The 2019 Innovation Awards, managed by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) and judged by Boating Writers International (BWI), will be presented at the International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition and Conference (IBEX) during the annual Industry Breakfast. The breakfast is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, October 1, 7:30 a.m. - 9:30 a.m. in the Grand Ballroom at the Tampa Waterside Marriott Hotel.
Each of the eight BWI judges comes to IBEX with different technical backgrounds and different boating experience. New products submitted to the IBEX Innovation Awards will be displayed along Innovation Way located on the second floor in the Rotunda at the Tampa Convention Center throughout the Show. Entries are currently being accepted through Friday, August 30.
Honoring achievement in product development in 16 areas of the marine industry, Innovation Awards categories include: Boat Care and Maintenance; Boatbuilding Methods and Materials; Boatyard and Marina Hardware and Software; Covering; Deck Equipment and Hardware; Electrical Systems; Entertainment; Furnishings and Interior Parts; Inboard Engines; Lighting; Mechanical Systems; OEM Electronics; Outboard Engines; Propulsion Parts, Propellers; Safety Equipment; Trailers, Parts and Trailer Accessories.
“Entries in the Innovation Awards epitomize the very definition of cutting-edge technology offered to the marine industry,” said Anne Dunbar, IBEX Show Director. “We are eager to see what the industry puts forward as its latest and greatest and are anxious to hear the judges' findings.”
The panel of judges for the 2019 IBEX Innovation Awards are:
- Alan Wendt (Chair): Past President of BWI, 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.
- Zuzana Prochazka (Co-Chair): A past President of BWI, writer and photographer who freelances for over two dozen boating and travel magazines. A USCG 100 Ton Master, Prochazka is the founder of Zescapes.com, a charter and flotilla organizer. She has served on the board of BWI for the past 12 years and heads up judging panels evaluating new boats and gear in the U.S. and abroad.
- Lenny Rudow: Writer and editor in the marine field for over two decades and has authored seven books. He is currently the Angler-in-Chief at Rudow's FishTalk Magazine, is Electronics and Fishing Editor for BoatUS Magazine, is a contributing editor to several other publications, and is a past President of BWI. He boats and fishes as often as possible on the Chesapeake Bay and in the Atlantic Ocean.
- Brady Kay: Executive Editor of Pontoon & Deck Boat and has been at the helm of this publication for nearly 20 years. During his tenure, Kay has tested and reviewed countless pontoon and deck boats, traveled to all 50 states for feature profiles, and has taken thousands of photos. He also currently oversees Houseboat and Great Lakes Boating, sister publications at Harris Publishing, and serves on the board of directors for BWI.
- Phil Gutowski: A marine journalist, onboard systems professional, and cruising sailor. His business, BoatRx, provides hands-on electrical and mechanical services for customers in Boston, Massachusetts.
- Andrew Adams: Managing Editor at consumer-focused Canadian Yachting Magazine published six times annually, and at the trade-focused Boating Industry Canada News Week electronic newsletter sent out 50 times a year. He graduated with a degree in Journalism from the University of Western Ontario. This year is his 15th anniversary as editor at Canadian Yachting.
- Capt. Barb Carey: President and Founder of WI Women Fish. She is an outdoor writer and a podcast host for the Woman Angler and Adventurer. As a member of AGLOW, Barb has won several awards for magazine writing, radio/podcast episodes, and blog contributions. She is a USGC Captain and guides on Lake Michigan and Wisconsin inland waters. She founded the Woman Ice Angler Project and has spent the last 14 years working to promote, teach, and mentor women in the fishing industry.
- Capt. Debbie Hanson: Freshwater fishing guide and award-winning outdoor writer living in Estero, Florida. Hanson's written work has appeared in publications such as USA Today, Hunt & Fish, and Florida Game & Fish Magazine. She is also a weekly contract blogger for TakeMeFishing.org.
“This panel of diverse judges are out on the water every week and bring keen hands-on insight based on the ever-changing technology and design improvements customers are demanding,” said Wendt.