ABBRA – American Boat Builders & Repairers Association

ABBRA Newsletter

ABBRA Newsletter December, 2015
ABBRA Has A New Home and New Leadership!
For those of you who don’t know, ABBRA has a new office location!  We have moved to the Newport Shipyard in Newport, RI.  ABBRA is proud to have its office located at Newport Shipyard, known for its high quality of service and professionalism. Newport Shipyard was the recipient of ABBRA’s 2010 Boatyard of the Year Award.
ABBRA has gone through a transition with the goal being to become more relevant to you and your business.  Our mission is to support the growth of your business by focusing on standardized training, workforce development and sustainable growth.
Please stop by for a visit (1 Washington St.) or call (401-236-2466) to let us know how we can serve you.  As with all things in life, you’ll get out of ABBRA what you put into it so we encourage you to get involved in your association.
Visit Our Website
Marine Service Managers Certification Course
March 6-10, 2016- Marine Service Managers Certification Course
 at The Landing School in Arundel, ME.
ABBRA’s Certified Marine Service Managers are professionals who value personal and professional excellence and maintain the highest standards of service. ABBRA, in partnership with The Maine Marine Trades Association, is once again offering its highly anticipated Certified Marine Managers Course March 6-10, 2016.   The course will be held at The Landing School in Arundel, Maine.
This certification is designed for individuals who are currently employed in a boatyard or marine service business in a leadership role, or display the potential for such a role. Candidates for this certification should have a working knowledge of the boatyard business as it relates to refit, repair, and servicing of boats, their systems, and overall operations. The individual who wants to advance and demonstrate proven leadership and management skills in the operation of a boatyard, a service department or marine service and repair business, is the ideal candidate for the Certified Marine Service Manager (CMSM) designation. For boatyard operators, the MSM Certification is a unique opportunity to professionalize your staff and improve the efficiency and profitability of your business.

 ABBRA’s Marine Service Managers Certification includes classroom time and on-the-job experience.  The designation of Certified Marine Service Manager (CMSM) is a competency based credential that is given after an application is submitted and reviewed.  CMSM’s are professionals who value personal and professional excellence and maintain the highest standards of service.

Link to Additional Information & Registration

Boatyards of the Future
A new generation, “the millennials”, have not only entered the recreational marine industry workforce, they are assuming management positions and demanding that we do business differently. Their insights can be refreshing, challenging, and full of hope for the future. They are quick to respond and “connected”. At the same time, there is no substitute for experience, and the experienced people are getting ready to leave the workforce. Before they do, its important they pass on tried and true principles and procedures that are required to perform quality work and sustain the growth of a marine industry business. ABBRA is attempting to identify common goals and focus on the value of the differences between experienced and knowledgeable marine industry veterans and the new breed with bright ideas and a readiness for the future that we hope to see. We also need to facilitate a discussion about career awareness and what we can do as an industry to attract not only today’s younger generation but the generation after them, “generation Z”.

In case you haven’t noticed, there are no secrets anymore. Millennials are accepting and prepared for the transparency brought about by Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snap Chat, and FaceTime and they understand the marketplace that depends on it. This generation lives on their mobile devices and spends 3 + hours a day on social media. If we want to get them interested in the marine industry, we need to speak their language and use their medium to reach them. During a recent study, it was discovered that a person looks at their phone approximately 110 times a day. Technology is constantly advancing and the marine industry must recognize the need for their company to keep up with it. This often means hiring someone that has grown up with social media as a tool for connecting with the outside world because they will show us how to reach our workforce of the future and the marketplace that needs our products and services.

Administered by Starkweather & Shepley Insurance Brokerage, Abbragard is an insurance program exclusive to ABBRA Members.  The program is designed to meet the unique exposures to financial loss of boat builders, boatyards and repairers. As part of the ABBRAGARD program, each client is surveyed by safety experts to implement plans for loss prevention and to help protect your facility from unexpected loss.  Starkweather & Shepley and Great American Insurance Co. are committed to providing you individual service from experienced marine insurance specialists that understand your business.  To learn more about the Abbragard program please feel free to contact us.
ABBRA Insurance Team
Starkweather & Shepley Insurance Brokerage, Inc.PO Box 249
Westerly, RI 02891Tel: 866-769-0268
Fax: 401-596-3710
Service Spotlight
Mirka Abrasives is a company that supports ABBRA  and programs produced by ABBRA that benefit our members.  You can support this effort by purchasing your Mirka products from an Authorized Distributor: Kellogg Marine, Land N Sea, Diversified Marine, Fisheries Supply, Mesco, C.W. Hayden, Paxton Company   MIRKA products for the Marine Industry
                       2015 YEAR IN REVIEW

The ABBRA staff has devoted time to researching and studying apprenticeship training models that have been designed specifically for boat builders and boat repair yards.  We believe that this educational model can provide our industry with the technically skilled workers it needs to continue to grow and sustain growth.  ABBRA will take a leadership role in developing a national certified apprenticeship model for the US recreational marine industry; stay tuned.
 Apprenticeship training programs eliminate the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical application by providing structured trades education right on the shop floor.  Although rare today in the USA, formal apprenticeships have been around for over 4,000 years and they continue to be a common education pathway throughout much of the world.  When ready-trained workers are not locally available to hire, setting up an apprenticeship program is one way to develop a highly skilled workforce.  Campbell Black and Peter Dahl of Quadrant Marine Institute have been doing that for over two decades and will tell you how they have made it work.  Their training programs cover the whole boat, providing the information every technician needs to understand the vessel and all its systems.  Professional level trade skills are developed and monitored in the apprentice’s workplace.  Quadrant works with employers to ensure that skill development and assessment are relevant to the operations and needs of the employer’s company.
Another highly recognized program is the New Zealand Marine and Composites Industry Training Organization.  With Chris van der Hor as its COO, this marine apprenticeship program is responsible for the design of qualifications and delivery of training insuring that there is an ongoing supply of skilled people to the NZ Marine and Composites Industries.

Also noteworthy is Business Leaders United for Workforce Partnerships (BLU).  Led by Director Scott Ellsworth, BLU is a Washington DC based advocacy and education organization that strives to strengthen the business voice in the workforce and skills policy discussion. The organization is an employer-led project of National Skills Coalition, National Fund for Workforce Solutions, and Skills for America’s Future. BLU has had significant impact on the workforce landscape.

Workforce Survey
ABBRA created a workforce development survey that has been designed to gather information needed by all state and national recreational marine trade associations to advocate for their members. It is meant to provide real data about the recreational marine industry’s workforce that helps shape policy regarding funding for the technical training of our industry needs to build its workforce and for businesses to sustain growth.  The results of the survey, which are available to marine trade associations, give the industry a statistical profile of the recreational marine industry workforce and positions that need to be filled.  The data can be used by marine trade associations and employers when applying for state and federal training funds.
ABBRA realizes that Marine Trade Associations across the country understand their embers workforce issues and recognize they have a role to play in solving the problem.  The sharing of information among trade associations about programs and partnerships tat work is imperative if our industry is going to continue to grow.  Our member businesses are telling us they need to upskill existing workers because their best technicians are getting ready to retire and how difficult it is to find and hire new workers with the technical skills needed to meet a demand for new work.  Most employers understand that they need to be part of the solution and that doing nothing about the shortage of skilled workers in the recreational marine industry is not an option if they are going to sustain growth.  Unfortunately, employers are not always aware of their workforce development options.
If you have not already taken the survey, click here.   We encourage employers to partner with their state marine trade associations to solve their workforce development problems.  ABBRA will support the state trade associations efforts.
The results of the survey will give the industry a statistical profile of the recreational marine industry workforce and positions that need to be filled.  This data can be used by marine trade associations and employers when applying for state and federal funds.
Workforce Development
“How to Find, Train, and Retain a Quality Workforce for Your Business” was the title of a daylong workshop held at IBEX 2015 in Louisville, Kentucky.  ABBRA took the lead on defining the U.S. marine industry’s workforce needs, challenges and solutions with a nationwide workforce needs survey and a follow-up day long working session with workforce development experts and employers.  The event was organized by ABBRA in partnership with Maine Marine Trades Association (MMTA) and Rhode Island Marine Trades Association (RIMTA).
The daylong workshop was moderated by Steve Kitchin, VP of Corporate Education at New England Institute of Technology, the keynote speaker was Rich Difede of Gold Coast Yachts, a builder of carbon fiber multi hulls.  Currently, Mr. Difede is the Chairman of the State Workforce Investment Board of the US Virgin Islands, a member of the Governors Committee on Economic Development and Strategy and a member of the Marine Industry Economic Development Council in the USVI.  Scott Ellsworth, the Director of Business Leaders United for Workforce Partnerships (BLU) addressed the nationwide demand to fill middle skills jobs and the lack of available skilled workers to fill these jobs creating a “skills gap”.  BLU is the national voice for small and medium sized employers who are concerned about filling skilled positions at their companies and want to develop partnerships in their communities to better meet their skilled workforce needs.  Scott encouraged the recreational marine industry employers not to stick their heads in the sand and told them that if they don’t participate in the fix, the problem will grow.  We are not the only industry competing for skilled workers.
Chris van der Hor, general manager of the New Zealand Marine Industry Training Organization and COO of the New Zealand Marine Industry Association, and Campbell Black and Peter Dahl, owners and operators of Quadrant Marine Institute presented their apprenticeship programs specifically designed for boat builders and boat repair yards.  Sarah Blusiewicz from the Rhode Island Dept. of Labor and Jen Cornwell, Program Director for Rhode island Marine Trades Association (RIMTA) presented a “how to” guide for obtaining financial assistance and program support with on-the-job training programs.  Sarah provided a menu of programs available through the workforce system that assist employers with their training needs.  Wendy Mackie, CEO of RIMTA, and Jen Cornwell shared their experiences developing and implementing programs that help employers find qualified workers and support training.  RIMTA’s Pre-Apprenticeship Program provides an important foundation for any apprenticeship program.  Their model can be used by employers who want to implement a more comprehensive apprenticeship program to train their incumbent and entry level workers. RIMTA’s Pre-Apprenticeship Program is also a vetting tool for employers hiring entry level workers and provides realistic career awareness information for potential employees.  Susan Swanton, executive director of Maine Marine Trades Association and Chip Dickison, Director of Education for the Nova Scotia Boat Builders Association would up the day with a session that outlined the requirements for successful on-the-job training programs and addressed the issue of sustainability and the need to build industry partnerships to close the skills gap.
Career Awareness
GRRL Tech, an Educational Path to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math)
Christina Norris during the GRRL Tech event at the University of Rhode Island.
ABBRA wants to applaud Christina Norris, Oversee Yachts, for her efforts to educate young women about Careers in engineering and technology in our industry.. Christina has designed yacht interiors for 20 years and is an advocate of training, education, career awareness and standards for our industry. She was a finalist in the 2011 International Showboat Awards.
GRRL* Tech is an interactive technology expo offering female high school students an up-close and engaging look into dynamic and rewarding technology opportunities. Through industry mentoring and hands-on workshops, GRRL Tech aims to encourage STEM** learning, break down gender myths and offer career insight into STEM industries.
Oversee Yachts, LLC had the privilege and honor to be invited to create a workshop for the 14th annual GRRL Tech Expo as the University of Rhode Island welcomed more than 450 students from 25 Rhode Island high schools, career, and tech centers.  At “Christina’s Workshop” session, the students learned about yacht interior design, “Human Dimensions & Interior Space”.
GRRL Tech has welcomed more than 3,500 female high school students and their educators. We have had held more than 225 workshop sessions with nearly as many IT, Bioscience, and STEM industry volunteers. Since 2008, the GRRL Tech scholarship committee has awarded more than $560,000 in college scholarships to girls who attended the Expo.
*GRRL = Girls Really Really Love (Technology).
**STEM = Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics.
ABBRA 2015-2016 Boaters Resource Directory
This years directory was released in September and distributed at all the major east coast boat shows. This is the second boaters Resource Guide produced by MarinaLife and focuses on attracting the boating public to ABBRA yards.You can expect to receive several copies in January. The guide is an excellent resource for your customers. By referring them to an ABBRA member yard when they’re cruising, you can be assured that they will benefit from the same customer service and work standards that you provide them.
Like us on FACEBOOK and follow us on TWITTER
ABBRA is pleased to have Sam Valentine working with us. Sam is a senior at Salve Regina University, majoring in marketing and financial management. Sam is passionate about the recreational marine industry and as our intern, he is responsible for our facebook and twitter accounts.  His perspective and enthusiasm gives us hope for the future of our industry.You can “like” us on facebook and follow us on twitter by using the links at the bottom of the page.  Please send pictures of your yard and/or your family on the water or your children or grandchildren helping you build or repair a boat that we can put on our Facebook page to prove our industry has a bright future. ([email protected])               
 As we wrap up 2015, we would like to extend our gratitude and thanks to our returning and new members, and encourage those of you who have not yet renewed your membership to please continue to support ABBRA with your membership. Click here to log on to your account.
ABBRA helps you grow your business by promoting high standards of workmanship, professionalism, professional development, workforce development and workplace safety.
You are an invaluable contributor to the boat building, refit and repair industry and your association with ABBRA provides networking opportunities with other boatyard operators that will support and enhance your business.  You can be confident of the quality of service your ABBRA associates will provide your referred customers and you have a forum for discussing new products, materials and techniques being used by other yards.
We look forward to serving you and providing benefits that will help you grow your business.  Don’t let your membership  lapse; contact ABBRA’s Administrative Manager Meg Toppa, to learn how members benefit from their affiliation with ABBRA.
ABBRA would like to acknowledge Michael Keyworth for his involvement in the marine industry in general and his involvement in ABBRA in particular. Mike was on the board of directors from 2008-2015. After 30 years as a valued member at Brewer Yacht Yards, Mike has retired and is heading for his next adventure. He and Nancy, his wife of 42 years, will spend the winter in the Caribbean aboard their 44′ Swan, then head to England, Ireland and Scotland for the summer, by way of Bermuda and the Azores. Fair winds Mike and Nancy!
 ABBRA is saddened by the passing of industry leader and friend, Frank Herhold. Frank passed away on December 5, 2015 at his home in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Frank was a mentor to many in his role as Executive Director of The Marine Industry Association of South Florida and ABBRA board member. His dedication and love of the industry were evident in all aspects of his life.

Jim McManus, president and CEO of The Hinckley Company, died of cancer on November 25, 2015.  Under McManus, the company developed and launched a series of five highly successful new models and acquired Hunt Yachts in 2013; he leaves a legacy of success.  ABBRA joins the employees and board of directors of The Hinckley Company mourning the loss of this industry leader.

Look for ABBRA at the IMBC(International Marina and Boatyard Conference) January 28 and 29, 2016   in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.  We will be presenting four educational sessions designed for boatyard operators.  You will find Meg Toppa in our booth. 

Wishing you and yours a Merry holiday season and a healthy, prosperous New Year!