IMBC celebrates strong opening

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.—The International Marina & Boatyard Conference opened over weekend in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. to enthusiastic participants and exhibitors, and attendance thus far is the highest in IMBC’s history, organizers reported in a release yesterday.

Representatives from the Association of Marina Industries and the American Boat Builders & Repairers Association, co-producers of IMBC, said they were delighted with attendance and the level of energy displayed on the exhibit floor and in the sessions, particularly the morning keynote by Wayne Huizenga Jr., former managing partner of the Miami Dolphins.

“We were fortunate to have such a timely keynote speaker with Wayne Huizenga Jr.,” said Jim Frye, AMI’s president and chair. “His business expertise and knowledge, coupled with his boating experience, made him the perfect speaker to kick off our event this year.”

During his one-hour talk, Huizenga discussed the challenges that lay ahead and the opportunities that exist in these difficult economic times. He also discussed reacquainting yourself with your customers and how needs have changed, saying “It’s not all bad, but you’re going to have to think differently.”

Today IMBC participants will attend an assessment of the current U.S and global economic conditions by Tony Villamil, former Undersecretary of Commerce for Economic Affairs and Chief Economist of the U.S. Department of Commerce. The day’s sessions will include customer-service strategies for the 21st century, business strategies for coping with the current energy crisis, anticipated changes to EPA regulations for marinas and boatyards, and a panel moderated by Liz Walz, senior editor of Boating Industry magazine, on service department best practices.

The final day of the show will feature an all-industry awards breakfast, a closing keynote from Bill Yeargin of Correct Craft Inc., and a tour of three marinas in southeast Florida.

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