MRAA names Don Galey as first Lifetime Achievement recipient

The Marine Retailers Association of the Americas announced today that it has selected Don Galey of Galey’s Marine in Bakersfield, Calif., as the recipient of the organization’s inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award.

With more than 62 years working in the marine industry, Don grew up in his parents’ appliance, boat, and motorcycle store and worked there through high school and college.

Upon graduation, he purchased the business and soon thereafter eliminated appliances and motorcycles from the company’s offerings, renaming the company Galey’s Marine Supply, Inc.

Galey, who was noted by several colleagues as one of the most respected marine dealers, led the evolution of several major milestones within the industry, including the creation of the MRAA, the launch of Spader Business Management/MRAA 20 Groups, and the introduction of floorplan financing for marine dealers.

He served as a board member and chairman of both the MRAA and the Southern California Marine Dealer Association. He sat on numerous manufacturers’ advisory boards, and he found time to chair local organizations, including the Better Business Bureau, Bakersfield College Alumni Association and Ducks Unlimited.

“Don Galey’s name has been synonymous with leadership in the marine industry, beyond just the dealership level, for decades,” said Matt Gruhn, President of MRAA. “Don has been a leader for the MRAA, for the boat brands and other partners he represents, for his community, and for his dealer colleagues across North America. He epitomizes the type of individual MRAA seeks to recognize with this Lifetime Achievement Award, and it’s an honor for us to be able to hold him up and celebrate his numerous incredible contributions to our industry.”

At 81 years old, Galey still works alongside his son and grandsons on a daily basis, at Galey’s Marine. He remains a member of a Spader 20 Group, stays connected with lifelong friends made in the marine industry, and still gives back to his community, currently as the chairman of Union Cemetery, the oldest operating cemetery in California.

“Wow! What an honor,” Galey said. “Time passes so quickly. It seems like just yesterday when I graduated from college and bought the business from my parents. I have many fond memories of the original six dealers working to create MRAA and the hurdles that we had to overcome. It makes me very proud to see the incredible growth fueled by Matt and his crew. Thank you to MRAA, the dealers, and manufacturers that add their passion to the recreational boating industry. MRAA’s Lifetime Achievement Award will hold a special place in my heart.”

The MRAA Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented at the MRAA Opening Night Awards Celebration, as part of the upcoming Marine Dealer Conference & Expo, on Sunday, Dec. 10 at 6 p.m. MDCE is co-produced by MRAA and Boating Industry magazine, and features Educational Tracks, Pre-Conference Workshops, Opening and Closing Keynote Presentations, and Learning Labs. 

Anyone registered and attending the MDCE is welcomed to join the celebration in honoring Galey and the other award and scholarship recipients. 

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