Thank you for attending the 2020 Virtual American Boating Congress.

If you missed our annual advocacy summit, you can find event materials and details below. In the coming days, check back for additional resources and information to help us continue to advocate for recreational boating in America.






Wednesday, May 13 | 1:00–2:30pm ET


Join us for the opening of the virtual ABC 2020 with remarks from NMMA President, Frank Hugelmeyer, on how the association is helping the recreational boating industry navigate the COVID-19 crisis.


CARES Act – Developing, Implementing and Future Economic Relief Measures
Top congressional staff from the House and Senate Small Business Committees join us for a discussion on how the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was assembled and implemented. Additionally, the staffers will outline what future COVID-19 economic relief legislation could include.


  • Renee Bender, Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship
  • Michael Stein, House Small Business Committee

Bipartisanship in the Era of Uncertainty
Members of Congress from both political parties provide insights on the importance of working across the aisle to tackle the country’s most pressing challenges, including COVID-19 relief and recovery.


  • The Honorable Josh Gottheimer, Member of Congress, New Jersey’s 5th District
  • The Honorable Tom Reed, Member of Congress, New York’s 23rd District

COVID-19’s Economic Impact on the Recreational Boating Industry
Nicole Vasilaros, NMMA senior vice president of government and legal affairs, provides an overview of the global pandemic’s impact on recreational boating businesses and how recent congressional actions have helped the marine industry weather the storm.


  • Nicole Vasilaros, NMMA Senior Vice President of Government and Legal Affairs

State of the States: Working Together to Re-Open America
Neighboring states and regions across the country are closely coordinating on how to safely and swiftly restart the economy. Listen in as key elected and state officials take part in what promises to be an engaging, informative panel discussion on what to expect as stay at home orders lift, businesses re-open and life begins to normalize.


  • Sammie Arnold, Chief of Staff for the Tennessee Economic Recovery Group and Assistant Commission of Community and Rural Development
  • Jon Snyder, Washington Governor Jay Inslee’s Policy Advisor for Outdoor Recreation and Economic Development
  • Bob Meier, Assistant Commissioner for Policy and Government Relations for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
  • Basil Seggos, Commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

Audience Q&A
NMMA’s advocacy team will close day one by addressing attendees’ questions in real time.


Thursday, May 14 | 1:00–2:30pm ET


Discussion with The Honorable Eugene Scalia, Secretary of Labor


2020 Political Landscape — Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
What can we expect from the campaign trail in the months ahead? With the 2020 elections less than six months away, we will hear from a top staffer with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on the party’s chances in November, followed by a representative from the Republican party later in the program.


  • Gabrielle Quintana Greenfield, Battlefield Director, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee

Discussion with The Honorable Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Commerce


Economic Forecast: The Lingering Impacts of COVID-19 to the Global Economy
Drawing on nearly 20 years of financial services, politics, and policy analysis experience, Trevor Hanger, strategic adviser at Forbes-Tate Partners will provide in-depth analysis on how significant government actions like the CARES Act reverberate throughout economic and political landscapes.


  • Trevor Hanger, Strategic Advisor, Forbes Tate Partners

2020 Political Landscape — National Republican Senatorial Committee
After hearing from a representative from the Democratic party earlier in the day, we will be joined by a senior official of the Republican party to discuss their prospects this November.


  • Betsy Ankney, Political Director, National Republican Senatorial Committee

Discussion with The Honorable David Bernhardt, Secretary of the Interior


Recreational Boating Industry’s Priorities in Upcoming COVID-19 Relief Measures
With Congress considering additional legislation to help the economy recovery from the health crisis, Nicole Vasilaros, NMMA senior vice president of government and legal affairs, outlines the marine industry’s top policy priorities in future measures.


  • Nicole Vasilaros, NMMA Senior Vice President of Government and Legal Affairs

Audience Q&A and Closing Remarks
The virtual ABC wraps up with an opportunity to engage directly with NMMA’s advocacy and ask questions in real time. NMMA Senior Vice President of Government and Legal Affairs, Nicole Vasilaros, will recap the conference and outline next steps.



Take Action

Boating is a beloved American pastime and an economic engine – but we’re in an unprecedented time. As we chart a course through uncertainty, we must continue to tell Congress to support key policies that will shape our industry’s future:


OR Text “BOAT” to 345-345




Access and download presentations and other materials from the 2020 Virtual American Boating Congress.

Day 1 Presentation of the 2020 American Boating Congress

Day 2 Presentation of the 2020 American Boating Congress




The full ABC 2020 program contains the schedule of events, top policy priorities, speaker bios and more.

Click here to view and download our ABC 2020 program



Top Policy Priorities

Even though this year’s annual advocacy summit is unable to take place in person, there are several pressing issues that require our community’s full attention, including COVID-19 economic relief, recreation infrastructure improvements, healthy and abundant fisheries, and free and fair trade.

Click here to view and download our top policy priorities.




A big thank you to our sponsors who helped make this year’s virtual ABC possible.



Conference Speakers

David Bernhardt, Secretary of Interior

David L. Bernhardt serves as the 53rd Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior. As Secretary of the Interior, Bernhardt leads an agency with more than 70,000 employees who are stewards for 20 percent of the nation’s lands. The department oversees the responsible development of conventional and renewable energy supplies on public lands and waters, is the largest supplier and manager of water in the 17 Western states, and upholds trust responsibilities to the 574 federally recognized American Indian tribes and Alaska Natives.

Bernhardt is an avid hunter and angler and recently served on the Board of Game and Inland Fisheries for the Commonwealth of Virginia. He also led the International Boundary Commission between the United States and Canada which maintains the 5,525 mile international boundary between the two nations. He has in-depth experience in legal matters concerning active regulations and rule-makings in both the government and the private sector. His expertise ranges from the Endangered Species Act to Outer-Continental leases, from mining royalties to Indian Affairs.

Raised in Rifle, Colorado, Bernhardt earned a B.A. in political science with a minor in business administration from the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley in 1990. He graduated with honors from the George Washington University National Law Center in 1994 and is admitted to various state and federal court bars.

Eugene Scalia, Secretary of Labor

Eugene Scalia serves as the 28th Secretary of Labor. Secretary Scalia previously served as Solicitor of Labor, the Department of Labor’s principal legal officer, working for Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao as a member of President George W. Bush’s Administration. As Solicitor, he pursued initiatives to protect low-wage workers, reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens, and enhance enforcement of workplace safety laws. He worked closely with Secretary Chao on matters such as the Department’s efforts seeking to recover the losses of employees and retirees in Enron’s pension plans, and resolving a costly labor dispute at the West Coast Ports.

Prior to his confirmation as Secretary of Labor, Secretary Scalia was a lawyer with a national reputation as an expert in labor and employment law and in administrative and regulatory law.

Secretary Scalia served as a speechwriter during the Reagan Administration and received the Department of Justice’s Edmund J. Randolph Award while serving as a Special Assistant to Attorney General William P. Barr during the Administration of George H.W. Bush.

Secretary Scalia is a graduate with distinction from the University of Virginia. He studied law at the University of Chicago Law School, where he graduated cum laude and served as editor-in chief of the Law Review.

Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Commerce

Wilbur L. Ross, Jr. was sworn in by Vice President Mike Pence as the 39th Secretary of Commerce on February 28, 2017. Secretary Ross is the principal voice of business in the Trump Administration, ensuring that U.S. entrepreneurs and businesses have the tools they need to create jobs and economic opportunity.

Secretary Ross is the former Chairman and Chief Strategy Officer of WL Ross & Co. LLC and has over 55 years of investment banking and private equity experience. He has restructured over $400 billion of assets in the airline, apparel, auto parts, banking, beverage, chemical, credit card, electric utility, food service, furniture, gypsum, homebuilding, insurance, marine transport, mortgage origination and servicing, oil and gas, railcar manufacturing and leasing, real estate, restaurant, shipyard, steel, textile and trucking industries. Secretary Ross has been chairman or lead director of more than 100 companies operating in more than 20 different countries.

Named by Bloomberg Markets as one of the 50 most influential people in global finance, Secretary Ross is the only person elected to both the Private Equity Hall of Fame and the Turnaround Management Hall of Fame. He previously served as privatization adviser to New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and was appointed by President Bill Clinton to the board of the U.S.-Russia Investment Fund. President Kim Dae-jung awarded Secretary Ross a medal for helping South Korea during its financial crisis and, in November 2014, the Emperor of Japan awarded him the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star.

As a philanthropist, Secretary Ross has served as Chairman of the Japan Society, Trustee of the Brookings Institution and Chairman of its Economic Studies Council, International Counsel Member of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, Trustee of the Blenheim Foundation, President of the American Friends of the Rene Magritte Museum in Brussels and Director of the Palm Beach Civic Association. He also was an Advisory Board Member of Yale University School of Management.

Secretary Ross is a graduate of Yale University and Harvard Business School (with distinction). He and his wife Hilary Geary Ross have four children, Jessica Ross, Amanda Ross, Ted Geary and Jack Geary.

Tom Reed, New York’s 23rd District

Tom Reed, represents New York’s 23rd District. He currently serves on the influential House Ways and Means committee as the Republican Leader of the Social Security Subcommittee. He co-chairs the Problem Solvers Caucus—a group of 24 Republicans and 24 Democrats who meet weekly to solve some of the most contentious issues facing our country today.

Before he was elected to Congress, Tom served as the mayor of Corning, the town where he was raised and still lives today. As the mayor, Tom learned potholes and parking tickets are not partisan issues and that is the approach he brings to Washington.

Tom remains committed to being accessible and help anyone in need. He and his team have completed more than 13,000 constituent cases, resolving issues with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Veterans Administration (VA), Social Security Administration (SSA) and other federal agencies. He has also held more than 250 public town hall meetings, earning him recognition as one of the most accessible members of Congress.

Josh Gottheimer, New Jersey’s 5th District

Josh Gottheimer represents New Jersey's Fifth Congressional District. He serves on the House Financial Services Committee and works on three Subcommittees: National Security, International Development and Monetary Policy Subcommittee, the Investor Protection, Entrepreneurship, and Capital Markets Subcommittee, and the Diversity and Inclusion Subcommittee.

Josh serves as Co-Chair of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, a group of 24 Democrats and 24 Republicans working together across party lines to find areas of agreement on key issues including lowering taxes, cutting burdensome and unnecessary regulation, lowering health insurance premiums, and improving infrastructure to help the American people.

Josh attended the University of Pennsylvania, later becoming a Thouron Fellow at Oxford, and then paid his way through Harvard Law School.

Renée Bender, Senior Professional Staff Member, Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship

Renée Bender is a Senior Professional Staff Member for Chairman Marco Rubio (R-FL) on the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. In her capacity on the Committee, Renée manages the SBA lending and investment portfolios, financial services issues, as well as the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. She also served on the Committee under Chairman Jim Risch (R-ID). Renée previously worked in the office of Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY) for seven years, where as a Legislative Assistant she handled small business, financial services, telecommunications, appropriations and child welfare issues. She started her career in the office of Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM), where she worked in a number of capacities until his retirement. She is a native New Mexican and earned her B.A. from New Mexico State University in 2007.

Michael Stein, Counsel, House Committee on Small Business

Michael Stein is Counsel for the House of Representatives Small Business Committee working on trade, agriculture, and environmental issues. He has a law degree and master’s degree in environmental science from the University of Wisconsin.




Sammie Arnold, Chief of Staff for the Tennessee Economic Recovery Group, Assistant Commissioner of Community and Rural Development

Sammie Arnold joined the Tennessee Department of Economic & Community Development (ECD) in August of 2013 and serves as Assistant Commissioner of Community & Rural Development. He oversees the department’s efforts to boost investment and development in Tennessee’s rural communities, with a particular emphasis on distressed and at-risk communities. Prior to joining ECD, Sammie worked in Nashville at the state capitol building as a legislative liaison for Governor Bill Haslam. He was also a staffer on Governor Haslam’s successful gubernatorial campaign in 2010. Sammie is a native of Dyersburg, TN. He received a B.A. in Psychology from Vanderbilt University, and a J.D. from the University of Tennessee College of Law.

Jon Snyder, Washington Governor Jay Inslee’s Policy Advisor for Outdoor Recreation and Economic Development

Jon Snyder is Washington Governor Jay Inslee’s Policy Advisor for Outdoor Recreation and Economic Development. He coordinates policy, legislation, budget items, and outreach related to outdoor recreation. He was appointed in December 2015 after serving on the Spokane City Council for six years and owning a regional outdoor magazine for nine years. Snyder served on the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, Spokane Transit Authority, and Spokane Regional Health District as well as having a leadership role in passing local ballot measures to fund parks, streets, libraries, and public transportation.

Bob Meier, Assistant Commissioner for Policy and Government Relations for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

Bob Meier is the Assistant Commissioner for Policy and Government Relations for the DNR. He is responsible for the management and coordination of the DNR's legislative and governmental activities and relationships. Previous to this position, he was Legislative Affairs Director for the DNR from 2003-2007, and Legislative Affairs Director for the Office of Environmental Assistance from 1994-2003.

Meier holds a M.A. in Public Administration from Hamline University, a B.S. in Natural Resources and Environmental Studies from the University of Minnesota's College of Agriculture and a B.S. in Agricultural Sciences from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. He is an avid outdoors person, and enjoys hunting, fishing, camping and many other outdoor recreation activities.

Basil Seggos, Commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

Basil Seggos was appointed Commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) by Governor Andrew Cuomo, and has served in this role since 2015, leading an agency of more than 3,000 professionals. As Commissioner, he oversees programs that promote a clean, healthy, and accessible environment, including: protecting and restoring New York’s air, lands and waters; combatting climate change; enforcing State environmental laws and regulations; responding to natural disasters; and supporting world-class outdoor recreation on State lands and waters, including hunting, fishing, hiking, and boating.

In addition to leading DEC, Commissioner Seggos advises the Governor on environmental policy and issues. He also serves on a variety of boards, including the Adirondack Park Agency (APA), the Great Lakes Commission, the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation (EFC), the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA), and the Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA).

Seggos serves as the Co-Chair of the State’s Climate Action Council, a 22-member committee that will prepare a Scoping Plan to achieve the State’s nation-leading Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.

Since March 2020, Seggos has been supporting the State’s COVID-19 response, including leading the stand up of drive-thru testing sites in the New York City area and efforts to identify and stand up alternative hospital facilities in downstate communities.

Prior to becoming DEC Commissioner, Seggos served as the Deputy Secretary for the Environment for the Governor, where he counseled the Governor on environmental policy and the operations of New York’s environmental agencies, including DEC, the Office of State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, EFC, and APA, and was a liaison to the State Legislature on environmental issues and legislation. Before his career in State government, Seggos served as Vice President of Business Development at Hugo Neu Corporation, a clean tech private equity company, Chief Investigator and Attorney for Riverkeeper, Associate at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and legal clerk at the White House.

Seggos graduated from Trinity College and Pace University School of Law. Seggos is a Captain in the U.S. Army Reserve.

Trevor Hanger, Strategic Advisor, Forbes Tate Partners

Trevor Hanger is a Strategic Advisor for Forbes Tate Partners (FTP). Prior to FTP, Trevor was President and Director of Research at Height Capital Markets, an investment bank in Washington, DC. At Height, Trevor oversaw the firm’s research, consulting, and investment banks divisions and led teams tasked with advising institutional and private equity clients on corporate and investment strategy with a focus on legislative and regulatory policy issues. Before his tenure at Height, Trevor spent two years working on political campaigns through the Campaign Corps programs at EMILY’s List.

Trevor began his career as a trader and head of policy research for a pair of hedge funds in Dallas, TX.

Betsy Ankney, Political Director, National Republican Senatorial Committee

Betsy Ankney is a political consultant with more than a decade of campaign experience. In 2018, she served as campaign manager for Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner during his run for a second term. Ankey also managed U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson's successful 2016 re-election bid in Wisconsin, and was named the 2016 “Campaign Manager of the Year” by the American Association of Political Consultants.

Ankey also has experience with a number of national political organizations. She served as Deputy Political Director for operations at the Republican National Committee in 2012, as a regional political corrdinator in 2011 and as an assistant to the president and CEO at the 2008 Republican National Convention. She’s also worked as an Associate at Collins Anderson Philp Public Affair, acted as a political fundraising consultant (Epiphany Productions) and organized the NRCC March Dinner in 2011.

Ms. Ankey earned a B.A. in political science and business from Vanderbilt University in 2009.

T. Nicole Vasilaros, Esq., NMMA’s Senior Vice President of Government and Legal Affairs

Nicole Vasilaros serves as Senior Vice President of Government and Legal Affairs for the National Marine Manufacturers Association. In her current role, Vasilaros manages NMMA’s Washington, DC office and oversees the federal, state, regulatory, and grassroots advocacy agenda. Vasilaros specializes in federal relations with a portfolio including fuel policy, international trade, transportation and environmental access. In addition, Vasilaros serves as in-house legal counsel for NMMA's government relations department. Vasilaros has been with NMMA for over 7 years, initially as Manager for State Government Relations responsible for monitoring a 50 state legislative agenda advocating for the recreational marine industry and overseeing the federal, state and legal agenda for the Personal Watercraft Industry Association, a subsidiary of NMMA.

Prior to working for NMMA, Vasilaros was a Legislative Aid to Congresswoman Suzanne Kosmas (FL) handling health care, education and judiciary issues. Vasilaros also clerked for Congressman Robert Wexler (FL) and was a summer associate for The Cochran Firm in Washington, DC. Vasilaros received her JD from the University of Florida Levin College of Law and was a visiting student at Georgetown University Law Center. Vasilaros is a graduate of Emory University. She is a member of the Virginia Bar and currently serves the Administration on the International Trade Advisory Council for Consumer Goods, Sport Fish and Boating Partnership Council and National Boating Safety Advisory Council.



2020 American Boating Congress Co-Hosts

ABC is an industry-wide effort made possible by our many co-hosts. NMMA encourages other leading organizations in recreational boating and fishing to make a difference for your business, members and stakeholders by having a seat at the table and demonstrating your support as we address our industry's most pressing issues. To become a co-host please contact Libby Yranski.






If you have questions or need any assistance during our virtual event, please contact Erica Crocker at



Sponsorship Opportunities

Contact John Marcinek at