Keynote: Innovation Through Culture: Stories From a Decade at Google

- Steven Lerch

In 2020, the world changed in unprecedented and unpredicted ways. Thriving media platforms faced rebellion and boycotts. And entire industries, built on steady ground, were reduced to irrelevancy. All businesses were forced to face new realities, because as Mike Tyson once said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” Luckily, the boating industry saw an unprecedented sales volume and a wave of new boaters the industry has been searching for. But along with this good fortune comes challenges, manufacturer shortages, educating new boaters, and keeping them as a boating customer when other industries come back from the pandemic.

Our ever-changing culture and business climate should remind all of us of the need to innovate. Through technology, social media, activism, and unprecedented events like Covid 19, this rapid pace of change demands that businesses not only have a groundbreaking idea/product/invention/service, but that they are built on a culture with the capacity to constantly churn out new ideas. A culture of innovation. 

Based on a decade at one of the world’s most innovative brands, Google, Steve Lerch will share stories of how simple cultural building blocks are more important drivers of innovation than billion dollar budgets and droves of engineers. Learn simple, practical strategies that you can instill at your company or within your team. The same simple principles that have allowed Google to help the world save lives, connect humanity, empower new population, and even catch Pokemon.

Bio: Steve Lerch is a strategy, marketing, and digital consultant and an award-winning international public speaker on topics like innovation, consumer behavior, and marketing. He spent 9 years working for Google in both Mountain View, CA and Washington, DC. During this time, he built digital strategies for consumer electronics brands like GoPro and Fitbit, federal government agencies like DHS and the US Census, and non-profits like the YMCA and Save the Children.  


Steve formed Story Arc Consulting in early 2019 and continues to help brands of all sizes, across all industries, better prepare for the continuing digital revolution. In addition to speaking at various conferences and annual meetings, Steve works with brands to build digital first marketing strategies and to rethink the way they strategically plan for the future.

Association Updates

Throughout the pandemic, MBIA has continued to be an advocate for our industry. From making sure your business could open this spring, finding funding sources, and keeping new and current boaters engaged, our Association is always hard at work for you, our members. During the virtual RBEC, staff and partners will provide updates on past, present, and future endeavors of the MBIA, including:

  • Overall Association Update - Executive Director Nicki Polan

    • It's been a memorable year, with trials, but also a record setting year for sales and participation in the boating industry. ​MBIA has been working for you all year, and will continue into 2021.

  • Legislative -  Lobbyist Bret Marr from MHSA

    • A recap on the stressful election year, and looking forward into 2021 and what the incoming legislators mean for our industry.​

  • Legal - MBIA Counsel Jim Stewart of Kotz Sangster

    • An important insurance notice for boating businesses, update on sales tax on the difference, and what you need to know to keep your bottomland leases low - how MBIA has and can help.​

  • Recreational Boating Industries Educational Foundation - RBIEF President Jim Coburn of The Coburn Consulting Company

    • More than $8,000 was given to deserving candidates this year. The Foundation's new marketing initiatives and how you can apply for industry funding for education.

  • Workforce Development - Amanda Wendecker, MBIA

    • Even in wake of the pandemic, workforce efforts continue with 2 new marine tech programs in Michigan in 2020. Learn how you can tap into the pipeline of qualified candidates.​

  • Membership Benefits - Bethany Sly, MBIA

    • You can save more than the cost of membership by signing up for the group discounts provided through your association!  

  • Clean Marina Program - Danielle Fahim and Liz Szlaga, MBIA

    • Learn more about The CMP, and many updates and improvements done this year.

Award Presentation

Each year the MBIA awards their highest honors during RBEC to deserving leaders in the industry. Stay tuned as recipients are announced for:

2020 MBIA Hall of Fame Inductee:

Ray L. Underwood Lifetime Achievement Award:

Lighthouse Award:

The Recreational Boating Educational Conference is produced by the Michigan  Boating Industries Association.

General Questions Contact:
Michigan Boating Industries Association

8625 Richardson Rd., Commerce Twp., MI 48390

Phone: 734.261.0123 | Fax: 734.261.0880

boatmichigan@mbia.org | www.mbia.org

For Sponsor and Exhibiting Contact:
Amanda Wendecker
734.261.0123, ext. 3

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