Day 1 Breakout Sessions

10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Keynote Follow-up: Leverage the Science of Emotional Intelligence to Build a High-Performing Team, Bill Benjamin, Last Eight Percent

Building on the “Last 8% Culture” keynote, this session will provide brain science-based emotional intelligence tools and techniques to be more effective in your “last 8%” moments, so you can show up with a combination of connection and courage. The research is clear that emotional intelligence is the single most important driver of an engaged, results-driven, highly effective workforce  —  especially in environments that are undergoing significant change, growth and disruption.
 In this interactive session, you will learn: 

  • What your brain does under pressure in your “last 8%” moments.
  • Strategies to manage your emotions when there is tension and conflict.
  • How to win the hearts and minds of your people by connecting to the emotions that drive their behavior.
  • A plan to show up with courage and connection in your most difficult “last 8%” moments.
Overcoming Disaster: Storms, Equipment Accidents, and Fire Preparedness and Response, Tom Delotto, Jeff Stukel, Mike Woosley, and Rick Soran, Suntex Marinas; Sponsored by Marinetek

In this session, the panel of experienced operations professionals in the marina industry will use real world examples of property events in the following areas:
  1. Hurricanes – learn about the impacts of Hurricane Ian on Snook Bight Marina and about the marina’s disaster plan.
  2. Fuel Dock Fires – review a fuel dock fire that occurred at Bahia Mar in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and how the team kept this accident under control.
  3. Heavy Equipment Accidents – review accidents and safety steps that marina owners should be taking to ensure their teams are operating safely. 
Discussion Points
  • Know your risks.
  • Build a safety team.
  • Make critical information quickly accessible.
  • Update your alert and response procedures.
  • Test your action plan.
It Ain't Easy Being Green - Or Is It? Dan Natchez, Dan Natchez and Associates

Environmental regulations and the associated bureaucracy aside, there are so many ways for marinas and boaters to be green, to do the right thing for the environment. And often, doing the right green thing, particularly in the long run, probably makes a lot more sense than the less green alternatives. After all, no one wants to go boating in some polluted sea, sit on their deck in a polluted harbor, or go snorkeling over a dying reef. It’s time to stop thinking of being green as a burden and embrace the opportunities.
Connecting Industry with Schools, Sarah Devlin, American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC)

Technical marine service training has gained a foothold in many traditional vocational schools around the country, which is no surprise when you consider the recreational boating industry has a $230 billion annual economic impact in the United States. Over the past year, ABYC has been visiting many of the schools with existing marine service programs as well as schools looking to incorporate the training into their existing curriculum. Join this session to see what the schools are teaching and to discuss ways to create your own relationships with the educators who are teaching our future work force.
Navigating the Future: AI in Marinas, Daniel Berman and John McMillan, AD1 Global

Exploring the significance of AI in the Hospitality industry and what the Marina Industry can learn and apply. We will highlight the challenges faced by marinas in delivering top-notch service. We will explain why implementing AI in marinas is relevant to realize benefits like improved customer service and operational efficiency. We will also take a deep dive into specific AI applications for marinas including:
  • Reservation systems
  • Predictive maintenance for boats
  • Enhanced security with AI-powered cameras
  • Weather forecasting for safer boating
  • Personalized boater experiences
1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

The Evolving World of Leadership: How to Adapt to Changing Culture, Dr. Brian Wade, Strategic Future; Sponsored by Den Hartog
“The world in front of us is radically different than the world behind us.”
As the world changes, generation gaps widen, and the face of business evolves, the need for leaders to understand the times and know how to adapt becomes imperative. The fact is most of today’s leaders were “trained for a world that is disappearing.” Thus, there is a need for leaders to evolve and adapt to the changing business environment. Some interesting statistics to consider:
  • 60% of younger employees are currently looking for new employment opportunities.
  • 29% of millennials consider themselves engaged at work.
The problem, however, is not that the world is changing, but what to do about it.
In this session, I will discuss what leaders need to do to evolve with a changing culture in order to engage their employees, build a high-performing team, and attract and retain talent.
Electric Vehicles, Boats, and Yard Equipment:  Storage and Charging Brainstorming Session, Greg Weycamp, Edgewater Resources; Chris Dolan, Maraina Electrical Equipment; Gary Loftis, Maffett Loftis Engineering; Tony Caliri, Fire Boat Academy; Tom Delotto, Suntex Marinas; and Matt Domke, Port32 Marinas

This session will explore the issues surrounding the future of electric vehicles and boats in our marinas.  With the transition to electric passenger vehicles well underway, there will soon be many more boats with electric drivetrains replacing traditional internal combustion engines in the coming decades.  This presents a range of issues to consider, in particular for dry stack facilities, such as charging infrastructure, fire safety, vessel weight impacts on rack storage.    While the primary focus will be on safety and storage requirements for boats, we will also discuss electric yard equipment such as forklifts and our customers’ electric vehicles.  We will bust a few common myths about electric vehicles and safety, and brainstorm ideas for addressing the real issues associated with this new technology.
Buying and Building Marinas Ain't for Sissies, Robert Fowler, Fowler Construction and Development; Sponsored by Simply Marinas

You can develop the proforma and run the marina, but do you know how to get from pretty pictures to income-producing properties?
We all love marinas, and sales materials are full of pretty pictures of beautiful marinas for us to love. However, photoshop is real. Things are not always as they seem, and you need to know the true picture of what you’re getting into before taking on the challenge. Redevelopment, expansion, or new marina development projects are not cheap and the process ain’t for sissies.
In this interactive session, we will discuss the importance of understanding “impressive” phrases like:
  • “Fully entitled”
  • “Grandfathered”
  • “City approved”
  • “Multiple expansion opportunities available”
 And we’ll likely share some war stories along the way (bring your 30 second version war story).
Most importantly, we’ll discuss how to bring together a great TEAM that includes experienced, specialized professionals to work with you and for you through what will be a challenging but rewarding process. Only sissies go it alone.
Unlocking Your Team's Potential, Michelle Alexandrowicz, Engage Talent Consulting

Learn firsthand how to build collaborative teams in this interactive session about people strategy at every level of your organization. We will learn and discuss the importance of the people side of business and will provide you with actionable insights and tools to foster collaborative and efficient teams in a changing corporate landscape.
Through interactive exercises and discussions, participants will be able to:
  • Identify their own workstyles, drivers and motivators  —  enabling them to better understand their contributions to team dynamics and overall company culture.
  • Learn about organizational culture, its significance, and how it can be actively shaped to align with team and company goals, especially during periods of transition.
  • Gain access to people tools that help navigate the people-centric aspects of business successfully.
Navigating Success: Mastering Effective Leadership in Marina and Boatyard Management, Tim Shields, Hinckley Yachts, ABBRA MSM Faculty; Sponsored by Dockwa

Effective leadership lies at the heart of thriving marina and boatyard operations, and this seminar is designed to equip you with the skills and insights needed to excel in this challenging role. Through a combination of interactive discussions, real-world case studies and practical exercises, you will gain a deep understanding of how to lead with impact, foster a culture of collaboration, and drive exceptional results.

Seminar Highlights
  • Communication Skills: Learn the art of clear and empathetic communication as a marina leader. Explore techniques for effectively conveying your vision, expectations and feedback to both your team and stakeholders, enhancing operational transparency and reducing misunderstandings.
  •  Vision and Culture: Discover the power of a compelling vision and a strong organizational culture in marina management. Uncover strategies for aligning your team's efforts with a shared vision, while also cultivating a culture of accountability, innovation and continuous improvement. 
  1. Energizing Employees: Explore methods for igniting enthusiasm and motivation among your marina staff. Learn how to tap into individual strengths, provide meaningful recognition, and create an environment where employees are empowered to take ownership of their roles.
  2. Boss vs. Leader: Gain insights into the distinctions between being a boss and being a leader. Through real-world examples, analyze the impact of different leadership approaches on team morale, productivity, and overall success.
  3. Key Characteristics of Effective Leadership: Delve into the core attributes that define effective leaders in marina management. From adaptability and resilience to strategic thinking and decision-making, discover the traits that set exceptional leaders apart.
By the end of this seminar, you will have developed a comprehensive toolkit to enhance your leadership capabilities in marina and boatyard management. Whether you're a seasoned leader looking to refine your skills or an aspiring manager seeking to make a significant impact, this seminar promises valuable insights that can be immediately applied to elevate your leadership journey.
3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Strength-Based Leadership: Using Strength-Finder Tools to Optimize your Team’s Potential, Engagement and Performance, Dr. Brian Wade, Strategic Future

What would you say if I told you that adapting your leadership focus in one area could double your effectiveness as a leader?
Not that long ago, leadership theory suggested that both leaders and employees utilize their strengths but focus on shoring up their weaknesses. The thought was that in trying to grow in one’s weaker areas of performance, the employee or leader would become more well-rounded and thus become a higher-performing leader or employee.
Recent research has found this is not the case. In this session you will learn what you need to do to double your team’s potential, engagement and performance. You will also understand why this shift is so vital to engage millennials and Gen Z. You will discover strength assessment tools like StrengthsFinder and VIA Character Strengths to enable you and your team to utilize the power of strengths.
Marina Owners Liability Exposure Due to Tenants and Contractors, Tom Delotto, Suntex Marinas; Sponsored by Leisure Investment Properties Group

Protect your marina, personal assets and legacy from commercial tenant/contractor actions, faults, and liability. Marina owners need to understand the level of exposure they may have as a result of the action and operations of commercial tenants and contractors and how best to protect themselves.
Incorporating Resiliency into New Facilities and Retrofit Projects, Greg Weykamp
Edgewater Resources; Sponsored by SVN
This session will explore a range of strategies for improving the long-term resilience and durability of marine infrastructure in new projects and marina retrofits across the country.  Topics covered will include overall layout and siting strategies to minimize environmental impacts while also maximizing protection from wind and waves, equipment and materials selection for durability and life cycle cost efficiency, and incorporation of renewable energy generation and energy efficiency strategies.
From Fuel Dock to VP: Strategies for Hiring Right and Developing Tomorrow's Industry Leader, Carla Gourley and Laura Gilham, Suntex Marinas

This workshop addresses the importance of having a clear vision for your marina and having the tools you and your team need to bring that vision to life. One of the most important of these tools is having a dynamite team with the right people in the right roles!
This workshop will provide you with tips and information on how to do this  —  how to identify, find, and hire great candidates. Where to look for them, how to interview them, and how to make them feel special once they’ve joined the team!
We will also discuss the importance of your support for their continued learning and growth, preparing them to be future industry leaders! Advancing from running the fuel dock to running the company.
Mastering the Fundamentals of Your Financials, Dottie Stewart, Safe Harbor Marinas; Sponsored by Colliers

The content of this session is a segment of the three-hour Accounting 101 session presented at the Basic Marina Operations course. The goal is to provide attendees with a familiarity of basic marina operations accounting from the chart of accounts, to profit and loss statement and balance sheet to the accounts that make up and affect each of these . This session will also discuss prepaids and liabilities, the differences between revenue and expense accounts, and basic marina operations transactions.