Special report and photos by Norm Rosen
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NTP-Stag SeaWide Expo 2024, Kissimmee, Florida
The NTP-Stag / SeaWide Expo 2024 at the beautiful Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center, Kissimmee, Florida, brought together RV and Marine dealers from across North America to view the latest products from more than 275 exhibitors.
The three-day event, sponsored by Airxcel, kicked off with registration of the attending dealers, sponsored by ASA Electronics, followed by an opening reception on Sunday evening, sponsored by Lippert and Splendide.
Monday morning began with registration for the RV and Marine University programs, followed by a PRO Kickoff breakfast for University attendees. NTP-Stag SeaWide President Bill Rogers welcomed more than 1,200 dealers to the breakfast session, with an upbeat and positive greeting that set the tone for the annual Expo.
Kick Off Breakfast
The keynote speaker for the breakfast session was author and creator of the #NOMATTERWHAT movement Sterling Hawkins, whose presentation “Hunting Discomfort – Leading courageous organizations to be resilience ready and built for breakthrough growth” provided an energetic start to a full day of learning at the RV and marine seminars.
“Discomfort is inevitable as we all contend with a world disrupted by technology, changed by the pandemic, and fraught with risk, talent shortages and incredible uncertainty. Growth has always been outside our comfort zone, but today it’s forced upon companies and teams in a way that’s unparalleled throughout history. It can quickly become debilitating and exhausting, negatively impacting productivity, morale and ultimately, results. If discomfort of the unknown is inevitable and growing – leadership necessitates a critical new competency for competitive advantage, hunting discomfort and building their capacity to effectively handle it. Reorienting leaders to the fact that what many may see as the risky move, is less risky than not pursuing it in the long run. Opening executives, teams and cultures to the discomfort of the unknown will ironically leave peace, presence and breakthrough results in its wake – regardless of what’s happening in the world. But it takes the courage of acceptance, the willingness to make mistakes and the vulnerability to let go.”
Sterling encouraged attendees to explore the #NOMATTERWHAT system, incentivizing people to achieve goals and realize success.
After breakfast, SeaWide marine dealer attendees proceeded to NMEA Certification, and a series of seminars in the Marine Dealer University program, sponsored by Raymarine, with sessions by:
First Brands Group – Horizon Global
Johnson Outdoors Marine Electronics
Taylor Made / Lewmar
The RV University attendees proceeded to a series of 45-minute sessions sponsored by Valterra and Dometic, with 36 seminars in the 9:00 a.m. – 11: 45 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. – 4:45 p.m. time frame.
Sessions were organized and timed to facilitate RV University participants to attend as many seminars as possible. The sessions were presented by:
Carefree of Colorado
DISH Outdoors and TravlFi
First Brands Group – Horizon Global
RVWA / RVTI
Safe T Plus
The “State of the RV Industry” address during the NTP-Stag SeaWide Expo
The mid-day lunch break featured a very informative “State of the Industry” report from Bryan Fletcher of Valterra.
Bryan’s insights provided a very positive tone for the outdoor industries in general, and a thoroughly researched report on the RV industry’s recovery from the post-pandemic slump.
Bryan has been one of the key members of the RV industry for decades, and his analysis is regarded as a focal point for the aftermarket suppliers as well as the industry in general.
Following lunch, the dealers completed their schedules of RV University sessions, and had time for a quick break before the trade show portion of the Expo began.
At 5:00 p.m. the doors to the Expo were opened, and the attendees entered to a thundering round of applause – this is a very unique experience – a gesture of appreciation for the role of the dealers, from the NTP-Stag / SeaWide team and the assembled exhibitors.
Here’s a short video – follow the RV Dealer News team as we walk through the Gaylord Palms atrium, and record the “Grand Entrance” of North America’s NTP-Stag / SeaWide dealers…
The opening night at the Expo exhibits was a very busy scene, with dealers participating in “Power Hour” events at many of the exhibits.
Exhibitors logged very enthusiastic attendance at their booths, with dealers taking full advantage of the special offers, and the opportunity to place orders through the Expo app.
As the dealers proceeded with their buying activity, food and beverage stations were available to provide dinner and refreshments.
Breakfast Keynote – Day Two – Bill Walton
Day Two of the Expo began with a keynote breakfast sponsored by Carefree of Colorado, featuring basketball legend and Hall of Fame member Bill Walton, whose presentation focused on planning for success. In his 45-minute session, Bill, who has endured more than 35 orthopedic surgeries to treat ankle, back, and other injuries, never stopped moving across the stage, delivering a rousing encouragement to attendees to “have a plan, a purpose, and a mission”. Among the words of wisdom that inspired the audience to achieve their goals, Bill reflected on his career and the many lessons he learned from his coaches, from his high school teams to his NBA championship career.
“You will never learn what you don’t want to know” summarizes Bill’s attitude toward preparing for success. He told stories about his teammates and their drive to win – “Larry Bird would tell the other team what the play was – knowing that they had no chance to stop his team”.
Among the many words of wisdom Bill shared was a thought from Coach John Wooden – “make friendship a fine art”.
As one of the game’s most respected analysts, Bill counseled the attendees – “It’s the things you learn after you know it all that count.”
Bill’s knowledge of the game extends to a very well researched analysis of the RV and marine industries – his parting advice before heading to the Expo floor to autograph basketballs was a simple but profound statement: “failing to prepare is preparing to fail”.
Following his keynote presentation, Bill spent time at the Carefree of Colorado booth, signing basketballs and chatting with show attendees.
Throughout the Expo, dealers had the opportunity to view a wide range of new products at more than 275 booths.
The Expo closed at 5:00 p.m. with attendees invited to a closing reception sponsored by Dometic, featuring entertainment by Noah Thompson.
Canadian RV and marine dealers attending the NTP-Stag SeaWide Expo enjoyed the opportunity to escape the cold weather for a few days. Many exhibitors commented that the Canadian contingent was very active and enthusiastic, placing orders for a full range of parts and accessories at the Expo.
Several Canadian attendees took advantage of the timing and location of the event to extend their stay, visiting the many attractions in the Orlando area, including Disney World, Universal Studios, SeaWorld, Epcot, and, of course, the spectacular camping opportunities in the State of Florida.
For more information on the location for next year’s event, please stay tuned to the RV Dealer News website.
For more than 50 years, NTP-STAG has been serving RV dealers, retailers, and service professionals across the industry. Today, as a division of LKQ Specialty, the company is highly regarded as the leading distribution company for the recreational vehicle market and is uniquely positioned to offer customers and suppliers substantial scale, the most comprehensive inventory selection in the industry, high levels of customer service, and innovative marketing support. NTP-STAG is committed to expanding its offerings to meet the ever-growing needs of its customer base, providing them what they need, when they need it.
For more information please visit: https://www.ntpstag.com/About/Overview
About SeaWide Distribution
Serving the marine industry since 1979, SeaWide Distribution, is a national wholesale distributor of outdoor products and accessories, boat systems, and consumer and marine electronics. As a division of LKQ Specialty, SeaWide is dedicated to providing its customers with an extensive inventory, high-quality service and innovative marketing resources. Positioned as one of the largest wholesale marine aftermarket distributors in the U.S., SeaWide offers more than 50,000 products from over 300 suppliers. To learn more about SeaWide, please visit SeaWide.com or call 1-866-732-9433.