MRAA Educational Foundation names executive director
Marine Retailers Association of the Americas
August 21, 2013
Filed under News
MINNEAPOLIS — Liz Walz has been named the Executive Director of the MRAA Educational Foundation, a not-for-profit 501(c)3 corporation created in 2004 to provide the recreational marine trades with financial support for education, training and professional development.
“We see an opportunity to infuse the foundation with some fresh ideas and direction,” says Ed Lofgren of 3A Marine, who serves as President of the MRAA Educational Foundation. “Liz has been involved with the Foundation through her role on the Darlene Briggs Award selection committee for many years. Her passion for the work of the Foundation, combined with her marketing and leadership skills make her a great fit for the job.”
As Executive Director of the MRAA Educational Foundation, Walz will be responsible for bringing new ideas to create energy and excitement around the opportunities that the Foundation makes available. That will mean new programs, new partner opportunities, and a larger reach through expanded marketing. The end goal is more retailers benefitting from the Foundation’s efforts.
“I’ve been inspired by the work of the MRAA Educational Foundation for many, many years, and I’m honored to be a part of its future,” says Walz. “We are privileged to have such an incredibly dedicated and skilled workforce in the marine business. By acknowledging their hard work and providing tools and resources to encourage professional development, we can not only better retain the best and brightest in our industry today, but also attract new talent.”
Walz will NOT be leaving her post at the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas. In fact, this new role has come about at the same time that Walz’ position at the MRAA has evolved. Formerly the Director of Membership & Marketing, Walz will drop the marketing focus and replace it with a focus on Education, and her new MRAA title will reflect that: Director of Membership & Education.
“Liz carries an incredible amount of passion for creating educational benefits for MRAA Members, and it makes perfect sense for us to align her day-to-day responsibilities with that passion,” explains Matt Gruhn, MRAA President. “As we grow and evolve as an association, we expect to continuously expand our service to our members and the entire dealership community through the development of new training and education opportunities. And there’s no one better suited to lead us down that path than Liz, who has not only the dedication but also the knowledge to make it happen.”
For the last three years, Walz has created the educational programming for the Marine Dealer Conference & Expo. In 2012, attendees gave the MDCE’s educational sessions the highest scores in the history of the event. In 2013, Walz spearheaded the effort to not only invest more in the educational line-up but also to create the MDCE Pre-Conference Workshops, a first-time program that will take timely, critical topics to a deeper level than ever before. She also leads MRAA’s efforts to create educational sessions for the Marine Retail University event, a series of one-day, regional conferences that attracted more than 320 participants in its first season.