The NMMA Foundation for Recreational Boating Safety, Education and Environmental Awareness announced that Bruce Van Wagoner, who recently announced his retirement as President-Marine Group of Wells Fargo, is the recipient of the 2021 Hammond Marine Industry Leadership Award. The award recognizes his extraordinary service, commitment and dedication to the long-term health of the recreational boating industry. Bruce will be honored this Thursday, April 22 during the American Boating Congress (ABC).
“I’m honored to present this year’s Hammond Marine Industry Leadership Award to Bruce Van Wagoner, a 45-year veteran of the recreational boating industry whose dedication and service helped us navigate through the industry’s toughest challenges and achieve financial stability and success,” said Ron Huibers, NMMA board member and treasurer, and former president and CEO, Volvo Penta of the Americas. “A true partner and friend to so many for generations, Bruce is the definition of loyalty and commitment, providing stability throughout his tenure – a backbone for our industry.”
“Under Bruce’s leadership, the recreational boating industry was provided a reliable financial partner through the best and worst of times. The Great Recession was a tough time for everyone in the marine industry, and Bruce helped so many navigate successfully through this period. With Bruce at the helm, the industry gained critical access to both reliable marine data and the economic forecast, which helped so many achieve greater success,” echoed Joan Maxwell, president, Regulator Boats and 2018 Hammond Award recipient. “Regulator and the recreational boating industry are forever grateful for Bruce’s time and commitment, energy and expertise, and we wish him well in retirement!”
Van Wagoner has served the marine industry for 45 years, most recently leading Wells Fargo’s Distribution Finance team. Van Wagoner announced his retirement from Wells Fargo this month. During his tenure with the company, Van Wagoner was a critical player in growing the robust marine lending team, which now serves thousands of dealers and manufacturers.
His experience includes working at GE Capital, ITT Commercial Finance and Deutsche Financial Services, Chrysler First Wholesale Credit, and Westinghouse Credit. He has served on many committees dedicated to marine industry improvement, including dealer and manufacturer councils and Grow Boating. He was recognized with the Marine Industry Service Award from the National Marine Bankers Association in 2008.
“I’m honored to receive the Hammond Marine Industry Leadership Award and share in the company of so many industry pioneers. I'm most proud and grateful for the relationships with our customers that have spanned decades,” said Van Wagoner. “With the help of many outstanding groups and leaders across the boating industry, we have seen a marked improvement in professionalism and prosperity, and I will treasure the successes of our dealers and manufacturers, and the friendships built along the way, forever.”
In 1997, Mr. Robert (Bob) Hammond, founder of Glastron Boats and a renowned industry pioneer, made a donation to the Foundation for Recreational Boating Safety, Education and Environmental Awareness to establish an annual award recognizing individuals who have helped grow and protect the industry through advocacy and demonstrated dedication to the long-term health of recreational boating – achieving greater sales, stopping unwanted government regulations or seeking needed government regulation, or otherwise helping and benefiting the entire marine industry as distinct from building one’s own. The Hammond Marine Industry Leadership Award was created and is presented annually during the American Boating Congress.
The NMMA Foundation for Recreational Boating Safety, Education and Environmental Awareness is dedicated to educating the public about important issues impacting the recreational boating industry. The NMMA Executive Committee who serve on the Foundation’s Board select the annual Hammond Award recipient – those individuals are currently Steve Heese (Chris Craft); Ron Huibers (Volvo Penta of the Americas, retired); Ned Trigg (Dometic); Doug Smoker (Smokercraft).