ABBRA Names Front Street Shipyard of Belfast, Maine Boatyard of the Year, Also Presents Awards to Facilities in Wisconsin, California and St. Croix, USVI

Fort Lauderdale, FL – January 21, 2013 – The 2013 Boatyard of the Year Award was presented to Front Street Shipyard of Belfast, Maine at the American Boat Builders & Repairers Association (ABBRA) Boatyard Business Conference Awards Dinner & 70th Anniversary Celebration held in Fort Lauderdale Beach, Florida from January 16th – 18th at the B Ocean Hotel. Given to the service or repair facility that demonstrates excellence in all facets of their company through commitment to customer service, quality management and positive vendor and employee relations, regard for safety of their employees and customers, is a steward of the environment, and innovatively employs technology to enhance their marine business, this award is one of ABBRA’s most prestigious Awards of Excellence.

“You would be hard pressed to find four more distinctive or distinctly different individuals than the four men who have pooled their particular skills, knowledge and passion to create Maine’s newest, most rapidly growing and impressive yachting facility – Front Street Shipyard,” said ABBRA President Pam Lendzion, in her award presentation remarks. She added, “Ken Priest, Steve White, Taylor Allen and JB Turner shared a vision, saw an opportunity and turned that vision into a reality. They took a ramshackle collection of buildings, located on a tired waterfront that was begging for a new lease on life and turned it – seemingly overnight – into a modern, state of the art facility that has captured the hearts of those who work there, those who do business there and those who call the small Maine town of Belfast home. That vision, that commitment – to high quality service, to their workforce and their town, to responsible and sustainable development, to employing the latest technologies, their willingness to take risk and their ability to succeed is what makes Front Street Shipyard so deserving of one of ABBRA’s highest awards – Boatyard of the Year!”

JB Turner in accepting the Boatyard of the Year Award acknowledged not only his partners, but the Front Street Shipyard employees and the entire town for sharing the vision and helping make it a reality. Front Street Shipyard joins a distinguished group of boatyards such as Jarrett Bay Boatyard in North Carolina, Newport Shipyard in Rhode Island and KKMI in California that have received the ABBRA Boatyard of the Year honor.

Award of Excellence for Customer Care
The Award of Excellence for Customer Care was also presented during the Awards Dinner to Washburn Marina of Washburn, Wisconsin located on Lake Superior. Washburn Marina is a full service boatyard with a well-seasoned team that has matured in the boating industry giving each and every customer the personal touch they deserve. Michelle Shrider is the owner and manager of Washburn Marina. She was recently appointed to the ABBRA Board of Directors and is the Vice Chair of Wisconsin Marine Trades Association among other community boards and commissions. Michelle has over 20 years of experience working in the marina industry including yacht interior design, management of a charter business, and currently marina and boatyard management. She has earned the designation Certified Marina Manager.  “Michelle understands that the best way to care for her customers is to support and train her employees. She knows that when her employees take pride in the quality of work they perform, the customer will get the quality of service they deserve. ABBRA is proud to present the Award for Excellence in Customer Care to Washburn Marina and Michelle Shrider,” said Lendzion.

Excellence in Safety and Environmental Practices
Also recognized at the Awards Dinner with the Excellence in Safety and Environmental Practices Award were Dana Point Shipyard of Dana Point, California and Keefe, Kaplan Maritime Inc. (KKMI) of Port Richmond, California.  These facilities completed the ABBRA Clean Maritime Facility Certification for the California Region in 2012 having taken on challenges of implementing numerous environmental requirements and complying with a checklist of best management practices for boatyard environmental management to earn their certifications. ABBRA’s President stated, “These facilities serve as examples to boatyards around the country and deserve this recognition for their efforts to keep our waters clean for today’s boaters and for future generations.  ABBRA’s Clean Maritime Facility Certification is our stamp of approval and is only given following completion of the checklist and inspection by Committee representatives.” Paul Kaplan of KKMI in accepting his facility’s award said, “This is a gratifying award because we want to do what’s right and what’s needed to make our facilities as clean as possible. The Clean Certified Maritime Facility Certification is not easy, but it’s achievable and it’s an opportunity for all boatyards to reach for and achieve higher standards. I would like to see more and more boatyards become certified ABBRA Clean Maritime Facilities.”

Award of Excellence for Commitment to Training
This Award is given to the boat builder or repair business that has demonstrated a significant commitment to training and professional development personally, for their employees and for the industry’s future generations. Gold Coast Yachts of St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands led by partners Rich Difede and Roger Hatfield who are veteran boat builders that have seen almost all the changes in techniques, materials, styles, budgets, and buyers in the modern multi-hull vessel market. That Gold Coast Yachts has not just endured, but prospered, for nearly three decades is a testament to their perseverance and is a sterling example of a yard committed to training and development. In her presentation comments Lendzion said, “Gold Coast yachts has invested a great deal of time and money in workforce development, which is not only a smart business move, but also a valuable contribution to the local community and the marine industry as a whole. They are deserving of ABBRA’s 2013 Award of Excellence for Commitment to Training.”

About American Boat Builders & Repairers Association (ABBRA)

Founded in 1943, ABBRA is a national marine trade organization that represents, is dedicated to, and seeks to strengthen and encourage professionalism in the boat building, marine service, and boat repair industry.