The Waters Sports Industry Association (WSIA) announced Lee Gatts has joined the organization as its Director of Government Affairs. The WSIA is the towed water sports industry’s leading advocate, committed to preserving the vitality of water sports and activities into the future.
Before joining WSIA, Gatts served as Manager of Southeast Policy and Engagement at the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA). In his new role, Gatts will lead WSIA’s advocacy and grassroots activities throughout the United States.
"Lee has been instrumental in protecting the recreational boating industry, including towed water sports while at NMMA. He brings a deep understanding of our issues and a tremendous amount of government relations experience to the WSIA,” said Robert Oswell, president of WSIA. “He will be integral in supporting the WSIA’s activities developing best practices, maintaining waterway access rights, educating participants, promoting safety, and facilitating sustainable industry growth.”
“This is a bittersweet moment. While we will miss Lee and the tremendous level of professionalism and talent he carried throughout his NMMA tenure, we are very happy his next adventure is in the recreational boating industry,” said Frank Hugelmeyer, President of the National Marine Manufacturers Association. “Lee was instrumental in building out our regional advocacy apparatus and I have no doubt he will play a critical role at WSIA. We wish Lee the best of luck and are elated to continue working with him in his new role.”
During his time at NMMA, Gatts advanced and protected the association’s advocacy efforts, spearheading the protection of wakesurfing activities from harmful legislation in multiple states, enhancing boater safety and education throughout the southeast region, and protecting recreational boating and fishing access to the water.
“Lee is a fantastic fit for the WSIA,” said Jeff Husby, President & CEO of Watersports Central and Regal & Nautique of Orlando. “After working directly with Lee on some recent state issues, it is clear that his passion for watersports, knowledge of the marine industry, and drive will be instrumental in addressing the future needs of the WSIA.”
"It has been an incredible privilege to work alongside this smart, dynamic team committed to strengthening the recreational boating industry at NMMA," Gatts said. "I look forward to applying my experience and passion for towed water sports at the WSIA and preserving activities long into the future.”
A longtime Tennessee resident, Gatts also served as Field Director for former U.S. Senator Bob Corker (TN-R) working with state and local elected officials, business leaders, and constituents in Middle Tennessee.