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ABBRA Boatyard Business Conference

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Date(s) - Jan 21, 2015 - Jan 23, 2015
All Day

Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty-Six


The American Boat Builders & Repairers Association (ABBRA) announces its line-up of topics and speakers for the 2015 ABBRA Boatyard Business Conference.  The event, which focuses strictly on issues important toboatyards, boat builders and marine service/repair businesses, will take place January 21 – 23, 2015, at the Hyatt Pier 66 Resort in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and will offer conference participants a venue to hear updates on opportunities and challenges facing theboatyard/boatbuilding marine industry sector.

Registration is now open.  Register before December 1st to receive early-bird rates of $349 for members and $449 for non-members.  After December 1st rates will increase to $399 for members and $499 for non-members.

The program will combine interactive sessions with experienced industry leaders, industry partners, and leading non-industry experts with breakout roundtable sessions, and several networking and business-to-business events.

The conference is entitled “Taking the Lead: Setting Service Standards and Achieving Business Stability” and speakers will offer general session presentations on the following:

  • Peter Johnstone, CEO & Founder, Gunboat – Day 1 Keynote Presentation
  • Jim McManus, CEO, The Hinckley Company – Day 2 Keynote Presentation
  • Kevin Hutchinson, Founder & CEO, My-Villages, Inc. – “Extending the Enterprise Via Technology”
  • Kellie Crete, Safety & Loss Control Manager, Gowrie Group – Safety and Environmental Update

Breakout roundtables will focus on two different business tracks that will span both days of the conference: Owners and General Management, and Service Managers and Operations.  Speakers and Panelists will offer breakout presentations on the following:

Owners & General Management

  • Alan Gurski, President & CEO, Gougeon Brothers, Inc.; Adi Rappoport, Attorney, Gunster; and Jim Bronstein, Principal, Marine Business Advisors – “Sustainable Business Models and Options for the Future of the Marine Industry SmallBusiness” Moderated by Keith Hart, Principal, Cotswold Ventures
  • Tim Wilson, Principal, Business Development Concepts – “Proven Strategies & Practices for Building Your Brand & Developing Customer Loyalty” and “The Cost vs. Benefit of Outsourcing Important Business Functions: Knowing when to do it yourself, or when to hire a professional/consultant”

Service Managers & Operations

  • Wendy Mackie, President, Rhode Island Marine Trades Association;  Holly Ashton, Industry Relations Coordinator, International Yacht Restoration School; and John Hall, CMM, Owner & President, Frank Hall Boatyard – “Facing the Challenges of an Aging Workforce & Creating Opportunities to Engage the Next Generation of Boatbuilders & Repairers”
  • Kirk Ritter, Service Manager, Morris Yachts – “Service Managers 101 – Making the Leap from Successful Tech to Team Leader/Manager”
  • Adam J. Phillips, AAI  and Jay M. Frechette, Account Executives, Starkweather & Shepley – “Subcontractors and Certificates of Insurance: What You Need to Know and Why You Need to Know It!”

This year ABBRA is also offering an optional waterway boatyard tour down the Intracoastal Waterway in Broward County hosted by Phil Purcell, Executive Director of Marine Industries Association of South Florida.  Participants will learn what makes this region such an economic engine and learn about the South Florida’s recreational marine trade association’s efforts and initiatives to take a leading role, face challenges and implement strategies for stability and growth.

The ABBRA Boatyard Business Conference is made possible through the support of Presenting Sponsors Starkweather & Shepley and Great American Insurance Company – Ocean Marine Division. Additional sponsors include American Boat & Yacht Council (ABYC), My-Villages, Mirka Abrasives, Marine Travelift, Akzonobel, Lumishore USA, Sea-Land Insurance, International Boatlift Exchange, and Dr. Shrink, Inc.

For additional information on the conference or for registration please visit or contact Gordon Connell or Nicole Hoekstra at 954-654-7821.

About American Boat Builders & Repairers Association (ABBRA)

Founded in 1943, ABBRA is a national marine trade organization that represents, is dedicated to, and seeks to strengthen and encourage professionalism in the boat building, boat repair, and marine service industry.

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