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ICAST Lunch & Learn delivers ‘expert level’ insight that’s free for retailers


Daily business seminars at the show help business owners flourish with the times.

Sid Dobrin has been making the rounds at business conferences for months. He’s travelled to Australia and Singapore. He’s visited universities across the United States. The passionate angler with a heart that burns for saltwater doubles as University of Florida English chair and an Adobe Thought Leader – it’s a life that positions him perfectly at the intersection of fishing, communication and technology.

By mid-July, Dobrin (below) will find himself on stage at the epicentre of ICAST.

The sportfishing industry’s largest trade show, presented annually by the American Sportfishing Association, is widely known as the go-to place to see brand new products before they hit store shelves. For three days each summer, hundreds of manufacturers display thousands of new products that all vie for position on retail shelves.

Last year, more than 13,000 attendees from 80 countries made the journey to Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center for ICAST. And throughout the week, many of them found themselves in a cordoned-off presentation area for ICAST’s Lunch & Learn seminars.

Dobrin was there in 2023, wearing a microphone and doling out knowledge on the role of artificial intelligence in business. And in 2024, he’ll be there again with an update for attendees on the ever-changing roles artificial intelligence can play in their businesses.

“I’ve given versions of this talk probably 60 times in the last year across academia,” Dobrin said. “Each year, the second half of the talk is geared towards a different audience.” At ICAST, Dobrin’s audience consists of fishing industry entrepreneurs like tackle store owners, fishing guides, manufacturers and media professionals. “Running those businesses requires other kinds of knowledge besides basic fishing knowledge,” said Dobrin.

“Lunch & Learn provides a forum for experts in various areas to talk specifically about what it takes to run a business in recreational fishing. We talk about operations in the context of policies. We talk about taxes and sales and other ins-and-outs of running a business. It’s sort of an insider’s track on thinking about how to run a business specifically from the perspective of the recreational fishing industry.

“I think the Lunch & Learn atmosphere provides the opportunity to hook up with people who are thinking about what’s coming next and how they can grow rather than running a store or when they are meeting their next client.”

Last year, Dobrin’s seminar on artificial intelligence was joined by a gallery of other valuable presentations, from using influencers to drive sales and customer loyalty to navigating federal excise taxes and learning how to generate revenue from social media content.

“Business owners should be the visionaries,” added Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF) Senior Vice President of Communications Stephanie Vatalaro (presenting, above). “If they understand what’s going on out there, they can grow their bottom line and profit.”

“Business seminars like these might cost people thousands of dollars,” said ASA Trade Show & Membership Vice President Blake Swango. “The take home value of Lunch & Learn is tremendous. It’s one of the events I most recommend making time for at the show.”

Online registration for ICAST is already open. Qualified attendees like tackle dealers and other industry retailers can register to join the collective global sportfishing community there for free. To secure a spot in Orlando this year, visit www.ICASTFishing.org

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