No stranger to recreational boating or the marine industry, Wyatt went to college in St. Petersburg, Florida, where he graduated from Eckerd College with a B.A. in Business Management and Environmental Studies. While at Eckerd he started a fishing club in his sophomore year. He also worked on the floor helping customers at a West Marine store in Tampa/St. Pete.
Before NMTA, he was the assistant director at Beach Camp at Sunset Bay in Edmonds, Washington. Wyatt’s also no stranger to the Seattle Boat Show and has worked it from several sides, as an exhibitor, working in the Beach Camp booth in 2020, and working for NMTA in the Show office in 2022.
Wyatt is focused on making sure NMTA members know about and are using all NMTA member benefits such as committee meetings, health insurance, sales data, member events and boat shows.
Boat Show Assistant
Since 2014, Joan has played a valuable role as the “Joan of many trades.” Joan seamlessly juggles a wide range of responsibilities at NMTA, playing an integral role for the team. She assists with a wide variety of aspects of the Seattle Boat Show, including managing all aspects of the show’s Bell Harbor location, working with our tech gurus, and managing the stuff that keeps us going, such as our office, equipment, and phone system.
Joan’s affinity for the water began with a kayak, where she first discovered the joys of navigating the waves and seeing unforgettable sights in places like Barkley Sound. As her family grew, she and her husband, Michael, embarked on weeklong sailing adventures in the picturesque San Juan and Gulf Islands. These trips provided not only cherished family moments but also the opportunity to invite extended family and friends to share in the seafaring experiences.
A kayak played a significant role in Joan’s first boat experience, as she and Michael exchanged kayaks as wedding gifts, symbolizing their shared love for waterborne adventures.
Tell me more about those adventures, you ask? For Joan, a perfect day on the water is not limited by weather conditions. Any sunny day on the water brings immense joy, while a challenging day with inclement weather becomes an opportunity to overcome obstacles and savor the triumph with a well-deserved, often salty, toast.
Among her numerous accomplishments at NMTA, one of Joan’s most notable contributions was the Exhibitor Dashboard. Wow, what a project! Introduced last year and continually expanded upon, this innovative tool has greatly enhanced the exhibitor experience. It offers features like mobile badges, electronic signatures, online access to show invoices, and a centralized hub for exhibitor forms, making the administrative tasks more efficient and convenient.
When not immersed in her professional pursuits, there are some surprising aspects of Joan’s life that NMTA members might find intriguing. She and her husband, Michael, are proud partners in a canal boat in the charming waterways of France, indulging their love for exploration and adventure – and of course, culinary delights. Joan is also an enthusiastic cyclist, relishing the camaraderie of training with fellow enthusiasts for long-distance rides and bike tours. Her altruistic spirit shines through her 13-year stint as a volunteer, culminating in a two-year role as Executive Director at SKIFORALL, which has now become Outdoorsforall. During her tenure, she dedicated herself to teaching skiing to individuals with disabilities, leaving unmatched memories and experiences on her participants in adaptive sports.
Joan’s dynamic personality, coupled with her commitment to doing things right, make her an invaluable asset to NMTA!
Of the many Katie’s we have had around boat shows over the years, Katie has been here the longest – an impressive 16 years! If you’ve ever participated in the Seattle Boat Show or the Anacortes Boat & Yacht Show, you’ve likely had the pleasure of encountering Katie. She’s known for her impeccable management of the show office, ensuring that exhibitor needs are met with efficiency and precision, and her fun and inviting personality that often involves the use of puns. However, there’s more to Katie’s role at NMTA than meets the eye. She works closely with the Board of Trustees, overseeing meetings, policies, and communications. She also takes charge of organizing various member events, including the highly anticipated Annual Meeting and smaller member gatherings.
Katie has been immersed in the marine industry her entire life. Her parents serendipitously crossed paths while working at Fisheries Supply when it was located on the bustling Seattle waterfront and her father and brother, Jack, are marine manufacturers’ representatives and proud NMTA members. During her college years at WSU (Go Cougs!), Katie spent her summer and winter breaks working at Fisheries Supply.
Katie learned to boat on her family’s cherished Sea Ray Weekender, which lived on Lake Washington, with memorable voyages to the San Juan Islands happening in the summers.
When it comes to her favorite boating spots, Katie finds joy in crabbing at Warm Beach in Snohomish County, an activity she shares with her parents aboard their Smokercraft during the summer. She also cherishes leisurely days spent floating on Lake Washington with friends (hello, Seafair!), indulging in brunch at the Blue Water Bistro in Leschi, and basking in the summer sun.
However, her perfect boating day would involve warm, crystal clear water in places like Hawaii and Southern Thailand, where she has been lucky enough to spend time. When she’s not on the water, Katie’s love for exploration takes her to various corners of the globe. Traveling, experiencing new cultures, and seeing places she’s never been is a passion she embraces. Among her many adventures, Australia holds a special place in her heart, with Melbourne captivating her with its unique attraction.
One of the highlights of Katie’s professional life is the annual Seattle Boat Show. To her, it’s akin to a family reunion, a time to reconnect with exhibitors and vendors and, as NMTA President George Harris says, “bring the band back together.” Witnessing new exhibitors find success at the show adds an extra layer of satisfaction to the experience.
In reflecting on her accomplishments at NMTA, Katie takes great pride in the team’s ability to pivot during the past few years. The challenges of holding events during a pandemic were unprecedented, but the team’s creativity, adaptation to new technologies, and implementation of new procedures helped guide NMTA members through uncertain waters.
Katie’s unwavering dedication, combined with her zest for exploration and her genuine love for the marine community, make her an integral part of the NMTA family.
President & CEO
NMTA President George Harris is a true boating enthusiast with a lifelong passion for boats, boats, boats, and… more boats.
Described by his daughters as, “The K.O.B. – King of Boats”, it’s fitting that George steers the ship for NMTA as there are few people with the proper captain credentials to navigate a ship the size of the West Coast’s Biggest Boat Show and to run the nation’s oldest and largest regional marine trade association.
George assumed the role of Boat Show Director in June 1999 and later took the helm as President/CEO of NMTA in June 2009. With this distinction, he proudly holds the title of the longest-serving NMTA employee, though his connection to boats and the allure of the water have been deeply ingrained since he was just 3 years old.
George’s voyage into the realm of boating began with powerboats, navigating a variety of small aluminum vessels on Green Bay in northern Lake Michigan. His love for the water extended to sailing, where he learned the ropes on an El Toro.
When it comes to his favorite boating destination, there’s no doubt it’s the San Juan Islands, where George finds solace and adventure with his family. A perfect day on the water, in his eyes, involves salmon fishing, shrimping, crabbing, or clamming, culminating in a seafood feast shared with loved ones.
Reflecting on his tenure at NMTA, one of the most memorable moments was the 2006 Seattle Boat Show. That year, the Seahawks boasted a record of 13-3, claiming the top seed in the NFC, which created a potential clash for the boat show with the NFL playoffs. NMTA faced a daunting decision with no playbook to guide them – move the show dates or keep them? After much deliberation, they placed their faith in the Seahawks and their potential victory, opting to shift the show dates one week earlier.
In a remarkable turn of events, the Seahawks’ CEO, Todd Leiweke, granted permission for the show to remain in the stadium and open until 6 p.m. the day before the Division Championship against the Washington Redskins. This meant that in less than 24 hours, NMTA had to move out approximately 50% of the show to prepare the stadium for the most critical game in franchise history. The experience was a whirlwind of excitement and tension, marking the only time George ever spent the night at the stadium.
Beyond his role at NMTA, there are intriguing facets of George’s life that may surprise NMTA members. In the 80s and 90s, he was utterly devoted to scuba diving, especially deep wreck diving in the northern Great Lakes. His passion led him to teach diving, work on a charter boat, lead diving expeditions throughout the United States and the Caribbean, and even work for a company that manufactured scuba diving equipment. In addition to boat fishing, he is an avid fly fisherman, as you can see in the photo above, taken in northern B.C.
When it comes to recent NMTA accomplishments, George is proud of the organization’s continued presence in Olympia. In 2020, during the onset of the pandemic, NMTA’s strong relationships with key figures in the Governor’s office and the Department of Commerce were instrumental. Their advocacy efforts led to the essential designation of all Washington marinas, boatyards, fuel docks, and marine service providers during the Stay Home – Stay Healthy order, effectively keeping these vital services operational. Shortly after that, in May, NMTA’s advocacy team secured the inclusion of all Washington boat dealers and brokers in the Phase 1 reopening of non-essential businesses, facilitating a smooth recovery process for the industry.
We are lucky to have the one and only George Harris steering the ship!
Director of Finance
Since 2013, Jen has brought a passion for the marine industry and a wealth of experience to NMTA as the backbone of the Association’s financial operations. From managing accounts receivable and accounts payable to handling the intricate world of boat show invoicing, she takes care of it all. During boat shows, you’ll often find her at Will Call or the Box Office, ensuring smooth operations.
Jen’s journey in the marine industry began with a deep-rooted love for the water. Growing up on the shores of Connecticut in the 70s, she developed a lifelong connection to boating. Her family’s collection of sailboats, lobster boats, and runabouts ignited her passion. A move to Seattle in the late 80s led her to an unexpected career change. While working in HR, a boat-washing job advertisement caught her eye, and she dove headfirst into the world of boats.
Her nautical education started on an O’Day Widgeon, the fleet boat of the Niantic Bay Yacht Club in Connecticut. As a teenager, she explored Sunfish and Lasers with friends and enjoyed family outings on a 13′ Boston Whaler.
When asked about her favorite boating destinations, Jen finds it hard to choose just one. The saltwater allure of the Florida Keys, the breathtaking combination of water and mountains in Puget Sound, and the simplicity of a quick lap around Lake Union all hold special places in her heart.
But Jen’s interests extend beyond boating and finance. NMTA members might be surprised to learn that she completed her first Triathlon Sprint recently. When not immersed in work or navigating the waterways, she’s likely exploring new places in her camper van or sailing Elliott Bay on her sailboat. She knows her way around the water having also spent a decade as a hydrographer, charting the depths of the ocean, reservoirs, channels, bridge footings, and more, from Maine to Virginia.
Jen takes great pride in her role in NMTA’s annual audit process. Having recently completed her 11th audit, conducted by Clark Nuber, she’s delighted to report that NMTA has consistently received an unmodified audit opinion, often referred to as a “clean audit.” This in-depth examination scrutinizes every aspect of the organization’s operations, including the Seattle Boat Show, Anacortes Boat & Yacht Show, NMTA Health Trust, NW Marina & Boatyard Conference, Political Action Committee, Grow Boating, and Membership renewals. Jen’s unwavering dedication and expertise play a pivotal role in ensuring the Association’s financial integrity and success.
V.P., Director of Government Affairs
Jay is NMTA’s voice and steadfast advocate in the bustling corridors of Olympia, Washington’s state capitol, and beyond. With a keen focus on a wide array of public policies that impact the diverse interests of NMTA’s membership, Jay collaborates closely with NMTA’s lobbyists, Carl Burke and Roman Daniels-Brown. In addition to his pivotal advocacy role, Jay also provides support to Superyacht Northwest and diligently manages the Government Affairs and Marina & Boatyard Committees for NMTA.
As for Jay’s maritime beginnings, he embarked on his boating journey with an eclectic mix of vessels. His early sailing exploits commenced on a Sunfish, where he learned to navigate the waters barefoot. He also got a taste of the boating life from the wake of a ski boat and delved into competitive racing aboard a 28-foot wooden E Scow dinghy.
In adulthood, with a family of his own, Jay’s first boat purchase was a 20ft Sea Ray. This vessel became the cornerstone of countless adventures and cherished family memories, igniting his passion for exploring the enchanting Salish Sea.
Beyond his role at NMTA, Jay’s life is rich with diverse interests. He boasts an impressive track record of completing marathons in Seattle, Olympia, and Port Gamble. An avid music enthusiast, Jay’s heart beats for bluegrass festivals and an eclectic range of musical genres, that he especially enjoys experiencing live. His connection to the great outdoors extends to his formative years and college days, during which he spent summers paddling and guiding canoe trips through the scenic lakes and rivers of Ontario and Quebec.
Jay takes pride in his leadership role in several successful policy initiatives. These include securing the dedication of twenty-five percent of watercraft excise proceeds for the removal of derelict vessels, replacing lost funding for Seattle Harbor Patrol, providing financial relief amidst the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, and facilitating the delivery of an updated Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan template in compliance with the new boatyard permit.
To the NMTA community, Jay offers a heartfelt call to action. “NMTA, like all business associations, relies on actively engaged members to continuously build our strength in the policy conversations. I greatly appreciate the NMTA staff, Board of Trustees and other engaged members who work tirelessly for our collective challenges and successes. If you’re not already involved, please consider getting involved. It not only helps our industry, it’s also immensely rewarding.”
Director of Communications
Karsten joined NMTA in October 2014 and dove right into marketing the 2015 Seattle Boat Show. An avid boater and fisherman, it’s not unusual to find him out on the water at first light for a few hours of salmon fishing before starting his NMTA day. He wears many different hats at NMTA including writing copy and communications, maintaining websites, ad production and placement, social media, promotions, staffing the Grow Boating committee, and more. Karsten’s many accomplishments led him to be recognized several years ago by Boating Industry in their 40 Under 40 annual profile of outstanding young leaders in the marine industry.
A notable accomplishment is his role in managing and executing all in-house digital advertising efforts for the Seattle Boat Show, Anacortes Boat & Yacht Show, and various other NMTA events over the past seven years. He believes that this change has not only provided NMTA with new opportunities for advertising and retargeting for members but has also allowed the association to more effectively distribute its advertising spend and explore new advertising channels.
Karsten’s journey in the world of boating began with his family’s collection of kayaks and canoes, which he and his high school friends used to explore the waterways near and around Mukilteo, WA. His love for boating eventually led to a 19′ Smokercraft when his family acquired a boat access cabin on Hat Island in Snohomish County. This ignited his interest in boating even more, before a few years later getting hired by NMTA. From there, the interest became an obsession, owning far too many boats in a short period of time from 12 feet to 36 feet – all for different purposes. Now, it has all culminated with a floating cabin he spends time at with his fishing partners on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. Karsten’s love of boats goes hand in hand with his love of adventure and curiosity of the unknown. The idea that a boat can take you somewhere nothing else can, is something incredibly magical for him.
Karsten is also an avid music enthusiast. His passion for music led him to become a DJ and radio host, a role he maintained until just a few years ago. During his college years at WSU (Go Cougs!), he served as the Concerts Director for three years, booking concerts for various campus venues.
Karsten’s enthusiasm for boating and new challenges make him an important part of the team at NMTA.
V.P., Boat Show Director
Meet Katie, a true embodiment of the Pacific Northwest’s boating spirit and a lifelong advocate of all things fun and nautical – (yes, those terms go hand in hand).
Born and raised here in the Pacific Northwest, Katie has always had an intrinsic connection to the region’s waterways. As a lifelong boater, she describes herself as a ‘freshwater fish,’ deeply entrenched in the world of boating. In 2012, she embarked on her journey with NMTA, where her role as Boat Show Director seamlessly intersects with her lifelong passions: bringing people together, managing intricate details, and sharing her unwavering love for being out on the water.
Katie’s initiation into the world of boating began with her father’s cherished 1984 Century Resorter that he acquired at the – you guessed it – Seattle Boat Show. To this day, she and her husband continue to create cherished family memories, taking their three children tubing on Lake Sammamish, towed by the very same (and beautifully refurbished) Resorter that sparked her love for boating.
Her first personal boat was a 16-foot yellow Duroboat, built by her Dad in their Duroboat manufacturing shop in Maltby.
Katie’s earliest memory of the Seattle Boat Show dates to when she was 12 and purchased her first wakeboard at the event. Later, she actively participated in various shows, manning the booth for the family business – Duroboat.
When it comes to her favorite boating destination, Katie’s heart is firmly anchored in the enchanting Chain of Lakes in Waupaca, Wisconsin. Her fondness for this place goes beyond its scenic beauty; it’s a tradition that transcends generations. Her grandparents introduced her father and his siblings to this idyllic location, and her parents continued the legacy with her and her sister. Now, Katie and her husband are proudly passing down this cherished tradition to their children. The lake cabins and the laid-back lake-life atmosphere of Wisconsin’s Chain of Lakes evoke a sense of nostalgia, reminiscent of the classic John Candy movie, “The Great Outdoors.”
One remarkable aspect of Katie’s life that may surprise NMTA members is her official ‘Looper’ status. After completing her college education, Katie, accompanied by her sister, embarked on the adventure of a lifetime: the Great Loop. They embarked on this epic journey in the little yellow Duroboat, a vessel she still owns. The Great Loop journey spanned 84 days and covered a staggering 6,000 miles!
Katie’s journey, deeply rooted in her love for boating and the sense of community it fosters, makes her an invaluable part of the NMTA family.
Carl has been working for NMTA since 2007. Past clients
include Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association, Fish Northwest, Salmon for the Future and Puget Sound Anglers. He has worked with the last 16 directors of WDFW, served on numerous advisory groups and testified in federal court on the Boldt decision.
In your 16 years of sports fish lobbying for NMTA what’s
When I began lobbying the legislature the sports fishing industry had absolutely no political presence or legislative champions. During the last 16 years we have educated over 100 legislators about the economic, social and cultural importance of sportfishing. NMTA now has legislative advocates that understand our issues and work to support our goals. That did not exist until we became engaged on a full time basis in Olympia.
What can NMTA members do to support your and NMTA’s fish
Be engaged with legislators and donate to NMTA’s PAC!
I cannot stress enough the importance of each NMTA member developing a relationship with their local legislators. They love to hear from the business community in their districts that provide jobs and tax revenue to the state. They will be very receptive to any overtures.
Secondly, invite legislators to go fishing, boating or golfing and support their re-election if they support our issues.
The vast majority of legislators are uneducated regarding our issues. They are consumed by more pressing social issues that can impact their election or un-election. Hence, the importance of our political presence.
Personal boating history?
I grew up in Southern Oregon and bought a drift boat for $100 after returning from a tour in Vietnam in 1965. Since that time, I’ve lost count of how many drift boats, jet sleds and bay boats I have owned.
Perfect day boating?
My wife Karen and I love to cruise the San Juans and Gulf Islands and have rented yachts numerous times to spend weeks in both locations. We especially love to anchor in some bay, turn on the music, barbecue, have a glass of wine, watch the sunset and recognize how blessed we are to live in such an incredible part of our country.
Perfect day fishing?
I think being on the water at daybreak in the fall with the fog and mist slowly rising at dawn is a spiritual experience.
I also love taking people with no experience fishing and watching their joy when they can catch a salmon.
Roman Daniels-Brown started representing NMTA on October 1, 2022 following the retirement of Cliff Webster. Roman has spent 28 years working in and around the Legislature, 15 years as a staffer in the House of Representatives and the last 13 years as a contract lobbyist.
Roman works closely with NMTA’s long-time fish lobbyist, Carl Burke, and our vice president and director of government affairs, Jay Jennings, providing NMTA with strong representation in Olympia.
Why are you excited to work with NMTA?
When you talk to people about what they love about Washington, the water is always on the top of the list. Representing the organization that works daily for the boating industry is a great opportunity. I’m looking forward to continuing NMTA’s great work, learning more from members and being a strong advocate for NMTA.
How can NMTA members help you and Jay Jennings with your lobbying efforts?
Some of the most successful organizations in this state are the ones whose members are involved. Jay Jennings and I, along with my assistant Max Martin, will be working the halls of Olympia on a regular basis but having NMTA members connecting with their two Representatives and Senator is very helpful.
It can be as simple as having coffee with your elected officials to get to know them. Or, better yet, members could invite their legislators to visit their business and let them see the positive impact they are having in their legislative district.
These relationships will then allow members to reach out to their legislators when they are considering legislation that will positively or negatively impact their business. That personal connection can be extremely important when it comes time for them to take a vote on a bill.
First boating experiences?
I spent a lot of my teenage years on Moses Lake fine tuning my slalom skills. We didn’t have a boat but I was lucky (or strategic) in that my two best friends did. We spent most evenings enjoying the glassy water and only ruined 3 or 4 props by forgetting to lift them before pulling the boat out of the water.
What’s your idea of a perfect day on the water?
We love spending time at our cabin on Lake Goodwin. It’s been fun to teach and watch my kids, nieces and nephews learn how to ski, wakeboard and have battles on the tube.
What is something NMTA members might be surprised to learn about you?
I don’t always like the water…especially when I’m doing one of my favorite activities, golfing. I’d love to talk boating and chase a little white golf ball with any NMTA member. Let me know when the tee time is or come join me in Olympia!
Lisa began working with NMTA in 2007. Year in and year out since then she has consistently delivered stellar media results in trade publications, local print and online outlets, and TV and radio on all major local news stations for the Seattle Boat Show. She also leads our public relations for Grow Boating and writes, edits, and project manages our bi-weekly newsletter, WaterLife.
NMTA President & CEO George Harris likes to say, “if you see a story about boating in the local media, it’s likely that Lisa had a hand in it.”
It was Lisa who came up with the idea to brand a yacht for KING-5 TV to use as their on-water studio for their Evening show. The partnership, now in its seventh year, is one of Grow Boating’s most enduring and successful programs. It has resulted in dozens of boating stories over the years, including two full half-hour specials about boating in the San Juan Islands. In 2018, a story that Lisa was responsible for concepting, pitching and facilitating, and that was brought to life and produced by KING-5 Evening, was nominated for a Northwest Regional Emmy.
She is resourceful and creative in coming up with good story angles that appeal to reporters.
From organizing an amphibious ATV demo, to commandeering a helicopter to drop off media onto the helipad of a $25M yacht to getting reporters to try wakeboarding on live TV, she knows how to make a splash. A pro at planning all the details, she once almost managed to have a reporter catch a salmon during a live TV segment!
In 2012 NMTA honored Lisa with the Latham Goble award. The award is given to “an individual or organization who has made a significant contribution to the marine industry but does not work directly in the industry.” Previous award winners include Congressman Norm Dicks, Senator Jim Horn and Tod Leiweke, former CEO of the Seattle Seahawks and current CEO of the Seattle Kraken.
Lisa grew up in Melbourne, Australia and spent her summers on the Mornington Peninsula on Port Phillip Bay where she learned to waterski, fish for flathead and sail. She and her brother raced a Fireball, a high performance two-person 16-foot sailing dinghy with a single trapeze and spinnaker. She now keeps a bowrider on Lake Washington and still occasionally can be found waterskiing.