IMBC 2018 moves to The Big Easy, offers new educational opportunities

After numerous years in Florida, the International Marina & Boatyard Conference has packed up its bags, travelled west, and is geared up for The Big Easy.

The 16th annual conference, produced by the Association of Marina Industries, will commence at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, La. from Jan. 31 through Feb. 2. 

“New Orleans is a spectacular backdrop for our conference and will provide inspiration for new content and field trips,” said Kayce Florio, IMBC coordinator, describing the new location. “The city will be kicking off its 300th anniversary celebration while IMBC is there as well. It’s going to be an exciting time for all.”

Florio said that past conferences have offered consistent attendance, but with continued growth in membership, they expect to see attendance continuing to climb with this year’s IMBC.

This year’s conference kicks off Jan. 31 with an optional field trip for attendees to tour local marinas and boatyards. Those who wish to participate in the field trip must be pre-registered. The trip will meet and depart at 11:30 a.m. from the host hotel, the Hilton New Orleans Riverside. 

The field trip will offer participants tours of three New Orleans marinas: South Shore Harbor Marina, SeaBrook Harbor & Marine, and Orleans Marina, all of which have had to significantly rebuild and rebound since Hurricane Katrina.

Also featured on Jan. 31, IMBC returns with its AMI Member Meeting from 4:30 to 5:15 p.m. and its First-Time Attendee Reception from 5:15 to 5:45 p.m. The Exhibit Hall, featuring around 120 exhibitors, will open at 6 p.m. Jan. 31.

“The AMI Member Meeting is a great event for first time attendees to come meet AMI board members and learn some tips for the conference,” Florio said.

Education returns to the forefront of IMBC in 2018, with the help of Educational Sponsor Boating Industry and many other sponsors. IMBC will feature four educational tracks: IMBC Extra Best Practices, Operations, Boatyard & Service, and Marina Design & Engineering.

“Partnering up with IMBC was part of our drive to continually deliver education to dealers and those in the industry,” said Boating Industry National Sales Director Kathy Johnson.

Organizational Transformation Specialist, Dr. Janet Lapp will kick things off with her opening keynote presentation “Lead the Way: Bold Leadership Through Transformation” at 8:15 a.m. Feb. 1. The high-energy program will guide attendees to push the edges in leadership and much more.

French Quarter, downtown New Orleans

Following the opening keynote, IMBC will kick off over 20 classes and seminars, including the four educational tracks.

Florio said that one of the best tips to getting the most out of IMBC is to buddy up with people and exchange notes, so that you can get the information from as many of the classes and seminars as you can.

The conference will also feature a secondary keynote program at 8:15 a.m. on Feb. 2 from Maj. Dan Rooney, founder of the Folds of Honor Foundation, entitled “A Patriot’s Calling: Powerful Lessons of Leadership, Teamwork and Sacrifice.”

Education at IMBC offers the opportunity to earn contact hours toward Certified Marina Manager and Certified Marina Operator recertification. The conference also offers opportunities for Professional Development Hours.

IMBC 2018 will conclude with a two-hour Hurricane Planning and Recovery Forum, featuring seven speakers who will cover topics in post-storm marina repair, insurance claims, and much more.   


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