Thom Dammrich Retires: View His Farewell Message

Dr. Thom Dammrich retired yesterday after 20 years as NMMA president.

His legacy includes championing collaboration across recreational boating as well as the broader outdoor community, proving critical to the industry’s success. He created a united voice in both the legislative and economic arenas and has positioned recreational boating as a leader.

Dammrich announced his retirement and was honored with NMMA’s Hall of Fame Award during last year’s IBEX Industry Breakfast and Awards Presentation.

On his last day as NMMA president, he shared the following written and video message with NMMA members and staff:

Dear Marine Industry Colleagues,

As much as I have enjoyed working for you and with you these past twenty years, today is my last day as the president of NMMA.  I’m around for a little while longer on a part time basis, but tomorrow, Frank Hugelmeyer officially assumes the helm of NMMA.

It is bittersweet for me.  I have loved most of what I have been able to do during my time with NMMA.  I gave you everything I had to give and I will miss this industry, and all the people I have had the honor and privilege to work alongside. But, I will not miss the day-to-day stress, nor will I miss the daily 200+ emails!

I am proud of what we have accomplished together through NMMA.  I am proud of the NMMA staff who are the hardest working group of people I know.  The hallmark of your NMMA staff is that they care.  They care about the industry.  They care about their work on your behalf.  And, they care about you.

NMMA produces some of the best boat shows in the world. We launched Discover Boating in spite of 25 years of unsuccessful industry efforts to do so. We have built an advocacy engine that fights well above its weight on your behalf. We have created incredible partnerships which have been key to our success. We have built product certifications that have improved product quality and safety for the boating consumer. We have brought NMMA's messaging and our industry's story to the forefront of media attention. We have significantly expanded the value we provide through our research, statistics and business intelligence. We have made boating a powerhouse in Canadian politics and made it easier to do business across borders. We have helped and guided the industry to achieve its best environmental practices ever, while saving members millions of dollars in the process. And, we have done all of this in a fiscally responsible and financially well-managed way. NMMA is as financially strong today as it has ever been.

Your support and help over the past twenty years is what’s allowed us to accomplish all we have. We have been blessed with great NMMA Chairs, Boards and countless industry leaders. No matter the challenge, your leadership and friendship gave me the energy and motivation to keep fighting to help make a difference for the recreational boating industry. I will be forever grateful for this great opportunity, for all the wonderful people in this industry, and for the many friends I have made.

As Frank Hugelmeyer assumes the helm tomorrow, I am doing, and will continue to do, everything I can to help him be successful at NMMA. And, I know you will too. Frank is a genuinely good and caring person. He brings great experience as an association executive and one with deep roots in the outdoor industry. He will bring new and different experiences and perspectives to NMMA and the industry. He will take NMMA places I could not. Embrace Frank and embrace the inevitable new things that lie ahead.

This is not goodbye, but rather, until we meet again…

Your friend,
Thom Dammrich