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ASMEX 2024 delivers

by Domenic Genua

ASMEX 2024 kicked off today with a considerable and impressive group of industry representatives showing their willingness to take in what David Good and his team had promised.

Full House at ASMEX 2024

David is the CEO of a trilogy of Associations charged with looking after the interests of the members of Australian Marine Exports (AIMEX), Superyacht Australia (SA) and the Australian Commercial Marine Group (ACMG).

In their pre-event preamble, they promised to tackle key industry issues on the current and future challenges facing the Australian and global marine industries, deliver challenging sessions and discussion with a focus on practical sustainability, provide networking opportunities with a diverse range of senior industry delegates and speakers and to attract genuine industry professionals as delegates both from Australia and overseas.

Jeremy Spear – President

Well, they didn’t disappoint. The team irrefutably delivered on all counts.

Under the direction of David, who again served as the emcee, the sessions commenced with the mood for the day set by a moving and inspirational opening address, from President Jeremy Spear.

The speaker line up proved to be as diverse as assured, and each delivered a passionate and informative presentation.

Peter Munckton, Chief Economist for the Bank of Queensland, as seems to be tradition, kicked things off this year with “What’s next? Current and key drivers of the Australian economy.” It was an economic journey that enlighten the audience with facts, figures, and vision for the future.

Theo Hooning, SYBAss supremo, followed with his extended presentation which was as large as his passion for the industry. He was followed by the equally impressive and more concise Gillian Carter, Director of Pacific Marine Design, who shared her journey and made you proud that she was such a successful Aussie on the world stage.

Chris Blackwell from Echo Marine was accompanied by Paul Clayton, who demonstrated “extended reality” and showed the opportunities that exist with modern technology to take your clients on a journey through your products when you don’t have a tangible asset to show.

Demonstrating ER at ASMEX 2024

Morning Tea was preceded by a presentation from Luke Fryett, Bula Coffee founder. His story demonstrated the importance of all industries need to look at their corporate social responsibilities. It was an inspirational overview of his journey and how the Bula product traveled the road of business and cultural challenges within Fiji, showing how an appreciation and respect for culture allows success no matter your business.

Petros Michelidakis Director of boot Dusseldorf with Domenic Genua Publisher of Marine Business News

In a story that resonated strongly with me, Petros Michelidakis, Director of Boot Dusseldorf, demonstrated and presented an indisputable case for why boat shows work, well beyond the assumption that I need to sell my product today.

Mark Mellinger, President of Headhunters Inc, John Kavanagh Captain, Director & Principal Solicitor, together with Chris Munster, Director of Probiotic Power shared their thoughts on pollution prevention and response.

Paul Steinman, CEO of Enautic, shared their journey for the development of their new electric hydrofoil watercraft and backed it up with a demonstration during the lunch break. He managed to combine two currently much-spoken about technologies into the one product.

Electrification, hybridization and the switch from conventional fuels was presented by Steve Connolly Director of Nautical Solutions, Angus McDonald CEO Maritime Impulse, Steve Mitchell Engineering Manager from Ampcontrol Group and Damion Rahmate who went on to prove that there is so much opportunity, and still much to learn about the subject.

President of the US Superyacht Association, Kitty McGowan, presented an overview of her US based Association with an international footprint. All with the aid of a ‘guiding 8 ball’, Kitty’s data and statistics explained where the Superyacht industry is now.

ASMEX 2024 lunch at the Intercontinental Sanctuary Cove Lagoon Pool

There was no doubt that all the speakers were first class, but there were a couple of surprise packets. Melissa White, Director of South Pacific for the International SeaKeepers Society explained how any ocean-going vessel can contribute science for the betterment of our environment. Certainly something I want to learn more about.

David Good started the run to the end of the day sharing some fabulous statistics on the industry. Great information that empowers our industry to understand the “now” so we can do better to prepare for the future.

Under the banner of “OceanOmics: Using genomics to better measure, understand and conserve lift in the ocean”, Angela Pennefather Director of Melanesian Yachts, and Capt. JT Bundren took us on a completely unexpected journey, and in part, telling the story of the discovery of the crew of 100 Squadron’s Beaufort Bomber A9-186. It was a moving story that demonstrated how the opportunity exists for the superyacht community to do good.

In a moving conclusion of the day, the conference captain David Good respectfully led a ‘The Ode of Remembrance’, for the four fallen from Bomber A9-186 – Warrant Officers Clement Batstone Wiggins and Russell Henry Grigg, and Flight Sergeants Albert Beckett and Gordon Lewis Hamilton.

As I said at the beginning of this story, the mood for the day was set by a moving and inspirational opening address, from President Jeremy Spear.

It would be disappointing if it was lost to the day, so here it is for you to equally enjoy, if you missed it at this fabulous, educational, entertaining, and enlightening event.

Good morning and a very warm welcome to ASMEX 24.

This is now the 13th occurrence of this ever growing, far reaching and important industry gathering.

Today, I would like to touch on some of the benefits of TEAMWORK and COLLABORATION.

You are all part of a larger team.

Most of you in this room are members of, or are associated with the peak marine body in Australia – that of AIMEX – the manufacturers and exporters, ACMG – the commercial aspect,or SYA – dealing with the often perceived top end of the industry – that of providing services to – or the building of white boats.

Each one of us in this room is a vital member of a larger team, whether representing AIMEX, ACMG, SYA, or other facets of our dynamic industry. Despite Australia’s small population on the global stage, less than 0.33% of the world, our collective voice can resonate powerfully when we unite in purpose and action. We are currently valued at 1.6% of world GDP – which is around 12th place.

In order to be heard we need to speak louder and stronger with a clearer and more worthwhile message.

American author, disability rights advocate, political activist and lecturer Helen Keller said:

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”

One voice will likely not be heard.

Many voices can have a presence.

Many voices helping each other can generate noise worth hearing.

I have come across many, many instances recently whereby companies – some of which are represented in this room today, have benefitted directly as a result of collaboration.

I have seen actions by one company open doors for another.

I have seen and become aware of contracts given out, projects awarded, supply chains introducing new members, purchasing departments opening the door to suppliers who could not previously get a foot in the door, and have seen the growth which can follow.

This is often directly attributable to efforts of colleagues.

A couple of examples are recent shipyard tours – directly as a result of participating in AIMEX events overseas. AIMEX has recently organised several international shipyard tours and attending members have seen and experienced first-hand the benefits of collaboration and recommendation.

I urge many more companies to take part in AIMEX based activities. Shows, exhibitions, trade fairs, networking events, awards schemes, grant applications, industry intelligence, referrals, recommendations and much more. These are some of the services to members. These are golden opportunities. They are packaged well and sitting on a plate and are ripe to be picked and taken advantage of.

I see and speak to many companies who ask me how such and such a show was. The answer is typically “if you are asking me – you probably should have been there”. I have seen many potentially significant opportunities lost, simply due to a lack of taking part. The AIMEX team has invariably done all of the hard work. You just need to have your marketing tools prepared and in place and to turn up.

I am personally aware of several significant opportunities which have been taken advantage of just by being there. These may not have been related to the actual event itself, but have often happened directly as a result of a referral or an introduction by another international colleague.

Likewise, the AIMEX team and therefore potentially everyone in this room has benefitted from a recent chance meeting in Dubai which has had far reaching and positive consequences in SE Asia, for Australian member companies.

We are truly international. AIMEX overall attends, manages or organises over 25 events a year. It is an increasingly small world.

Yes – we do need to work harder and make more of our own luck, in order to reap the potential rewards. We are a great destination. We market ourselves very well as a country. Our Dollar is attractive to overseas buyers – especially from USA and Europe. We just need to be clever to get around the tyranny of distance.

We have worked very hard to bring you an excellent program for ASMEX 24.

We’re privileged to host some notable and distinguished speakers from around the world, offering insights and expertise that transcends borders. We are very grateful for them for having taken the time and made the effort to join us here. Let’s make the most of their presence and knowledge, forging connections and pursuing collaborations that transcend geographical boundaries.

I am particularly looking forward to hearing much relevant and current information from THEO HOONING, Secretary General of the Superyacht Builder Association (known as SYBAss), KITTY MCGOWAN, President of the U.S. Superyacht Association, PETROS MICHELIDAKIS, Director of Boot Düsseldorf, MARK MELLINGER, President of Headhunter and an IMO MARPOL representative as well as presenters from the South Pacific, Europe and the Middle East.

I welcome each of them and express our gratitude for their being here to speak with us today, having come from all corners of the globe.

We do need to support each other. We do increasingly rely on the assistance and referrals by colleague companies be they clients, suppliers, friends and even at times competitors. This is good for each company here. This is good for our industry. This is good for Australia.

Referrals are gold.

Referrals are probably the cheapest marketing method, which can also be the most successful.

Henry Ford said:

“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is a success.”

I urge you all to network more often. Mingle. Speak to people you both know – and more importantly – don’t know. Break the ice. Ask questions. Make the absolute most of all opportunities such as these.

Follow up. Use the appropriate social platforms. Comment on colleagues Linked In posts – it benefits them and you.

As we embark on this conference journey, let us unite in purpose, support one another, and harness the power of collaboration to propel our industry forward. Thank you, and let’s make ASMEX 2024 a resounding success!” - Jeremy Spear - President