NMMA President Thom Dammrich announces retirement, named 2018 Hall of Fame recipient

The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) announced today the recipient of the 2018 Hall of Fame Award is NMMA President Thom Dammrich.

Dammrich, who has nearly 20 years at the helm of the NMMA, will be inducted into the NMMA Hall of Fame – the association’s most prestigious recognition – during the International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition & Conference (IBEX) annual Industry Breakfast Tuesday, Oct. 2.

On Sep. 30, 2019, Dammrich will retire as president of NMMA. His successor will start at the association on July 1, 2019, and assume the role of president, Oct. 1.

A search committee made up of NMMA board members will hire a search firm this fall and begin the process of identifying Dammrich’s successor in early 2019. 

“There isn’t anyone in the past 20 years who has done more to unite the marine industry than Thom Dammrich. He conducts himself with an exceptional level of integrity, and his tireless, passionate advocacy and promotion of the NMMA and the entire marine industry has helped us to grow and prosper, and positioned the industry for success well into the future,” said Joan Maxwell, president of Regulator Marine and member of NMMA’s executive committee and board of directors. “I am deeply honored and lucky to have worked alongside Thom through the course of my career and proud to announce his induction into the NMMA Hall of Fame during IBEX.”

Kris Carroll, president of Grady-White Boats echoed, “I am deeply grateful for Thom’s leadership and the generous effort he has given to the marine industry during his years as president of NMMA.  His exceptional character, strength and grace have been a consistent influence as he’s led the industry through some of the most challenging times in our history. He has established a powerfully united voice for our industry that will continue to be the foundation of our success in the years to come.”

From the beginning of his tenure at NMMA, Dammrich recognized that collaborating across recreational boating as well as the broader outdoor community would be critical to the industry’s success.

He created a united voice in both the legislative and economic arenas and has positioned recreational boating as a leader. He has championed the American Boating Congress to help ensure the industry’s voice is heard on Capitol Hill and he’s built important relationships for the  industry across the globe.

Dammrich personally serves on numerous boards and has encouraged and supported NMMA staff leadership to serve on more than 20 boards.

Dammrich also worked to unite the industry around market expansion through the industry-wide Discover Boating marketing campaign; and spearheaded an initiative to address the need for outreach to more diverse audiences to develop the next generation of boaters.

What’s more, Dammrich spurred NMMA members to improve the quality and safety of boats and overall customer satisfaction by rallying support around the development and implementation of NMMA Boat and Yacht Certification and Marine Industry Certified Dealer programs.

“Thom’s leadership at NMMA has helped the industry navigate economic, market and social challenges. He has been the voice both across our industry and outside of it, bringing together a fragmented industry at a critical time,” noted Mark Schwabero, chairman and CEO of Brunswick Corp. “We should not forget his role in facilitating improved product safety and customer satisfaction through industry and dealer certification efforts.”

With Dammrich at the helm, NMMA secured the position as the world’s largest producer of boat and sport shows, providing exceptional sales and marketing venues for exhibitors, as well as building awareness and interest in recreational boating among the public.

Dammrich guided efforts to bring back a unified marine industry trade event with a merger between NMMA’s Boatbuilding trade show and Professional Boat Builder’s IBEX, which is now the largest technical marine event in North America.

Most recently, he created a strategic partnership for IBEX with the RAI Amsterdam, opening the show to a global audience of marine professionals.

Dammrich also guided the NMMA, its members, and staff through the highly complex and political move of the Miami Boat Show from Miami Beach to Virginia Key in 2016 in less than 12 months. 

Bill Watters, president of Syntec Industries.

“I first saw Thom’s business and negotiation skills when we were relocating the Miami International Boat Show,” said Bill Watters, president of Syntec Industries. “NMMA had everything on the line in finding the right place and were hit with a number of obstacles. We were facing what seemed like unsurmountable odds where most people in Thom’s position would have thrown up their hands and run. It was here that Thom taught me what “all-in” meant; not only was NMMA all-in, but so was Thom. His level of performance, dedication, and professionalism brought us from the edge of loss to making the Miami International Boat Show into one of the top shows in the world.”

With his steady hand and “all-in” approach during the Great Recession, Dammrich led the NMMA through fiscal challenges by realigning the association’s work and streamlining programs and operations, while retaining its top talent to serve the industry during one of its greatest times of need.

Watters noted that Dammrich navigated NMMA through the recession when the industry was at rock bottom.

“As the old Swedish proverb says, ‘Rough waters are the truer tests of leadership. In calm water every ship has a good captain.’ Thom has represented our industry well, and his leadership skills have brought NMMA and the industry to where we are today,” Watters said. “We all hope the best is yet to come for Thom personally and for the industry and organization that bears his influence.”

The IBEX Industry Breakfast – a ticketed and sold out event – takes place from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30a.m Tuesday; doors open at 7 a.m. 

The NMMA Hall of Fame was established in 1988 and recognizes individuals who have made, or continue to generate, substantial and lasting contributions toward the advancement of the marine industry. It honors individuals whose names and deeds are synonymous with the pursuit of quality, innovation, and perfection within their respective spheres of expertise. 

To learn more about past NMMA Hall of Fame inductees, visit the NMMA Industry Awards page.

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