Industry advocates gather in Michigan

Building on a successful year of state level advocacy, NMMA hosted its inaugural Michigan political fly-in last Wednesday, bringing top industry policy priorities directly to decisionmakers in the key boating state. Sixteen stakeholders from eleven organizations participated in the event at the state’s capitol, which featured panel discussions, issue presentations, and meetings with members of the state legislature.

NMMA vice president of state government relations, David Dickerson kicked off the Michigan fly-in by providing attendees with an overview of NMMA’s state advocacy efforts and critical issues the industry is facing in Michigan and across the country, including workforce development challenges, engaging Michigan’s new Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry, and stopping and reversing the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS). With workforce shortages representing a major concern for marine manufacturers, NMMA invited Doug Ross, Senior Advisor for Michigan Prosperity and to Governor Gretchen Whitmer, to speak about the problem and provide updates on what the administration is working on to bridge the employment gap.

Following the workforce discussion, attendees engaged in panel discussions on two additional key industry topics: Partnering with the Michigan Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry and managing AIS.

Participants on the outdoor recreation panel included newly appointed Michigan Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry Director Brad Garmon, Patti Smith of Silver Spray Sports and member of the Outdoor Recreation Advisory Council, and Jill Sims, NMMA manager of Great Lakes policy and engagement. Garmon discussed his commitment to promoting the outdoor recreation industry as a backbone of the state’s economy and working with manufacturers to tackle challenges like workforce development.

The AIS discussion featured Jeff Zuercher from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Jill Wingfield of Great Lakes Fishery Commission. Zuercher provided attendees with an update on the Brandon Road project, while Wingfield focused on managing a range of AIS in the region, such as sea lamprey, mussels, and carp.

Senator Curt Vanderwall (R-MI-35) delivered keynote remarks during the working lunch session, where he discussed his personal connection to the industry and highlighted the importance of manufacturing in Michigan.

With the educational briefings under their belts, fly in participants headed to the Capitol for an intense schedule of visits with elected officials. During the afternoon session, attendees met with 12 legislators and staffers from across the state of Michigan and delivered the industry’s positions on each key policy priority.

Michigan was NMMA’s second state level advocacy fly in this year – following Florida in March – and the association said it looks forward to expanding these events in the following years.

For more information, please contact NMMA vice president of state government relations, David Dickerson at, NMMA director of state government relations, Libby Yranski at, or NMMA Great Lakes policy and engagement manager, Jill Sims at

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