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Tim Conroy has been named the 2011 Marine Representative of the Year by KVH Industries Inc. Conroy is president of ComMar Sales LLC. He has more than 30 years’ experience in the marine industry, including 25 years with ComMar Sales. Conroy has served on the boards of the National Marine Manufacturers Association, National Marine Electronics Association and National Marine Representatives Association.
PBN: How has marine-industry sales changed in your 30 years in the field?
CONROY: Communications as both a product category and the use of new technology has been a huge change. KVH entered the market with a compass product, but expanded with the compass becoming an integral part of a stabilized antenna product. Now we have product that lets mariners communicate anywhere in the world and also have access to fast broadband coverage. As a [representative], I was always on the lookout for a phone booth. Over the years we have transitioned from phone booths to large cellphones with expensive and limited coverage, to phones that have worldwide coverage and access to fast broadband at affordable rates.
PBN: In addition to serving as a sales representative, you also have experience in importing and distribution for the marine industry. How have these roles informed your work as a sales representative?
CONROY: Over the years I have attended several shows in Europe and made several contacts and friends in the marine business from all over the world. Many have asked for information on the U.S. market and how to market and price their product. Others have asked us to provide more services, including importing their product. In most cases we have tried to get companies we represent to work with these companies, in others we have helped them get started in the U.S.
PBN: As a part of its offerings, ComMar Sales provides technical seminars. Can you tell us more?
CONROY: One of the shortcomings in the marine business is the lack of real education. There are only a few schools that have any formal education for people interested in joining the marine industry. Companies hire employees from technical schools or other industries but in most cases they do not have specific training on product. Over the last 30 years we have done countless seminars, sometimes at specific companies, other times we will do a regional seminar. •