Fort Lauderdale

USA

Join Us

“Young Professionals in Yachting (YPY) is a nonprofit organization that was formed in 2009 to support continuing education within the industry, promote ethical business practice and ultimately facilitate success for young professionals within the worldwide yachting business community.”

Stephanie Pittington – YPY USA President

Our Chapter

The USA chapter, based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, holds one official meeting every month that typically features a key speaker, and consists of sharing industry news and hosting professional development seminars. We allow members to share any industry news or updates for discussions, and encourage new ideas and member collaboration. The association also hosts sponsored social events for networking opportunities at local boat shows, an elegant Summer Soiree and our annual YPY Gala.

Since its inception, YPY USA has amassed more than 150 members from diverse fields and many influential companies in the marine industry of South Florida. Some notable companies represented in our membership pool include but are not limited to Northrop & Johnson, Burgess, Frank & Jimmie’s Propeller, Merle Wood & Associates, Caterpillar Inc., Fraser, Informa, Pantropic Power, National Marine Suppliers, Lürssen and many more.

 

Our chapter’s by-laws can be viewed here.

Board Members

Meet the board of YPY USA

Stephanie Pittington

President

Stephanie Pittington is the Director of Sales & Marketing at Ice Marine, a South Florida based marine air conditioning and refrigeration company. Growing up in South Florida around boats and with family members in the yachting industry, Stephanie had an interest in the industry long before beginning her career in it. Stephanie holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing and International Business from FAU. She has served the membership of YPY as the Membership Director and the Volunteer Chair before beginning her term as president. Stephanie is also a proud member of ISS, MIASF and MIAPBC.

Stephanie Pittington
President

Chris Coleman

Vice President

Chris is the Director of the Commercial Marine Division within Oversea Yacht Insurance, the largest family-owned yacht insurance agency in the United States. He uses his years of customer service and networking experience to help his clients, ranging from shipyards, marinas, and contractors, to boat dealers and brokerage houses. An alumni of the University of Florida in Gainesville, he graduated in 2011 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Telecommunications. Chris is an active member of the Greater South Florida marine industry, serving on committees and volunteering for the Marine Industry Association of South Florida, US Superyacht Association and IYBA. In addition to his role as Vice President, he assists with sponsorships for the Annual YPY International Member Trip. Chris joined the YPY Board as Events Chair in 2018…

In his spare time, Chris enjoys playing soccer, paddle boarding, and using his role to foster the next generation of young professionals in the yachting industry.

Chris Coleman
Vice President

Eric Schmitt

Treasurer

Eric grew up on the water and after spending time on sailboats and doing deliveries, he graduated from Florida Gulf Coast University, majoring in Business Management and Information Systems and Technology. After working for Hertz at their Global Headquarters, he transitioned back to the maritime industry to pursue his love of all things boating. Eric’s current role is Project Manager for yacht refits at Reardon Yacht Consulting.

Eric Schmitt
Treasurer

Lauren Littlejohn

Membership Director

Growing up in Fort Lauderdale as a fifth generation Floridian, Lauren has spent a great deal of time within the yachting industry. With her father a Captain, Lauren’s childhood summers were spent cruising the Great Lakes and Bahamas on board a 102’ Broward. After graduating from Florida State University, she took on the role of sales manager for a well-known crew uniform company, travelling to charter and yacht shows all over the globe to meet clients and forming lasting relationships. In 2018 Lauren joined the Ocean Independence Fort Lauderdale team as a Charter Manager and is a proud member of YPY, IYBA and ISS.

Lauren Littlejohn
Membership Director

Andrew High

Legal Counsel

Andrew High handles both transactional and litigation matters focused mainly in the area of Pleasure Boating & Yachting. Mr. High has worked on a wide range of maritime matters. Mr. High is involved in a number of professional organizations, including the Florida Yacht Broker's Association, the Fort Lauderdale Mariner's Club, Young Professionals in Yachting, and others. He also serves on the Board of Directors for AMIKids Greater Ft. Lauderdale, serving to better the education of troubled youths in part through teaching the principles of boating and seamanship.

Andrew High
Legal Counsel

Sharon Abramson

Marketing Director

After spending over a decade in newspapers, publishing and public relations, Abramson entered the yachting industry in 2015, where she has held senior-level marketing and public relations positions at noted companies such as the Marine Industries Association of South Florida (owner of the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show), Denison Yacht Sales, Robert Allen Law and Merle Wood & Associates. She is a member of the International Yacht Brokers Association and Young Professionals in Yachting and is involved with the Public Relations Society of America.

Sharon Abramson
Marketing Director

Mark Theissen

USA International Liaison

Mark Theissen is currently Director of Sales at K4 Mobility, Inc. He is a Massachusetts Maritime Academy graduate and has an international business & sailing background that he has been marrying with his passion for technology. Having lived in Germany/Croatia & USA, he loves bringing the world closer together whether in person, through industry efforts or technology. He has been an avid industry advocate holding board, committee and advisory positions with MIASF and YPY. As director of sales he is responsible for all aspects of communication solutions and digital services to enable vessel owners to sail with a peace of mind whether for pleasure or business. He also has an extensive background in Bridge and Automation systems. He loves spending his free time with family and friends on the water or in the mountains.

Mark Theissen  
USA International Liaison

Brant Craft

Administrator

After spending his college summers working as a deckhand on yachts in Long Island, Brant spent his post college years working in the corporate world and then as an entrepreneur in tech and property management in Nashville, Tennessee. He moved to south Florida in 2016 to start Craft Yacht Management, a full service yacht management company for yachts 30' to 100'. With a fresh perspective and an obsession with technology, he constantly challenges the norms of the industry and looks to push it to a higher standard.

Brant Craft
Administrator

Timothy Hamilton

Programming Director

Tim Hamilton is the director of Lurssen Americas. In his role, he focuses on sales of new builds and refits for Lurssen in North and South America as well as providing shoreside support for Lurssens cruising in the Americas. Prior to working for Lurssen, Tim was the director of Feadship America in a similar role and has also represented the Rodriguez Group in the Americas markets. As a founding member of YPY, Tim believes in the organization and its mission in developing the next generation of yachting industry leaders. Tim lives in Fort Lauderdale, loves triathlons and free diving, and is married with two beautiful young daughters.

Timothy Hamilton
Programming Director

Committee Chairs

Kathleen Hagan

Volunteer Chair

Katie Hagan is Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer at FHG Marine Engineering. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of San Diego with a degree in International Relations. While at USD, she sailed with Semester at Sea circumnavigating the globe aboard the MV Explorer. As a Asian Studies Minor, she later lived and worked abroad in Chongqing, China. Before FHG, she was a humanitarian with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Delegation to the United Nations in New York and the ICRC Regional Delegation in Washington, DC. Katie has traveled to over 30 countries.

Kathleen Hagan
Volunteer Chair

Julia Russell

Mentor Program Chair

Julia Russell was born and raised in none other than the “City of Brotherly Love” – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. During her summers, she frequented to Long Beach Island, New Jersey where she learned the basic principles of being out on the water boating and fishing with her family. Julia’s love for the water continued to blossom as she travelled the world onboard Semester at Sea in 2009 and eventually made her way to Fort Lauderdale, Florida working for the well-known superyacht magazine, Boat International. With travel being one of her many passions, Julia was able to land a gig with GMT Global Marine Travel as their Marketing Manager, bringing expertise in both the yachting sector and the digital world we now live in. Now going into her 4th year as a YPY USA member, Julia is excited to chair the Mentorship Program and strengthen the bonds of willing professionals in the industry.

Julia Russell
Mentor Program Chair

Sarrah Hearne

Events Chair

Born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, Sarrah always possessed an eagerness to see the world. After starting her career in financial services and insurance, she was looking for a change of pace and found the opportunity to do so in the yachting industry. In 2013 she moved to Miami, FL to join a refit on a 197’ Abeking and Rasmussen and never looked back! She spent over 4 years onboard vessels 92’ to 220’ with global itineraries before she made the transition to become land based in Fort Lauderdale. In 2019 she joined the sales team as an account manager at Lauderdale Marine Center, the largest superyacht refit facility in the US. She works with hundreds of vessels a year to organize their shipyard period and is their point of contact for anything they require during their stay. With a passion for customer service, she is constantly striving for ways to improve guest experience and grow long term relationships with her clients. Sarrah resides in Fort Lauderdale and is a proud member of YPY and ISS.

Sarrah Hearne
Events Chair

Membership

Becoming a member of Young Professionals in Yachting has unique benefits which include: monthly meetings, networking opportunities, professional development, members-only access to job postings, professional mentoring program, meaningful volunteer opportunities, admission to our annual gala and so much more.

Full Member
$150.00
Paid Yearly
Join Now

We will review your application and email you back further membership details.



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Our Speakers
Carlos Vidueira - Vice President
www.thesuperyachtlife.com
Rybovich Superyacht Marina & Refit and President of Superyacht Life Foundation
Doug West - President
www.lauderdalemarinecenter.com
Lauderdale Marine Center
Bob Saxon - Vice President
www.hmy.com
HMY’s Yacht Management, Crew Placement, and Yacht Charter Division
Michael Reardon – President & Yacht Manager
www.reardonyacht.com
Reardon Yacht Management
Jessi Blakely - Senior Director of Strategic Communications
www.tavistock.com
Tavistock Development Co.
Dr. Richard Dodge – Dean
www.cnso.nova.edu
Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography
Nelson Dellis
www.nelsondellis.com
4 x USA Memory Champion
Lisa Samuels – Financial Advisor
www.evershore.com
Evershore Financial Group
Randall Vitale – President
www.hoffmans.com
Hoffman’s Chocolates
Corporate Sponsors & Event Sponsors

Underwater Lights Limited
Zack Savage
Manufacturers of the Original Underwater Lights TM brand since 1991, Underwater Lights Limited is the Worlds leading manufacturer of Marine Lighting products.
www.underwaterlights.com

Yachtsign
Andrew Cohen
YACHTSIGN combines American service standards with German engineering to deliver breathtaking, illuminated luxury yacht signage.
http://www.yachtsign.com

RMK Merrill-Stevens
Aaron Leatherwood
RMK Merrill-Stevens is a full-service shipyard dedicated to the refit and repair of the world’s finest yachts and vessels. Work is of the highest international standards and meets Classification Societies requirements, including ABS, Lloyds, and US Coast Guard Regulations.
https://www.rmkmerrill-stevens.com

Yachts International
William Smith
YACHTS INTERNATIONAL IS THE WORLDWIDE LEADER IN THE SUPERYACHT CATEGORY with its sophisticated global editorial reach, superior distribution, high-profile events, online community network and exclusive partnerships with the industry’s leading boat shows. The magazine offers an insider’s view of the luxury yachting experience with a dynamic mix of quintessential print media, advanced digital platforms, and exclusive yacht owner’s clubs at boat shows.
https://www.yachtsinternational.com

Grateful Palate/ Shooters Waterfront
Daniel Driebel
Featuring the renowned Grateful Palate’s culinary expertise and Fort Lauderdale’s celebrated waterfront views, Grateful Palate Catering & Events provides a unique special event venue with superb food and service, event planning and a waterfront location. At Grateful Palate Catering & Events, our expertise comes from years of experience in creating inspired menus of fresh offerings, presented with the most professional service.
https://www.thegratefulpalate.com

Shooters Waterfront has anchored Fort Lauderdale’s Intracoastal Waterway since 1982. As the city began to outgrow its reputation as a haven for spring breakers, Shooters revitalized the landmark restaurant into a relaxed yet elegant dining destination. We believe a restaurant’s atmosphere sets the stage and its seasoned staff delivers the experience. The clinking of glassware and cutlery plays through the house like a well-orchestrated symphony thanks to new ownership. With a carefully crafted menu of fresh seafood and handcrafted cocktails set against a breathtaking backdrop of Florida’s boating lifestyle, Shooters Waterfront Fort Lauderdale restaurant remains rich in history.
https://shooterswaterfront.com

U.S. Superyacht Association
Kitty McGowan
The U.S. Superyacht Association (USSA) is a trade association, representing hundreds of business and thousands of individuals, whose mission is “To promote and support the U.S. Superyacht industry and its members worldwide through advocacy, marketing and education.”
http://www.ussuperyacht.com

Marine Industry of South Florida
Sean Smith
The Marine Industries Association of South Florida (MIASF) is the largest marine trade organization in the Southeast United States dedicated to promoting, protecting, and growing the 110,000 middle class jobs in Broward County and 136,000 jobs regionally in marine businesses promoting boating lifestyles from family cruising and fishing to yachts and the goods and services that sustain them, driving the economic output to $8.8 billion in Broward County and $11.5 billion regionally.
http://www.miasf.org

Payments

Checks can be made out to Young Professionals in Yachting in the amount of $150 and mailed to:

Young Professionals in Yachting

PO Box 460304

Fort Lauderdale, FL 33346

 

Membership dues may also be paid by using the link below.

YPY - USA - 2020 Membership
Contact us

info@youngprofessionalsinyachting.org

Young Professionals in Yachting USA

OUT OF AN ABUNDANCE OF CAUTION, WE HAVE DECIDED TO POSTPONE SPIN FOR A CAUSE AND THE KICKOFF PARTY. THIS EVENT WILL BE RESCHEDULED SOON.

Join us at our next meeting

Regular Monthly Meetings


Please check our events calendar for more details.