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MRAA Educational Foundation Awards Five Scholarships

AUSTIN, TEXAS, — Five scholarships were awarded by the MRAA Educational Foundation at the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas Awards Luncheon at Dealer Week, December 7, in Austin, Texas. The Kevin Lodder Scholarship, The Duane Spader Leadership Scholarship and three MTA Technical Scholarships were awarded by the organization. 

Kevin Lodder Scholarship 

Kirsty Stevens Owner and Office Manager of Grand Pointe Marina of Dimondale, Michigan was awarded the Kevin Lodder Scholarship. This Scholarship was founded in memory of Kevin Lodder of Lodder’s Marine in Fairfield, Ohio. Kevin worked in his family’s dealership and was dedicated to the marine industry from an early age until his untimely passing. Kirsty will receive tuition to attend the Spader Total Management 1 Workshop and a stipend to offset travel expenses. The scholarship value is approximately $4,000. 

(From left) Wendy Mackie, Kathleen Burns, Kirsty Stevens, Kevin Lodder Scholarship Winner and Chairman MRAA Ed Foundation on stage at Dealer Week in Austin, Texas.

Kirsty is the backbone of Grand Pointe Marina’s dealership and as outlined in her application, her husband had the vision and dream, but she had the “grit and determination and drive to make it happen.” The additional training from the workshop will certainly provide her the additional tools needed to grow her business with topics including decision-making processes, business adaptability, pricing practices, inter-department profit plans, and communication skills. 

Duane Spader Leadership Scholarship 

Tyson Rhoad, Assistant General Manager and Service Manager at Clemons Boats of Huron, Ohio has been awarded the Duane Spader Leadership Development Scholarship founded by Spader Business Management and the MRAA Educational Foundation in 2013 to honor the service of Spader founder Duane Spader, as well as his leadership philosophy of lifelong learning. The recipient receives full tuition to attend the Spader Leadership Development Program. 

(From left) Jeff Siems, Tyson Rhoad, Duane Spader Leadership Scholarship Winner and Jim Coburn, MRAA Ed Foundation Board Member celebrated Rhoad’s award in the MRAA Educational Foundation booth at Dealer Week last week in Austin, Texas.

One nominator described Tyson as “one of the hardest working young men I have ever had the pleasure of teaching and coaching. His desire to become the best leader he can become gives me the incentive to continue my own commitments to excellence.” An important ingredient in the selection process for this leadership-development scholarship. 

Tyson is looking forward to continuing his industry growth through the scholarship and training and will be bringing back the skills to further grow the fourth-generation family-owned Clemons Boats. 

MTA Technical Scholarships 

Three marine trades associations were awarded $1,500 scholarships each to match their own scholarship awards enabling their members to expand their service technical training programs. Due to the pandemic, awards were not granted in 2020 or 2021 thus this year, three MTAs were selected for the award: Massachusetts Marine Trades Association, the Michigan Boating Industries Association and the Marine Trades Association of New Jersey. All three have workforce development programming in place or in development as well as operating scholarship programs that provides funding to their members through an application process. The additional funding provided by the MRAA Educational Foundation will allow each of the MTAs to expand the technical training opportunities for their members. 

2023 Scholarship Applications and Nominations for the 2023 Darlene Briggs Marine Woman of the Year are now open and can be found at

About MRAA Educational Foundation As part of its mission to create a strong and healthy boating industry, the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas is committed to offering training, education and professional development opportunities to its members and the entire marine dealer community. In 2004, the association launched the MRAA Educational Foundation, a not-for-profit 501(c) 3 corporation, to provide financial support for education, training, and professional development in the recreational marine trades. For more information or to donate a tax-deductible contribution to support the foundation’s mission, visit