Boating industry leaders honored with awards

The family of Nate Bahner, killed in a wakeboarding accident last summer, accepts an award named after him. Ron Ibsen photos

The family of Nate Bahner, killed in a wakeboarding accident last summer, accepts an award named after him. Ron Ibsen photos

The Northwest Marine Trade Association honored two people for their contributions to the boating industry at its recent annual meeting and introduced a new award in memory of a marina manager killed in a wakeboarding accident last summer.

Lisa Samuelson of Samuelson Communications, the NMTA’s public and media relations expert for more than six years, was named the 2012 recipient of the Latham Goble Award. The award is given to “an individual or organization who has made a significant contribution to the marine industry but does not work directly in the industry,” according to the NMTA.

“It has been my utmost pleasure to work with and learn from Lisa to help promote and grow boating on behalf of our members,” John Thorburn, NMTA’s vice president of communications and marketing, said in a release.

“She has done a superb job and is an expert in her craft, and she continues to raise the bar year after year in working with the media to tell our stories.”

Mike Burns, left, presents an award to Lisa Samuelson of Samuelson Communications.

Mike Burns, left, presents an award to Lisa Samuelson of Samuelson Communications.

The Latham Goble Award is named after a former leader in the regional boating sector who inspired boating activities that benefited businesses and recreational boaters. NMTA’s Board of Trustees Chairman Mike Burns of Smoker Craft Boats presented the award to Samuelson.

Ken Smith, creator and owner of SmartPlug Systems, was named the 2012 recipient of the Jerry Bryant Award, given to “an individual or organization working within the industry who has made a significant contribution to the marine industry.”

Smith was honored for developing the SmartPlug system, which the NMTA credited for transforming the way boaters connect to shore power, improving safety and reducing corrosion.

“The boating industry is built on innovation, craftsmanship and thinking outside the box,” NMTA George Harris said. “The SmartPlug system that Ken developed is a true innovation in our industry and NMTA is excited to recognize and honor his work.”

The Jerry Bryant Award is named after NMTA’s founding member, who established the first Seattle Boat Show in 1947 and went on to become a business and civic leader. Craig Perry, manager of Dock Street and Delin Docks marinas in Tacoma, presented the award to Smith.

Harris also unveiled the new Nate Bahner Award, created to recognize an emerging young leader working in the marine industry. Bahner managed the Seattle Marina and Nickerson Marina, and served as NMTA’s marina committee chairman. Bahner, 33, was killed in a wakeboarding accident on Lake Washington in August.

“Nate was a rising star in our industry who had tremendous potential to become a future leader, NMTA board member and perhaps chairman one day,” Harris said.

“We are saddened to lose such a talented member of our community, and we hope by creating this award, we can continue to honor his energy and spirit by recognizing young emerging leaders in our industry for years to come.”

Harris presented the award to the Bahner family, NMTA’s special guests of the evening.

The largest marine trade group in the region, the NMTA represents about 700 businesses involved in recreational boating. The awards were announced at the organization’s annual meeting in Seattle earlier this month.

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