EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S CORNER
A Year In Review … And An Exciting New Year Ahead!
As I consider the past 12 months, I'm very proud of Sail America’s accomplishments. We had the best Strictly Sail Pacific show in recent years; the Sailing Industry Conference was a huge success; we continued to develop strong partnerships with other boat show producers (e.g. Show Management, Newport Exhibition Group and United States Yacht Shows); Discover Sailing experienced record participation; seminar attendance grew significantly; the Industry Segment Focus Groups helped engage and encourage feedback from many segments of the sailing industry; and last, but not least, Sail America showed a positive financial return for the first time in several years!
All of these accomplishments happened at a time of staff cutbacks and serious budgetary constraints. Like many marine businesses, Sail America has had its share of challenges over the past few years. Fortunately, under the expert guidance of the Board of Directors, we made some fundamental changes to our business model in 2008 that significantly reduced our overhead. This new, more flexible business model allowed us to form new partnerships and develop exciting new programs.
Although we managed to achieve “more with less,” none of our accomplishments would have been possible without the enormous contributions of the Executive Committee, the ongoing support of the Board of Directors, and the help of many volunteer committee members. Sail America has always been a member-driven association, but the level of volunteerism surpassed expectations in 2010. Thanks to one and all that contributed and made the difference!
I would like to especially recognize the efforts of the Executive Committee which includes Sally Helme (President), John Burnham (Treasurer/Secretary), Josh Adams (V.P. Association), Stanton Murray (V.P. Boat Shows), Eric Braitmayer, and Bill Goggins (Past President). This group devoted countless hours to help Sail America achieve its mission and become a stronger organization. I would also like to thank the rest of the board for sharing their expertise and for stepping up to the plate on various committees and task forces.
I was also fortunate to work with a fantastic Industry Conference committee, including George Day (Chairman), Josh Adams, Scot West, Brenda Collins, Eric Braitmayer, Cindy Lewis, Gregg Boersma, Mike Richberg, John Burnham, Cindy Lewis and Kimberly Tuchon. This committee took ownership of the Industry Conference, producing an event that was rated highly by over 95% of the attendees.
2010 will also be recognized as the year in which we stopped the bleeding and turned around the financial health of Sail America. The combination of lower overhead costs, higher than expected revenues from Strictly Sail Pacific and a successful Industry Conference, resulted in Sail America making a profit for the first time since 2002. Achieving financial stability is critical to the health of the Association. I'm pleased to report that we are now in a much stronger position moving into the future.
Looking ahead, Sail America has big plans for 2011, including producing another first-rate Strictly Sail Pacific show; creating a new consumer website; growing our database of sailing consumers; expanding sailing’s presence at boat shows; and continuing to represent the interests of sailing businesses around the country.
Promoting the health and growth of sailing is our mission — plain, simple, and essential. But we can't do it without your support. I encourage past members and all other companies involved in the business of sailing to join Sail America now and support our efforts to grow the sailing market. Together we can accomplish more than any of us can achieve independently.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to personally wish you much happiness and success in 2011 and to thank you for your ongoing support. It is my pleasure to work with you.