MTA/NJ Releases Agenda for 2019 Conference and Expo

The Marine Trades Association of New Jersey (MTA/NJ) will host its biennial Conference and Expo on March 14 at The Mainland at Holiday Inn in Manahawkin, New Jersey. This event is geared specifically toward marine businesses in New Jersey. The diverse, informative and interactive schedule of presentations will provide attendees with new opportunities and ways to manage their businesses more effectively for growth and prosperity.

According to Melissa Danko, MTA/NJ executive director, holding the event every two years helps the organization assess and prioritize the most critical issues and current topics to include on the agenda. “We have put together a great line up of speakers that will not only inspire and motivate everyone that comes but provide a greater understanding of the issues and challenges impacting our industry and what the association is doing to address them.”  Danko added, “This event will provide new information, tips and tools that will be extremely valuable to everyone that attends.”

The boating industry’s two national association leaders, Thom Dammrich of the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) and Matt Gruhn of the Marine Retailers Association of Americas (MRAA) will kick off the conference with a “State of the Industry Presentation and its Outlook for the Future.” Gruhn will also lead attendees through his popular String Exercise entitled “Improving the Customer Experience.” This interactive presentation will help narrow in on how businesses can improve the customer experience.

Workshop Leader Jim Million, a professional speaker, trainer and writer who specializes in personal development, attitude, motivation and inspiration will present “There is an I in Team.”

Representatives from Cooper Levenson will discuss top legal issues and recent changes to laws impacting marine businesses, such as paid leave, impacts to seasonal employees and minimum wage. Additional legal topics will include legal ways to help get paid; the benefits and risks of having employee handbooks and how separate topic, stand-alone written policies might benefit smaller businesses.

The annual State Slate presentations will include a legislative update from Rob Nixon of State House Strategies on the new administration and what will impact the boating industry, and a waterways and dredging update by NJ Department of Transportation and the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway Association. Also, on the agenda is a 2019 recreational fisheries update from the Recreational Fishing Alliance and a presentation on workforce development detailing how the MTA/NJ, along with the American Boat & Yacht Council (ABYC) is working to address a shortage of skilled laborers. 

The conference will wrap up with a Q & A open session where participants will have the opportunity to discuss and exchange information and ideas with each other on the most pressing issues facing their businesses today.

The MTA/NJ has again arranged for a number of Q & A resource and help desks to be available during the conference. Participants can bring questions along with facility plans and meet with representatives from state agencies and other organizations for assistance with permits, applications, grant funding, taxes and other marine industry programs.

Conference and Expo power sponsors include ACT Engineers, CWR Wholesale Distribution, Surf City Marina, Travelers Ocean Marine Insurance, and Whitestone Associates Inc. Supporting sponsors  include AWT Environmental, MEECO Sullivan, and Octopus Yachts: Marine Electrical Systems.

For more information, contact the MTA/NJ Office at (732) 292-1051; or visit