MRAA hands out awards

OAK PARK, Ill. – The Marine Retailers Association of America (MRAA) handed out awards including the Supplier the Year Award, the Bill Ferguson Award, the Irv Rosenthal, and the Legislative Award at two awards luncheons during the 2003 MRAA Annual Convention, the association reported Wednesday. received the 2003 Supplier of the Year Award from the association. Paul Rabe, president of, received the award from Joe Miller, director of MRAA.

“ has emerged as the leader of the dot.coms in the recreational boating industry and has certainly proven itself,” said Phil Keeter, MRAA president. “The association is proud to see this leading industry supplier receive this award.”

“We’re tremendously honored to receive this award, which I believe is a result of our continued commitment to working with and responding to the needs of the industry,” said Paul Rabe, president and CEO of “For example, we just released the new version of our flagship program for boat builders, NetAccess 2.0. The improvements and new features we added such as, featuring new boats on YachtWorld, online video and a suite of call tracking services are all a direct response to feedback we have received from OEMs and boat dealers.”

The Bill Ferguson Award for 2003 was given to the Marine Industries Association of Florida (MIAF). The award, named in honor of the first executive director of MRAA, Bill Ferguson, was presented to Joe Lewis, president of MIAF and the owner of Mount Dora Boating Center in Mount Dora, Fla., by Glenn Mazzella, vice chairman of MRAA.

The award was presented to MIAF in recognition of their long and arduous work on dealer/manufacturer relations in the state of Florida, the association stated.

The 2003 Irv Rosenthal Award was a dual presentation and was given to both Paul Norman and Byron Spencer of the Norman-Spencer, McKernan Insurance Agency. Norman-Spencer is the general agent for the MRAA/CNA Business Insurance Program.

The award is given annually to an individual(s) who has exhibited an extreme effort to foster the principles of the association. The award is named after Irv Rosenthal, the original owner of Transfer Monogram Co., one of the founding fathers of the association, according to the MRAA.

“The association was proud to present this year’s award to Paul Norman and Bryon Spencer because they have continually strived to improve the profitability of our members,” said John Sima, MRAA chairman. “Insurance is one of the most complex and costly items a dealer must deal with and these two gentlemen have worked tirelessly to simplify the process,” he concluded.

Randy Richardville, Majority Leader of the Michigan House of Representatives received the 2003 Legislative Award from the association.

Representative Richardville is the chair of the Legislative Caucus and a member of the Sportsman’s Caucus in Michigan. Richardville was elected to the Michigan House in 1999, received the 2003 Legislator of the Year Award from the National Republican Legislators Association, in addition to the Legislator of the Year Award from the Michigan Sheriffs Association, and the Distinguished Service Award from the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Michigan, the MRAA reported.

At the urging of and with the support of Michigan’s dealer base, Representative Richardville introduced House Bill 4808 this year. HB 4808 regulates the dealings between manufacturers, dealers, and consumers and prohibits unfair practices.

The award was presented by MRAA Director of Governmental Affairs and Washington representative, Larry Innis, Michigan Boating Industries Association’s (MBIA) Executive Director, Van Snider and Lobbyist Ray Underwood, according to the association.

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