MRAA sees opportunity in managing North Central Marine Association
The Marine Retailers Association of the Americas will assume management of the North Central Marine Association in an effort to strengthen both the membership of the local marine trade association and reunite the marine industry in Minnesota.
Since the recession, the NCMA had been mostly dormant and narrowed its offerings to employing a full-time lobbyist at the state level. In an effort to reestablish its membership, the local association met with the MRAA and deemed it a perfect fit.
“With [the MRAA’s] connections within the marine industry, we knew they would be a good choice,” said Jerry Rockvam, chairman of the NCMA board and president of Rockvam Boatyards, which is located in Spring Park, Minn.
Matt Gruhn, president of the MRAA, said many of the resources and skills needed to run the association are already in place, and the combination of the MRAA’s lobbying presence on the national level and the NCMA’s local lobbying presence is a benefit for both associations.
“We can create a better place for the boater and the business,” Gruhn said. “The synergies that we can develop between not just the lobbyists, but our members and the interest of boating. The opportunities are endless.”
As executive director of the NCMA, Gruhn said the initial goals would be to reunite the marine industry in Minnesota and increase membership. The MRAA will manage administrative functions, bookkeeping responsibilities and marketing efforts for the NCMA.
Rockvam said membership growth will need to be the first priority, including building members in nearby states like Wisconsin. Another goal is to expand its membership in the resort business, and he believes the partnership with the MRAA will increase its appeal.
The partnership is another step for the MRAA in its mission to strengthen its relationships with local marine trade associations, particularly on legislative issues, Gruhn said.
“We might be working on issues on the national level, while some of the state [marine trade associations] are working hard on something very similar at the state level,” he said. “It makes sense to pool the resources and the thinking so we present a united front as an industry.”
The management partnership – a first for the MRAA – was also an opportunity of convenience for Gruhn, who has knowledge of the local marine industry as a long-time Minnesota resident.
“I believe that we need a strong state association, and I wanted to see it get its feet back on the ground to get going,” Gruhn said.