ABYC announces Outstanding Technician winners

The American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) has announced the recipients of the 2024 Outstanding Technician Awards during the International Marine Service Technician Week, running from April 24–29. Sponsored by Yamaha, the awards were given to 10 technicians selected from over 130 nominations.

This year’s winners are BJ Benson from Viking Marine (WA), Ryan Coffin from Yarmouth Boat Yard (ME), Brian Ehlers from MarineMax Texas MasterCraft (TX), Sean Fabio from Gage Marine (WI), Thomas Huthmaker from Port Annapolis Marina (MD), Cliff Manlapaz from Diversified Marine Services (MD), Gregory Michael from Pinnacle Marine Group (FL), Tim Murphy from Kingman Yacht Center (MA), Jason Ustaszewski from Cape Marine Survey (FL), and Brian Vandeyacht from Irish Boat Show (MI).

A new category, New Achiever, recognizes newcomers to the industry who demonstrate outstanding potential and skills. This year’s New Achievers are Jack Truett from Truett Marine Services (MD) and Alex Harlow from Harborside Marina (CT).

The event, now in its third year, aims to highlight marine service professionals excelling in customer service, technical training and industry involvement. The winners receive a $100 VISA gift card and a technician prize pack.

Scroll down to read more about each of the 10 Outstanding Technician Winners:

BJ Benson – Viking Marine
BJ Benson received 12 nominations from colleagues and clients. His professionalism is evident in his extensive technical knowledge and his ability to collaborate effectively within the marine industry and with boat owners. His clients value his comprehensive understanding and his talent for educating on the intricacies of boat systems, enabling them to make informed and confident decisions.

Ryan Coffin – Yarmouth Boat Yard
Ryan Coffin holds multiple certifications including ABYC Gas Engine, Mercury Outboard and Volvo Gas/Diesel. Additionally, he is a U.S. Coast Guard certified captain. He earned his Yamaha Master Technician Certification in January 2023 and instructs at Southern Maine Community College.

Brian Ehlers – MarineMax Texas MasterCraft
Brian Ehlers, an MMI and ABYC Master Technician with specializations in electrical, corrosion and standards, is also a Master Mercruiser and outboard technician. He has training from leading marine technology brands such as Simrad, Garmin, Raymarine and Airmar. With over 10 years in the marine industry, Ehlers is distinguished by his unwavering commitment to safety and excellence, ensuring that every vessel he services adheres to the highest safety standards to protect both the vessel and its passengers.

Sean Fabio – Gage Marine
Sean Fabio has over 15 years in the marine industry and is the lead diagnostic technician at Gage Marine. He holds certifications in Mercruiser sterndrives, Mercury outboards, Yamaha outboards, Volvo Penta, Pavati Boats, Mastercraft Boats, Bennington Boats, Monterey Boats, Chris Craft Boats, Boston Whaler Boats. He also possesses advanced knowledge in Seakeeper Ride, Garmin, Simrad and Ray Marine Systems. Continuously expanding his expertise and staying current with the latest technologies, Fabio excels in the diagnosis and repair of complex marine electronics.

Thomas Huthmaker – Port Annapolis Marina 
Thomas Huthmaker is an ABYC Diesel Certified technician trained at the Annapolis School of Seamanship and Yamaha Tech. At Port Annapolis Marina, he is the preferred choice for all diesel engine maintenance and repairs, recognized for his meticulous work and exceeding customer expectations. His commitment to exemplary technical service and strong relationships sets a high standard of excellence.

Cliff Manlapaz – Diversified Marine Services
Cliff Manlapaz, an ABYC Master Tech with certifications in A/C Refrigeration, Systems and Electrical, as well as NMEA certifications, is known for his comprehensive expertise and approachable demeanor. Manlapaz prioritizes customer service and safety, meticulously understanding customer needs and the specifics of each boat to ensure solutions are accurate and effective on the first attempt.

Gregory Michael – Pinnacle Marine Group
Captain Gregory Michael received multiple nominations. A United States Coast Guard captain with over 30 years in the marine industry, he is an ABYC Master Technician and serves on the ABYC Technical Committee. Renowned for his exemplary work ethic, honesty and integrity, Michael shares his extensive knowledge and actively promotes boating safety.

Tim Murphy – Kingman Yacht Center
Tim Murphy, a certified technician in Zeus pod, Volvo IPS, Detroit and Caterpillar. He has additional training in Cummins, Yanmar and Volvo. Murphy excels in customer communication, ensuring clients understand and feel confident about repairs and costs. Known for resolving even the most obscure issues correctly on the first attempt, he is a trusted and dependable technician.

Jason Ustaszewski – Cape Marine Survey
Jason Ustaszewski is a highly qualified ABYC Certified Master Marine Technician with specializations in Gasoline, Corrosion and Standards, and holds additional certifications from Chapman’s School of Seamanship in Y&SC Surveying, Damage & Claims, and Marine Accident Investigation. He also boasts certifications from MMI Orlando as a Marine Technician Specialist, Mercruiser Merc-Tech and Watercraft Technician.

Brian Vandeyacht – Irish Boat Shop
Brian Vandeyacht, a certified ABYC Master Technician with additional certifications from Mercury, Yanmar, Hinckley and Raymarine, boasts 36 years of service at Irish Boat Shop. His extensive knowledge spans various technical disciplines, including electrical systems, diesel engines and marine electronics, enhanced by his sailing and ocean racing background. As a mentor to younger technicians, Vanderyacht’s guidance helps cultivate their skills to high standards.


New Achiever: Alex Harlow – Harborside Marina
Alex Harlow is the youngest full-time marine technician at Harborside Marina, boasting certifications in Yamaha Marine Technician, Yamaha Inline Engine Systems, Bennett Integrated Helm Control, NMEA Basic Marine Electronics Installer Training, and Volvo Penta Online Training Courses. In his tenure, Harlow has excelled in various key areas, including professional skill, mentorship, passion, positivity, and quality of work, demonstrating significant growth in his field.


New Achiever: Jack Truett – Truett Marine Services
Jack Truett, a Landing School graduate and ABYC Master Technician, has excelled in marine technology from a young age. Recently, Truett managed a $160K electrical refit on a Hatteras 53, earning high praise from the owner. His impressive credentials and outstanding technical, communication, and interpersonal skills make him a distinguished technician at just 21 years old.

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