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


Nominations to the 2025 awards program will open Summer 2024.

To nominate a worthy industry leader:

  • Nominators must belong to a member company and be in good standing with NMMA.
  • Submit the official nomination form.
  • Submit supporting material to enhance the nomination. Supporting material includes, but not limited to; an enhanced career timeline and accomplishments, articles about the nominee and letters of support. Supporting materials should be received digitally through the provided file share link by the entry deadline.

Nominators will be notified of award status in January 2025.


The 2025 Alan J. Freedman Award will be presented during the Miami Industry Breakfast at the Miami Beach Convention Center. Tickets are required for entry.


Contact: Rachel Harmon
Email: [email protected]


View past recipients of this prestigious award.

2016: Ken and Rick Garelick, Garelick Manufacturing Co.

Ken and Rick Garelick

The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) honored Ken and Rick Garelick, President and Senior Vice President of Garelick Manufacturing Co., with the 2016 Alan J. Freedman Memorial Leadership Award. The award was presented during the Recreational Boating Industry Breakfast held at the 2016 Progressive® Insurance Miami International Boat Show®. 

NMMA’s Marine Accessories and Components Division (MACD) 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.
Cousins Rick and Ken are the second generation now leading Garelick Manufacturing Co. Their fathers Joe and Saul were brothers who founded the company and handed down the reigns of leadership to Rick and Ken in the late 1980’s. After passing the company on to their sons, the Garelicks have continued to build their name into a brand, EEz-In®, that is synonymous with quality and innovation. Their passion for what they do is evident through the quality of their products including ladders, seating and upholstery, seat hardware, outboard motor accessories, housewares and more. Ken and Rick have taken their innovation and ingenuity beyond just the product level and are applying it to how they manufacture and compete for market share in the leisure industry resulting in a company with a long history of success, as 2016 marks its 64 year anniversary.
During the recession of 2008, Rick and Ken led the company through challenging waters. By cutting operating costs and lowering their own salaries, the Garelicks were able to preserve jobs and their company’s health in order to bounce back in the years to come. By further diversifying their product line, Garelick Manufacturing showed creativity and innovation, turning a difficult economic climate into an opportunity for future success. In November of 2015, Garelick Manufacturing was acquired by Brunswick, adding to its growing portfolio of marine accessories. Garelick Manufacturing is the winner of three NMMA Innovation Awards, the 2003 Motor Boating Magazine Boat Keeper Product Award, 2005 Motor Boating Magazine Best Product Award, 2011 Twin Cities Business Magazine Small Business Success Story and the 2015 National Marine Distributors Association Supplier of the Year.
In addition to being leaders within their company, Ken and Rick have contributed richly to the marine manufacturing community as a whole. Rick served as chairman for the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) hardware committee from 2006-2013 and has been instrumental in developing over 20 active patents for marine OEM and aftermarket applications. Ken served on the National Association of Marine Products and Services board throughout the 1980’s and 90’s and was chairman from 1995-1997. He also chaired the Alan J. Freedman Memorial Leadership Award committee from 1984-1999, following the recognition of his father Saul with the award as its third honoree.
“NMMA congratulates Ken and Rick Garelick on receiving the Alan J. Freedman Award and thanks them for their unwavering dedication, support and passion for the marine industry,” notes Thom Dammrich, NMMA president. “We are proud to work alongside Ken and Rick as innovators who have made substantial contributions to marine manufacturing and continues to help make boating the preferred choice in recreation.”