Alan J. Freedman Memorial Leadership Award
Recipients of the NMMA Freedman Award are individuals who, in the course of their careers, have made outstanding contributions to the marine accessories industry through leadership, creativity, and personal motivation. The following are the categories for consideration:
• Marine aftermarket or OEM manufacturer
• Marine representative
• Member of a marine-focused media
• Boat dealer
• Marine distributor
• Marine trade association staff person
2012: Bob Long, Marine Concepts
Robert "Bob" Long
The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) honored Bob Long, Owner and CEO of Marine Concepts, with the 2013 Alan J. Freedman Memorial Leadership Award.
NMMA’s Accessory Manufacturers Division (AMD) introduced the Freedman Award in 1984 to recognize individuals who, throughout the course of their careers, have made outstanding contributions to the marine accessories industry through leadership, creativity and personal motivation.
Long has spent more than 40 years in the marine industry as a leader, innovator and champion for boating. His work includes time spent at the helm of Starcraft and Crestliner, a 17-year reign at Wellcraft Marine, and currently as Owner and CEO of Marine Concepts. Throughout his career, his support to marine manufacturing has been overwhelming. He is a long-standing member of NMMA who assisted in its formation in 1979, and sat on the NMMA Board of Directors for six years. He has chaired and been a member of numerous NMMA committees and remains an active advocate for recreational boat manufacturing, working with NMMA on legislative issues in Washington D.C. and as an avid participant of the industry’s annual American Boating Congress, fighting for marine manufacturers and their rights.
Perhaps Long’s greatest contributions to the marine industry are his 17 years spent at Wellcraft and his time at Marine Concepts. In creating the company, he took a concept he believed in, one that would offer manufacturers complete assistance from initial design and engineering, to tooling and final product, and amplified it by introducing technology, computers, CNC Robotic mills, a laser tracker and reverse engineering. By providing these services, Long knew he could aid manufacturers in their product design, engineering and tooling efforts, getting products to the market quicker, with a higher quality and allowing for an improved, stylized and engineered product. The end result was a successful and innovative company reaching customer needs through full production assistance.
“I’m turning my entire new product tooling development over to Marine Concepts, they are the best at it, they are on-time and you know what you get and they get it right! “ said Peter Truslow, President of Edgewater Boats. “
“As you know, new product sells and keeps the Marine Industry, the boat manufacturers and suppliers more alive than any other event. New products vitalize the industry, excite the media, the organization, the customers and employee as they deliver product to consumers. Under Bob’s leadership, Marine Concepts has developed the ability to deliver new product to manufacturers at the rate of hundreds a year,” says Marine Concepts president Matt Chambers. “Bob Long has the commitment to meet a need, provide quality, maintain on time delivery, research new and innovative technology and employ a very personal approach to marketing. His outstanding dedication and continued guidance to his colleagues, vendors, manufacturers, employees and community, even in adverse economic times, makes him an ideal recipient for this prestigious award.”
In addition to his significant career achievements, Long dedicates much of his time to civic and industry organizations including the Suncoast Foundation for Handicapped Children, as a member of the Board of Directors, the Mote Marine Laboratory Board of Directors, the American Boat and Yacht Council, Florida Marine Retailers Association, Cape Coral Council for Progress Board of Directors and St. Martha’s Catholic School Parent Teacher Association.
Outside of his professional, personal and political contributions, Long enjoys spending time with his wife Karen at their home on Pine Island, Florida. He is especially close with his five sons and daughter and thoroughly delights in playing with his ten grandchildren.
Long received his Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering and a Masters in Business Administration from St. Louis University as well as Masters in Engineering from the University of West Florida.
“NMMA congratulates Bob Long on receiving the Alan J. Freedman Award and thanks him for his unwavering dedication, support and passion for the marine industry,” notes Thom Dammrich, NMMA president. “We are proud to work alongside Bob as he is a remarkable leader, innovator and creative mind who has made substantial contributions to marine manufacturing and continues to help make boating the preferred choice in recreation.”