Boating Industry

October 2016

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52 | Boating Industry | October 2016 WOMEN making WAVES attending state and national association meetings and being one of the few women in attendance. I had the desire to learn and know more about the industry so that we could grow our business and the industry as a whole. Today, there are many more executive, front-end and ownership opportunities available to those who have the desire and determination to earn them. What is your favorite place to go boating? Just thinking about Flaming Gorge in Utah and the Florida Intercoastal always makes me smile. NICOLE VASILAROS VICE PRESIDENT, FEDERAL AND LEGAL AFFAIRS, NATIONAL MARINE MANUFACTURERS ASSOCIATION Education: Juris Doctor, University of Florida and Georgetown University Law Center (visit- ing student); Bachelor of Arts (Political Science), Emory University Years in the marine industry: 5 What are some of the biggest lessons you have learned working in the marine industry? The marine indus- try is complex. Most people are stunned at the level of regu- lation and legisla- tive challenges this industry faces. The complexity is what I love most about my job — one minute I am working on fi sh- eries policy, the next on fuel choice, and then the next on international trade agreements. If you had to choose one memorable achievement in the marine industry, what would it be and why? Having the President sign into law a fi x for the "model year" defi nition for recreational craft was an incredible day. The legislative victory was part of a larger U.S. Coast Guard bill signed into law this February. For several years the defi nition of model year was problematic for manufacturers and dealers. A set model year start date of August 1 didn't accommodate the manufacturing needs of all boat builders, and threatened the fl exibility that some builders need to meet consumer demand and keep factory operations up and running all year. It took time to develop a new defi nition that worked for all sectors of the industry, but even when we were able to get industry agreement, getting the Coast Guard or lawmakers to adopt the change was not an easy feat. Coast Guard regulations can take upwards of three to seven years to change. Congress has only passed 2 percent of bills introduced this year. So to have model year fi xed, when only 2 percent of all bills are signed into law, is a signifi cant victory for the industry. The industry was stuck in a waiting game, needing clarifi cation, and it was important for me to fi nd a fi x that was swift and accommodated the needs of all sectors of the industry. How do you hope to inspire other women in the marine industry? While the marine industry is still largely male-dominated, the opportunities for women in this industry is immense. Take ad- vantage of your unique perspective, and don't be afraid to be that loud voice in a room of decision makers. Don't ever let your age or gender deter you from speaking up, seeking new opportuni- ties and empowering yourself to achieve your ultimate goals. Fifty percent of the U.S. popula- tion is female — having more women in this in- 52 | Boating Industry | October 2016

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