The Rhode Island Marine Trades Association (RIMTA) announced the recipients of its Rising Tide and Rising Star Awards. At RIMTA’s 55th Annual Meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 11th, the second-ever Rising Tide Award was presented to Steve Prime and the inaugural RIMTAFuture Rising Star Award was awarded to Evan Ridley.
The J. Michael Keyworth Rising Tide Award is a meritorious honor presented by RIMTA to an individual who has effected positive and lasting change for the Rhode Island marine industry as a whole, a person whose efforts embody the phrase, “A rising tide lifts all boats.”
The award was first given in 2015 to industry veteran Michael Keyworth, who presented the award to Prime. Recently retired as vice president at Gowrie Group, New England’s premier independent insurance agency, Prime is known to his colleagues and friends as the unofficial “Mayor of Newport.” He has worked in and around the marine industry his entire career at such notable places as North Sails, Pierson Yachts, the Newport Yachting Center and Gowrie Group.
“Thank you RIMTA board and staff for this recognition and award. I am truly thankful,” said Prime. “I want to thank the many people whom I’ve had the pleasure of doing business with over the course of my 49 year career, as well as those I had the pleasure of working with during my tenure on the RIMTA Board. They were all patient with me and my occasional outside the box thinking. I also want to thank my family, particularly my wife, for putting up with the late nights and travel spent following my passion – the marine business we are all so passionate about.”
The RIMTAFuture Rising Star Award is a meritorious award presented to a young professional who has made extraordinary contributions to support the growth and development of the Rhode Island marine industry, and through their efforts, has demonstrated the qualities of a leader.
It was presented to Ridley by the Director of the Rhode Island Sea Grant, Dennis Nixon. Over the last two years, Ridley, Environmental Project Director for RIMTA, has worked to create a foundation of research and collaborative, multi-industry discourse that can support the development of sustainable management solutions for end-of-life vessels and other composite material products. These efforts began during his time as a graduate research assistant for the Rhode Island Sea Grant Program. Since completing his Master’s Degree in Marine Affairs at the University of Rhode Island in 2017, he has traveled to observe boat recycling and cement kiln co-processing activities across Europe and the United States, engaged with stakeholders on critical strategic development issues and established the primary network model for the Rhode Island Fiberglass Vessel Recycling Pilot Program.
Under the guidance of RIMTA, RIMTAFuture is a group of early to mid-career marine professionals uniting to encourage active engagement in the marine trades while developing future industry leaders.
“Thank you, I am really humbled,” said Ridley. “A rising tide really does lift all boats. To be a part of the team at RIMTA is a tremendous honor and I want to recognize all the folks that have helped make this possible. I have had the opportunity to have conversations with people both around the country and around the world about what needs to still be done to help lift this industry beyond some of the challenges we face. It’s really remarkable to look back at Rhode Island and how far ahead we are and how many people are looking at us as a leading force. To be a part of that is tremendous.”