John Stefancik will become the new executive director of the Marine Trades Association of Maryland (MTAM) in April 2023. He has served as the publisher and co-founder of Chesapeake Bay Media since 2014, and first began working at Chesapeake Bay Magazine in 2000. A lifelong boater, Stefancik has served on the board of directors of MTAM since 2002.
“This is something I’ve been working my whole professional career to achieve,” Stefancik says. “I’ve been interested and involved in the marine trades my whole life. My family had a succession of boats that we always repaired and maintained ourselves, from the top of the mast to the bottom of the keel. That progressed to me helping other people take care of their boats, and through that experience, combined with my 23 years at Chesapeake Bay Magazine, I met many people and learned a lot about various aspects of the marine trades.”
MTAM is dedicated to promoting the recreational marine industry, to encourage safe boating practices and the preservation of Chesapeake Bay waterways. It was founded in 1972 and now represents nearly 400 marine-related businesses. This growing industry has become a top contributor to Maryland’s economy with an annual economic impact of almost $3.5 billion.
One of the organization’s key missions is to serve as an advocate for and voice of the recreational boating industry, particularly in the state legislature. Stefancik and his all-volunteer board will be responsible for reviewing more than 2,000 bills each year during the Maryland General Assembly and take action on more than 50 bills.
They also produce events such as the annual spring Safety at Sea seminar at the U.S. Naval Academy and the popular “Welcome to Boating” clinics on docking, launching and safety taught by Annapolis School of Seamanship and BoatUS Foundation at Sandy Point State Park each May.
One of Stefancik’s professional goals is to grow the workforce development program that the association produces with the state of Maryland and to elevate the profile of the marine trades to boaters. “It’s also important for economic development personnel throughout the state to understand how important the marine industry is to our economy,” he says.
Some of Stefancik’s responsibilities at Chesapeake Bay Media will be taken up by Natasha Lee-Putnam, who has been appointed associate publisher. Lee-Putnam is a familiar face at CBM, where she’s worked in advertising sales off and on since 1998.
Chesapeake Bay Media is a diverse media platform engaging hundreds of thousands of people each month across digital, print and social channels, including Chesapeake Bay Magazine, Bay Bulletin news, and CBM’s new digital newsletter showcasing the very best of the Chesapeake lifestyle, destinations, and boating in the region.
“I’m returning to the company after working in advertising and software sales,” Lee-Putnam says, “and I am grateful for this promotion. I had a wonderful time at my former company, Marinalife, and I’m excited for this new opportunity.”
Lee-Putnam has been a boater most of her life, and has earned her USCG 25-ton masters license. She lives in Deale, Md., with her wife, Heathar.