SAN DIEGO - The International Marina Conference, which replaced the National Marina & Boatyard Conference and Exposition this year, has registered between 50 and 100 more participants than the National Marina & Boatyard Conference and Exposition did by itself last year, said Jim Frye, president of the Association of Marina Industries, in an interview with Boating Industry Monday.
"I'm really pleased with the turnout," Frye said. "The partnership with the international community has brought out many new faces."
Frye said that there were more than 500 attendees, including nearly 300 participants, 55 speakers and more than 140 exhibitor staff members at the event, which is the first for the newly formed AMI.
The event, held Jan. 9-12 at the San Diego Marriott Hotel & Marina, is being put on by AMI, the International Council of Marine Industry Associations, the National Marine Manufacturers Association, and the American Boat Builders & Repairers Association.
Aside from additional international involvement and exposure for exhibitors, Frye said the most significant change from the National Marina & Boatyard Conference and Exposition is the format. This event has focused primarily on a panel format, offering attendees the change to discuss topics with experts.
"We're really trying to drive the whole format like that," Frye explains. "People learn best from their peers."
Those panel discussions kicked off yesterday morning with How To Be A First-Rate Marina, and will cover such other topics as Retrofitting Existing and Designing New Marinas, Clean Marinas, Software Solutions, Profit Center Ideas and Solutions, and Marina Operations and Management Issues, among others, before concluding with a tour of area marinas on Wednesday morning.
New association holds first board meeting
AMI officially merged the interests of the Marina Operators Association of America and the International Marina Institute as of December 20, 2004.
"It's nice to have this international venue to celebrate that," Frye said. "The new board is really excited."
AMI recently put a new board of directors in place, and Sunday the organization held its first board meeting and put its executive committee in place, naming Gregg Kenney chairman, Alex Laidlaw vice chairman, Cris McSparen treasurer, Mick Bettesworth secretary, and Frye, who was executive director of MOAA, has been named president. The board's first course of action will be to hold a strategic planning meeting the day prior to the Miami International Boat Show. The organization, as MOAA did, will operate from Washington, D.C.
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- Matt Gruhn