The National Marine Manufacturers Association announced today the induction of Ben Speciale, president of the Yamaha U.S. Marine Business Unit, into the NMMA Hall of Fame. Speciale will be presented with the 2023 NMMA Hall of Fame award during the International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition & Conference’s annual industry breakfast Tuesday, Oct. 3, at the JW Marriott Tampa.
From an early age, Speciale engaged in his family’s marina and marine dealership, fostering his passion for boating and fishing as well as a respect for the resources that provide those opportunities. His early experiences shaped his career choice, interests, and advocacy. He joined Yamaha Motor Corp., U.S.A., in 1987, initially working with Yamaha Marine Parts and Accessories.
Over the years at Yamaha Marine, Speciale held positions in marketing and promotions. In 1992, he left Yamaha to serve as fishing production manager at Fenwick Fishing Tackle in Huntington Beach, California, only to return in 1996 to work within strategic planning and financial operations at Yamaha. Speciale was promoted to vice president, operations and planning, in 2005. Five years later, he was named president of the Yamaha U.S. Marine Business Unit, which is part of Yamaha Motor Corp., U.S.A.
In his capacity as president, Speciale is responsible for all U.S.-based marine activities and subsidiaries, while also serving as the chief sales and marketing officer of marine engines and boat power systems. He provides guidance and leadership to Yamaha’s boat companies and subsidiaries, including Skeeter bass boats, G3 aluminum fishing boats, Precision Propeller Industries Inc., Bennett Marine, Kracor, and Siren Marine. Yamaha Marine has a network of approximately 2,300 dealers while also serving as an OEM outboard supplier to more than 120 independent boat brands in the U.S.
“I couldn’t be happier that Ben was selected as the 2023 Hall of Fame recipient. He is a true leader for not only Yamaha Marine, but the entire recreational boating industry as well,” said Bill Watters, president of Syntec Industries. “Under his leadership, Ben has established Yamaha Marine as the benchmark for reliability and innovation. I admire Ben’s dedication to all that he does, from serving on several boards to putting advocacy into action like establishing Yamaha’s Rightwaters program.”
During Speciale’s tenure as vice president of Yamaha Marine, outboard products received many design and innovation awards from the marine industry and national media. Yamaha is also the only outboard motor company to receive awards in the NMMA customer satisfaction index survey every year since its inception.
Speciale has also dedicated his time to various marine industry leadership roles over the years. He served as chairperson of the NMMA board of directors from 2018-2020 and currently serves on the NMMA board as well as the chairperson of the NMMA’s engine manufacturers divisional board.
“It is an honor to present the 2023 NMMA Hall of Fame award to Ben Speciale. He is a true visionary, trusted leader, and passionate advocate for recreational boating,” said Frank Hugelmeyer, NMMA president. “Ben’s unwavering commitment and tireless efforts to guide not only Yamaha, but our entire industry, to success are commendable. His decades of leadership at the helm of Yamaha’s U.S. Marine Business Unit, as well as on the NMMA board of directors, including his recent tenure as NMMA board chair, have been vital in navigating pivotal challenges and opportunities to advance the growth and innovation of recreational boating.”
Speciale received the Eddie Smith Manufacturer of the Year Award in 2020 for his outstanding contributions and commitment to recreational fishing and boating. This recognition, presented by the Center for Sportfishing Policy, acknowledged his efforts to enhance angler access and promote marine conservation. He also serves on the CSP board of directors.
The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership presented him with the 2022 Conservation Achievement Award for his leadership in conservation and environmental stewardship. He is a member of TRCP’s corporate council.
Speciale lives in Kennesaw, Georgia, with his wife, Kim. They have two grown daughters. The family enjoys recreating on the Tennessee River near his childhood home.