First ever Marine Industry Professional Development Summit to be held

EDGEWATER, Md., CHICAGO and BROOKLIN, Maine – The American Boat & Yacht Council (ABYC), Professional BoatBuilder (PBB) magazine and the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) will co-sponsor the first annual Marine Industry Professional Development Summit, to be held Feb. 3-4, 2005, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., according to a joint press release yesterday from the three organizations.

“The initial summit will serve as a catalyst and forum for addressing workforce education, training and professional development issues and will begin to explore ways to develop, deliver, support and manage current and future programs and initiatives,” the organization's said in the release.

ABYC, NMMA and PBB said they expect to continue the event on an annual basis, “the outcomes of which are expected to have a profound and positive influence on how the marine industry approaches education, training, and professional development well into the 21st century,” according to the release.

Representatives from North American boatbuilders, marine manufacturers, suppliers, surveyors, marine underwriters, repair facilities and dealers, as well as educators, occupational training experts and other recreational industry-training experts representing the RV, skiing and camping industries will gather for the event.

Industry reaction

  • “The founders have been working for more than a year to bring this Summit to fruition,” said ABYC President Skip Burdon. “By forming alliances with, and seeking support from, marine trades associations, commercial entities, marine trade schools, community colleges and secondary schools, I am confident that the right mix of people and organizations will participate to ensure real progress is made in addressing this important issue.”
  • “We can all agree on one universal issue - that there exists a critical and fundamental need for a flexible, yet robust industry professional development program. One that acknowledges and gives credit to those in the workforce who strive to improve their professional competencies and skill sets, and one which ensures continuous improvement in quality for the boating public,” NMMA President Thom Dammrich said.
  • “We want to provide the marine industry with essential education, technologies and information,” said Carl Cramer, publisher of Professional BoatBuilder magazine. “Such a collaborative effort will give our industry the necessary tools and resources required to address the issue.”
  • “Any initiative to improve the quality and quantity of training within the industry is important, and therefore, we will have an active presence at the summit,” said Mark Amaral, managing director for the American Boat Builders and Repairers Association.
  • “This is a truly unique opportunity for industry leaders to acknowledge and demonstrate the value they hold in developing and sustaining a well educated and trained workforce,” said Joe DeMarco, executive director of the Association of Marine Technicians. “Just such a gathering of industry is long overdue -- I look forward to it and will represent the interests of marine technicians to the best of my ability.”
  • Summit format
    Summit attendees will participate in general sessions to explore effective professional development and continuing education approaches and will be introduced to, discuss and debate a centrally administered and managed continuing education credit concept for the marine industry, according to the release.

    Breakout sessions and panel discussions will address the specific workforce education and professional development needs for an array of industry segments, such as boatbuilders, repair facilities and marinas, manufacturers, surveyors and dealers, organizers said.

    ABYC, NMMA and PBB said they welcome additional sponsors, endorsements, and support from all sectors of the industry.

    “This is truly an opportunity for us to collectively join forces to address and define solutions to a major challenge facing our industry today – tomorrow is too late,” said Jim Ellis, ABYC board chair and president of BoatUS.

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