Suzuki Marine, USA LLC pulled out all the stops at the 2021 IBEX Show in its new hometown of Tampa, Florida. Highlights of the show that ran from September 28 to September 30 at the Tampa Convention Center included earning a Soundings Trade Only Most Innovative Companies Award for 2021 and a press conference at the Suzuki exhibit to introduce new Suzuki Precision Controls 2.0 for 2022, update attendees on Suzuki’s innovative Microplastics Filter system for outboard motors, and celebrate the company’s recent move to Florida with key government officials.
The show – back in a live, in-person format following a virtual IBEX in 2020 – started with a bang and continued on from there. At the show’s traditional opening industry breakfast, keynote speaker Florida Governor Ron DeSantis recognized Suzuki Marine by name for its relocation to the state. He did so in the context of expressing the importance of the state of Florida to America’s marine business – and vice versa.
Later that afternoon, key members of the boating press, boat builders, and other industry representatives gathered in the Suzuki booth to hear from Suzuki Marine Vice President/Sales George “Gus” Blakely. He shared information about new Suzuki Precision Controls 2.0 for 2022 and updated the crowd about Suzuki’s ongoing environmental stewardship efforts, in particular the company’s innovative Microplastics Filter device for use on Suzuki outboards. Suzuki Marine is also working hard to drastically reduce the amount of plastic waste it generates by changing its packaging and shipping materials and working with organizations such as Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful to engage in regular waterway cleanup activities. During the show, Suzuki also sponsored Hydration Stations and recycle bins throughout the exhibit hall to reduce the use of plastic cups and water bottles and properly dispose of them when finished – demonstrating two simple, yet effective ways companies can make a tangible difference for the environment.
Two very important special guests then took turns to address the crowd. The first was Jim Patronis, Chief Financial Officer for the State of Florida, who used the opportunity to welcome Suzuki Marine to the state and commend the company for making Tampa its new corporate headquarters. In his comments, he expressed appreciation not only for the business impact Suzuki Marine is making, but also for Suzuki’s ongoing commitment to protecting and enhancing the state’s coastal and marine environments.
Following Patronis’ remarks, Mark McQueen, City Manager of Panama City, took center stage to talk about Suzuki’s recent opening of a Suzuki Marine U.S. Technical Center on a 20-acre waterfront site in Panama City. He commented that Suzuki Marine saw past the recent hurricane damage the area had sustained to envision what this unique property could become – a state-of-the-art Technical Center that will help Suzuki work closely with boat builders and dealers to develop the innovative outboard technologies of tomorrow.
Following these remarks, the assembled press, guests, government representatives and their staffs went outside where the Suzuki-powered water taxi L’Attitude Lindsey was waiting to take the group on a scenic tour of Tampa’s downtown waterfront. Not only is this unique vessel powered by twin Suzuki DF140 outboards; it has been testing Suzuki’s microplastics filters since June. This boat runs about 3,000 hours per year, making it an ideal platform to collect not only micro-plastic pollution around Tampa Bay, but also important test data Suzuki can use to refine and perfect this system in preparation for its eventual release to the boating public. As they toured the bay, the group learned more about Suzuki’s environmental efforts and business plans for the future in Florida, the heartland of the American recreational boating industry.
“We had a great IBEX Show and we are looking forward to carrying this momentum into the coming year,” said Blakely. “All of us at Suzuki Marine want to express our gratitude to Jim Patronis and Mark McQueen, for taking time out of their busy schedules to come to the show and help us share with the press and the industry our exciting plans for the future,” added Blakely.