• MRAA

Q&A with our MTAs

We are so lucky to have 14 MTA partners who will be our Dealer Week Co-Hosts. The following MTA's participated in a Q&A so you could hear why they chose to participate in Dealer Week and give an update on what's happening on a local level in their organization.


Kathleen Burns, Connecticut Marine Trades Association

What’s the value of being a part of a local, state and national association?

Our saying here at CMTA is Stronger Together. And while the association is a collection of “competitive colleagues” our hopes, goals and dreams are all aligned. Our industry succeeds when the business environment is favorable. When there are those activities that can be harmful to that environment we must stand up as one voice to address those and I think that is the single greatest value in membership. That we can join together as collegial colleagues and address that which will hurt us all. When we succeed, we all succeed.

As a local MTA, why did you feel it was important to participate in Dealer Week?

We all have a tendency to hunker down with our own challenges and things to do. We risk getting lost in the weeds. Stepping out of that day to day – to see what’s going on in the “bigger picture” is essential to bringing vision and knowledge to our community. I also think we should always be striving to better understand the challenges our members face, our dealers, and to help them by providing information and pathways to help grow their business. This is a very important value-add for our membership.

What are you most excited about for Dealer Week this December?

We retooled and relocated our Boat Show last year. Very challenging and yet very rewarding. It was the right move at the right time. I think I’m most interested in seeing the new format, new location and the new vision this retooled event will be. I am excited about the integration of the MTA’s taking on a different role….giving us a purpose to be there. Also as Chairman of ACMA, I recently had a conversation with new Government Relations Manager Adam Fortier-Brown and we’ve also retooling ACMA – bringing a little more time and breathe to properly dig deep into state’s concerns to provide greater vision in advocacy to the MRAA Board.

What do you have coming up at the local level that your association is working on?

In 2018 we successfully lobbied - reducing sales tax on boats, motors and trailers by more than half (6.35% to 2.99%). It was challenged along with very important sales tax exemptions on labor, trade-in credit and winter storage last year by the new incoming Governor and legislature. While we successfully upheld both the tax rate and exemptions, we know there are those that want to come after it again. CMTA is collecting data to illustrate the sales tax success. Secondly, workforce and training development is a paramount effort working with the state, separate private organizations, Labor and Education to address this for the long term. Environmentally, we’re monitoring the draft Blue Plan which addresses inventory uses and spatial planning of Long Island Sound. The draft version will be in from of legislators in 2020. CMTA formed a Task Force to address the concerns of the regulated community and incorporated several changes into this draft. Where it goes from here is being followed very closely.


John Good

South West Florida Marine Industries Association

What’s the value of being a part of a local, state and national association?

We are asked this question very frequently and while the answer is simple, it is tough to get many business owners to understand that there is strength in numbers when dealing with legislators and governments and that associations are constantly working to protect the marine industry on levels that individual businesses cannot. In our case, with annual dues of only $225.00, we also offer many tangible benefits including boat show discounts, directory listings in our popular consumer web site goboatingflorida.com, and regular communications to our members.

As a local MTA, why did you feel it was important to participate in Dealer Week?

As an association, we have an obligation to communicate to our members and keep them informed about developments within the marine industry. Events like Dealer Week offer the opportunity for businesses to improve their operations and growth potential and provides our association another opportunity to help our members grow their businesses.

What are you most excited about for Dealer Week this December?

We look forward to the opportunity to learn from and listen to the many industry leader we will have the opportunity meet and talk with.

What do you have coming up at the local level that your association is working on?

  • We are in the middle of boat show season with one in January and one in March.

  • Water Quality Issues are near the top of our agenda. We are helping to fund an economic impact study conducted by the University of Florida on the effects last summer’s Harmful Algae Bloom had on the marine industry and other leisure sectors.

  • There are two Tallahassee Legislative Days upcoming, NMMA in November and the MIAF in January.

  • We are continuing to develop our tool grant program with local marine trade schools.


Wendy Mackie

Rhode Island Marine Trades Association

What’s the value of being a part of a local, state and national association?

Consistency of messaging for lobbying, workforce development and other common ground issues/programs; sharing best practices; expanded network; many hands make for lighter work; professionalism; ongoing professional development and relevant communication; business to business contacts and networking; social time with like-minded individuals

As a local MTA, why did you feel it was important to participate in Dealer Week?

MRAA does a great job with showcasing ways to improve...your business, your team, your product representation, your service, etc. The programming at Dealer Week helps turn companies from good to great. The programming is relevant, current and presented in engaging ways. The followup that MRAA provides its attendees and members helps to keep them on track through out the year.

What are you most excited about for Dealer Week this December?

I am always excited to see my colleagues from around the country and to network with the people/companies that attend.


Kelly Kaylor

National Marine Manufacturers Association

What’s the importance of association work in the marine industry?

The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) supports the recreational boating industry through efforts to promote boating to the consumer and protects our members, their dealer sales and service networks, marinas and other industry stakeholders so they are able to thrive and provide boaters with the types of experiences they seek.

Why did you feel it was important to participate in Dealer Week?

The recreational boating industry is an ecosystem and when dealers succeed, the entire industry succeeds. Dealer Week’s line-up of robust educational sessions, resources and tools offered at this year’s conference are designed to support dealers and, ultimately, help the entire recreational boating industry grow.

What are you most excited about for Dealer Week this December?

The educational line-up is outstanding – a nice mix of experts from inside and outside the boating industry. The Educational Pathways (focused on Dealer, Customer and Employee) and led by expert trainers David Spader, Sam Dantzler and Jim Million sound like a “can’t miss” at this year’s event.

What do you have coming up that is exciting?

Winter boat show season is quickly approaching with 16 NMMA boat and sport shows happening between January and April. Don’t forget to visit the Grow Boating booth at Dealer Week to learn more about the exciting research, resources and marketing initiatives in the works to bring more people into the boating. Check out the first-time boat buyer dealer resources on GrowBoating.org. Save the date for the American Boating Congress in Washington, D.C. May 12-14, 2020, to learn about our industry’s important advocacy priorities. And, consider signing up to receive NMMA Currents, NMMA’s daily e-newsletter for the latest boating news and updates for industry stakeholders.


Check out the full list of all 14 MTA Co-Hosts here.

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