The Next Generation: Gordon Brittle

This interview is part of the article The Next Generation.

Gordon Brittle – Canadian District Manager
Smoker Craft/Starcraft Family of Products, Ontario, Canada

What do you see as the industry's biggest challenge?

I see the industry’s biggest challenge as getting new consumers into boating. This is younger consumers, as well as middle aged and older consumers who think they cannot afford it, as well as the ethnic cultures that we do see boating, just not in the masses.

What makes you optimistic about the industry?

Boating really is a lifestyle and the more people who can get out on the water the better and bigger our industry will become. I personally love boating in many different ways; I am on the water almost every weekend from May until October. I try to introduce boating to as many friends or family as I can because it is such a great lifestyle!


How can we attract more young people to the industry as boaters? 

In my opinion there are many ways. Younger people love events that other people their age are participating in. So more events for younger people, like on-water concerts, fun runs, parties (I know this is a tough one) for example, would introduce younger people to boating and then it is up to the rest of us to show them more.

I am trying to get a rendezvous going for this summer with only younger boaters and everyone has to bring some friends. The plan is to go from point A to point B for a night and then back. This hopefully turns into a few new boaters and more rendezvous in the future!

What do you think the younger generation brings to the industry?

I started working in boating 12 years ago, and at that time, it was the very same dealers, manufacturers reps, advertising consultants, etc., that had been in the industry for the past 30 to 40 years. This made our industry flat and the statistics reveal a loss of consumers year after year.

The younger generation that has come into the industry in the past five years has acknowledged this problem and is working very diligently to finding other avenues bringing new consumers into our lifestyle.

How did you get involved in boating?

I was boating before I was born so I guess it is in my blood. I was very lucky as my parents bought a cottage before they had a home, and we went there every weekend when I was a child. My dad was a boat junkie as well and had every different kind of boat; we had bow riders, cuddy cabins, cruisers, ski boats and even off-shore performance boats. So it is in my blood and I wouldn’t want it any other way!

Why did you join the YLAC?

I joined YLAC for one simple reason: To help our industry grow. I absolutely love boats, the boating lifestyle and the people who love it as well.

How has your perspective as a young leader helped you improve your company?

As a manufacturers rep and being a dealer for eight years, I have a slightly different view than most. When I was a dealer I was always looking for new and more tools to make us more successful. Since then, the industry and manufacturers have given more and more tools to the dealers to use.

I now view it as most dealers are not taking advantage of the tools available to them. Take MDCE for example, it has all of these great speakers in one place and at a fraction of the cost! Yet still dealers do not want to go. If we could get a minimum of 10 percent of the dealers in North America on board, our industry would flourish.


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