Judges named for 2019 Progressive® Insurance Minneapolis Boat Show® Innovation Awards

Three industry veterans to evaluate new boating products across three categories for 2nd annual Innovation Awards in Minneapolis

12/18/2018 12:00:00 AM

December 18, 2018 -- The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) and Boating Writers International (BWI) announced today the panel of judges who will evaluate product entries across three boating categories for the second annual Progressive® Insurance Minneapolis Boat Show® Innovation Awards. 2019 Innovation Award winners will be announced Wednesday, January 23 during the boat show’s “Sneak Peek” evening. The deadline for entry into the 2019 Innovation Awards is Wednesday, December 19. 

The Innovation Awards honor manufacturers and suppliers who bring new, innovative products for the boating industry to market in the following categories: aluminum fishing boats, fiberglass fishing boats and pontoon boats. Products will be on display throughout the show January 24-27 at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

The Innovation Awards judges’ committee is comprised of three BWI members who perform product testing throughout the year and have specific expertise in marine products and equipment. The judges’ committee is chaired by Alan Wendt. Judges for the 2019 Minneapolis Boat Show Innovation Awards are:  

Alan Wendt (Chair): Past President of Boating Writers International, Wendt 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.

Bill Gius: Gius has been in the marine industry for over three decades.  He has worked in marketing at Pabst Brewing, Mercury Marine, Kohler Company, Turning Point Propellers and He owns “Country Consulting,” a marine industry consulting firm and works with Great Lakes Marine Marketing, a long-standing, mid-west manufacturers rep company. Bill is a contributing writer to Pontoon & Deck Boat Magazine and Great Lakes Boating Magazine

Brady Kay: As the executive editor of Pontoon & Deck BoatHouseboat and Great Lakes Boating magazines, Kay has been writing and photographing all types of boats for nearly 20 years. He is currently on the Boating Writers International board of directors and has served on the judging panel for the NMMA Innovation Awards multiple times. Kay has also earned writing and photography awards from Apex Awards for Publication Excellence as well as BWI.

For general questions about the Innovation Awards, please contact Rachel Harmon at For media inquiries, please contact Sarah Salvatori,

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About NMMA: The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) is the leading trade organization for the North American recreational boating industry. NMMA member companies produce more than 80 percent of the boats, engines, trailers, marine accessories and gear used by millions of boaters in North America. The association serves its members and their sales and service networks by improving the business environment for recreational boating including providing domestic and international sales and marketing opportunities, reducing unnecessary government regulation, decreasing the cost of doing business, and helping grow boating participation. As the largest producer of boat and sport shows in the U.S., NMMA connects the recreational boating industry with the boating consumer year-round. Learn more at and get engaged with us on Twitter and LinkedIn.
About BWI: BWI is a professional organization consisting of writers, editors, publishers, photographers, broadcasters, public relations specialists and others in the communications profession associated with the boating industry. Members include active marine journalists across the United States, Canada and beyond; associate members in public relations roles; and supporting members, such as marine manufacturers and service companies. Learn more at
Contact: Sarah Salvatori 312.946.6285

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