IBEX Announces Judging Panel for 2018 Innovation Awards

The panel of judges has been announced for the 2018 Innovation Awards, which will be presented during the International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition and Conference (IBEX) in Tampa on October 2. Each of the eight judges is an esteemed member of Boating Writers International (BWI) and comes to IBEX with demonstrated backgrounds in technical boating products.

“With the many mergers and acquisitions in the marine industry this year, anticipation is high for never before seen products,” said Alan Wendt, chair of the 2018 Innovation Awards judging panel and past president of BWI. “We’re excited to explore and present to the industry the future in new marine technologies and evolving products.” 

The panel of judges for the 2018 IBEX Innovation Awards are: 

  • Alan Wendt (Chair): Past President of Boating Writers International, Alan does new product testing for Lakeland Boating. A journalist in print, radio, TV and online for more than 40 years, he has served as a judge for NMMA’s Innovation Awards since 2001.
  • Zuzana Prochazka (Co-Chair): Past President of Boating Writers International, Writer and photographer who freelances for over two dozen boating and travel magazines. A USCG 100 Ton Master, Prochazka is the founder of Zescapes.com, a charter and flotilla organizer. She has served on the board of Boating Writers International for the past 12 years and heads up judging panels evaluating new boats and gear in the U.S. and abroad. 
  • Capt. Sergio Atanes: Capt. Sergio Atanes holds a 100 Ton USCG Master Captain’s license and has over 45 years of experience fishing. He is the radio and TV show host of the #1 rated national Hispanic radio and fishing show and contributes monthly fishing articles for Marine Times MagazineFlorida MarinerCoastal Angler, and Woods ‘N Water
  • Phil Gutowski: A marine journalist, onboard systems professional, and cruising sailor. His business, BoatRx, provides hands-on electrical and mechanical services for customers in Boston, Massachusetts. 
  • Glenn Hayes: A second generation journalist specializing in editorial content for marine, water sports, outdoor, RV and travel publications both in print and online. He contributes a monthly electronics column for Lakeland Boating
  • Heather Maxwell: She grew up in the sportfishing industry—her first job was on the fuel docks in Rudee Inlet, Virginia. Since then Maxwell has worked as a diesel service writer, boat builders purchasing agent and tournament director. Today, she manages the Pirate’s Cove Billfish Tournaments and the International Masters Angling Tournament, writes freelance for several magazines and stays busy marketing boat builders and charter fishing on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. 
  • Craig Ritchie: Full-time journalist with more than 30 years of experience in magazines, books, television, radio and digital media. Canadian correspondent for International Boat Industry magazine and plus.ibinews.com since 2013, his byline has appeared in dozens of publications and websites serving the recreational boating market worldwide.
  • Ben Stein: Contributing editor for Panbo.com and an avid cruiser. He, his wife and two daughters completed the great loop in 2017 having covered about 7,500 miles over 14 months. Ben continues to cruise the waters of the United States.

Honoring achievement in product development in 16 areas of the marine industry, Innovation Awards categories include: Boat Care and Maintenance; Boatbuilding Methods & Materials; Boatyard and Marina Hardware and Software; Covering; Deck Equipment and Hardware; Electrical Systems; Entertainment; Furnishings and Interior Parts; Inboard Engines; Lighting; Mechanical Systems; OEM Electronics; Outboard Engines; Propulsion Parts, Propellers; Safety Equipment; Trailers, Parts and Trailer Accessories. Innovation awardees are considered for a special 'Pitch the Press' session where new products and services noted by judges on the show floor are spotlighted to media and buyers.

New products submitted to the IBEX Innovation Awards will be displayed along Innovation Way, aisle 2200, inside the exhibit hall at the Tampa Convention Center throughout the Show.

“The Innovation Awards are a really exciting opportunity for tradespeople to view the cutting-edge technology, services, and products that are continually being offered to the marine industry,” said Anne Dunbar, IBEX Show Director. “Taking a close look at these products and honoring their commitment to innovation at the Industry Breakfast is a highlight of the Show.”

Attendees of the IBEX Show can join hundreds of marine industry colleagues at the popular IBEX Industry Breakfast held on October 2nd. The program includes the State of the Industry address, delivered by NMMA President Thom Dammrich, followed by several short presentations of important industry awards including the IBEX Innovation Awards. Keynote speaker Rich Karlgaard, Forbespublisher and Global Futurist, Economic Leader, Entrepreneur and Author will talk about the events changing the world and how they’re impacting the marine industry. Tickets are $40 per person. To register for IBEX and the Industry Breakfast, click here.