FROM THE HELM
I’m honored to lead Sail America as the organization’s new President, a position supported by an outstanding team. Sail America’s volunteer Board of Directors comprises great leaders in our industry representing all market segments; the Sail America staff is a hard-working and efficient group, led by Executive Director Jonathan Banks. As most indications point to a continued slow recovery in the marine industry, sailing-related businesses stand to benefit from Sail America’s leadership. Now more than ever is a time for Sail America to support the trade by being an industry advocate, business resource, and marketer of the sailing lifestyle.
In 2012 Sail America is taking action on a number of initiatives. Top among our strategic priorities is to recommit Sail America to the marketing of sailing. We are making wholesale change to the Sail America web site, a key tool for connecting consumers to the industry. At this writing, the Marketing Committee has made a decision on the developer of the web site. Development now begins. Sail America has also produced a new Discover Sailing video, an inviting piece of video that truly sells sailing.
Fulfilling Sail America’s role as a business resource for our membership, Sail America will host its 3rd Sailing Industry Conference, June 25-27 in Newport, Rhode Island. The conference will offer a variety of seminars, in which attendees will hear from a deep cast of experts—in marketing, demographics, business operations, and more. Attendees will also have the opportunity to learn from industry peers in workshops designed to encourage audience participation. As we have seen at the two previous conferences in 2008 and 2010, it’s a great opportunity to network while learning new operational practices and knowledge that can be applied immediately to your organization.
2012 will be a busy year for Sail America on the boat show front. Sailing will make its debut at the South West International Boat Show in Houston, March 22-25, in the new Sail America Village. An example of Sail America being both industry advocate and marketer, this new show relationship will help the sailing industry reach consumers in a part of the country where sailing thrives. Then, in April, Sail America will run Strictly Sail Pacific, April 12-15, sailing’s flagship show on the West Coast.
These are just a few examples of specific action Sail America is taking right now. The operative word is action. They should also give you an understanding of the strategic heading to which I will steer your trade organization in the coming years. Our mission as an organization is to promote the health and growth of sailing. We will best achieve that by being an effective advocate, resource, and marketer for sailing-related businesses like yours.