ABBRA: Pivotal IBEX Partner

July 16, 2015

Pam Lendzion and Meg Toppa are the new team at the helm of the American Boat Builders and Repairers Association

Pam Lendzion and Meg Toppa are the new team at the helm of the American Boat Builders and Repairers Association. The new ABBRA headquarters is located at the Newport Shipyard, Newport, Rhode Island.

There’s a new team, new headquarters, and a new direction at the American Boat Builders and Repairers Association, a key partner of IBEX and its education seminar series.

Pamela Lendzion, past ABBRA president as well as a boatyard and marina operator and consultant, is serving as the interim executive director of ABBRA; Meg Toppa is the new administrative manager. A longtime marine industry professional, Meg has held numerous marketing and advocacy roles for various companies, including North Sails, Ferretti Group USA and ShowBoats International magazine.

I had the opportunity recently to meet Pam and Meg over lunch at the Newport Shipyard in Newport, Rhode Island, the site of the new ABBRA office. Also joining us for a friendly chat about maximizing the growth of marine industry partnerships and developing practical learning opportunities for marine trades staff was Wendy Mackie, chief executive officer of the Rhode Island Marine Trades Association.

ABBRA, a national member organization, was founded in 1943 and represents more than 250 boatyards, repairers and associated industries in the United States and abroad. The group’s mission is to assist boatyard managers and workers in handling business challenges and to help advance technical trade skills, including workforce development.

“Meg’s going to be the voice on the phone listening to the members’ needs and keeping them informed,” Pam added. “Our members need to know there’s someone listening.”

Equally important to ABBRA is promoting nationwide apprenticeship programs and other appropriate on-the-job-training opportunities.

“Workers need a career path with guidelines for improvement if we expect to retain them,” said Pam. “When employers help their employees increase their skill level, they also open the pipeline for entry-level workers to come into the marine trades industry.”

For those already in the marine trades, at IBEX 2015 don’t miss these three seminars presented by ABBRA:

407: Pitfalls and Opportunities of Mixing and Matching Service Work with New Builds

507: Walking the Fine Line Between Customer Service & Profitable Work for the Yard

607: Navigating the Design-Build Process

For more information, contact ABBRA.

Newport Shipyard
1 Washington Street
Newport, RI 02840
Phone: 401-236-2466

-Elaine Lembo
IBEX Education Seminar Manager