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The annual Marine Dealer Conference & Expo attracted more than 1,000 industry personnel in 2012, marking another milestone in the event's significant growth. Over the last five years, the MDCE has grown by more than 1,000 percent, and for good reason. But rather than making you listen to us about those reasons, we thought it would be better if you heard it straight from the mouths of the attendees. The following are testimonials that attendees of the 2012 and 2011 Marine Dealer Conference & Expos offered us after the event.

Testimonials from 2013

"This was our first year attending and we are so glad we made the decision to go.
The speakers were all fantastic and it was nice to see all the vendors who participated.
It was also nice talking with other dealers at the networking receptions. We learned
so much and came home with a lot of new ideas. We signed up for dealer
certification and are ready to start that process.
The entire conference got all of us re-motivated and energized
Mark Munson, Munson Ski & Marine 

"I wanted to take a moment and tell you how much I enjoyed being part of MDCE
this past week. It was my first time attending and the first time in forever
that we have had representation at the event. I was so impressed with
how well organized it was, the positive environment and
most of all by the quality of the speakers.
Next year I know I will bring additional people.
In the meantime we will be taking action on what we learned
and already have shared a lot in a few days."
Andy Heck, Alpin Haus RV & Marine

"Thank you for a great conference. I am sorry that I haven’t attended sooner.
Lots of ideas that I am anxious to implement."
Michael Myers, Boston Yacht Sales, Inc.

"Want to congratulate you and the entire MDCE Team for an AMAZING job at MDCE this year.
You have breathed so much energy and life into the programming and overall event.
An absolutely stellar job!"
— Wanda Kenton SmithKenton Smith Marketing & Legendary Marine
"I attended the MDCE for the first time as a distributor rep and
a member of the Boating Industries Association of Upstate NY.
It was a real eyeopener to what goes on in the background of our industry.
The conference sessions were very informative and even though I am not a dealer,
I can take back some of the skills I learned to my position with Morgan Recreation.
I attended a seminar that i wished every dealer I call on could have attended.  
I would recommend anyone who can possibly attend next year to do it!!!!"
—Barb CasterMorgan Recreation & the BIA of Upstate NY 

"I managed to get a few of my dealers to the event this year and
they were all very pleased that they came. There is a lot of very valuable content, and
you don’t need to be a front-line salesperson from a dealership to get a lot out of it.
Great job to everyone from the MDCE."
—Bentley CollinsSabre & Back Cove Yachts
"This is such a great shot in the arm.
The speakers seem to only get better and
we get a great deal of content we can take back to our dealership.”
—Fred Pace, Legendary Marine

Testimonials from 2012

"I would absolutely recommend it. I can’t see how you could be
a leading dealer and not attend this conference. There is too much
information that you would miss out on.”
— Chris Olsen, Seattle Boat Co., Washington

"I would absolutely recommend the MDCE, just not
to my close competitors! There is no other boating industry-focused
educational opportunities like it. Unless you are sleeping,
you can’t help but to return home with ideas and
information you can put to use immediately.”
— Robin Brown, Clark’s Marine, Maine


"Every minute I spent there was worth my time.
The first seminar alone made it worth my time. I really liked them all.”
— Gary D’Aoust, Manitowoc Marina, Wisconsin


"I love this business, and I love going
to the conferences every year. I always learn something new.
— Stephen Habecker, Krenzer Marine, New York


"I always walk away with something new. I’ve been going
for a long time and I find it’s worth the time … every time.
— Travis Hayes, ,Hayes Marine, ,Georgia


"We take so much from the seminars that I can’t imagine not attending.
— Yves Lavallee, Legend Boats, Ontario


"I would absolutely recommend attending the MDCE.
We got so much out of it. The information given was excellent.”
— Mitch Munger, Bee’s Sports Auto & Marine, Michigan


"I really loved it all. The whole thing was mind blowing for me.
I’d never been before and it was exactly what I needed.
There’s a lot to take in at one time!”
— Travis Parker, Bill’s Marine, Inc., Virginia


"I look forward to the MDCE all year, for the knowledge it provides
in the educational tracks and especially the people you meet and see again!”
— Jason Shallcross, Reed’s Marine, Wisconsin


"I think we tend to have blinders on when we’re in our business.
Getting out to a conference like this allows you to step back and
work on your business. Everyone that can should take that opportunity.”
— Sean Horsfall, Len’s Cove Marina, Ontario


"I bring a lot of my staff every year, so I know what it has done
for my dealership. It aligns everyone to be on the same page.
We’re all going for the same end goal.”
— Chris Pobanz, Wakeside Marine, Indiana


"I think MDCE is a big bang for the buck in terms of
having people there, talking and meeting someone face to face.
You’re learning and interacting with your peers and with
vendors you want to do business with. It’s a mecca for a boat dealer.
— Steven Arnold, Yarmouth Boat Yard, Maine


"It’s a really good venue to get some fresh ideas
on what businesses similar to yours are doing. It’s
a lot of good networking and trading of ideas with
fellow dealers, and it’s nice to see new product that coming out.
We would strongly encourage anyone who wasn’t our competition to go!
— John Baker, Waypoint Marine, Washington


"I would absolutely recommend the MDCE. I felt that the quality
of speakers at the conference made it completely worth going.”
— Katie Doscinski, Hampton Watercraft & Marine, New York


"I came back with a half dozen new ideas from each educational seminar.”
— Robert Petzold, Petzold’s Marine Center, Connecticut


"I got to see all the different manufacturers. It’s a good place to see and be seen.”
— Bennett Rambo, Rambo Marine, Alabama


"I’ve been in business for 35 years and have heard most of this
stuff before, but it’s nice to get refreshed periodically. MDCE does
that for me. It gives me a nudge in the right direction every year.
— Riley Brothers, Charleston Marine, West Virginia


"To keep up with what I should be doing today as well as tomorrow
and to get the feedback and relate it to our industry keeps us thinking
about what we should be doing and finding ways to improve. It’s one
thing to read an article, but the give-and-take of listening to a speaker
is a good thing. You get a more in-depth understanding with a speaker.
— Tim Schaefer, Galati Yacht Sales, Florida


"I got my money’s worth in terms of getting better procedures
for the dealership, aligning and making us more professional.
I picked up a lot of value there. You never know it all.”
— Dan Chesky, Jr., Dan’s Southside Marine, Minnesota


"I think MDCE is important because I believe a lot of
marine dealers are sitting back on their laurels and not
engaging in getting up-to-speed on what’s happening in
the retail industry. What we did 10 or 20 years ago means
nothing. If you don’t stay up on the latest and tailor
your business you will fall behind.”
— Rick Castellini, Island Marine Center, New Jersey


"I think the highlight was interacting with some of the folks
at the show that I don’t get to see throughout the year. I think
its valuable for people to continue to learn and get educated,
so we don’t become stale in our industry.”
— Kevin Code, Boathouse Holdings, Iowa


"I picked up a new boat line, which I wasn’t expecting to do.
I don’t know if that was a highlight for me or for them! It’s worthwhile
to do the seminars and talk to other people. It’s always a good idea to see
what others are doing. You can network within the industry like no where else.
— Bill Noell, Bill’s Marine, Virginia


"I come out refreshed and with good ideas.
— Kenneth Black, South Austin Marine, Texas


"I’ve been doing this for a very long time. I received
good information on every level. The tools they had were food for
people starting out in the business, and those that have
been in it for a while. Having speakers outside the immediate
industry was refreshing.”
— Jeff Coffey, Erwin Marine Sales, Tennessee


"You get to hear from the industry best, and hear other
sales managers and owners talk about what they have done,
and what has or hasn’t worked for them. MDCE keeps you on the same page.”
— Spencer Collins, Cleveland Boat Center, Tennessee


"I thoroughly enjoyed going. Its good to
get ideas on how to improve your dealership,
and that’s the best place to do it.

— Dan Dalbey, Long Lake Marina, Maine


"I felt like I was being refreshed in a lot of business areas
you don’t think about in you day-to-day operation.”
— Kevin Dick, Captain’s Cove Marine, Ohio


"The highlight for me was meeting more people in the marine
industry, and learning to better yourself and the business. It
refocused me on the business. I’ve been to it twice, and
have learned something new each year."
— Jessie Minto, Spicer’s Boat City, Michigan


"We always have several ideas when we get back as to how we can treat our customers better.”
— Rod Malone, Sail & Ski Centers, Texas


"The guys at MDCE seem to try to get different subjects
every year. They seem to be keeping up with the times.
I always come away with a new idea.
— Charlie Duray, Walstrom Marine, Michigan


"Context and networking were great features.
If you really pay attention to the different paths,
you can come out with a wealth of knowledge.
— Jeff Ellingsworth, Hayes Marine, Georgia


"I think there’s always going to be a need for dealers to
get together and discuss what works and what doesn’t.”
— Bob Gieger, Wayzata Marine & Minnetonka Marine, Minnesota


"I think MDCE is very educational. It’s good to get your
head out of the weeds and get some new ideas.”
— Douglyss Giuliana, Advantage Yacht Sales, Massachusetts


"It’s the biggest opportunity of the year to meet with vendors,
manufacturers and other dealers. It’s the best opportunity to
learn new ideas for your dealership.”
— Ryan Hebert, Texas Marine, Texas


"The tools and education supplied to us by going to the conference can’t be found anywhere else.”
— Sarah Hillis, South Shore Marine, Ohio


"I walked away with a lot of good ideas. It was a success.
I think it is very worthwhile. There’s always something you can
learn and take away from it. It gives you an opportunity to look
at other boat brands in a manufacturer type of environment,
instead of a boat show type of environment.”
— Andy Howitt, Shipyard Marine, Wisconsin


"I walked away with more answers than I did questions.
That’s the whole idea. I thought the seminars covered everything.
— James Davenport, Long Lake Marina, Maine


"I think that by going, it rejuvenates us on the things
we need to focus more on during the coming year.”
— William Irwin, Irwin Marine, New Hampshire


"I go to learn, and I think MDCE has the opportunity to
get the best of the best in the business.”
— Sherry Jackson, Glencove Marina, Missouri


"You need to keep up with the times, and keep up with
what’s going on in the real world. We find out what’s new and
what everyone else is doing. You get other ideas than just your own.
— Jake Jacobson, Rapid Sport & Marine, Minnesota


"I think as a marine dealer the
only way you can ever improve is by attending conferences like this.
Learn what is hot in the industry, what is up and coming,
and hear what other dealers are doing that worked and didn’t work.”
— Amanda Kanas, Hampton Watercraft & Marine, New York


"The networking and contacts that I made at the conference
were extremely valuable. The entire conference offered
something that all dealers could learn from.
— Jim Kelsey, Gordy’s Lakefront Marine, Wisconsin


"I think its important to the industry to see what everybody else is doing to make their dealerships profitable.”
— Todd Kukowski, Bay Lake Marine, Minnesota


"The beauty of these things is to get reminded of the
things to help your business. One of the reasons
why I never went was I thought it wouldn’t match up to my business.
There’s a little bit of misunderstanding about the name. It’s not just for boat dealers.
— Rich Larsen, Manitowoc Marina, Wisconsin


"It’s a good way to network. I also liked to hear new
material instead of the same old thing year after year.
It was fresh this year. I was able to walk around and
talk to various people I set out to see.”
— Mike Lueneburg, Scotties Canvas & Marine , Florida


"We took tons of ideas back with us, most of which are centered around customer satisfaction.”
— Brad MacArthur, Legend Boats, Ontario


"It’s a good place to get people together that are in the business to discuss strategies.”
— Doug Malone, Sail & Ski Centers, Texas


"It’s beneficial for any dealership to attend. The opportunity
to gain information throughout the seminars, getting in contact with
other dealers in other regions and to see vendors I don’t
normally see — it’s a good opportunity for this.”
— Hunter McDonald, South Austin Marine, Texas


"We got a lot out of the education and a lot
of things to implement. Things you don’t think about
on a day-to-day basis. I talked to some guys who have
been there multiple years, You always get one or two things
out of the seminars. We need to be streamlined and as efficient as we can be.”
— Michael Wood, South Florida MasterCraft, Florida


"Interacting with other dealers was the best tool.”
— David McIntyre, Slalom Shop Boats & Yachts, Texas


"MDCE keeps everybody in the loop as to what is changing.”
— James McMillan, Skier’s Marine, Inc., Alabama


"MDCE is real-time information from other dealers that
they’re sharing, regarding what’s working and what’s not working.”
— Henry Nguyen, Legend Boats, Ontario


"I like going to learn what everybody else is doing. It’s important
to see and talk to some of the other dealerships across the country.”
— Barb Niedergerke, Glencove Marina, Missouri


"We signed with another boat manufacturer and we got to meet
and see ones we deal with right now. A really good thing was
having the MRAA related rewards programs in one area
and getting the information that we needed.”
— John Irwin, Irwin Marine, New Hampshire


"I think its important in this economy to arm the dealers
with as much information as they can. Right now, Congress
is not user friendly to the dealers and we need as many
tools as possible to make it through this coming year.”
— Ron Ramsey, Prince William Marina, Virginia


"Mainly it was to rejuvenate and get a different, fresher
perspective on things and go into the new year with some
new ideas. The dealers that don’t go are probably the ones
that need to go the most. We wanted to see and talk
face-to-face with people we deal with. That’s very beneficial
when you don’t see them all the time. It enhances the relationship.”
— Steve Rhodes, Gainesville Marina, Georgia


"I always go. It gets everybody together in one
place and I think that’s good so we can see
what’s going on in the boating industry.”
— John Sima, Sima Marine, Ohio


"I think that conference is important to the bigger part of the marine industry.”
— Randy Wattenbarger, Cleveland Boat Center, Tennessee


"The MDCE is vitally important, and we need to keep it going.”
— Kurt Weythman, Sundance Marine, Colorado


"I think it’s important to attend the conferences. Now, if we can
get the rest of the country excited about attending, I think it
would increase the number of exhibitors.”
— Tom Wolf, Perdue Marine, Illinois


Testimonials from 2011

Watch this video and hear the value of the MDCE straight from the dealers!


"I think it tells you how to do things. It's a road map to success."
Carlton Phillips, Prince William Marine Sales


"I don't know where I could ever go or what book I could ever read
that I could get as much information as what I get when going to
the conferences. And it's information that can be
used by all sizes of dealerships."
Rob Brown, Clark Marine


"For the relative small time and financial investment,
these ideas and practices make my business more
profitable and successful. Within 60 days we have
recouped our total investment in cost savings or new
business." — Jeff Ellingsworth, Hayes Marine


"There is so much industry information between
networking, seminars, and meeting with vendors.
You come away with a real grasp of the current
marketplace." — Kevin Dick, Captains Cove Marine


"It was well done. We looked at different vendors and things
we don't have. We looked at boat lines we have and don't
have and compared them. It was time well spent."
Gary Poole, Buckeye Marine


"There is so much information, and I think everyone can
grow their business and make more money. There is a lot
of good information from the conference."
Brian Crowe, Crowe Marine


"They did bring some things to light that I haven't thought about in years."
Roy Parker, Parker Boat Co.


"I came back with new ideas to implement into our
business and ways to better educate our staff."
Jason Craig, Quartermaster Marine


"The conference provides useful and exciting new content
that dealers can take back and use in the dealership. Many
times in the day-to-day aspect of the season you don't get
to interact with your peers. This is a good opportunity for
such interaction." — Betsey Arvai, Skipper Bud's


"I went to every seminar I could go to. There was one talking
about service walk-arounds that I took the most from. Since
this is my first year going it was something that I've always
talked to the guys in service about, but now that it was
reinforced in an actual seminar it was something concrete
that I can take back and let the guys know that this isn't
just my's real." — Jessie Minto, Spicer's Boat City


"There was so much to learn that I can't imagine leaving
and not getting something out of it." — Doug Hyde, Lens Cove Marina


"We are changing how we recruit people as a result of some
of the seminars. We are also implementing the cash flow
analysis the Spader Group talked about. Also, we are looking
at improving services for the marina." — Courtney Dalan, Shanghai Resort


"There are always some good ideas to bring back with
that group of dealers in the room. It's the best of the best
and always someone is doing something different. You can
always learn. People can learn from the speakers and
from networking." — Mark VanLente, Action Water Sports


"I took a lot from the seminars. If somebody goes into them
and NOT get anything out of it, they were sleeping."
Holly Valot, Atwood Lake Boats


"The whole idea we can get together as dealers and have a
single voice, whether it's politically or through the industry is
important. It really does get you pumped up. There's a lot of
value to it, and I've enjoyed it immensely."
Barry Bensz, B & E Marine


"The conference is excellent, year after year! Even if you only
take home one new idea, there is time to implement it before
the new year starts and you and your staff have gotten a boost
of enthusiasm for the upcoming season."
Nancy Smith, Colorado Boat Center


"Everything about the conference and expo was worthwhile,
and the information I was able to learn was helpful for myself
and my department." — Kim Green, Deep Creek Marina


"This was the third time I've attended. I gain so much knowledge
by attending. It's beneficial. You can stay in a cave and not learn,
but you won't improve your business. In today's economy you need
to go forward with a sharp pencil and mind and keep up with changes."
Terry Archbold, Dry Dock Marine Center


"The whole thing was informative. It was very well organized.
Everyone should be open to new ideas and every little thing helps.
There were business concepts that would help anybody. We had
a couple meetings and wrote down a top 10. Some of them are:

  1. Improve on perks and frills for customers. Give little things
    away and change it on a monthly basis.
  2. Get better on service follow-up and tracking systems.
  3. We will have an improved service menu with a flat screen
    TV that has service specials and whatnot.
  4. Reviewing payment procedures.
  5. Working to upgrade facility and dock areas.
  6. Take advantage of QR codes."

Tony Webster, Gordon Bay Marine


"We are gearing up for the Chicago Boat Show and we are using
some of the email templates I was able to pick up at the conferences.
I'm also implementing some ideas for quick turnaround and follow up calls."
Katie Brockwell, Gordy’s Lakefront Marine


"We're starting with QR quotes and started a blog. We want
to use our Facebook page more and use YouTube videos. We
created a whole list of things we're hoping to accomplish."
Amanda Kanas, Hampton Watercraft & Marine


"The educational and networking experience is hard to do
throughout the year. Having four or five days to spend and
listen to other dealers is very important. You're not just seeing
your little neck of the woods. You're seeing tidbits of what's
going on with the economy in other parts of the world."
Kevin Hayes, Hayes Marine


"Learn enough and be motivated enough to make back the
value of the conference by a factor of 4:1. I am confident
we can easily do that." — Sean Horsfall, Lens Cove Marina


"I like going and being able to learn about what's new in the
industry. It's important if you want to have a successful business."
—Shane Filer, Pittsburgh Boat Sales


"The highlight of the conference for me was the classes.
They were very informative, and I took back valuable ideas
to my dealership. The expo hall was also nice as we could
look at our lines as well as explore new lines."
Michael Valot, Atwood Lake Boats


"I brought back knowledge that can be applied to
my business almost instantly."
John Jablonski, The Sailboat Shop


"I think there is a lot for the dealers and employees to get
on the same page as to where the dealership is going and
more fully understand the importance of each department
and how they help each other along."
Mike Lueneburg, WakeSide Marine


"It is a very good venue to attend for business resources as
well as to network and mingle with other dealers from around
the U.S. and Canada to get a feel for the industry. Also was good
to discuss and listen to solutions of how other dealers are dealing
with common issues." —John Baker, Waypoint Marine


"The event is very well done, educational, a great way to
connect to vendors and other dealers. It is a must if you
are going to improve your business and 'accelerate your
growth!' " — Rod Bensz, B & E Marine


"To be able to take different approaches from different people.
I liked the interactive seminars. We're up in New England, and
I was sitting next to a guy from Arizona. It was nice to compare
ideas." —Kevin Dubia, Winnisquam Marine


"Thanks again for a great conference with exceptional content.
As you know, we are a big fan of MDCE and how it always helps
improve our business year over year. We sincerely appreciate
the effort that goes into it and all your effort you are making to
improve the MRAA and the benefits to members."
— James Baker, Seattle Boat Co.


Learn more about the 2013 Marine Dealer Conference & Expo

8401 73rd Avenue North, Suite 71, Minneapolis, MN 55428