Captain’s chair: Importance of investing in our industry October 23, 2015
Our region’s marine industry has take decades to create, and everyone who is part of it should be proud.
We have an incredible opportunity here – everyone in the world would love to have the year-round, 24-7 connectivity that we have. The region is home to thousands of skilled craftsmen and businesses that provide top-notch service. Just recently, we learned that Fort Lauderdale was chosen for the second phase of a $15 million to $25 million refit build project to lengthen and widen a 100+ foot vessel.
Projects like these are a constant reminder that we need to reinvest, otherwise we put our industry at risk of becoming the next Detroit.
One way businesses can protect themselves is as the economy improves, they should build scalability. While business is strong now, what forces us to look in the mirror is a bad economy. We need to take action before things get bad, make adjustments now and ensure we are reinvesting in the future.
Several people are doing this – the Tates and the Christophs are investing in redeveloping Bahia Mar, the Carlyle Group has invested in Lauderdale Marine Center, Boat Owners Warehouse has expanded, a new marina is planned in Dania Beach and several yards have invested in their infrastructure, among others.
This is happening because of the relationships we have with government agencies including the city, the county, the Florida Inland Navigation District and many more. These relationships also help ensure the industry is taken into consideration when issues arise that affect us, such as All Aboard Florida, development around the convention center and the RFP for the Las Olas Marina.
To remain strong, we must work with and educate elected officials need to make sure our infrastructure needs are met, such as bridges and public lands, which is for the good of the region and the businesses that reside here. Top global hotel brands are investing at the beach because they believe in the industry.
We also work with the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance, the Broward Workshop, the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau, Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and Port Everglades, who have embraced the marine industry because they recognize its importance and want to help.
Continuing to work with the region’s government and elected officials and agencies like these will help ensure our industry stays strong year-round now, and for many decades to come.