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Marinas24 – Expand, Exceed, Explore – and its only day one

Marinas24 welcomed guests last night on what was a beautiful and clear night on the forecourt of what would be the venue for the conference this year.

President Andrew Chapman at the Welcome Reception

With an undisputed need to spread their wings, the Marina conference moved to the Royal International Convention Centre (RICC) in Brisbane. The MIA’s vision for a bigger and better conference must have had to have been made well before the venue booking process started. Their faith and vision proved to be absolutely spot on with close to 400 delegates in attendance. The expanded exhibition floor was at capacity and very cleverly laid out to ensure every one of the exhibitors had the opportunity to interact with delegates at every opportunity.

Today, day one of the conference sessions, opened with a very respectful Acknowledgement of Country delivered by MIA CEO Suzanne Davies. Conference Chair Mike Harvey welcomed everyone and provided a brief overview of what the delegates should expect in the coming days.

The Honorable Michael Healy MP, Minister for Sport and Tourism certainly seemed to know his way around the industry and bought confidence to the room with his efforts and vision for the industry’s future. Rather poignantly and strongly, he advised the marine industry to clearly articulate to government, at both state and federal level, “to make it abundantly clear what you are looking for”. The “you” referring to us the marine industry and the Associations we entrust to carry our advocacy.

With a skill set that until this year had been kept a secret, Brett Bolton shared with industry his numerous successes (not) during Olympic competition. While humorous, the seriousness of the subject became apparent once his panel of speakers started to share their stories. His panel of Rob Brown OAM, David Good from the Superyacht Association, Dr John Currie from Brisbane Economic Development Agency (BEDA) and Steven Silvester from Tourism Industry Development, all focused on the facts behind the Olympic Games in 2032 and shared insights on how we can leverage opportunities as an industry.

MIA CEO Suzanne Davies @ Marinas24

The following two presentations would have been a refreshing opportunity for members of the MIA. With any Associations primary objective being to deliver member prosperity, President Andrew Chapman gave an overview of the recently completed market research, and this was followed by a presentation from CEO Suzanne Davies with an overview of what the Association team was doing to support their industry members. A good Association starts with a strong Board and is combined with a super team to ensure their objectives and policies are delivered. The quality of the detail proved the MIA was on message and serving their members to an exceptional level. Well done team MIA.

One would think that when returning from lunch, delegates would be reaching for the coffee and watching the clock. This was not the case today. The dilemma I faced at this point was that I had to select from equally appealing presentations.

My first choice was to select from a panel session led by Jayson McDonald CMM sharing lessons learned, and a presentation titled “The Art of War: Win and retain your people”, a subject that seems to be top of mind across many industries. I chose the latter without regret.

Dale Carnegie coach Will Farmer in full flight

The next session also required the delegates to select from two. Managing Lithium and Marketing Marinas. Given my background, I attended and enjoyed the marketing stream managed by Karen Baldwin who led a panel of marketing gurus consisting of Nic Douglass, Zoe Hawkins and Andrea Bite. I certainly took notes and will be using what I learned.

The need to select a session continued post afternoon tea with a choice between Business for Boat Yards and an Innovation Showcase. I chose the Innovation Showcase and was treated to five equally fabulous presentations.  The brands presented to the audience were from Sandmap, Searial Cleaners, Eshore, Roving Intelligence and Cimolai. The audience voted for their favourite and the winner will be announced tomorrow, day two of the conference.

The day ended socially as would be expected, with President Andrew Chapman attempting to give away a bottle of Penfold’s Grange to a lucky participant during the post-conference social gathering. In what appeared at first to be a shifty on his behalf not to give it away, and with the condition that the winner had to be present to claim the prize, President Chapman seemed to have called a dozen (well, actually half a dozen) names before Gary Charlwood walked away with the prize.

Full house – close to 400 delegates at Marinas24

In a sign of confidence, the conference is being hugely supported by industry with sponsorship. Today’s food and beverage delights were sponsored by Superior Jetties, Bellingham Marine, and North Harbour by Port Binnli.

Tomorrow’s schedule looks equally entertaining and educational. Likewise, the list of published support from industry is as impressive as it was today. It will be a big day with the Superior Soiree at Howard Smith Wharves not ending until 10.00 pm.

by Domenic Genua – Publisher, Marine Business News