Steve Sprole receives Mel Barr Award

LAS VEGAS – The National Marine Representatives Association (NMRA) recently honored Steve Sprole with the Mel Barr Award, it reported in a statement this week.

Established in the memory of marine rep Mel Barr, one of the founders of NMRA and its first president, the award recognizes an individual who has greatly contributed to the improvement of the industry. Liz Walz, senior editor of Boating Industry magazine, and NMRA president Tim Luehmann made the presentation during the 2008 Marine Aftermarket Accessories Trade Show (MAATS) Awards Reception.

Born into the industry, Sprole grew up on the East Coast racing sailboats with his parents and brother. As a teenager, he made his own sails and in 1970, he became a sailmaker for Hard Sails in Islip, N.Y., reported NMRA.

By 1978, he was working as general manger for the Boston-based company, Omega. Over the next decade, Sprole helped increase the manufacturer's market share. In 1988, he started working for Ritchie Navigation and today he is their vice president of sales and marketing.

Sprole’s long-time industry friends describe him as a loyal trooper, a sailor, a man willing to roll up his sleeves and a genuinely good guy, according to NMRA. Deeply involved, he has served on the NMMA board and various committees and has always been an advocate of independent reps.

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