ABBRA – American Boat Builders & Repairers Association

2019 ABBRA Symposium Speakers


Tom Allen – Thomas J. Allen is owner and president of Kittery Point Yacht Yard founded in 2004. KPYY operates two waterfront full-service vessel repair, maintenance, storage, and refit facilities in southern Maine and is a recognized dealer for Caterpillar, John Deere, Yanmar, Westerbeke, Yamaha and Suzuki. KPYY is registered “Clean Marina,” a nationally recognized environmental stewardship designation and 2017 recipient of “Boatyard of the Year” award from ABBRA.

Mr. Allen is a former board member and treasurer of the Maine Marine Trades Association. He has a prior background and degree in finance and spent 15 years in the banking industry before becoming involved in the marine trades.

RICHARD DOWN-HONEY – Richard Downs-Honey, a native of New Zealand, is a graduate of the University of Auckland, holding both Bachelor and Master’s Degrees in Mechanical Engineering, with special concentration in Fiber Reinforced Plastics in Boatbuilding. He is a former partner and CEO of High Modulus, a Kiwi firm specializing in engineering consulting services and a supplier of composite materials to the marine industry and other industrial clients. During his tenure at High Modulus, Downs-Honey was responsible for business development, engineering services and sales, and was heavily involved in the development of New Zealand’s first Americas Cup contenders. He built High Modulus to over 100 people with offices in Australia, China, France, the UK and the US.

Following the sale of High Modulus to Gurit (NZ), LTD in 2009, Downs-Honey moved to the United States to help guide and build the firm’s developing US market. In 2016, he started RDH Composites, LLC to pursue independent consulting on the cutting-edge application of composites. In 2017, he accepted a position as Director of Engineering at Daedalus Yachts, a new boatbuilding operation in North Carolina, where he has been leading the firm’s development and implementation of tooling and production for zero-emissions composite custom yachts up to 100 feet.

In 2018, Downs-Honey accepted the role as president of The Landing School in Arundel, Maine.

Benjamin E. Ford – The recreational and commercial marine industry finds itself straddling two separate legal systems, federal admiralty law and state law. It is in this legal borderland that Ben focuses his practice. Ben combines solid litigation experience with a practical appreciation of the challenges facing the marine industry today. The result is a no-nonsense business approach to solving legal problems efficiently and effectively.

Never afraid to get his hands dirty, Ben’s clients benefit from his legal experience as well as his 15 years working in the marine trades. Prior to his legal practice, Ben did everything from the commissioning and delivery of private yachts, to working on multi-million-dollar acquisitions for a national marine retailer.

When he’s not at his desk, or in court fighting for his clients, Ben can be found on the water racing his Lightning or cruising around in his vintage 1959 Lyman runabout.

Wendy Goodwin – With two and a half decades of boatbuilding experience, Wendy Goodwin runs the oldest fiberglass manufacturing sailboat shop in continuous production in the United States. Established is 1899, Cape Cod Shipbuilding Co. was acquired by Wendy’s Grandfather in 1939 and as with any family business that has sustained into the third generation, the industry and its customers have evolved but the quality of the traditional sailboats produced by this iconic boatyard remains constant. The business not only produces fiberglass sailboats from 15 to 30 feet but remains fully staffed year-round by offering winter storage, quality repairs and service at its waterfront facility on Buzzards Bay. Wendy has multiple national sailing championships under her belt, she remains committed to multiple class associations throughout the country and her work has been recognized by the Family Business Association of Massachusetts.

Steven H. Kitchin – Steven H. Kitchin is Vice President for Corporate Education and Training at New England Institute of Technology in East Greenwich, RI. Mr. Kitchin joined the staff at New England Tech in May of 1986. He directs New England Institute of Technology’s highly successful Center for Technology and Industry, which runs various contract training programs. These programs are offered on and off site for such companies and organizations as The American Boat Builders and Repairers Association, Hasbro, The New England Fuel Institute, EMC, Pfizer, Titleist, CVS, Sea Ray, and many others.

Prior to joining the staff at New England Tech, Mr. Kitchin served in the Rhode Island Department of Economic Development’s Division of Job Development and Training where he spent nearly 10 years working with businesses and organizations developing on-the-job and classroom training programs.

Mr. Kitchin is Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Workforce Partnership of Greater Rhode Island and has served as a member of the RI Human Resource Investment Council. He was a founding member of the RI Higher Education Workforce Development Council and past-chairman of the Marine Industry Training and Education Council (MITEC).

Jessica Parker – Jessica Parker grew up on the docks of Parker’s Boat Yard, helping her Dad and Grandfather greet customers and tie up their boats from the age of 4. During the summers of her high school and college years, Jessica worked as a launch operator, the point of customer contact at the yard. Since graduating from Babson College, with a degree in Entrepreneurship, Jessie returned to the yard full time and set out to learn the day to day operations of each yard department. She spent time varnishing and painting, maintaining docks, installing moorings and assisting with rigging sailboats, while continuing to oversee the seasonal waterfront operations. Having gained an understanding of the operations at PBY, Jessie turned her focus to facility requirements, taking on additional responsibilities including government regulations and permitting, safety training and environmental compliance. Her training through the ABBRA Certified Marine Service Manager Program as well as her role on the ABBRA Board of Directors have enabled her to grow in her current role as a Service Manager.

Katie Spiker – Katie Spiker is Senior Federal Policy Analyst with National Skills Coalition, working to advance NSC’s Washington-based policy efforts through federal legislation, agency regulation and national funding initiatives. In this capacity, Katie provides in-depth analyses of proposed and existing federal workforce, postsecondary education, and human services polices. In coordination with NSC field staff, she assists local leaders with their advocacy efforts on these issues in Washington and in district. Katie joined NSC in 2015.

Prior to joining NSC, Katie was the Associate Director of the National Center for Women’s Employment Equity at Wider Opportunities for Women where she managed the design and provision of on-site and virtual technical assistance and the creation of case studies and policy briefs related to nontraditional occupations and occupational segregation. Katie has also consulted with the Institute for Women’s Policy Research and the National Women’s Law Center. She served as policy counsel for Workplace Flexibility 2010 and the National Partnership for Women and Families as a Women’s Law and Public Policy Fellow.

Katie is a 2015 Ford Foundation Public Voices Fellow.
She holds a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Miami. She is based in Washington, DC.

Nadia Williams – Nadia Williams is a native of Jacksonville, FL and a third-generation owner of Lamb’s Yacht Center (LYC). Founded in 1960 by her Grandfather Bronson Lamb Jr., LYC is the oldest and largest full-service and storage, family-run marina in North Florida. Staffed with thirty skilled workers, LYC offers solutions for mechanical, electrical, carpentry, and paintwork needs. In addition to their Part’s Ship’s Store, fuel dock, and hotel rooms, LYC offers covered dockage with 240 wet slips. Their 30, 40, and 100-ton lifts allow LYC to accommodate a variety of yachts up to 90 feet. Since 2015, when LYC returned to the ownership of the Lamb’s family, LYC has been awarded Clean Marina, Clean Boatyard, and Clean Retail. Nadia, a graduate of Auburn University, previously worked for Trinity Industries in Dallas, Texas as the Sales Director of the Southwest Region. She returned to Jacksonville in 2015 and is now the Owner/General Manager of LYC. Nadia is an ABBRA Certified Marine Service ManagerTM. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, boating, running, and is a fitness instructor at the local YMCA.