At the Helm: Building a better Top 100

One of our most important challenges here at Boating Industry is to make sure everything we do is relevant to helping you run your business. It’s not a job we take lightly.

Whether online, in print or through our in-person events, it’s a key goal for us to constantly improve and in turn help you constantly improve your company. One of the primary ways we’ve done that over the last decade is the Top 100 program.

As many of you may remember, at about this time last year, Boating Industry announced a significant change to the Top 100, eliminating the rankings for the first time in the program’s history. The goal of this change was to put the emphasis on celebrating the Top 100 as a whole, recognizing that this group is truly the best of the best amongst marine dealers.

Many dealers told us they were happy with the change. On the other hand, some dealers disliked the change. They told us they wanted to be ranked, not only as a benchmark against other dealers, but also as a measure of their own improvement from year to year.

We have spent the last several months talking to dealers and other folks in the industry about their concerns and have come up with a new model for the Top 100 that is a mix of the two approaches.

We will continue to select a group of 100 companies for the list, and will rank the top group of 20 companies, recognizing them for their elite status in the industry. We believe this approach combines the best of both worlds – while still recognizing the entire group, we are also giving every dealer in North America an extra level of recognition for which to aim as well.

The other major change to the program this year is that we have streamlined the application, addressing many of your concerns about its length and difficulty. We’ve eliminated about 20 percent of the questions to focus on the information that is crucial to evaluation.

Finally, in response to your requests, we’ve made the application available earlier. You can see it now and submit your entries at

As always, I welcome your thoughts and feedback on the Top 100 or anything else.

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I also wanted to make sure you were aware of some exciting changes here at Boating Industry. This month, we welcome Tom Kaiser as our new senior editor. Tom is a veteran journalist who has spent the last several years covering the powersports and recreational vehicle industries for some of our sister publications.

In addition, Brent Renneke has been promoted to managing editor of Boating Industry. Brent has done a great job over the last couple of years as our associate editor and the new title and responsibilities are well deserved.


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