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Industry concludes unprecedented summit

Thursday, December 15, 2011   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Matt Gruhn
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Leaders from Every Segment in Recreational Boating Gather for Unprecedented Stakeholder Growth Summit, Agree to Work Together to Grow Industry
CHICAGO — On Tuesday and Wednesday, December 13-14, leaders from every segment across the entire recreational boating community, including the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas and a number of its board members, gathered in Chicago, Ill., to address how to grow the industry during a first-of-its-kind Recreational Boating Stakeholder Growth Summit.
The Summit was hosted by the National Marine Manufacturers Association and attended by nearly 160 executives and leaders from all industry segments including: bankers, big box retailers, consumer organizations, dealers, distributors, insurance companies, boat, engine and accessory manufacturers, marinas, boat yards, trade associations,  publishers,  yacht brokers,  marine representatives, and government groups. It was the largest and most diverse all-industry discussion  ever for the recreational boating industry. The Summit was facilitated by the Consensus Center from the Florida State University.
Opening the Summit was a presentation on "Trends in U.S. Recreational Boating" from Thom Dammrich, president of NMMA, followed by a presentation on "Changing U.S. Demographics and the Boating Industry," from Steve Murdock, Ph.D., professor of sociology at Rice University and former director of the U.S. Bureau of the Census. Both presentations helped shed light on the dramatic economic and socioeconomic shifts taking place in the U.S. that impact, or will impact, recreational boating growth.
"I think a lot of participants were shocked at some of the missed opportunities, industry trends, and overall need for our industry to adjust to the changing population in the U.S.," noted Dammrich. "The Summit opened a lot of eyes and created a sense of urgency throughout all industry segments to put something in motion to build recreational boating that we can all work toward."
Prior to attending the Summit, participants completed an extensive survey, answering questions and providing information to help the facilitators create a foundation that the group worked from to begin the all-industry dialogue. Out of the survey came four "vision statements" for the industry to work against during the Summit, including visions for our industry in 2021: "Unified Industry Cross Sector Collaboration Brings Results — Boating Now the Preferred Recreational Choice," "Boating Participation Soars — New Generation, Highly Diverse, Family Friendly Lifestyle and Consumer Friendly," "Expanded Access to the Water and the Lifestyle Has Been Achieved," and "Smarter and Fewer Regulations and Better Boating Education Results in Safe, Affordable and Enjoyable Boating."
Over the course of two days, topics addressing each Vision included, but weren't limited to: existing and future demographics of the boating consumer, marketing and communication strategies, the boating experience, innovation and technology, industry collaboration, and legislation and regulation. Summit participants offered initial thinking and joint action priorities that will be addressed as a group in the coming months. As a result of the Summit, a universal recognition developed among all participants that all segments of the industry have a role and an important stake in  working together to develop approaches to grow the recreational boating industry.
"It's critical that we work as an industry to move forward and grow boating," says Dammrich. "Everyone must be involved. If you have a stake in the future growth of boating, you need to be part of this conversation if we're going to make a change and create a better future for our industry."
Throughout the next six weeks, the facilitators from the Consensus Center will compile a report of action items and focus areas agreed upon by Summit participants that will act as a blueprint for the industry to work against.
All members of the industry are encouraged to view the presentations given during the Summit, which include: "The Landscape of Recreational Boating in the United States (Trends)" from Dammrich; Changing U.S. Demographics and The Boating Industry" from Dr. Murdock; "Learning from Successful Initiatives: Industry Collaboration for Growth Case Study — 'Discover Boating Campaign'" also given by Dammrich; and "the Discover Boating Campaign Results and Initiatives from 2011" from Carl Blackwell, president of Grow Boating, Inc.
All presentations as well as the Summit's survey results can be found here:

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