FOXBORO, MA – Today, State Senator Patrick O’Connor (R-Weymouth) was named the Massachusetts Marine Trades Association (MMTA) Legislator of the Year.
“To be named the MMTA Legislator of the Year means a great deal to me,” said O’Connor. “The MMTA and Executive Director Lyons have been an incredible resource as my colleagues and I try to find ways to support the marine trades and the maritime economy in Massachusetts. Representing the South Shore, it’s critical that we continue to work together to create opportunities that will allow this sector to flourish in the years ahead.”
The announcement was made by MMTA Executive Director Randall Lyons during the organization’s annual Business of Boating Conference at Patriot Place. Lyons and his colleagues applauded O’Connor for his experience as a Legislative Boating Caucus and Coastal Caucus Member, and his steadfast dedication to economic and workforce development within the maritime economy.
“The MMTA is pleased to honor Senator O’Connor as the 2021 Legislator of the year award,” said MMTA Executive Director Randall Lyons. “Senator O’Connor’s commitment and work on behalf of the MMTA and recreational boating industry businesses from within his district, and around the state is greatly appreciated. Working with state officials to support our industry remains extremely important to us and having the Senator’s leadership as a Co-Chair of our boating caucus has, and continues to be, very valuable. Congratulations to Senator O’Connor on a well-deserved award and we look forward to continuing to work with him going forward”
O’Connor credited Ed Lofgren, MMTA member and owner of 3A Marine in Hingham, with helping him better understand just how impactful the boating industry was to Massachusetts.
“Every Friday, pre-covid, I would visit a local business in the district to learn about what they do and how the state can assist in making them stronger,” O’Connor said. “In 2017, before my meeting with Ed, you had someone that represented seven coastal communities that understood the importance of the boating industry. But after that meeting, you had someone that put the industry and its needs as one of their top legislative and budgetary policy initiatives.”
According to a recent study, in Massachusetts the recreational boating industry supports over 1,055 businesses, 20,362 jobs, and generates $4.4 billion in economic activity each year. Although a vital part of the economy, the industry is expected to experience a shortage of qualified individuals to fill these crucial careers.
During the FY22 state budget process, O’Connor was able to file and ultimately secure an amendment to provide $150,000 to the Massachusetts Marine Trades Association (MMTA) to assist in their efforts to increase workforce development training opportunities and technical education in secondary and post-secondary schools for careers in the marine trades. The MMTA planned to use this funding to work more with South Shore Mass Hire and the South Shore Vocational High School to start a new marine training exploratory program.
The mission of the Massachusetts Marine Trades Association is to provide the framework for furthering the interests of the marine trades and the boating public through the promotion of boating, participation in legislation, and professional improvement programs. The MMTA was founded in 1964 by small marine business owners and remains a non-profit association. Learn more about the MMTA by visiting www.boatma.com.