2012 Best in Class: Best industry advocate

Buckeye Marine
Bobcaygeon, Ontario

During difficult times, it’s easy to justify pulling back support for outside groups, reasoning that anything that doesn’t directly affect the bottom line is a waste of valuable resources.

But that’s not the way that Buckeye Marine thinks.

“At Buckeye we believe that being involved with industry and community groups is what helps us to learn and grow our business,” says Carly Poole, marketing director at Buckeye.

Poole, a member of the family-owned dealership’s fourth generation, is one of many members of the Buckeye team who have taken active roles outside the business.

Buckeye stays involved both locally and beyond, donating time to industry and non-industry causes. To give an idea of the variety of groups the Buckeye team is involved with, consider the following: They’ve sat on boards for Canadian and provincial waterski/wakeboard associations, Boating Ontario, the Toronto International Boat Show and its parent company, and their local hospital; they are actively involved with the Boating Ontario Dealer Association; they serve on a committee dedicated to preserving Canadian waterways; they are members of Ontario’s Clean Marine program; they sit on the MasterCraft Dealer Advisory Council and Chaparral Dealer Advisory Group; they are members of the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas; they work with the Canadian Safe Boating Council; and they are active in their local Chamber of Commerce.

The list goes on, but you get the idea. They like to stay involved.

Buckeye’s involvement takes many forms. When MRAA launched its Young Leaders Advisory Council in 2009, Carly Poole not only joined the group, she was elected its first chairperson. In this role, she helped advise the MRAA and its board on various issues related to strengthening the marine industry throughout North America.

The company is also interested in promoting the boating lifestyle. Buckeye’s lead on-water demonstrator, Jay Poole, is one of five “Master Learning Facilitators” in Canada. He and the rest of the group created a syllabus to teach coaches the proper structure and skills to teach future watersport instructors. This distinction is the highest level of watersport coaching in Canada, and in 2011 Jay was voted Canada’s Coach of the Year for his contributions to the betterment of the sport.

One of Buckeye’s owners sits on the Toronto International Boat Show advisory board, which makes recommendations on items such as product mix, show hours, advertising, admission prices and more. They also work to develop new ideas to help improve and grow the show for the exhibitors and show-goers alike.

Buckeye is also a paying, certified member of the Boating Ontario Dealer Association and was one of its founding members. Beyond that, the company takes an active role with the association to help it improve, grow and support its members. By now, you won’t be surprised to learn that in December of 2011 Carly Poole moved from a vice-chair position in the group to a two-year term as chair.

Of course, this involvement isn’t a one-way street, and Buckeye gets back as much as it gives. Carly Poole says being involved provides the business an opportunity to learn new ideas, make industry contacts, and keep an ear to the ground for trends and changes in the community and industry.

“This type of involvement allows us to be pro-active as well as giving us the fulfillment of giving back to the industry and community, which has helped us grow,” Poole says.


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