice would you give to prospective Norris Marine employees?

    Easton: Our focus within our dealership is to delivery world class service.  If you want to succeed within our dealership, you must by in to the culture of delivering the best experience for the customer everytime.  If we can do this as a team, everything else will take care of itself.  I tell prospective hires that our customers write our paychecks, I just happen to sign them.  In order to succeed, new employees must buy into working as a team to deliver for our customers.

    Q: To end the interview, tell us 5 things that people may not know about you!


    1. My wife Ashley and I have a 9 month old boy who keeps us busy.

    2. I’m a huge Oklahoma Sooners fan... probably to a fault

    3. I enjoy the mountains and love to snow ski.

    4. I love to cook and am an aspiring chef in my dreams.

    5. Jesus is my lord and savior.

    If you have a nomination for the Member Spotlight section of our newsletter, please send an email to

    Tags:  business advice  fun facts  marine industry  member spotlight  MRAA member 

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    Member Spotlight: Joe Lewis

    Posted By Mickaela Hilleren, Thursday, August 9, 2018
    Updated: Tuesday, April 23, 2019
    Q: You have been in the boating world for some time, what is the most interesting decision you’ve made while in the boating business.

    Lewis: To stay in the business! (Kidding). The most interesting was to get into the business as a full service marina/dealership instead of a land-based dealership. It cost more up front, but it’s paid dividends over the years.

    Q: Your family works along side you in the dealership. Do you have certain family values you carry over into your business?

    Lewis: At the risk of sounding a bit cliché’, yes.  We try to treat all our customers like family, but not like your brother or sister!

    We’re are also a marina so we see our customers a lot more than the average dealership. Our goal is to make all those customer experiences as easy, as fun and enjoyable as possible.  Not sure you’d call them family values, but whenever issues arise that get in the way, we treat people the way we’d expect to be helped if we found ourselves under the same circumstances.

    That’s one of the dividends I was talking about in my first answer. We’re able to build relationships because we see them much more than the sales or service experience once or twice a year.  We’re able to connect with our customers, boating and local communities more often.  Each time we deliver a positive experience our stock goes up and we achieve a level of trust that’s hard for the competition to beat.

    Q: As the MRAA Board of Director’s Chairman, what do you see for the future of the association?

    Lewis: A very bright and exciting time ahead.  Over the last decade MRAA has become a trusted and valuable resource for marine retailers interested in improving their businesses.  Since forever sales and product information has been readily available from manufacturers.  But information about how to structure and operate a successful dealership business has been hard to come by. MRAA has stepped in and is providing these resources in a “BIG” way.

    Look for us to continue to expand these offerings as we begin to work on big picture issues like work force development.  Plus we’ll be making an announcement soon about something we believe will have an enormous impact on the success of our dealers and our industry.

    Q: In addition to being the MRAA Chairman, you are also the Chair of Discover Boating. What is one thing you hope to see the industry get behind in regards to attracting more people to boating?

    Lewis: I’d love to see dealerships with access to the water rent boats.  The First Time Boat Buyer research DB did two years ago revealed an incredible amount of information about who our FTBB’s are and what motivates them to buy a boat. We learned about the five “D’s”(Develop, Desire, Dream, Decide & Do), stages they experienced in their journey to boat ownership. The most important, that moment when Desire to own occurred, was during a boating experience.  The more we can do to get people on the water for the “AH HA” moment to occur the better.  Boat rentals is just one way that we’ve seen some success at our dealership.

    Q: Let’s finish this interview on a lighter note! What are 5 things that people may not know about you?

    1. Just celebrated my 26th anniversary with my wife Susan.
    2. We’re expecting to meet our first grandchild any day; Connor will be Julia’s first baby.
    3. I’m a model railroader and collect HO model trains.
    4. Enjoy scuba diving with my son Jay, wreck & cave diving especially.
    5. I’ll be reaching retirement age in two years.  People tell me I look much older!

    Tags:  business advice  fun facts  marine industry  member spotlight  MRAA member 

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    Member Spotlight: Jana Wood

    Posted By Mickaela Hilleren, Thursday, June 28, 2018
    Updated: Tuesday, April 23, 2019


    Since taking the leap into the marine retail business in 2001, South Florida Marine owner Jana Wood and her team foster an engaging and rewarding company culture as the dealership continues to grow and expand.

    Q: You and your husband started South Florida Marine in 2001, what made you decided to enter the boating business?

    Wood: Mike owned a Ski Boat and had a close relationship with the local inboard service center. There was an opportunity for Mike and I to purchase the business to sell and service inboard boats. We decided to take a leap and buy in.

    Q: What do you think was one of the biggest lessons you have learned since starting your business?

    Wood: The biggest lesson learned is to keep our staff engaged in creating a bigger and better dealership each and every year. Though good times and bad we keep moving forward even when tough times arise. We learned to have fun and keep a sense of humor.

    Q: You participated in last month’s Dealer-to-Dealer question. It is obvious that South Florida Marine values your employees. Explain how you maintain a positive dealership culture.

    Wood: At our biweekly staff meeting, we encourage our staff to pick an employee of the month. We work together as a team through problems in whichever department it may be. We keep a family atmosphere and treat all our employees like family.

    Q: What are you doing differently today versus this time last year that has helped you stay competitive?

    Wood: We try to be present in the community as much as possible, even in areas you don’t normally see boats displayed such as car and air shows. We have extended our hours and ask our staff to rotate so that we can stay more accessible for boat drop off and pick up.

    Q: What are 5 things that people may not know about you?


    1. We are the oldest Mastercraft dealership in Florida.

    2. We specialize in salt water series inboard service.

    3. We have two sons who plan to take over as owners and operators of South Florida Marine.

    4. We have been a Top 100 Dealer for the past six years and are a 5 Star Certified Dealership

    5. South Florida Marine is planning on expanding with a “ship to shore store” and doubling our property for our boat display in 2019.

    Tags:  business advice  fun facts  marine industry  member spotlight  MRAA member 

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    Member Spotlight: Adrian Spiker II

    Posted By Mickaela Hilleren, Tuesday, May 22, 2018
    Updated: Tuesday, April 23, 2019

    As natural leader with the drive for continuous improvement, Adrian Spiker, of Deep Creek Marina, continues to learn and improve the marina he owns and operates in in McHenry, MD.

    Q: How did you get started in the boating industry?

    Spiker: My mother had a 10% interest in a marina here on Deep Creek Lake and her partners decided it was time for them to sell.  It was not a profitable or well-run business at that time and the buildings /grounds were run-down. I thought I could turn it around and make a reasonable living at it.  Since it had an existing marina permit, I made the purchase and probably over-paid but it did get me started.

    Q: How would you describe your formula for success?

    Hard work every day, continuing to keep an open mind to new ideas and continually expanding my education through training courses, seminars and industry groups.  The challenge is to get the new ideas implemented because staff is always resistant to change, but they see me every day at each of our locations and it is my responsibility to lead the entire team.

    Q: What would you say is the most interesting decision you’ve made during your time in the boat business?

    Borrowing the money to build a new multi-million dollar showroom in late 2006 with the showroom then not being finished for operations until late 2007 – right at the start of the horrible recession.  Luckily, we survived but we had sheer moments of terror.

    Q: What are your hopes for our industry?

    The boating industry needs to do a better and more consistent job of creating a sales funnel for new boaters—they need to generate more enthusiasm for boating at all levels.
    Q: What are the 5 things that people may not know about you?

    1. Although I have a degree is business administration, my educational focus was law school.

    2. I love motorcycle racing and still try to participate even now.

    3. I am the “go to guy” at Deep Creek Marina when the mechanics are having diagnostic issues; I personally take the training classes and acquire the necessary certifications.

    4. My family has been natives of Garrett County since it was first settled in the mid-1700’s.  I am an 11th generation native, so……this is my home; I am a local.

    5. My mother was surprised when I did not major in mechanical engineering because when I was 9 years old, I completely disassembled my bicycle in her garage.  She was sure she would never park there again, but I did re-assemble and ride the bike.  I still like to get motors running smoothly, but I sometimes leave a trail of parts behind me.

    If you have a nomination for the Member Spotlight section of our newsletter, please send an email to

    Tags:  business advice  fun facts  marine industry  member spotlight  MRAA member 

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    Member Spotlight: Nancy Struthers

    Posted By Mickaela Hilleren, Tuesday, April 17, 2018
    Updated: Tuesday, April 23, 2019

    Even though she is the self-named “Newbie” of the marina world, Nancy Struthers, owner of Roger’s Marina in Summerstow, Ontario, Canada, has helped create a successful future for the family-built business.

    Q: You and your husband purchased Roger’s Marina from its previous owners (your in-laws) in 2010. Tell us how did you get started in the boating industry?

    Struthers: Roger’s Marina started with Yves’ grandfather Roger Allaire, so we are 3rd generation owners. It’s always been a dream of ours to own and work at the marina. So in 2010, when his parents wanted to retire, we jumped at the opportunity to purchased it from them. It has been keeping us busy ever since! Yves has been at the marina all his life and everyone knows him. But me, on the other hand, I’m the newbie.

    Q: What is the most rewarding part of your position?

    Struthers: We’d like to say it’s the freedom to do what we want, but between March through December we are at the mercy of our clients. We are not complaining about this! Because of our genuine interest in our clients wants and needs we feel that we have grown our customer relations, and in turn have grown our business. We love what we are doing and hope to be able to do this for many years to come.

    Q: What are some marketing strategies that Roger’s Marina has implementing in its business and how successful have they been to date?

    Struthers: For advertising, I plan it out one whole year in advance. I write my details down and share it with everyone involved, whether that is with staff or the advertisers I work with. We are unable to participate in the area Boat shows, so I plan and piggyback off whatever event is going on. For example, the Toronto Boat Show is in January, so I advertise with a local radio station a week before to remind people to shop locally.  

    Q: What does the next 10 years look like for you and Roger’s Marina?

     Struthers: How about the next 5 years... Currently, we are in the process of fixing up our docks for this season. In addition, we are decluttering the yard in preparation for our new 65 x 100 showroom and service area that is this coming October. We are very excited the new space, as our old building is just outdated and not energy efficient. Also, our tech is currently working towards becoming a Master Tech with Mercury!

    Q: What are some things that people may not know about you?

    Struthers: The first few things that comes to mind are 1) Yves and I are child hood sweethearts, 2) I enjoy reading and doing puzzles in my quieter time, and 3) I have never worked at a marina before purchasing one.

    If you have a nomination for the Member Spotlight section of our newsletter, please send an email to

    Tags:  business advice  fun facts  marine industry  member spotlight  MRAA member 

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    Member Spotlight: Roger Moore

    Posted By Mickaela Hilleren, Wednesday, November 1, 2017
    Updated: Tuesday, April 23, 2019


    When the opportunity to purchase Nautical Ventures in Dania Beach, FL presented itself to Roger Moore (and business partner Jeff Garcia), in 2010, they jumped on the chance to turn the then kayak and sailboat retailer into the boat dealership it is today. Check out the interview we had with Roger to learn about his personal feats (like sailing around the world) and how Nautical Ventures have grown in the last few years.

    Q: How did you get started in the boating industry?

    Moore: I was a successful California businessman-turned-entrepreneur who one day sold everything to buy a 63-foot Cheoy Lee Motorsailor and embarked on a 13-year, 42,000 nautical mile journey around the world with my wife Samantha. In 2006 we dropped anchor in Ft. Lauderdale, where I retired my Cheoy Lee and bought an 84-foot Delta Expedition Yacht. In the process I met a local broker, Jeff Garcia, became a yacht broker myself, and the two of us partnered to form QPS Marine, a marine company that refurbished and resold boats. In 2010 our business neighbor, Nautical Ventures, mentioned he was selling the business. At the time, Nautical Ventures was primarily a Hobie Kayak and Sailboat retailer. But I saw the opportunity to turn it into a boat dealership. So, we bought the company and turned it into the dealership it is today.

    Q: What is the most interesting aspect of your current role at the dealership?

    Moore: I feel it’s in the brand development and brand maintenance of our dealership – Nautical Ventures. This constantly requires new and innovative approaches to grow the business. This would include new product & brand acquisitions, expansion in to key geographical markets, hiring key personnel who support our vision, establishing financial conduits to supply strategic capital when needed, and creating innovative marketing programs to get the word out about Nautical Ventures.

    Q: Nautical Ventures has been growing its operations. What would you say is the secret to your success?

    Moore: Customer satisfaction across all departments. We offer top quality water sports products and support along with a highly trained and caring staff. We are dedicated to educating and advising our customers, so as to provide an extra-ordinary buying experience.

    Our waterfront location, along with our motto, “Try-It-Before-You-Buy-It” affords customers that opportunity and it has proven to satisfy our customers and build relationships.

    Q: You are going through Dealer Certification. What compelled Nautical Ventures to become a Certified Dealer?

    Moore: In order to provide our customers with an extra-ordinary buying experience, then we have to be an extra-ordinary dealership, complete with sales staff and service personnel who can treat our clientele in a manner they expect. I feel that by going through the Dealer Certification program, the MRAA lays out a definable path for us to follow, so as to become the best dealership possible.

    Q: As a dealer that puts an emphasis on growing and continuously learn, what would you say was the most important thing you learned in the business this year?

    Moore: I would say it’s the importance of sales training and having a system in place to take full advantage of the narrow window of opportunity we have with potential new customers. Customer inquiries move at a very fast pace these days. A timely response by an attentive and knowledgeable sales person can make all the difference in making the sale.

    Q: What are 5 things that people may not know about you?


    1. I live full-time on my boat and haven’t owned a house in 30-years.
    2. I’m a self-taught classical guitarist.
    3. I’m a former pilot, one of the youngest hired by TWA.
    4. I hold several patents in the field of water purification.
    5. I once owned a monkey who traveled 3-years with us on our round-the-world voyage.

    If you have a nomination for the Member Spotlight section of our newsletter, please send an email to

    Tags:  business advice  fun facts  marine industry  member spotlight  MRAA member 

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    Member Spotlight: Patrick Boylan

    Posted By Mickaela Hilleren, Monday, July 31, 2017
    Updated: Tuesday, April 23, 2019

    A current member of YLAC and former MDCE scholarship winner, Patrick Boylan, the Operations Manager at Boater's World in Lake Placid, Fla., is turning education into opportunity. His drive for continuous improvement, both on a personal and professional level, has transferred into the dealership as he continues to be diligent in process and replicates an outstanding dealership experience to every customer that walks into Boater’s World. Read more about Patrick and the efforts he is making for the future health of the boating business.

    Q: You currently sit on MRAA’s Young Leaders Advisory Council. What made you want to get involved with this group?
    Boylan: The opportunity to be a part of the YLAC group became of interest to me from the moment that I first spoke with Jake Jostand. The enthusiasm for the industry and the YLAC group that he shared reflected my own. It felt like an opportunity to share my passion for the marine industry and serve others in a positive capacity. I immediately felt like there was the possibility to accomplish something extraordinary and partner with some of the industry’s future leaders. 

    Q: Why do you feel it’s important that the young professionals of the industry get involved in industry initiatives?
    Boylan: The evolution of the industry is happening now! In the past ten years I have witnessed the marine technology, boating culture, and business landscape go through drastic changes. More so than in any previous decade in my opinion. It is a privilege to be present in this industry and help guide its growth and direction towards the future. The efforts and enthusiasm of our younger industry professionals today, will directly affect the future health of the boating business.

    Q: You were an MDCE Scholarship winner a couple years back. What was your experience at MDCE and what impact has had it had on your career?
    Boylan: The “MDCE Scholarship Experience” was life changing for me in many ways. I can’t describe all of the positives that have come since the moment that I found out I was chosen. The first MDCE was like a whirlwind of knowledge that was empowering and confusing all at the same time. It affirmed what we were doing right at the dealer level and opened my eyes to where we really needed to improve. Without a doubt MRAA and my first MDCE fueled my passion for the Marine Industry. I guarantee that I would not be where I am today without this educational opportunity. It has been priceless! I have learned so much, shared so much and gained so much from the experience.

    Q: You’ve changed jobs since that time, uprooting from Texas and taking on a bigger role at your current Florida-based dealership? What opportunities attracted you there?
    Boylan: I very much miss my team and customers at my previous dealership but know that I made the right decision. It was daunting to travel across the country and take on more responsibility with a larger company. Boater’s World serves a much larger region and has a national outreach for products with a greater focus on distribution. We currently offer product from every major OEM Engine manufacturer as well as nine national Boat brands. I have always been very driven (in success and failure) to see what I am capable of. With this company being many times larger and my role being tougher, I felt excited to take on this new challenge. My current role is that of Operations Manager, which has challenged me more in the areas national and global business development and in the areas of building/training a “world class” team. The growth potential for me and Boater’s World is limitless.    

    Q: What changes have you made since arriving there, and what would you say are your goals for continuing to grow and improve?
    Boylan: ”Change” is considered a four letter word when a new manager comes in. I have preferred to say that I have “advanced the evolution” of the dealership. Rebranding our store and our identity was the first step as we changed from “Central Florida Yamaha” to “Boater’s World”. We then took an in depth look at our product lines, service and parts departments to refocus on what we were doing well and not so well. We revamped our finance department and began using a service company (First Approval Source) that I learned of through MRAA and MDCE 2015. This tripled our finance reserve and backend profits in a short amount of time. Next was a full overhaul of our website, marketing programs, SEO and social media. Somewhere in the middle of all of this, I was tasked with “picking up the pennies”. I sat with the Management Team and took a forensic look at where we were not capturing small amounts of revenue or where we were losing margin through minor mistakes. All of these pennies have added up to a fairly decent sum. Although it is still a work in progress, we are building a culture of quality and diligence in every facet of our business. A fair portion of my knowledge and understanding of these things came from training references made at MDCE 2015 and MDCE 2016 that led me to learn more and educate myself. MDCE was in large part the catalyst for our evolution.

    Growth and improvement are two of the hardest things to accomplish correctly in the marine industry.  I like money but am not solely money motivated. My goals for the growth of Boater’s World directly parallel that of it’s ownership. When we produce the right formula for destination locations an outstanding dealership experience, our plans are to reproduce it multiple times. I am excited to see what the future hold for Boater’s World, my team and myself.

    Q: What are 5 things that people may not know about you?


    1. I am deathly afraid of spiders.
    2. I own more than 60 pairs of shoes and have a pair to match any type of apparel.
    3. I take selfies with the smallest fish that I catch so that no one knows I catch the big ones.
    4. I plan to never shave my face again. I love my beard.
    5. My favorite sport is turkey and duck hunting and I have done it all over the country.

    Tags:  business advice  fun facts  marine industry  member spotlight  MRAA member 

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