Ben Speciale, president of Yamaha’s U.S. Marine Business Unit, has been elected chairperson of the NMMA Board of Directors. Speciale succeeds Bill Watters, president of Syntec Industries, who served as chairman from October 2016 through October 2018. NMMA Board of Directors elections were held at the International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition & Conference (IBEX), October 2-4 in Tampa.
Ben Speciale became President of the Yamaha Marine Group Company in May 2010. As President, Speciale directs the U.S. Marine Business Unit, including all U.S.-based marine activities and subsidiaries. He oversees Yamaha’s boat companies and subsidiaries, including Skeeter bass boats, G3 aluminum fishing boats and Precision Propeller Industries Inc.
Involved since childhood in his family’s marina and marine dealership, Speciale joined Yamaha Motor Corp. U.S.A. in 1987 with Yamaha Marine Parts and Accessories. Over the years at Yamaha Marine, Speciale held positions in marketing and promotions. Speciale left Yamaha in 1992 to serve as New Fishing Production Manager at Fenwick Fishing Tackle in Huntington Beach, Calif. He returned to Yamaha Marine in 1996 in strategic planning and financial operations. He was promoted to Vice President, Operations and Planning in 2005 before becoming President.
Active in the community and the marine industry, Speciale is a native of Spring City, Tenn., and a 1987 graduate of Ohio State University. He, his wife, Kim, and their two daughters reside in Kennesaw, Ga.
NMMA Board Officers are elected annually by the NMMA Board of Directors to fill out the NMMA Executive Committee, which also includes the Chairperson of the three NMMA Divisions: Marine Accessories, Boat Manufacturers and Engine Manufacturers.
Steve Heese, president and CEO of Chris-Craft Boats, was elected Vice Chairperson of the NMMA Board of Directors; Scott Deal, president of Maverick Boats, was elected Treasurer; and Ned Trigg, marine division executive vice president of Dometic, was elected Secretary.
Doug Smoker, president of Smoker Craft, was elected chair of the Boat Manufacturer Division (BMD); John Pfeifer, president of Mercury Marine, was elected chair of the Engine Manufacturer Division (EMD) and Steve Tilders, director of sales of Xylem, was elected chair of the Marine Accessory and Component Division (MACD). Rounding out the Executive Committee is Watters, as past chair of the NMMA Board of Directors.
NMMA would like to thank the entire Board of Directors for dedicating their time, service and leadership in driving industry efforts for the good of recreational boating.
The NMMA Board of Directors is composed of:
Ron Bailey, SeaStar (MACD) (new member)
Ann Baldree, Chaparral Boats (BMD) (re-elected)
Maurice Bowen, White River Marine Group (BMD) (re-elected)
Huw Bower, Brunswick (BMD) (re-elected)
Jason Blackburn, Faria Beede (MACD) (new member)
Eric Braitmayer, IMTRA (MACD) (new member)
Kris Carroll, Grady-White Boats (BMD) (re-elected)
Craig Clawson, Magic Tilt Trailers (MACD) (re-elected)
Tracy Crocker, Evinrude (EMD) (re-elected)
Scott Deal, Maverick Boat Group (BMD) (re-elected)
Jon Devitt, Midwest Industries (MACD) (re-elected)
Jean Francois Rioux, Yamaha (NMMA Canada) (new appointed member)
Nick Harvey, Jeanneau America (Sail America) (appointed member)
Steve Heese, Chris Craft (BMD) (re-elected)
Ron Huibers, Volvo Penta (EMD) (re-elected)
Jon Jackson, Caterpillar (EMD) (new member)
Greg Lentine, NorCross (MACD) (re-elected)
Larry Meddock, Water Sports Industry Association (appointed member)
Mark McKinney, Pleasurecraft (EMD) (re-elected)
Joe Neber, Contender Boats (BMD) (new member)
Matt Peat, Transhield (MACD) (new member)
Scott Porter, Thunderbird/Formula (BMD) (re-elected)
John Pfeifer, Mercury Marine (EMD) (re-elected)
Chuck Rowe, Indmar (EMD) (re-elected)
Tim Reid, Mercury Marine (EMD) (new member)
Joseph Riley, Association of Marina Industries (appointed member)
Doug Smoker, Smoker Craft (BMD) (re-elected)
Ben Speciale, Yamaha (EMD) (re-elected)
Jack Springer, Malibu Boats (BMD) (new member)
Steve Tilders, Xylem (MACD) (re-elected)
Ned Trigg, Dometic (MACD) (re-elected)
Peter Truslow, Bertram Yachts (BMD) (re-elected)
Bill Watters, Syntec Industries (MACD) (re-elected)
Bill Yeargin, Correct Craft (BMD) (re-elected)
All Board members and officers serve a two-year term that runs through the Board meeting at IBEX 2020.