“Hard work ahead” for boating stakeholders
CHICAGO – The National Marine Manufacturers Association hosted a recreational marine summit last week that brought together 160 marine industry leaders to discuss how the industry can grow in 2012. Boating Industry followed up with NMMA President Thom Dammrich to gather some insight about the summit’s goals and outcomes.
Who dreamed up the idea for the summit?
There is no single person.
What were your top objectives going into the summit?
My goal was to assemble the broadest group of boating stakeholders, identify what we might do collectively to get more people boating and gain a commitment to next steps.
Were they accomplished? Please explain.
Yes. I would be hard pressed to think of a stakeholder group that was not represented. We achieved consensus that 1) we need to break down silos and have all segments work collectively to grow participation, 2) we identified four vision themes to achieve for boating by 2021, 3) we identified a number of potential actions stakeholders could coalesce around, and 4) we received commitments to establish a method to get all sectors working together to further flesh out the potential action items. Everyone agreed to go back to their constituents and obtain support for a sustained effort to grow participation through industry cooperation and collaboration.
You were successful at pulling together stakeholders from across the boating business and boating community. Why did the summit concept resonate so well?
No segment of the industry and no consumer organization has been spared the trends that are adversely impacting the industry. There is recognition that no one can change the trajectory of the industry alone. Never has this diverse a group of stakeholders been assembled. There is a genuine realization that we will either hang together to reverse these trends or we will surely hang separately.
Why is now the right time for it?
We can’t get started soon enough.
Many people expressed a desire for a concrete action plan with measurable objectives to come out of the summit. How do we get from here to there?
In my opinion, that would have been great, but was not realistic given we were bringing the most diverse set of stakeholders together for the first time. There were widely varying degrees of recognition of the trends impacting the industry. We needed to get people to the same basic level of understanding and get consensus they were willing to work together to address the challenges to the vision of a better future. The next step is to publish the report on the summit and convene another smaller meeting of all willing stakeholders to take the work of the summit and develop a plan, timeline and measures and recruit more industry stakeholders to join the work. Building consensus among a diverse group of stakeholders will take time. We will move quickly, but we have hard work ahead of us and we must have reasonable expectations.
While you had representation from most, if not all, of the key stakeholder groups at the summit, the entire industry couldn’t be there. What is your message to the larger boating industry and community about how they can participate in growing boating?
As a work plan begins to emerge, there will be a call for broad participation in the work that will have to be done. And, it will take broad participation to get it done. No organization is capable of doing the work by themselves.
Several people remarked on the title of the summit and its similarity to the Grow Boating Initiative. How is the summit and its expected outcome different from what the industry has been pursuing through Grow Boating Inc.? How is one effort to be distinguished from the other?
While the work of Grow Boating is in sync with what summit participants agree is needed to move the industry forward, Grow Boating is not currently supported by all boating stakeholders. The summit and its next steps are. Both share a similar goal to grow boating participation, but the summit involves a much broader stakeholder base. Over time, there may be no distinction, but that will be determined by the stakeholders as things move forward.
Keep checking Boating Industry in the coming weeks for more interviews and insight from summit attendees.