Leadership is hard to define, but when you’re in its presence, you know it.
That’s what inspired industry professionals to recommend close to 100 people as members of the next generation of industry leaders.
Many in the boating industry have feared that as today’s leaders reach retirement age, there will be no one to take their place. But if you share that fear, set it aside. If you don’t see evidence of up-and-coming leadership around you, you’re not looking hard enough or you’re not looking in the right place.
In fact, Boating Industry magazine struggled to fit all the examples of leadership collected for this story into one issue. The following individuals — the best of the best under 40 years old — have proven that leadership is alive and well among our industry’s young executives, developing and maturing all around us. There will be a next generation of industry leaders — one that’s strong, diverse and will carry the boating business to new heights of professionalism and growth. And you can likely expect the following people to be among them.
TINA MARIE GIAMBRO
ABC “Extreme Makeover Home Edition’s” Ty Pennington isn’t the only carpenter turned television personality.
In fact, the boating industry has its own female version: Tina Marie Giambro. Instead of making home owners’ dreams come true, this 37-year-old is the boating industry’s dream-maker, showing consumers how boating can enrich their family life through her “Port O Call” television series.
Following her family into the building trades, Giambro started her career as a carpenter, but in an attempt to make some extra money building docks, she fell for the boating industry and hasn’t looked back.
During her eight years at Marina Bay in Quincy, Mass. — touted as New England’s largest full-service marina — she rose from dockworker to assistant manager. Then, in 2005, Giambro left the marina to co-found and star on “Port O Call TV,” a series now entering its third season. The show follows a different boating family in each episode as they travel to and experience a marina destination. “Port O Call” currently is broadcast to over 50 million homes through its position on the New England Sports Channel and the Water Channel — an audience Giambro hopes to expand in future years.
But Giambro’s aspirations don’t end there. During her 10-year marine industry career, she has become a high ranking member of the Massachusetts Marine Trades Association. As MMTA second vice president, Giambro is currently in line to assume the presidency in a few years. At the association, her contributions have been focused around the group’s PR and education initiatives, but she’s taken her interest in those industry sectors to another level. She was a founder and is now a trustee of the Massachusetts Marine Trades Educational Trust, which has raised $40,000 over the past two years. And she sits on the board of directors of Boat Shows Inc., which owns Boston’s International In Water Boat Show and is a sponsor of the New England Boat Show.
As one of the three industry leaders who nominated her put it, “Tina Marie is delivering on the promise of discovering boating, the possibilities of the boating industry as a career and the value of recreational boating as a thriving industry. Tina is surely among those leading us into a prosperous future for boating.”
As the National Marine Manufacturers Association’s director of interactive marketing, this 26-year-old has created powerful results that have greatly benefited her employer and the industry, helping to drive more consumers through the Discover Boating funnel, train manufacturers and dealers to use the campaign’s leads and increase consumer awareness of NMMA’s boat shows.
This 32-year-old principal of Rushton Gregory Communications, a PR and marketing firm specializing in marine electronics, has demonstrated his passion for, and leadership within, the boating industry, working with his competitors to ensure their clients’ boat show events don’t overlap, thus allowing editors to attend more events, potentially generating more coverage for everyone.
CINDY SANDERS THOMPSON
This 37-year-old Yamaha Marine Group promotions and events manager has not only driven increased exposure and market share for her company and its dealers, leading Yamaha to win consumer and trade show display awards, she sits on NMMA’s boat show committee, helping the association better market its shows to consumers.
Leadership guru Dale Carnegie described enthusiasm as the fuel that ignites a person’s abilities, bringing them to life.
Steve Tadd, director of the industry’s Grow Boating Initiative, is the manifestation of that concept. His passion for the industry and for boating comes through in every conversation he has — whether it’s with a boat show attendee at the Discover Boating booth, a Grow Boating contributor, the audience at a trade show as he presents the initiative’s plans for the future, or with personalities from “The Today Show” as he sells America on the boating lifestyle.
In fact, it’s that enthusiasm for his work — and for boating — that first attracted the NMMA to Tadd. Shortly after graduating from college, he consciously decided to direct his career toward an industry he could be passionate about, taking a 60-percent pay cut to become a manager at a BOAT/US Marine Center. While he was employed there, he visited one of NMMA’s first Discover Boating events, the Chicagoland Safe Boating Festival. At the event, the intern who was supposed to wear the “Skipper” costume didn’t show up, but Tadd volunteered to take his place, entertaining families — and making an impression on NMMA’s leadership team. Later that week, they offered him a job.
Tadd spent the next four years heading up the association’s Discover Boating program, delivering extraordinary results given its small budget and staff. Based on those results and “knowing that professionalism, passion, charisma and a true understanding of industry politics were requirements for the job,” NMMA President Thom Dammrich chose Tadd to lead the Grow Boating Initiative.
In the year and a half since then, Tadd has been instrumental in obtaining industry buy-in, “writing hundreds of letters, producing videos, developing Web content, speaking at industry events, and calling or meeting with potential naysayers.”
This 30-year-old is literally at the forefront of the industry’s effort to improve and grow — driving change not only through his hard work and dedication, but through the contagious nature of his enthusiasm.
NMMA executives surely are not the only ones who are “reassured by knowing that Steve’s passions and commitments remain true to the long-term success of the recreational boating industry.”
As the grandson of Ranger Boats founder Forrest L. Wood, one would think a passion for the boating industry flowed in Keith Daffron’s veins from birth.
But Daffron, now Ranger’s vice president of sales, says that passion wasn’t sparked until he attended his first dealer meeting at age 16.
“When I came home I knew this was a group of people I wanted to be associated with,” he explains. “The industry … grabbed ahold of me and I believe it’s a grip that won’t let go.”
Let’s hope so. Since Daffron graduated from college and joined Ranger full-time at the end of 1999, the company has grown tremendously. And while the 30-year-old executive is modest about his role in that growth — “we win and lose as a team,” he says — the dealers he interacts with certainly recognize the leadership he offers the company and the industry.
“Ranger is at the top of any of the lines I deal with as far as creating a market for their product and driving business into the dealers,” says Mike Hebert of Texas Marine. “He’s the new blood, the spark plug that has helped revitalize the company.”
Despite his executive position within the company, Daffron makes himself easily accessible to Ranger’s dealers, bringing the same ethics and morals to his business with them, and with Ranger boat owners, as his grandfather, says Hebert.
The Ranger executive talks to at least a handful of dealers on the phone every day and spends a lot of time with individual dealers at boat shows and fishing tournaments. Not only does Daffron emphasize the importance of the brand’s value to the dealer to Ranger’s success, he says its dealers are one of the best sources of feedback on the boating business.
“‘Partner’ is an overused word in our industry [to describe the manufacturer-dealer relationship,]” he explains. “But at Ranger I think you’d find it to be true. The storefront doesn’t sell our product. It’s the people within that store that make us successful or unsuccessful.”
Any Midwest dealership that has grown in recent years, despite the collapse of the local economy, should be commended for its efforts. But the growth of Lodder’s Marine in Fairfield, Ohio, is truly outstanding.
It was just a few years ago that Kevin Lodder, brother and partner of Lodder’s Marine General Manager Matthew Lodder, died in a tragic accident.
It is a tribute to his strength and leadership that Matt has since led his family’s business to growth and improvement, achieving Bayliner Pro Dealer status and working toward the Grow Boating Initiative’s Dealership Certification. In addition, this 31-year-old is a former chairman of Spader 20 Group 101 and participates in his local dealer association.
The city of Charleston, S.C., is proud to have Milo Hanckel of Hanckel Marine as one of its top young business leaders.
So proud, in fact, that he was named one of Charleston Regional Business Journal’s 40 under 40 in 2006. And as one of the fastest growing companies in the city, his business was named one of the Journal’s Roaring 20 winners in 2007.
But the value this 34-year-old boat dealership co-owner offers to the marine industry far exceeds his impact on the local community.
Hanckel began his career in 1997 after graduating from the Citadel by taking a job as a boat captain. Two and a half years later, his love of fishing and boating drove him to open Hanckel Marine with his father — despite his lack of business experience.
In its first year, the dealership’s sales totaled $4 million. In the six years since then, that number has more than tripled to $12.4 million, and the dealership has become the top dealer in the nation for both Scout Boats and Tidewater Boats, the No. 2 Sea Pro dealer for five years running and one of Yamaha Motor Co.’s “Best in Class” for the past three years. With job responsibilities that include serving as president, general manager and sales manager, Hanckel — whose personal motto is “integrity is doing the right thing even if nobody is watching” — is at the center of this success.
As the business has grown, so has its contribution to the local community. In addition to the many non-boating related groups and charities in which Hanckel Marine is involved, Hanckel is a board member for the South Carolina Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series Tournament; he teaches boating and trailering classes for Women in the Outdoors; and he donates time and money to the Coastal Conservation Association, donates lifejackets to the First Baptist Sailing Team and donates motors to the Charleston Community Sailing Association.
Meanwhile, his business continues to expand. Hanckel has partnered with Scout Boats owner Steve Potts to open “Sportsman Island,” which will include a 38,000-square-foot second location for the boat dealer, as well as retail businesses and restaurant facilities targeting the outdoor watersports enthusiasts in the region. Hanckel and his brother also plan to open a boat and RV storage facility.
As one of the top boat dealers in the Southeast, Hanckel Marine continues to help raise the bar for the industry. As Milo puts it, “If you think you can stay the same each year, you are mistaken and will fall behind.”
The NMMA has 400 additional members and almost $1 million more in membership dues revenue because of the efforts of its director of membership. This 33-year-old hasn’t just attracted more members, however. He’s worked to offer them more programs, tools and information than ever before, resulting in a higher retention rate.
Over the past seven years, this 33-year-old has risen through the ranks at Priority One Financial Services, driving new business by forming relationships with dealers, boat builders and industry groups like the Marine Retailers Association of America and USA Water Ski. Perhaps his biggest contribution to the industry, however, has been the dealer training he’s provided in an effort to help his clients — and the industry — grow.
There’s nothing like bringing in big bucks to make someone stand out to their employer.
James Baker has done just that. The 38-year-old was named one of the top 20 salespeople in the world for Cobalt Boats in 2001, 2002 and 2003. And he has been the top producer in Sunseeker Yacht sales in the Northwest and at his company, responsible for 66 percent of the $7.1 million in total sales between 2004 and 2006.
But his contribution to Seattle Boat Co. — and to the industry at large — goes far beyond boat sales. As general manager, Baker created what has become the company’s signature customer satisfaction program. Called “Cut The Steak,” the program requires Seattle Boat Co’s employees to follow up with a customer when a boat is picked up from the service department, rather than an hour or a day later. He also has the company tracking the number of days each boat is in service — something that has resulted in a 50-percent decrease. In addition, Baker created and launched the company’s first customer rendezvous — an event that in its fifth year attracted more than 100 customers and has doubled in size each year since its inception.
Finally, Baker has instituted a new “delivery culture” at Seattle Boat Co. by using a visual aid to designate which customers are at the facility for a test drive or boat delivery, thus prompting employees to introduce themselves and welcome the customer to the dealership.
These accomplishments certainly qualify Baker as a company leader, but add to that his efforts to share Seattle Boat Co.’s best practices with other dealers and to share boating with families in his community, and it becomes clear that he is becoming a leader in the industry at large.
One of the key areas of focus for this 36-year-old GE Commercial Distribution Finance marine marketing leader has been the pre-owned boat market. Not only has he led the company’s pre-owned boat market research and launched its pre-owned finance program, he’s worked to raise awareness of and educate boat builders and dealers on the opportunity this market segment represents — a potential source of growth for individual companies and the industry as a whole.
JENNIFER E. THOMPSON
As NMMA’s director of trade events, this 31-year-old proved her leadership abilities to the industry many years ago, serving as a key player in the merger of the BoatBuilding and IBEX shows, among other things. And Thompson continues to broaden her experience and contribution to the industry, having switched gears to serve as show manager for the Minneapolis Boat Show and the Northwest Sportshow.
Throughout his career, this 38-year-old has had a significant impact on the companies he’s worked for and the boating industry at large.
Brett McGill spent the first five years of his career in sales and management at Integrated Dealer Systems, during which IDS grew by 300 percent. He then moved to Gulfwind Marine in Clearwater, Fla., playing an important role in the creation of MarineMax, Inc. As its director of information systems, McGill developed the award-winning platforms and networks on which MarineMax still operates today. In addition, he developed its corporate training initiative and created strategies for the company’s Internet Marketing and eBusiness Departments.
For the past year, McGill has served as president of the Midwest Region for MarineMax, helping to boost its sales, market share and profitability. He also sits on the Grow Boating Initiative’s board of directors.
Already, McGill has been instrumental in developing a business model that has set the standard within the marine retail space. And with a passion that blooms from a childhood spent on the water, he’s proven to the industry his dedication to — and his ability to help shape — its future.
MATTHEW S. GUILFORD
You may not recognize Matt Guilford, but you’ve probably heard his voice or seen his work.
The 28-year-old US Marine director of marketing not only writes the keynote addresses for the division’s dealer meetings, he helps craft its product launches and online advertising strategy, pushing the envelope to introduce new ways of gaining exposure. His success with these initiatives, in fact, has led the Brunswick Boat Group division to hand him responsibility for all US Marine advertising in 2007.
But that’s not where his influence ends. Guilford sits on several committees and boards, including the Discover Boating Marketing Committee, the Boater 101 Board and the NMMA Shows Committee, helping the industry create a bigger and better future through its marketing efforts.
If money is the grease that keeps the boating industry machine running, then it’s easy to see why a financial services executive may qualify as an industry leader.
Chad Lyon, the 36-year-old vice president and general manager of Brunswick Acceptance Corp., is on track to become such a leader.
During his 14 years in the marine industry, he has worked to provide both marine dealers and boat builders with financing solutions, giving him a clear understanding of the financial needs of each industry sector.
Now, as a leader of the joint venture between Brunswick Corp. and GE Commercial Finance, Lyon has not only been responsible for company growth, he’s helped develop financing solutions for dealer problems, allowing those businesses to explore new opportunities for growth.
SUSAN E. COPPENS
Since she first came to work at Emerald City Harbor at age 15, Susan E. Coppens has held nine different positions at the marina, from stock person all the way up to her current title, business manager.
During that time, she took the initiative to create a Finance and Insurance Department that has added profit to the marina’s bottom line and a new service for its customers. In addition, she was a part of the team that helped Emerald City Harbor achieve Five Star Dealer Certification. And Coppens is immersed in the local boating community, serving on the boards of the local boating association and many boating shows and events.
While the 39-year-old constantly volunteers for training and knows the marina well enough to fill in for almost any employee, Coppens’ co-workers aren’t the only ones to recognize her hard work and ambition. One of her instructors at the University of Michigan Dearborn, where she is working on her Bachelor’s Degree, recently chose her as one of 50 students to participate in the university’s “Emerging Leaders Program.”
MICHAEL L. ADAMS, JR.
Ten years ago, if we had predicted that an IT innovator would be among the boating industry’s next generation of leaders, we would probably have received some funny looks.
But today that thought is not so shocking. Many of Boating Industry magazine’s Top 100 Dealers wrote in their applications that Web leads were their largest source of boat sales growth. And with almost half of those Top 100 Dealers — and three of the Top 5 Dealers — doing business with Channel Blade Technologies, there’s no doubt this company’s leaders stand out.
Channel Blade Co-Founder and Executive Vice President Michael L. Adams, Jr. actually first entered the boating industry in 2000 at age 30, partnering with two other IT gurus to form Boat Ventures, a company that provided Web products and services to boat builders and their dealers. The vision behind Boat Ventures was to bring the boating industry online, growing its revenues and increasing its customer satisfaction.
Four years later, Adams and one of his partners expanded their vision, taking it to other markets through the formation of Channel Blade Technologies, but never losing focus on the marine market. In fact, having generated more than 2.5 million leads for its more than 1,500 dealer and 34 boat builder clients, it’s clear Adams and Channel Blade are making a very real difference in the industry.
While the company has clearly been successful — and continues to enhance its offerings — Adams’ and Channel Blade’s commitment to the industry stretches beyond its internal operations. The Web company served as a founding member of the Marine Association for Technology Exchange Standards and is part of the Grow Boating Web committee, through which it offers its lead management solution on a complimentary basis.
“Making the marine industry as successful as it can possibly be is his goal,” said the employee who nominated him. “His dedication to excellence ensures that the marine industry will have the solutions that they need when they need them, and they will be backed by a company built by a man they can trust.”
At 24, the general manager of Yowell’s Boat Yard in Waco, Texas, already has seven years of company experience under his belt. Starting as a detailer at age 17, Robnett has moved up the ladder quickly while also getting his Bachelor’s degree from Baylor University. Among his achievements is the construction of a company Web site — with the help of Marine Web Services — that has led to dramatic revenue increases.
JOSEPH C. CLAWGES
Through his multiple roles at SunDance Marine Inc. in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., including technician, dockmaster and service writer, this 21-year-old has contributed significantly to his family’s business, working full-time while attending college full-time. But it is his involvement in local fishing and boating events and promotion of the marine industry in blogs, Web pages and online forums that sets him apart within the industry.
At 37 years of age, there’s no doubt Joanne Johnson is a leader at Digital Antenna, Inc.
The co-founder and vice president of operations has dedicated the past 13 years to nurturing the multi-million-dollar global manufacturer of cellular amplifiers and repeaters. During that time, she has implemented national distribution channels and a sales network, developed its accounting and inventory systems, managed its human resources department, established production scheduling and overseen its recent brand launch.
But Johnson has also shown her dedication to the boating community at large. The company has won several awards for innovation, such as for its PowerMax cell boosters, which allow boaters to use their cell phones further from shore. And Johnson has participated on the National Marine Electronics Association board of directors, serving as a manufacturer director from 2003 to 2005.
Take one look at this 29-year-old’s resume, and it’s no surprise NMMA considers her one of its up-and-coming leaders.
Among the companies Ellen Hopkins has worked with during her eight years in the working world are Coca-Cola, Wal-Mart, Maloof Sports & Entertainment and Artists Management Group.
That experience has helped Hopkins — now NMMA’s director of marketing and communications — deliver major exposure for every program she’s touched in the past three years, from the Chicago Boat Show to the Grow Boating Initiative’s Discover Boating Campaign. In fact, she led the effort that resulted in more than 160 million media impressions for the Discover Boating Campaign in its first year, easily besting the group’s goal of 150 million impressions.
South Shore Marina is not a big organization and neither is the Miami Valley Marine Trades Association. But as general manager of the former and president of the latter, this 28-year-old has delivered big results.
Chad Taylor grew up in the marine industry — only taking time off from his family’s business to gain a year of experience at an auto dealership and to serve active duty in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve. The auto industry experience he gained has helped the company more than triple its sales in the six years since then.
Taylor also has driven change as president of his local dealer association. Not only did he sign the group up for membership in the Marine Retailers Association of America, he spearheaded an effort to relocate its boat show, which had recently seen its sales and attendance decline.
At the new venue, “we saw record numbers of people through the door, and every dealer sold more product than ever before,” explains Taylor. “My whole argument was that we could not grow boating … when we were offering the worst facility in the area.”
This 27-year-old works at the forefront of water access, called by some the No. 1 challenge for the boating industry.
As director of business services for Marina Management Services, Inc., Tim Keogh provides consulting services to marina owners and operators, developers and potential marina buyers across the country and around the world, helping them enhance the development, redevelopment and operation of water access facilities.
While he’s only been with his company for five years, Keogh has been involved in the industry his entire life. His father managed a small boat building company, and in the summers during college, he served as an assistant harbormaster in Marion, Mass. His passion for the industry shines through in his participation in local, state, national and international marine trades associations, as well as the writing and speaking he’s done.
If leadership is delivering big numbers or winning big awards, Crystal-Pierz President and COO Luke Kujawa clearly has what it takes.
While he’s only been the dealership’s president for a year, this 34-year-old has directed its marketing efforts for the past decade, during which its annual revenues have grown from $12 million to $80 million and it has received dozens of recognitions for excellence from national trade and local business magazines, industry associations and its boat builder partners, including a Top 5 position within Boating Industry magazine’s Top 100 Dealer ranking for two years running.
There is no doubt that Kujawa is the driving force behind the continuous improvement and growth of Crystal-Pierz — a Midwest boating powerhouse with 11 locations. But it is his commitment to the boating community and the marine industry at large that truly set him apart.
Through his involvement in industry associations, dealer councils and the Top 100 Dealer program, Kujawa has helped raise the bar for the industry, sharing his company’s best practices and working together with other sectors of the industry to drive positive change.
Kujawa has also been closely involved with the company’s outstanding community outreach efforts, through which Crystal-Pierz has shared the boating lifestyle with numerous kids and adults who might not otherwise have that experience and contributed to conservation efforts to preserve the environment for boaters and fishermen.
With a passion for boating that never quits, there’s no doubt Kujawa’s contribution to his company, his customers and the marine industry at large will continue to grow.
WESLEY SORENSON and ROBERT SORENSON, JR.
A few years ago, brothers Wes and Bob Sorenson had a vision — one that now may be coming true.
As vice presidents of Wes-Garde Components Group, Inc. — a distributor of switches, circuit breakers, wire and terminals — the brothers, age 33 and 34, took a leap of faith, partnering with the manufacturer of Multiplex power distribution technology.
Now, that leap is paying off. Not only is Wes-Garde expecting more than 20 boat models featuring Multiplex to be launched this year, the response to the boats has been tremendous. Take the Sea Ray 36 Sedan Bridge, for example. A Motorboating magazine reviewer called its Multiplex system “ahead of its time,” “nothing short of amazing” and “mesmerizing,” suggesting that it would likely become an industry standard in a few years.
The technology, which allows the boater to control all of the vessel’s electrical systems through a one-touch screen, improves the user experience, reduces boat building time and boosts product quality.
Not only could it significantly boost Wes-Garde sales, it could help the industry grow and improve.
SEAN PATRICK CALLAN
This 37-year-old has a record of marine industry success that dates back to his first job as a naval architect for Tiara Yachts in 1992. From there, Callan made a jump to Four Winns, finally landing at Cobalt Boats in 1995.
Since then, he has moved up the ladder at Cobalt, making his mark on the company at every step, from creating a marine manufacturing forecasting system and increasing operating efficiency by more than 25 percent to doubling the number of new models introduced per year.
Those successes seem to have won Callan — who recently graduated Cum Laude with an MBA from the University of Notre Dame — the trust and respect of the boat builder’s executive team. They named him president of Cobalt Boats in September.
EDWARD T. MACFAWN, JR.
Though this 39-year-old has owned BIT Marine Software for less than a year and a half, his willingness to consult his customers — dealers, marinas and marine service centers — and use their feedback to drive changes and improvements in his products has made a big impression.
In her more then 10 years at Yamaha Motor Corp. USA, this 33-year-old operations and business planning manager has delivered real results, assisting the manufacturer in better meeting its dealer and boat builder customers’ needs. But she has also invested a lot of time into NMMA’s engine, boat and watercraft statistics committees, helping the industry expand, improve and refine its reporting.
Since this 26-year-old boater joined ITC Inc.’s sales team over two years ago, sales have increased by double digits, on-time deliveries have increased dramatically and he has made a major impression on his co-workers and on the company’s executive team. In fact, about a year ago, he was promoted to marine sales manager, rounding out his six years of industry experience to include selling to boaters, boat builders and boat retailers, as well as marine product design.
Sailboat hardware manufacturer Ronstan International is known for its efforts to support and grow the sailing industry.
That’s what makes Scot West such a good fit with Ronstan. The 37-year-old, who spent five years as executive director of sailing trade group Sail America, knows the challenges of growing participation and understands the role individual companies and executives can play in moving the needle.
While West hasn’t had trouble keeping busy since he joined Ronstan as president of its US division in mid-2005, he hasn’t lost touch with industry issues either.
Not only did he recently serve as the Strictly Sail Philadelphia show committee chair, he is a U.S. SAILING House of Delegates and Industry Council member and sits on the Rhode Island Marine Trades Association Education Task Force.
“This is not a quest that can be left ‘to the other guys,’” comments West. “I have no doubt there is more I can do as an individual. I also have no doubt that the more ways that all of us find to get involved and support whatever industry body or project we feel most passionate about the better we will all do.”
JAMES FRANKLIN RENFROW, JR.
During his 38 years on earth, this much has proven true of Jim Renfrow: the man can sell luxury yachts.
But as vice president of sales for Fairline Boats of North America, Inc., Renfrow has demonstrated he’s capable of much more. Primary among his recent accomplishments — which range from the development of new sales and marketing strategies to the construction of a new headquarters — was the complete overhaul of Fairline’s North American dealer network, an achievement that resulted in record-breaking sales last year.
In addition, Renfrow has been active in the industry as a member of NMMA and the Marine Industry Association of South Florida, the boat show committee of which he recently joined. With a background that includes work for the American Sportfishing Association, Renfrow has shown an ability to see the big picture and contribute to it.
He may have been born into the family business, but Wade Eldean has earned his position at Eldean Shipyard in Macatawa, Mich.
The 32-year-old vice president has taken advantage of just about every opportunity available to him — inside the industry and out — having earned both an MBA and his Certified Marina Manager designation. In addition, he has ensured his family’s business does the same by personally leading it through the processes to become a Michigan Clean Marina and a Marine Industry Certified Dealership. During the past few years, Eldean also has served as project manager for a $2-million marina expansion project, completed last year.
It’s clear this young executive is committed to raising the bar for himself, his company and his customers.
With more than 13 years working for the PR firm, this Martin Flory Group general manager has undoubtedly served as a leader for her employer. But perhaps the 38-year-old’s greatest contribution to the industry has been her support of the National Marine Representatives Association, which has led to increased visibility and credibility for this Martin Flory client.