BRP manager named Woman of the Year

LAS VEGAS – Dawn Johnson, manager of dealer and consumer support and warranty for BRP U.S., was presented with the 2004 Darlene Briggs Woman of the Year Award on Thursday during a luncheon at the Marine Retailers Association of America annual convention in Las Vegas.

The Darlene Briggs Woman of the Year Award is presented each year to an outstanding woman in the marine industry who demonstrates leadership and commitment to the recreational marine industry. The recipients also must demonstrate a willingness to volunteer their time and effort in their communities and social organizations.

The award was established in 1987 in honor of Darlene Briggs of Wayzata Marine, who exemplified these qualities, serving as the first retail marine saleswoman in Minnesota and the first female member of her state marine trades association. It is sponsored by Boating Industry magazine, MRAA Spader 20 Group 103 and MRAA.

The award was presented to Johnson by the sponsors along with Joan Maxwell, president of Regulator Marine and last year’s award winner.

Johnson, who started out in the industry as a marine mechanic, worked her way up through several dealerships and a marine accessory firm before accepting a position at Outboard Marine Corp. After OMC went bankrupt, she was one of a handful of employees Bombardier decided to keep on staff when it acquired OMC’s outboard engine business.

Within the industry, Johnson has achieved many firsts for women, most notably in her role as a marine engine mechanic. Since then, she has served as a role model for her peers in the marine industry, graduating from the “back door of the dealership” to the “front door of an engine manufacturer.”

Johnson’s responsibilities at BRP now include managing the Johnson/Evinrude Dealer Network Technical Support and Warranty Departments, including managing the call center for dealers, OEM boat builders and government accounts as well as the consumer support center for all Johnson/Evinrude product in North America.

In the area of community involvement, Johnson serves as an officer of the Fox River Springs Community Association, as chairperson of Footlights Catholic Community Fundraising and once served as a crew member aboard the vessel “Neeva,” which assisted Exxon Oil Co. in marine life and animal survival during the Exxon-Valdez Alaskan oil spill in 1989.

In addition to Maxwell, other past recipients of the Darlene Briggs Award include: Lynn Fiorenzano of Silver Spring Marine; Kimberly Bors, vice president, people and process integration for Brunswick Boat Group and former president of Chris Craft; and Maureen Dickson, president of Cap Sante Marine of Anacortes, Wash.

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