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MRAA announces new YLAC members

Wednesday, December 19, 2012   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Liz Walz
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MINNEAPOLIS — The Marine Retailers Association of the Americas announced today that it has named six individuals to seats on the organization’s Young Leaders Advisory Council.

The Young Leaders Advisory Council, or YLAC, was created by the MRAA in 2009 to provide recommendations to the MRAA Board of Directors in regard to the development and enhancement of the association. The group is made up of 14 marine industry professionals, all of whom have at least 7 years of experience in the marine industry.

"Since its inception, YLAC has been a critical component in the success of the MRAA,” says Matt Gruhn, President of MRAA. "Our board of directors created this group to draw from the next-generation thinking they could provide, and the group has helped move the MRAA forward into an even stronger network of marine industry professionals.”

The six new members of YLAC include five dealers and two industry suppliers. The dealers in this group include: Stephanie Haywood of Blue Springs Boat Co., Kington, Tenn.; Jake Jostand of Oak Hill Marina, Arnold’s Park, Iowa; Greg Knop of the Family Boating Centers, Tampa, Fla.; and Chad Taylor of Taylor’s South Shore Marine, Wilmington, Ohio. The industry suppliers include Mike Alleva of Lighthouse Media Solutions, Boston, Mass.; and Gordon Brittle of Starcraft Marine and the Smoker Craft Family of Products, New Paris, Ind. They officially joined YLAC in November. Click here to review each member of YLAC’s bio.

"We are absolutely thrilled to welcome these new members to the group,” said Ryan Hebert, chairman of YLAC. "Each of them brings their own unique perspectives and background that will enable them to contribute great value to our discussions and the direction that YLAC takes as we continue to move forward.”

Seven members of the original YLAC group are vacated their seats this November. Six dealer members of that group include Thalia Chase, Castaway Marina; Alex Russo, Russo Marine; Matt Lodder, Lodder’s Marine; Brad Parker, Parker Boats of Daytona; Kyle Kelly, Kelly’s Port. Another dealer member of that group, Carly Poole of Buckeye Marine, has been selected to join the MRAA Board of Directors. And the one non-dealer on YLAC, Liz Walz, is vacating her seat because she joined the MRAA staff in August. Those members of YLAC that are continuing their terms on the council include: Chairman Hebert of Texas Marine; Vice Chairman Josh Vallely of Vallely Sport & Marine; Chris Kewley of Nobles’ Marine; Lauren Woodard-Splatt of Woodard Marine; Jeff Haradine of WakeSide Marine; Craig LeBlanc of Allen Harbor Marine Service; Eric Smith of Colorado Boat Center; and Martin Boyer of Austin Boats & Motors.

"Each of the members of this group should be very proud of what they accomplished during their term on YLAC,” Gruhn says. "As founding members of the group, they helped to shape some major changes and new direction that have taken place with the MRAA over the past three years or so. Their contributions have been incredibly valuable to us, and we hope to see each of them in industry leadership positions as they continue to grow their careers.”

About Marine Retailers Association of the Americas

Celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2012, the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas is the only North American association dedicated to furthering the interests of boat and engine dealers and other marine-related retailers throughout North America. Under the umbrella of MRAA Rewards, the MRAA offers a host of cost-saving, revenue-generating, business-improvement, and professional-development benefits exclusively for its members. MRAA is the united voice of marine retailers. For more information, visit

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