CHICAGO — The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) announced today that its Board of Directors has selected Frank Hugelmeyer, a veteran leader in the outdoor recreation industry, as the association’s next president. He succeeds Thom Dammrich, who has led the NMMA for 20 years and announced his retirement in 2018.
“Frank brings extensive experience and expertise in outdoor recreation and association management to NMMA, making him the ideal growth-minded leader for the recreational boating industry,” said Ben Speciale, NMMA chairman and president of Yamaha’s U.S. Marine Business Unit. “We look forward to his leadership and strategic vision as he guides our industry through ever-changing economic and political landscapes.”
Hugelmeyer comes to NMMA from the RV Industry Association (RVIA), where he has served as president since 2015. He has led the RV industry with a focus on market development and strengthening of the industry-wide consumer campaign, Go RVing; directed robust advocacy policy initiatives spanning the international, federal and state levels; and, established broad coalitions across the outdoor recreation sector. RVIA represents the $50 billion RV industry with a membership of 400 manufacturers and component and aftermarket suppliers that produce 98 percent of all RVs made in the U.S.
Prior to RVIA, Hugelmeyer was president and CEO of the Outdoor Industry Association for 14 years. He was instrumental in growing the trade group’s focus on advocacy, consumer trends, business innovation and B2B education.
“We conducted a thorough search over the last year to find the right person for this important leadership role for the marine industry and Frank’s tenure in outdoor recreation-related industry associations was unparalleled,” said Bill Watters, former NMMA chairman and president of Syntec Industries, who led the search committee for the next president. “He is a tremendous addition to the NMMA team, and the recreational boating industry, and we welcome him aboard.”
NMMA is focused on promoting and protecting recreational boating through advocacy and market expansion including federal and state public policy, engineering standards and certification, statistics and research, boat and sport shows, trade events, CSI, marketing and communications, export development and support for the Grow Boating Initiative.
Hugelmeyer joins NMMA amid the association’s three-year strategic plan that includes increased investment in advocacy; research and industry promotion focused on retaining and recruiting boat owners; and, workforce development.
“I am honored and grateful to the NMMA board for the appointment to lead this remarkable organization of dedicated and talented professionals working to advocate for recreational boating,” said Hugelmeyer. “Boating and fishing are vital economic drivers and treasured American pastimes, so this is a special opportunity to combine my professional expertise with a lifestyle that personally means so much to me. By introducing more people to the joys of boating, strengthening marine advocacy and building greater industry unity, we’ll ensure that NMMA members have a bright future.”
After a transition period beginning in July, Hugelmeyer will officially take the helm October 1, 2019.