ABBRA – American Boat Builders & Repairers Association

Annual Conference

“Developing a skilled workforce for sustainable growth”

Tuesday 24th January 2017 – 6pm to 9pm
Wednesday 25th January 2017 – 8am to 5pm

A proficient technically skilled workforce remains the biggest obstacle to businesses that build, repair, and service boats. In this competitive labor market, we cannot afford to be complacent and wait for skilled workers to walk through our door. We need to be proactive and work together as business owners and industry leaders to develop career awareness strategies to attract workers to our industry and training models to up-skill existing workers and to train entry level workers for a career in the recreational marine industry.

ABBRA’s Symposium on January 25th will help business owners design a plan and form partnerships that will help them build the skilled workforce needed for the sustainable growth of their business. It will consist of brainstorming and informational sessions on Leading a Multi generational Workforce, Finding and Developing Your Future Workforce, On-the-Job Earn and Learn Training Models, How to build a Sector Partnership, and where to obtain funding assistance for technical skills training and up-skilling of your workforce.

Richard Schuhmann, President of the Landing School, will deliver the keynote address. Speakers include Susan Swanton and Rich Difede, both pioneers in workforce development in the recreational marine industry, Michael Corbit from Career Source Palm Beach County, and Scott Ellsworth with Jobs for Americas Future. Christopher Niles will return with his insights on the Current State of the Economy, Christina Giuliani will discuss Cyber Crime and why it’s so bad for your business, and Richard Merlino will present a session on the Future of 3D Printing.

The event will launch with a Cocktail Reception and Annual Meeting on Tuesday January 24th, 2017 at the Renaissance Cruise Port Hotel, from 6:00pm – 9:00pm, during which ABBRA will present their Annual Awards and ABBRA’s industry recognized Marine Service Manager’s Certification credential.

On Wednesday January 25th, 2017, the day-long brainstorming and informational sessions will be held at the Broward County Convention Center, from 8am to 5pm.


The conference program will be a combination of presentations and interactive sessions with experienced industry leaders, industry partners, and leading experts from related fields with several networking and business-to-business events. Speakers will offer national and international perspectives on changes seen in the recent marine industry business environment, and what may be expected in the future.

The 2017 conference will feature a Marketplace for sponsors to meet and network with conference attendees during session refreshment breaks. This is a great opportunity to showcase their service or product to their target audience in a more intimate setting than your standard exhibit hall.  Interested sponsors can email Joy Elvin, Administrative Manager at for more information.