On Saturday morning, September 16, the Rhode Island Marine Trades Association (RIMTA) will honor Newport Exhibition Group as the 2017 recipient of the RIMTA Anchor Award. The presentation will be made during the Newport International Boat Show on the morning of Saturday, September 16 at RIMTA’s Annual Industry Partnership Breakfast sponsored by Gowrie Group.

The Anchor Award is an annual accolade presented to an individual or organization that draws international attention and promotion to the state’s marine trades. Past recipients include Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Ken Read, Sail Newport, and Newport Shipyard.

“We are thrilled to recognize Newport Exhibition Group for the work they do in shining a global spotlight on Rhode Island and its hometown industry,” said Wendy Mackie, CEO of RIMTA. “Every year, exhibitors and consumers from around the world make their mecca to the Newport show and see first-hand our beautiful waters, our facilities, and all that the Ocean State and our industry offers to boaters.”

For over three decades, Newport Exhibition Group has owned and produced the Newport International Boat Show and grown the event into one of the five largest in-water boat shows in the country. The four-day event draws an international crowd of show-goers, and some 20 percent of the event’s exhibitors are from outside the United States.

RIMTA’s Industry Partnership Breakfast takes place annually during the Newport show and is an opportunity for marine-trades professionals to gather and celebrate the Anchor Award recipient while discussing pressing issues impacting the future of the state’s marine trades.

Speakers who will address the industry audience at the breakfast include Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and Matt Gruhn, president of the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas. Gruhn will announce a new national workforce-development effort and the leading role RIMTA will play.

The event will also include a panel discussion on “People, Process, and Partnership” moderated by Polaris MEP Director Christian Cowan. Representatives from marine-trades companies in Rhode Island will discuss the statewide programs they have tapped to meet their most pressing business challenges.

See below for more details.

WHAT: 6th Annual RIMTA Industry Partnership Breakfast

WHEN: Saturday, September 16 / 8:00 – 9:45 AM (speaking program starts at 8:30 am)

WHERE: The Bohlin Tent, Newport Yachting Center (20 Commercial Wharf, Newport)


  • Senator Sheldon Whitehouse
  • Brandon Kidd, President, RIMTA
  • Sally Helme, Publisher, Sailing World/Cruising World
  • Nancy Piffard, Director, Newport Exhibition Group
  • Matt Gruhn, President, Marine Retailers Association of the Americas
  • Christian Cowan, Director, Polaris MEP (panel moderator)
  • Veronica Brown, Newport Shipyard (panelist)
  • Larry Colantuono, Brewer Wickford Cove Marina (panelist)
  • Peggy Clay, Goetz Composites (panelist)

Newport Exhibition Group (NEG), a division of Newport Harbor Corporation, specializes in consumer/trade show production. For over three decades, NEG has owned and produced the annual Newport International Boat Show, which has grown to be one of the five largest in-water boat shows in the country. In addition, NEG formerly owned the Newport Spring Boat Show, Fine Furnishings, Providence Boat Show and the Newport Charter Yacht Show.

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What'sUpNewp. Although not the founder or original owner, Belmore has been with What'sUpNewp since its early beginnings in 2012.

Belmore was born in Providence, Rhode Island; grew up and graduated high school in Coventry, Rhode Island; and lived in Newport, Rhode Island for more than ten years. He currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals.

He and his wife, Jen, as well as their two dogs (Aero and June), recently moved to Alexandria, Virginia. Belmore travels back and forth to Newport every couple of weeks to cover events, work on story ideas, to meet with What'sUpNewp's on-the-ground contributors, to visit friends, and to eat as much seafood as possible.

Belmore is a member of Local Independent Online News Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.