Center for Coastal Conservation Names Kris Carroll the 2012 Manufacturer of the Year; Inaugurates Award in Honor of Grady-White Boats’ Eddie Smith

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Grady-White Boats President Kris Carroll is the first to be tapped Manufacturer of the Year by the Center for Coastal Conservation, an award named after Grady-White CEO Eddie Smith, in recognition of strong fisheries resource conservation leadership.


Grady-White Boats President Kris Carroll (second from left) receives an antique sextant commemorating the inaugural Eddie Smith Manufacturer of the Year Award from the Center for Coastal Conservation.

She is focused on the boating business, and knows that conservation of America’s fishery resources is a vital part of her business.

In recognition of strong conservation leadership, the Center for Coastal Conservation (Center) honored Kris Carroll with its inaugural Eddie Smith Manufacturer of the Year Award. Carroll serves as president of Grady-White Boats and was an early board member of the Center that advocates for marine recreational fishing and boating. Eddie Smith is chairman and CEO of the boat company.

“Kris Carroll is an exemplary marine manufacturer,” said Mike Nussman, president of the American Sportfishing Association (ASA), when presenting the award. “She is focused on the business of the boating business, and she knows that conservation of America’s fishery resources is a vital part of her business.”

The Eddie Smith Manufacturer of the Year award was established by the Center to honor extraordinary commitment to conservation by manufacturers. An icon in marine manufacturing, Smith served on the boards of National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA); Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation; International Game Fish Association, Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council; National Association of Boat Manufacturers; American Boat and Yacht Council, and the Sport Fishing Institute. He was instrumental in founding the Coastal Conservation Association of North Carolina. Smith received the first-ever ASA Lifetime Achievement Award and is a member of the NMMA Hall of Fame.

“Eddie Smith has long been charting the course for responsible conservation of America’s marine fishery resources and has continually strived to connect manufacturing with conservation,” said Center President Jeff Angers. “When the Center proposed to unite sportfishing and conservation advocates to marine manufacturing, Eddie was among the first to say ‘count me in.’”

Carroll continues in active leadership roles throughout the industry. She is an 18-year member of the NMMA board; former chairman of the Boat Manufacturers Board, and active on the Advisory Council of Boat Owners’ Association of the United States (Boat U.S.). She was named president of Grady-White Boats in 1993. Carroll’s ability to assemble and inspire the best managers, her steadfast beliefs, and her hard work continue to set an example for the entire industry.

Established in 1959 in Greenville, NC, Grady-White currently builds 27 models of saltwater-tough, versatile, high quality center console, dual console, express and walkaround cuddy cabin sportfishing and coastal family boats from 18 to 36 feet. Grady-White is historically renowned for being highest rated in customer satisfaction in its category by every third party study ever done in the marine industry. Eddie Smith and the Smith family have owned the company since 1968.

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