Thank you for joining the 2021 American Boating Congress (ABC). Save the date for next year’s ABC, April 6 – April 8.
Take action alongside our community of thousands of boating businesses and supporters to advocate for policies that affect boating, angling, and outdoor recreation. We must unite as one voice, on behalf of the recreational boating industry, and tell Congress to support key policies that will shape our industry’s future.
OR Text “BOAT” to 345-345
Wednesday, April 21 | 1:30–3:00pm
all times are in the eastern time zone
Day One Opening Remarks
Join us for the opening of the American Boating Congress 2021 with remarks from NMMA President, Frank Hugelmeyer, who will share an exclusive state of the industry, our legislative areas of focus, and how we can work together to ensure recreational boating has a seat at the policymaking table.
Discussions with Members of Congress
Kicking off ABC 2021, hear from members of Congress for insight into congressional priorities on behalf of the recreational boating industry.
- Representative Nancy Mace (R-SC-01)
- Representative Maria Salazar (R-FL-27)
- Representative Pete Stauber (R-MN-08)
NMMA Presents 2021 Legislator of the Year Award
NMMA is pleased to present the 2021 Legislator of the Year Award to Representative Lois Frankel (D-FL-21) for her laudable service and advocacy on behalf of the recreational boating industry over the past year. Representative Frankel’s service to the industry as co-chair of the Congressional Boating Caucus has defined her as a true champion for the industry’s causes.
Hail to the Bipartisan Chiefs: A Discussion with Top Senate Staffers
Listen in as bipartisan chiefs of staff dive into the work being done in the U.S. Senate to strengthen the recreational boating industry.
- Kaleb Froehlich, Chief of Staff, Office of Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
- Lance West, Chief of Staff, Office of Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV)
Nicole Vasilaros, NMMA Senior Vice President, Government and Legal Affairs, will discuss this year’s pressing policy updates and matters affecting the industry at large, including trade, tariffs, infrastructure, supply chain disruptions, recreational fishing and actions that must be taken to strengthen the industry.
Outdoor Recreation’s Seat at the Table: Federal and State Opportunities
Learn more about Offices of Outdoor Recreation and how they are supporting the outdoor recreation industry across the nation through federal and state opportunities.
- Amy Allison, Director, North Carolina Office of Outdoor Recreation
- Brad Garmon, Director, Michigan Office of Outdoor Recreation
- Nathan Fey, Director, Colorado Office of Outdoor Recreation
BoatPAC Cocktail Reception
BoatPAC contributors are invited to join Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA-3) and Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ-5) at 6:00 p.m. for a virtual mixology class.
Thursday, April 22 | 10:00am–1:00pm
BoatPAC contributors will discuss pressing matters on behalf of the industry with some of the most influential voices in Congress.
For more information on these meetings, please contact Erica Crocker at email@example.com
Thursday, April 22 | 1:30–3:00pm
Day Two Opening Remarks
NMMA’s Nicole Vasilaros kicks off the second day of ABC 2021, which will feature conversations with key movers and shakers in Washington, D.C.
Discussions with Members of the Administration, Congress, and Policymakers
Throughout day two, you’ll hear from members of the Biden administration, members of Congress, and policymakers on their respective priorities and what they mean for the recreational boating industry.
- U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland
- Senator Angus King (I-ME)
- Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS)
- Representative Debbie Dingell (D-MI-12)
- Representative John Katko (R-NY-24)
- Representative Chris Pappas (D-NH-01)
- Jeff Krause, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
NMMA Presents the BoatPAC Champion for Growth Award
NMMA is pleased to present the BoatPAC Champion for Growth Award to Joe Lewis, owner of Mount Dora Boating Center & Marina. The BoatPAC Champion for Growth Award is given annually to an individual or company that has recognized the importance of BoatPAC’s mission and advocacy.
Presentation of the Hammond Marine Industry Leadership Award
The Foundation for Recreational Boating Safety, Education and Environmental Awareness is pleased to present the Hammond Marine Industry Leadership Award to Bruce Van Wagoner of Wells Fargo, Distribution Finance, for his extraordinary service and commitment to advocacy on behalf of the recreational boating industry.
State of the States: Threats to Wakesurfing Access Across the Country
Learn more about how state legislation focused on wakesurfing will impact the recreational boating industry, manufacturers, and small businesses. Take action alongside NMMA and advocate on behalf of fair access for wakesurfers.
- Robert Oswell, CEO and Chairman, Roswell Global
- David Bausman, Legislative and Public Policy Director, Indiana Department of Natural Resources
- Matt Radich, President, Active Water Sports (Oregon)
Click the button below to download the program PDF.
Top Policy Priorities
Pressing issues that require the recreational boating community’s full attention in 2021 include recreation access and infrastructure, trade and tariffs, supply chain challenges, recreational fishing, and conservation.
A big thank you to our sponsors who helped make this year’s virtual ABC possible.
First Mate’s Level
American Sportfishing Association • Association of Marina Industries • Chaparral • Center for Sportfishing Policy • MG+M The Law Firm • Marine Retailers Association of the Americas • Marine Trades Association of New Jersey • Massachusetts Marine Trade Association • Michigan Boating Industries Association • National Marine Distributors Association • Recreational Fishing Alliance • Soundings Trade Only • Yacht Brokers Association of America/Association of Yacht Sales Professionals
Amy Allison, Director, North Carolina Office of Outdoor Recreation
Amy Allison serves as Director of the North Carolina Office of Outdoor Recreation, where she is responsible for growing the state’s outdoor recreation industry, which employs 260,000 people and generates $28 billion annually in consumer spending in North Carolina.
Outside of this role, Allison is co-founder of the Outdoor Gear Builders of WNC, a collaboration of outdoor-product manufacturers, and is on the board of the North Carolina Outdoor Recreation Coalition. She also sits on the advisory council of the Growing Outdoors Partnership, which includes more than a dozen nonprofits, businesses, academic institutions, and government agencies working together to expand the outdoor industry across 25 counties in Western North Carolina.
David Bausman, Legislative and Public Policy Director, Indiana Department of Natural Resources
David Bausman serves as the Legislative and Public Policy Director for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR). In this role, he manages the relationships between DNR staff, members of the Indiana General Assembly, the Governor's office, and local, state and federal agencies. During his time at DNR, he worked on a variety of water recreation, public access and boating issues. He also provided technical assistance to legislators on wakeboard and wake surfing legislation over the past two legislative sessions.
Before joining DNR, David worked at the Office of the Attorney General (OAG), where he previously served as a Deputy Attorney General and Legislative Director. Prior to his role serving the OAG, he lead the policy and regulatory affairs team at the Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA). While at ISDA, he served as the executive director of the Indiana Land Resources Council and was the Lt. Governor’s proxy for the Environmental Rules Board. He covered forestry, conservation and invasive species issues for the agriculture community.
David’s bar admissions include the State of Indiana, U.S District Court — Northern District of Indiana, and U.S. District Court — Southern District of Indiana. He graduated from DePauw University in 2006 with a major in Political Science and minors in History and Mass Communication. He earned his law degree from the Robert H. McKinney School of Law at Indiana University.
David Dickerson, Vice President, State Government Relations, National Marine Manufacturers Association
David Dickerson serves as Vice President, State Government Relations for the National Marine Manufacturers Association, bringing over 30 years of experience working in news, government affairs and communications and has established a nationwide. In this role, David works across the marine manufacturing industry on issues including boating access, recreational fishing, and other key aspects of the recreational marine industry, at the state level.
Representative Debbie Dingell, D-MI-12
Congresswoman Debbie Dingell represents the 12th District of Michigan in the U.S. House of Representatives. Before being elected to Congress, Debbie was the Chair of the Wayne State University (WSU) Board of Governors. An active civic and community leader, she is a recognized national advocate for women and children.
For more than 30 years Debbie served one of Michigan’s largest employers, the General Motors (GM) Corporation, where she was President of the GM Foundation and a senior executive responsible for public affairs. In her commitment to job creation, Debbie led the effort to bring the 10,000 Small Businesses initiative, a $20 million partnership designed to help create jobs and economic growth, to southeast Michigan. She is a past chair of the Manufacturing Initiative at the American Automotive Policy Council.
Nathan Fey, Director, Colorado Office of Outdoor Recreation
Fey has been a professional in the outdoor arena for 20 years and currently serves as the Director of Colorado’s Office of Outdoor Recreation (OREC). For 12 years, he worked as the regional director of the Colorado River Stewardship Program at American Whitewater where he was responsible for program development, fundraising, grant writing and growing the network of affiliates from four regional paddling clubs to over 20. Concurrently, he served as a public policy advisor for Berbur, llc, where he co-created the governance structure for the Colorado Office of Outdoor Recreation industry including Member Pledge, Regional Partnership Guidelines and the Advisory Council protocol.
He has been recognized as a Partner in Conservation by the US Department of the Interior and received a three-year leadership grant from the WIlliam C. Kenney Foundation for the support of innovation, collaboration and solutions to address water resource issues in the Uncompahgre Valley.
Kaleb Froehlich, Chief of Staff, Office of Senator Lisa Murkowski
Kaleb Froehlich serves as chief of staff to Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). From 2009–2014, Kaleb served as Senior Counsel to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee under Sen. Murkowski. Born and raised in Juneau, Kaleb received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Southern California and his law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law.
Brad Garmon, Director, Michigan Office of Outdoor Recreation
In September 2019, Brad Garmon was named director of the Michigan Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry. Though he grew up in the plains of western Kansas, Garmon has spent the last 18 years focused on improving Michigan public policy to better protect the Great Lakes and natural areas, while also forging stronger connections between resource conservation, job growth, talent attraction and economic development.
Most recently, Garmon served as the interim CEO of the Michigan Environmental Council in Lansing. Prior to that, he was the council’s director of Conservation and Emerging Issues — a role created in 2011 specifically to support and build stronger alliances between outdoor recreation, economic development and natural resource stewardship.
More recently, he has advised the DNR, the Office of the Great Lakes and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation on several different plans aimed at improving and supporting Michigan’s natural and cultural resources. Garmon also is a member of the Michigan Heritage Leadership Council, was appointed to the state’s Pigeon River Country Advisory Council in 2013, and previously served on the Michigan State Parks Advisory Council’s Finance Subcommittee.
Representative Josh Gottheimer, D-NJ-5
Josh Gottheimer represents New Jersey’s Fifth Congressional District in the northernmost part of the state, which includes parts of Bergen, Passaic, Sussex, and Warren counties. He was sworn in on January 3, 2017.
In Congress, Josh serves on two Committees — the House Financial Services Committee, where he is a member of the National Security, International Development and Monetary Policy Subcommittee and the Investor Protection, Entrepreneurship, and Capital Markets Subcommittee. He also serves on the House Homeland Security Committee, where he is a member of the Intelligence and Counterterrorism Subcommittee and the Transportation and Maritime Security Subcommittee.
U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland
Secretary Deb Haaland made history when she became the first Native American to serve as a cabinet secretary. She is a member of the Pueblo of Laguna and a 35th generation New Mexican. Secretary Haaland grew up in a military family; her father was a 30-year combat Marine who was awarded the Silver Star Medal for saving six lives in Vietnam, and her mother is a Navy veteran who served as a federal employee for 25 years at the Bureau of Indian Affairs. As a military child, she attended 13 public schools before graduating from Highland High School in Albuquerque.
As a single mother, Secretary Haaland volunteered at her child's pre-school to afford early childhood education. Like many parents, she had to rely on food stamps at times as a single parent, lived paycheck-to-paycheck, and struggled to put herself through college. At the age of 28, Haaland enrolled at the University of New Mexico (UNM) where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in English and later earned her J.D. from UNM Law School. Secretary Haaland and her child, who also graduated from the University of New Mexico, are still paying off student loans.
Secretary Haaland ran her own small business producing and canning Pueblo Salsa, served as a tribal administrator at San Felipe Pueblo, and became the first woman elected to the Laguna Development Corporation Board of Directors, overseeing business operations of the second largest tribal gaming enterprise in New Mexico. She successfully advocated for the Laguna Development Corporation to create policies and commitments to environmentally friendly business practices.
Throughout her career in public service, Secretary Haaland has broken barriers and opened the doors of opportunity for future generations. After running for New Mexico Lieutenant Governor in 2014, Secretary Haaland became the first Native American woman to be elected to lead a State Party. She is one of the first Native American women to serve in Congress. In Congress, she focused on environmental justice, climate change, missing and murdered indigenous women, and family-friendly policies.
Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-WA-3
Jaime Herrera Beutler was first elected to Congress at the age of 31 to represent Southwest Washington’s 3rd District. Both Democrat and Republican presidents have signed Jaime’s legislation into law, helping her earn the ranking as Washington state’s most effective Member of Congress. She is also the first Hispanic in history to represent Washington state on the federal level.
Jaime grew up in Southwest Washington and brings an independent voice and a desire to serve her home community to Washington, D.C. Jaime graduated from Prairie High School and was a member of Prairie’s women’s basketball team. She also participated in activities like 4-H, fishing at Battle Ground Lake on opening day, and swimming in the Lewis River. Jaime has a deep appreciation for what makes Southwest Washington special.
Frank Hugelmeyer, President, National Marine Manufacturers Association
Frank Hugelmeyer is president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association. He has more than 30 years of experience in the sporting goods, fitness and outdoor recreation sectors along with an extensive background in retail, manufacturing, brand development, public policy and trade association management. Prior to National Marine Manufacturers Association, Hugelmeyer was president at RV Industry Association and co-chairman for Go RVing. Before that, he was the longtime president and CEO of Outdoor Industry Association where he inspired and led the renowned campaign that defined the economic importance of the $734 billion outdoor recreation industry for the first time in U.S. history. Frank lives in northern Virginia near Washington D.C. and maintains a home in Colorado. His leisure time is spent in the outdoors usually boating, sport and fly fishing.
Representative John Katko, R-NY-24
Congressman John M. Katko was first elected to represent the 24th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives in November 2014. He was re-elected for a fourth term in November 2020. The 24th Congressional District includes all of Onondaga, Cayuga, and Wayne Counties and the western portion of Oswego County.
A Camillus, NY native, John left his 20-year career as a federal prosecutor to run for public office because he believes Central New York deserves strong, independent leadership in Washington.
In Congress, John serves as Ranking Member on the House Committee on Homeland Security and as a member of the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure.
Senator Angus King, I-ME
In January 2013, Angus King was sworn in as Maine’s first Independent United States Senator, filling the same seat once held by storied Maine leaders Edmund Muskie, George Mitchell, and Olympia Snowe.
A strong believer in the need for greater bipartisan dialogue and relationship building, Senator King is proud to join the long line of thoughtful, independent leaders from the State of Maine, and he works hard every day to bring Republicans and Democrats together to find common-sense solutions for Maine and America. He is a proven consensus-builder who “calls ‘em like he sees ‘em”, putting civility and respect ahead of political ideology.
Senator King is a member of the Armed Services Committee, the Select Committee on Intelligence, the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, and the Committee on Rules and Administration. He has made it a priority not to miss Committee hearings, earning him praise from his colleagues and the reputation as a workhorse in the Senate. The late Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.), who served as Armed Services Chairman, once called Senator King “one of the most serious and hard-working members” of the Committee.
Jeff Krause, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Mr. Krause is a biologist who started his USACE career in 1992 with the Baltimore District as a Department of the Army Intern and went on to work in Planning, Engineering and Operations. He completed his Baltimore District tenure with 16 years in Operations as a Wildlife Biologist at Raystown Lake where he was selected to serve on numerous national leadership teams to support the NRM Community of Practice. From Baltimore, Jeff went on the Institute for Water Resources and served as the HQ Environmental Stewardship Program and Business Line Manager responsible for stewardship programs including strategic planning, performance tracking, selected HQ remaining items and most significantly national budget and development, defense and management.
Representative Nancy Mace, R-SC-1
Congresswoman Nancy Mace is a single mom who grew up in the Lowcountry, works here and is raising her family here. She has earned accolades as one of the most fiscally conservative members of the General Assembly; she’s also one of the most pro-conservation lawmakers in the state with a 100 percent rating with Conservation Voters of South Carolina.
She grew up in Goose Creek, S.C. and eventually graduated from Stratford High School, but not before working at the Waffle House on College Park Road in Ladson (exit 203).
She graduated magna cum laude from The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina, where she was the school’s first female to graduate from its Corps of Cadets in 1999. She later earned a masters degree in Mass Communication from The University of Georgia in 2004.
Robert Oswell, Founder, Chairman, and CEO, Roswell Marine
Robert Oswell is the Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Roswell Marine. A pioneer of new ideas and technology, his impact has resonated within our community since creating the company in 1998, driving its growth from a garage-born passion project into a multinational conglomerate with expanding global operations. For over 20 years, Robert’s vision and leadership has crafted Roswell’s progressive DNA, woven into every project focused on pushing the industry forward with patented innovations and award-winning marine audio, towers, racks, and accessories. His passion to improve the time we spend on the water has now evolved into a mission marching beyond products, recently venturing into new territory as the elected President of the Watersports Industry Association (WSIA).
Representative Chris Pappas, D-NH-01
For Congressman Chris Pappas, public service has always been about finding ways to give back to the community that has given him so much. A lifelong resident of Manchester, New Hampshire, Chris was born into a proud Greek-American family. After graduating from Harvard, Chris returned home where he began a career in public service while helping run the 103 year-old family restaurant where he started scooping ice cream and bussing tables at age 14.
In Congress, Chris focuses on the issues that matter most to Granite Staters, including improving access to health care, lowering the high cost of prescription drugs, combating the addiction epidemic, and protecting our environment and drinking water.
As the Chair of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations for the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Chris is committed to holding VA leadership accountable while serving our veterans who have sacrificed so much. He is working to protect whistleblowers who come forward to report waste, fraud, and abuse and to ensure that more veterans can access quality care in their communities. Chris also serves on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee where he is fighting to modernize our nation’s infrastructure and invest in projects that will create jobs and improve quality of life in New Hampshire.
Matt Radich, President, Active Water Sports
Matt Radich has distinguished himself as one of the most tenacious defenders of wakesurfing in the country. He learned to waterski on the Willamette River, the same waterway he has dedicated hundreds of hours and tens of thousands of dollars to defending against attacks from homeowners, politicians and environmentalists. Since homeowners first pushed to ban wakesurfing from much of the river 15 years ago, he has testified numerous times before the Oregon Legislature, challenged efforts of the Oregon State Marine Board to over-regulate the sport, and helped direct and fund a defense team that includes lobbyists, lawyers and a public relations firm. He began at Active Water Sports as a salesman in 1992, rising to be president of the dealership in 2016.
Representative Maria Salazar (R-FL-27)
Congresswoman Maria Elvira Salazar proudly represents Florida’s 27th Congressional District, passionately serving the people of South Florida. She currently serves on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs as well as the House Committee on Small Business.
Congresswoman Salazar is committed to acting tirelessly in defense of individual rights and liberties, spearheading economic development & job training efforts, and promoting environmental resiliency in her community. She is well-known for her advocacy for Human Rights and democracy around the world, especially for the people of Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, and Nicaragua, as well as for her unabashed support of our global & regional partners such as Israel, Colombia, and Taiwan.
Congresswoman Salazar is a five-time Emmy Award-winning journalist— she has spent her career holding the corrupt and powerful accountable. Congresswoman Salazar has gone toe-to-toe with Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro, Chile’s Augusto Pinochet, and most notably Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, being the only US Spanish-language journalist to ever interview the tyrant one-on-one. Starting at the age of 22, she has worked for every major US Spanish-language broadcasting network: Telemundo, Univision, AmericaTeve, MegaTV, and CNN en Español.
Salazar was born in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood, the daughter of Cuban exiles. She studied at the Deerborne School of Coral Gables and graduated from Miami Dade College. Salazar holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the University of Miami and a Master of Public Administration from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Congresswoman Salazar currently resides in Coral Gables with her two daughters, Nicoletta and Martina.
Representative Pete Stauber, R-MN-08
Congressman Pete Stauber is a Duluth native, currently serving his second term in Congress as the Representative from Minnesota’s Eighth Congressional District. Congressman Stauber believes that Northern Minnesota deserves strong, principled leadership in Washington, D.C. and is focused on creating jobs, building safer communities and defending our way of life. In Congress, Stauber serves on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, the House Natural Resources Committee, and the House Small Business Committee.
Congressman Stauber has a remarkable record of public service. Prior to his time in Congress, Stauber worked as a St. Louis County Commissioner, City Councilor in Hermantown, and Duluth police officer for over two decades. He is also the part-owner of a small business that he shares with his brothers.
T. Nicole Vasilaros, Esq., Senior Vice President of Government and Legal Affairs, National Marine Manufacturers Association
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.
Lance West, Chief of Staff, Office of Senator Joe Manchin
Lance West currently serves as chief of staff to Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV). Prior to this role, West served as deputy staff director for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources' Democratic staff. West graduated from Marshall University.
Senator Roger Wicker, R-MS
Roger F. Wicker has represented Mississippi in the United States Senate since December 2007. During his time in the Senate, Wicker has championed pro-growth policies to create jobs, limit federal overreach, protect life, and maintain a strong national defense.
Wicker is the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation for the 117th Congress. He served as chairman of the full committee during the 116th Congress after previously serving as the chairman of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet.
Wicker is the second-highest ranking Republican member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. His other committee assignments include the Environment and Public Works Committee; and the Rules and Administration Committee.
Wicker is the co-chairman of the U.S. Helsinki Commission and Vice President of the OSCE’s Parliamentary Assembly. Wicker also serves as a member of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy Congressional Board of Visitors.