Twenty-seven years ago, eight Manitobans came together to found the Manitoba Marine Dealers Association. On Thursday, November 7, as part of the renamed Mid-Canada Marine and Powersports Dealers Association (MMPDA) AGM and reception dinner, those founding fathers became the initial inductees in the MMPDA industry's Hall of Fame.
The association's founding fathers include: Bill Bueckert (Mr. B's Marine); Ed Rondeau (Rond's Marine); Jim Flood (Bowline Yachts); David Dusome (OMC); Morris Dufort (Dufort Industries); Bill Marr Jr. (Marr's Leisure); George
Makichuk (Gateway Power Products); Larry Wadge (AVO Marine); and Scott Wallace (Outboard Motor Sales).
“This was very special for us,” says Jim Flood, expressing the view of the honourees. “We have watched our organization grow into a major industry in this area.”
Flood recalls that the dealers were spurred to actions as a result of a national company putting on the annual boat show at the time. “We weren't happy that all the profits were leaving the community,” Flood says. The nine of us decided to put aside any differences we may have had, form the association and operate our own boat show. After the Association was incorporated, Ed Rondeau became the driving force behind the MMDA.”
Flood, Dusome, Marr Jr. and Wallace were the only founding fathers who were able to attend the evening in person to receive their plaques. Doug Makichuk, Denis Rondeau represented their late fathers while Jessica Wadge and Claude Dufort accepted for their fathers who were away on business.
Succeeding Dave Amey as MMPDA president is Ian Cummer (Cummer Sales and marketing) who also served as MC for the Hall of Fame and awards evening.
Kim Wozniak, the MMPDA's manager, reports that about 80 people attended the supper and induction ceremony while about 60 were on hand for the programs earlier in the day. Among the attendees was Sara Anghel, the Executive Director at National Marine Manufacturers Association, who spoke earlier in the day about the activities of the NMMA.
The evening began with a reception at the Victoria Inn in Winnipeg. Prior to supper being served, new MMPDA President Ian Cummer introduced the organization's new logo and presented a brief overview of the history of the MMPDA. Cummer also noted that the MMPDA in 1998 wrote the first Boating Safety Training Manual for Canada with the Watercraft Training Centre and they also started their journey working with the Manitoba Trades Board to
have the Marine Technician Endorsed and Recognized as a National Trade.
In addition to its introduction of the Hall of Fame, the MMPDA also gave out its MMPDA awards for outstanding achievement annual technician apprenticeship awards. Winnipeg Technical College student Rebecca
Bonneville and Red River College student Jonathan Dowhaniuk each were awarded $500 and a set of tools. Bonneville was a technician in training in the school's Motor Sports program. She graduated earlier this year.
Dowhaniuk graduated this year with an Outstanding Achievement citation from RRC's Outdoor Power Equipment Technician Program.
David Sylvester was awarded $1,000 and a set of tools for his achievement at the technician apprenticeship level. He graduated this year from RRC's Marine and Outdoor Power Equipment Technician Apprenticeship Program. He is currently working as a journeyman technician at TransCanada Motorsport in Brandon, Manitoba.
The MMPDA is looking forward to continuing steady growth in the years to come, notes Flood. “Our biggest focus for next year,” he says, “is to ensure that our second annual Power Sport trade show is able to build on
what we started last year.”