Minneapolis Boat Show Innovation Awards judges announced

The National Marine Manufacturers Association and Boating Writers International (BWI) have announced the panel of judges who will evaluate product entries across three boating categories for the second annual Progressive Insurance Minneapolis Boat Show Innovation Awards.

The 2019 Innovation Award winners will be announced Wednesday, Jan.23, during the boat show’s “Sneak Peek” evening.

The Innovation Awards honor manufacturers and suppliers who bring new, innovative products for the boating industry to market in the following categories: Aluminum fishing boats, fiberglass fishing boats and pontoon boats.

Products will be on display throughout the show Jan. 24-27 at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

The Innovation Awards judges’ committee is comprised of three BWI members who perform product testing throughout the year and have specific expertise in marine products and equipment.

The judges’ committee is chaired by Alan Wendt. Judges for the 2019 Minneapolis Boat Show Innovation Awards are:  

Alan Wendt (Chair): Past President of Boating Writers International, Wendt does new product testing for Lakeland Boating. A journalist in print, radio, TV and online for more than 40 years, he has served as a judge for NMMA’s Innovation Awards since 2001.

Bill Gius: Gius has been in the marine industry for over three decades.  He has worked in marketing at Pabst Brewing, Mercury Marine, Kohler Company, Turning Point Propellers and iboats.com. He owns “Country Consulting,” a marine industry consulting firm and works with Great Lakes Marine Marketing, a long-standing, mid-west manufacturers rep company. Bill is a contributing writer to Pontoon & Deck Boat Magazine and Great Lakes Boating Magazine. 

Brady Kay: As the executive editor of Pontoon & Deck Boat, Houseboat and Great Lakes Boating magazines, Kay has been writing and photographing all types of boats for nearly 20 years. He is currently on the Boating Writers International board of directors and has served on the judging panel for the NMMA Innovation Awards multiple times. Kay has also earned writing and photography awards from Apex Awards for Publication Excellence as well as BWI.

For general questions about the Innovation Awards, please contact Rachel Harmon at rharmon@nmma.org. 

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