Marine Trades Association of New Jersey gearing up for biennial conference and expo

The Marine Trades Association of New Jersey (MTA/NJ) will host its biennial Conference and Expo on Thursday, March 14 at The Mainland at Holiday Inn in Manahawkin, N.J. This unique educational opportunity is geared specifically toward marine businesses in N.J. The diverse, informative, and interactive schedule of presentations will provide attendees with new opportunities and ways to manage their business more effectively for growth and prosperity.

According to Melissa Danko, MTA/NJ Executive Director, holding the event every two years helps the organization assess and prioritize the most critical issues and current topics to include on the agenda.

“We have put together a great line up of speakers that will not only inspire and motivate everyone that comes but provide a greater understanding of the issues and challenges impacting our industry and what the Association is doing to address them.” Danko added, “This event will provide new information, tips and tools that will be extremely valuable to everyone that attends.”

The boating industry’s two national Association leaders, Thom Dammrich of NMMA and Matt Gruhn of MRAA will kick off the conference with a “State of the Industry Presentation and its Outlook for the Future”. Matt Gruhn will also lead attendees through his popular String Exercise entitled “Improving the Customer Experience”. This insightful and interactive presentation will help narrow in on how businesses can improve the customer experience.

Industry updates will seamlessly transition into motivation and leadership with a presentation from Workshop Leader Jim Million, a Professional Speaker, Trainer and Writer who specializes in Personal Development, Attitude, Motivation and Inspiration. Jim has over 40 years’ experience in educational development and, is one of the most sought-after instructors in the country because of his unique style of delivery and his creative ability to communicate from the heart. Jim will be inspiring attendees with his “There is an I in Team” Presentation where you will experience how, you as the leader, are the multiplying factor in the success of any team.

Representatives from Cooper Levenson will be covering the top legal issues and recent changes to laws impacting marine business such as Paid Leave, Impacts to Seasonal Employees and Minimum Wage.

Additional legal topics will include Legal Ways to Help Get Paid; the Benefits and Risks of Having Employee Handbooks and how separate topic, stand-alone written policies might benefit smaller businesses.

The popular State Slate presentations will include a Legislative Update from Rob Nixon of State House Strategies on the new Administration and what will impact the boating industry, a Waterways and Dredging Update by NJDOT and the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway Association. Also, on the agenda is a 2019 Recreational Fisheries Update from the Recreational Fishing Alliance and a presentation on Workforce Development detailing how the MTA/NJ, along with the American Boat & Yacht Council (ABYC) is working to address our shortage of skilled laborers. Click here for the full conference agenda.

The Conference will wrap up with a Q & A Open Session where participants will have the opportunity to discuss and exchange information and ideas with each other on the most pressing issues facing their businesses today.

The MTA/NJ has again arranged for a number of Q & A resource and help desks to be available during the conference. Participants can bring questions along with facility plans and meet with representatives from state agencies and other organizations for assistance with permits, applications, grant funding, taxes and other marine industry programs.

Registration is open and the cost to attend is $150 for MTA/NJ members and $250 for Non-Members. Sponsorship opportunities are still available. For more information about the conference or to register to attend, contact the MTA/NJ Office at (732) 292-1051; or visit

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