September 4, 2018

IBEX LogoThe 2018 Innovation Awards, managed by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) and judged by Boating Writers International (BWI), will be presented at the International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition and Conference (IBEX) during the annual Industry Breakfast. Each of the eight BWI judges comes to IBEX with demonstrated backgrounds in technical boating products.

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.

“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.”

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.
  • 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 
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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.

“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 judging panel and past president of Boating Writers International. “We get to see the future in new marine technologies and an enthusiasm for evolving products.” 

Attendees of the IBEX Show can join hundreds of marine industry colleagues at the popular IBEX Industry Breakfast by clicking here.

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Ben PilonBy Rob MacLeod – The Informed Boater

Ben Pilon, CEO of Kingston Anchors and its parent company BPE Group of Companies (BPEGroup.ca) in Kingston, ON grew up in manufacturing. By the age of 15, Ben was sweeping floors in his parents company. After graduating from University of Guelph with an Honours Bachelor of Commerce degree, Ben’s first thought was to go into manufacturing. What he found was, Canadian banks were less receptive than he had hoped, so he started BPE Development at age 24.

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