More than 650 marine industry professional packed into the Industry Breakfast and Awards Ceremony to start the 24th Annual International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition & Conference (IBEX), running at the Tampa Convention Center this week. In addition to a dynamic presentation by NCAA Division 1 Head Coach Bob Knight as well as the State of the Industry address by Thom Dammrich, President of the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), there were several important industry awards presented.
“We are thrilled to be here in Tampa for the first time and feel the energy and excitement from the attendees and exhibitors as we kick off this year’s IBEX event,” said Anne Dunbar, Show Director. “With a sold out show floor featuring 573 exhibiting companies, and over 7,000 marine professionals registered to attend, thousands of new and innovative products are being offered on the show floor, and over 55 technical seminars, the next three days will certainly inspire and educate boatbuilding professionals from around the country.”
During the Industry Breakfast several awards were presented, including:
• The Exhibitor Video Awards, or EVAs, honoring the best product and company videos submitted by IBEX exhibitors.
o The Best Company Video Award was presented to Marinco/Mastervolt
o The Best Product Video Award was presented to SeaStar Solutions
o The People’s Choice Award was presented to SeaStar Solutions
• The Boating Industry Mover & Shaker of the Year was presented to Jim Lane, President and Buck Pegg, Founder of Chaparral Boats and Robalo who have both embraced change and adapted to today’s radically different boating industry.
• The Mel Barr Award which honors an individual who has contributed to the improvement of the marine industry through personal involvement was presented to Zach McLanahan, After Market Sales Manager at T-H Marine Supplies.
During the breakfast the NMMA also presented the IBEX Innovation Awards acknowledging the importance of technological advancements in the marine industry and the Marine Industry Customer Satisfaction Index Awards. For a complete list of winners, visit www.nmma.org.
Thom Dammrich, president of the NMMA presented the State of the Industry address and provided key facts including: Recreational boating in the US is a $36.7 billion industry and creates 338,526 marine industry jobs (manufacturing, dealers/wholesalers, services) at 34,833 marine industry businesses. According to the 2014 Outlook, Newest Data (June 2014) – Recreational Boating in the US, the NMMA is anticipating continued steady growth this year with a 5-7% increase in new powerboat sales.
Following the awards breakfast attendees walked the aisles of the vast exhibit hall where they had the chance to see many exciting new features including The Connected Boat, showcasing a variety of systems interconnected using existing network technology; the 3D Digital Workshop, providing ongoing demonstrations of 3D printing and scanning technologies applicable to the marine industry; the Material ConneXion, providing direct access to the world’s largest resource for advanced, innovative, and sustainable materials and processes; and the IBEX Docks, showcasing live demos, new products and technology on the water. The exhibit hall will be open from 10 am – 6 pm Tuesday, September 30th and Wednesday, October 1st and from 10 am – 3 pm on Thursday, October 2nd.
Attendees and exhibitors will have the opportunity to network for a good cause tonight at the IBEX Opening Night “Party for a Purpose,” sponsored by the NMMA’s Accessory Manufacturers Division (AMD) Board of Directors. The evening will include live music, drink specials, cigar rolling, and a food truck rally featuring Tampa’s best cuisine on wheels, while attendees learn about important advocacy work being done on behalf of the boating industry.