Monita W. Fontaine has been appointed Vice President of Government Relations for the National Marine Manufacturers Association
(NMMA), working in the Washington D.C. office. She replaces Mick Blackistone who left the association earlier this week.
Fontaine has been executive director of NMMA-affiliate the Personal Watercraft Industry Association
(PWIA) since 2000. An attorney, she has a Master’s degree in Maritime Law and more than 25 years of lobbying experience in Washington D.C. and at the state and local levels. She is also an avid boater, and has skippered her wooden sailboat, Hither, Thither and Gone, across the Atlantic and throughout the Mediterranean and Caribbean. “I love boating, and have been privileged to work with many wonderful people in the boating and boating safety communities,” she said. “I look forward to being an effective advocate for NMMA members.”
Fontaine is prepared for the challenges ahead. “PWIA has been a great training ground, because there’s no doubt in my mind that today’s concerns about personal watercraft are the same as issues that impact the boating industry overall—things like access, emissions, PFD use, boating safety education, carrying capacity and licensing.”
With government relations identified by NMMA members as the most important aspect of the association’s work, Dammrich also revealed that Fontaine’s appointment comes at a time when the NMMA Board is strengthening NMMA’s advocacy efforts, including a 30 percent budget increase, and the addition of several new staff members. “Being the best public policy advocate for the marine industry is clearly the most crucial service NMMA provides for its members and the industry,” said Dammrich. “I am personally committed to NMMA being the most effective voice for the boating industry and to strengthening our government relations capabilities. We are focused on establishing a pro-active government relations program, to promote a pro-boating agenda, to work cooperatively with related organizations, and to respond effectively and immediately to challenges from parties outside our industry.”
Fontaine has practiced law in Alaska, Texas and Washington, DC. She was the first woman appointed as briefing attorney for a justice on the 4th Circuit United States Court of Appeals, and served as a legislative assistant on Capitol Hill. Fontaine has also served as Director of State Government Relations for the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS), and Executive Director and General Counsel to the Licensed Beverage Information Council.
Fontaine grew up in San Antonio, Texas. She received her BA in Political Science and Economics from Mary Washington College of the University of Virginia—where she was president of the student body, her JD from St. Mary's University School of Law (TX) and her LL.M. (Master of Laws) in Ocean and Coastal Law from the University of Miami School of Law.