MOAA and IMI create plans to merge

MIAMI, Fla. – The Marina Operators Association of America (MOAA) and the International Marina Institute (IMI) released plans to merge yesterday at the International Boatbuilders’ Exhibition & Conference after years of discussing the concept.

The two groups said they had become bogged down in the details when the idea was broached in the past. This time, however, they have focused on the bigger picture, and the two industry bodies have set up committees to handle the details.

MOAA President Bill Anderson said during an interview yesterday that the first National Marina & Boatyard Conference & Expo in 2002 demonstrated that the industry can come together and ultimately led to the plans to merge.

Presenting a unified front

There is “clearly a need for a unified front,” said Anderson, citing among other reasons, the regulatory challenges marina operators continue to face.

IMI President Larry Halgren stated in an interview that the agreement will allow “each organization to focus on what they do well,” thus avoiding duplication.

In addition, it will provide real economies of scale that will benefit the membership bases and the marina industry overall, pointed out Gregg Kenney, president of Flag Ship Marinas, Dallas, Texas, who now will take over Anderson’s seat of the board of the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA).

“It is anticipated that Gregg will become the next IMI president, and he’s the ideal candidate to hold the NMMA board seat representing marinas,” explained Anderson. “It’s really important that the IMI board and members feel like they have the same access to NMMA that MOAA has enjoyed.”

Splitting the responsibilities

The two organizations have entered into a management agreement through which they will share talent, develop new programs together and enhance program delivery, with the ultimate goal of merging in one year, they reported.

MOAA will be responsible, under the agreement, for membership administration and accounting services, they reported, in addition to marketing, advertising and administrative support for IMI educational programming.

IMI, meanwhile, will focus on training, not only continuing to deliver its current programs, but also developing “the next generation of professional development initiatives.”

The groups’ leaders are hopeful that their new relationship will serve as a model for other groups, who will join in the consolidation. Halgren said yesterday that at least two other industry bodies are waiting to see how the agreement proceeds in the next few months before they make a decision as to whether to join in.

“It’s hard to imagine that we have finally gotten these two groups on a road to merger,” said Doug Beachem, a long time IMI and MOAA board member. “It seems like we’ve been working on this for as long as the two groups have existed.”

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–Liz Walz

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