Pre-conference workshops return to 2014 MDCE

MINNEAPOLIS — After a successful launch in 2013, organizers of the Marine Dealer Conference & Expo will bring back its Pre-Conference Workshops for the 2014 event, scheduled for Nov. 16-19 in Orlando, Fla. The workshops give marine retailers access to hands-on training with leading experts in areas that have the biggest impact on their future success.

The 2014 MDCE will feature seven Pre-Conference Workshops, scheduled for the morning of Monday, Nov. 17. Attendees have the option to take in either a single, three-hour workshop or up to two, one-and-a-half-hour workshops.

“Attendance at last year’s workshops exceeded our expectations,” says Liz Walz, director of education for the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas, which produces the annual event in partnership with Boating Industry. “Many rooms were chock full of attendees, and we expect some will sell out this year. The Pre-Conference Workshops offer value MDCE attendees won’t find in the individual educational track sessions. Attendees are led down the path of building new processes, plans and strategies that translate into real results when they are implemented back at the dealership.”

In 2014, workshop topics will include leadership, sales, marketing, social media, succession planning, video production and editing, and the service department. Each workshop will feature takeaways (job descriptions, workbooks/guidebooks, report cards, tip sheets, etc.) to help attendees implement what they learned in the pre-conference sessions without delay upon returning to their respective dealerships.

“The Pre-Conference Workshops are unique in that these are small-group sessions, designed to encourage maximum participation between attendees and speakers in a hands-on, classroom-type setting,” says Boating Industry editor-in-chief Jonathan Sweet. “Because attendees leave each workshop with tangible worksheets and the like, it’s easy for them to incorporate what they learned into the fabric of their daily operations. The Pre-Conference Workshops are an excellent value for anyone looking to make the most out of his or her MDCE experience.”

Pre-Conference Workshop seating is limited and is available on a first come, first serve basis. A separate registration and additional fee is required to attend these workshops. MRAA members may attend each three-hour session for $135; the non-MRAA member price is $175. One-and-a-half-hour sessions are $99 for MRAA members and $129 for non-MRAA members.

The 2014 MDCE will offer 30 core educational sessions in all, the most the event has ever offered, including the workshops. The conference has traditionally included three educational tracks, but in 2014 the educational programming has expanded for a total of four tracks: Leadership, Sales, Marketing and Service Plus. A Closing Keynote address also has been added for the first time this year.

The MDCE is scheduled for Nov. 16-19 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla. It has attracted an increasing number of dealers every year since 2007. In 2013, MDCE featured double-digit growth in dealer attendance, and MRAA’s goal is to grow the event to more than 1,000 dealer attendees.

To learn more about the upcoming MDCE or to register for the event, visit

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