The Next Generation: Josh Vallely

This interview is part of the article The Next Generation.

Josh Vallely – Sales Manager
Vallely Sport & Marine, Bismarck, N.D.

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

Cost Control. This industry must find a way to keep the cost of entry down in its products to be able to sell products to the new boating family. If it does not, the industry size will continue to shrink, which will lead to many more challenges.

Also, the marine industry is facing a shortage of young, fresh individuals that can carry the industry into the future. I believe young entrepreneurs and leaders are crucial to the industry’s vitality and ongoing success. I am trying to bring an energetic and passionate attitude – on both a local and national level ­– to help bring a fresh prospective, new ideas and new people to our industry.

What makes you optimistic about the industry?


The organizations and individuals that survived the recent downturn are the ones that should be here, and they will be the strongest now and into the future. Now it is up to us as an industry, individual dealerships and manufacturers to embrace change and come back in a new, better way. I think now more than ever the stakeholders recognize this need to change, and they will work together to accomplish great things for the industry.

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

Manufacturers and dealers must continue to have this as a main focus. Manufacturers must create and design products with this buyer in mind. While catering to the features and needs of the younger buyer, the price needs to be affordable for the young family.

Dealers need to continue to create excitement around boating and stress the great experiences it provides for the young individual or young family.

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

They bring new ideas, a fresh prospective, and most importantly energy.

How did you get involved in boating?

I am a third generation owner of my family’s marine business, Vallely Sport & Marine. So, boating has been in my life since I was born. On a personal level, boating and time at the lake was what my family did for recreation when growing up. I continue to spend a lot of time on the water and hope to raise my children in the boating lifestyle.

Why did you join the YLAC?

Most importantly, our industry is facing a shortage of young, fresh individuals that can carry the industry into the future. We must do something about this. It is crucial to the industry’s vitality, and we must do something to change this. I wanted to team with other young, energetic and passionate individuals to help bring a fresh prospective, new ideas and new people to our industry.

What can boat builders and other manufacturers do to help dealers be more successful?

Communicate and work together. In today’s constantly changing environment dealers and manufactures must be continually working together to adapt to the changing consumer. Dealers are the front-line communicator with the customer, and manufacturers must gain input from the dealers on how to best bring the product to the market that will sell on the retail level. Wholesale orders don’t matter: Retail does.

Manufacturers also need to allow dealers to be profitable. It is crucial that dealerships are given proper territory to sell their products without continually competing with other dealers over the same products. It is hard enough getting the customer to purchase the product, so it is self-defeating when dealers are competing with other dealers. Boat customers need to be serviced and the servicing dealer should be the one to sell the product.

Also, dealers selling prices can’t be set by margin constraints by manufacturers. Every dealer has different cost structures in there dealerships and must be able to set the sales prices accordingly. At the end of the day, this will lead to better-serviced customers, which will lead to continued growth of the industry.

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

Since I have been in this industry, I have always been amazed at how reactive versus proactive everybody is. I am always struck by how much time gets spent talking about problems, but so little time is spent on solutions. I am a very solution-oriented thinker and initiator. I have brought my proactive, always improving attitude to our dealership. It has improved our company in many ways, including process changes, new technology, new products and much more.


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