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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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To attend or not attend MDCE

Posted By Katie Eichelberger, Friday, September 21, 2018
According to science making a decision is a 7-Step process. Let’s say that’s true for deciding whether to attend MDCE or not. But really, it shouldn’t be that hard. The answer is yes. To humor you and ourselves, we’ll empower you with the information to make this decision, step…by…step…

Step 1: Identify the Decision
  • Not attend MDCE (Not probable)
  • Attend MDCE (Probable)
  • Attend and bring teammates along (strongest probability)
Step 2: Gather relevant information
  • Like world-class education? > 
  • Like in-depth workshops? >
  • Like Dealer-to-Dealer Roundtable discussions for moving the industry forward by working through obstacles and opportunities with other dealers? >
  • Like the current MDCE schedule, event list, educational line-up, and a grand list of testimonials both written and spoken?
Step 3: Identify the alternatives
  • None?
  • Name something bigger, more dynamic and beneficial than MDCE
Step 4: Weigh the evidence
  • We went out and hired super-secret personal detectives to investigate the MDCE, this is what they said... just kidding, we didn’t hire fake detectives, these are REAL people, REAL attendees and these are their stories.
Step 5: Choose among alternatives
  • The alternative: sit at home in your dealership while your competitors better themselves for 3 days straight
  • The alternative: sit at home in your dealership and listen to customers complain that you don’t have the ZL-4 in electric blue.
  • PS: we have the tools to manage situations like this like the customer-centric dealership that you are and should be.
  • PPS: ZL-4 is not a real boat model, we googled it and Jay-Z came up.
These may be great, but how cool would it be to step away, engage with world-class education, connect with over 1,000 attendees looking to make the industry the best it can be and discover your dealership’s true potential?

Step 6: Take action
  • Or keep reading and then register
Step 7: Review your decision and its consequences
  • You go, meet new people, gain new insights and learn a ton to help your dealership be successful in 2019.
  • You don’t go and you risk asking yourself what you could have been if you had attended.

After all this reading, was it worth it? Or was your decision made before you even read the list? We think you probably knew you were meant to attend and the answer is yes. Yes, to engaging with the opportunities offered at the MDCE to challenge and drive you and your dealership to improvement. Yes, to connecting with dealers and partners that will change the way you view your dealership. Yes, to discovering what you and your dealership can do in 2019 and beyond.

See you there.

Tags:  Annual conference  continuous improvement  dealer development  dealer focused  dealer to dealer  marine industry  mdce 

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MRAA History: Shirtsleeve Sessions

Posted By Mickaela Hilleren, Thursday, August 2, 2018
MRAA’s Shirtsleeve Sessions, which launched in 1977, represented the earliest days of MRAA’s Annual Conference. Leading dealers discussed and provided insights and solutions on the leading challenges and opportunities facing the marine business.

#MRAAhistory #dealerfocused #throwbackthurday

Tags:  Annual conference  dealer focused  industry insight  marine industry  mraa history  shirtsleeve sessions  solutions  throwbackthursday 

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Start’em Young and Keep’em Forever

Posted By Mickaela Hilleren, Wednesday, June 27, 2018
We all have an individual or two on our social channels that are quick to document their children participating in what is definitively the parent’s favorite past time. And that predictable caption? “Start ’em young."

If you’re anything like me, you give the photo a “like” and scroll onto the next thing. But slow down for a minute. What if you took that same idea and applied it to your business?

Here’s the question: What would be better than hiring an employee that has been a productive contributor within your dealership since before they could drive? As part of the “Marine Industry Guide to Growing the Workforce,” an industrywide publication addressing workforce issues, Strategy 4: Support initiatives in K-12 Schools offers several ways YOU could get community youth involved in your business and the marine industry:
  • Offer your time and/or facilities to support local efforts that align and connect learning with industry-specific work-readiness skills and competencies.

  • Join a school industry advisory council to help cultivate those connections and provide connective activities such as an industry tour, guest speaker, job shadow or internship.

  • Take on interns and host job shadows to increase career awareness and promote the “pride in product” work ethic

  • Invite parents, career counselors and other workforce development professionals to tour your workplace or the local boat show to familiarize them with the industry culture as well as the scope of positions available to their constituency.

  • Host an instructor for a week-long Teacher Externship can ensure that in-school subject matter connects to real-world application in the workplace.

Help combat your own workforce challenges by “starting’em young” and by tapping into this valuable resource. Who knows, you may be able to keep’em forever.

Tags:  community  guide to growing the workforce  k-12  marine industry  workforce  workforce issues 

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A Seat at the Table

Posted By Liz Walz, Tuesday, May 16, 2017
Today’s boating industry could teach politicians a thing or two about coming together for the greater good.

And who knows? Perhaps we’ll get the chance. This week, the industry is gathering in Washington, D.C., at the American Boating Congress, which attracts people from just about every corner of the recreational marine business.

While the No. 1 purpose of ABC is to lobby together on The Hill in support of the boating industry, there are a lot of other meetings here as well. For example, yesterday, local, state, regional and national trade associations representing dealers, marinas, manufacturers, distributors and representatives sat down together to share best practices during a National Marine Trades Council meeting.

That group joined the Recreational Boating Leadership Council at lunchtime for a joint panel discussion on solutions to the most painful challenge we’re facing right now: workforce issues. After lunch, the RBLC went on to discuss what else the industry is doing and can do to overcome some of our biggest barriers to growth.

Today, history will be made when the Marine Retailers Association and the National Marine Manufacturers Association sit down at the same table for their first ever joint board meeting. Afterwards, BoatPAC – the joint political action committee of the NMMA and MRAA – will bring the industry together for a fundraising event.

We work in what has been often called a fragmented industry. And there have been times in our history when we’ve struggled to come together to sit at the same table. But there are few things that give me more faith in our future than the collaboration that’s taking place in our industry today. During a time when the United States is more divided along political lines than ever before, the recreational marine community is going in the opposite direction. We are working across the aisles that have historically divided our industry. And there’s no better city to be doing it in. Those that aren’t here to witness this and join in, I wish you could be.

Tags:  American Boating Congress  BoatPAC  collaboration  Legislation  marine industry  NMMA  politics  workforce issues 

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