From the Captain’s Chair: 2016 Year in Review December 22, 2016
December has always been a good time for reflecting on the accomplishments of the previous year and contemplating the opportunities of the next one. The past 12 months have been extraordinary for MIASF, and I thank all our members and community partners for supporting our many efforts. Our public events engaged the local community and elected officials from all levels of government, and allowed us to share our message of the powerful impact the marine industry has on the economy and the community. Whether it was the Waterway Cleanup resulting in the collection of 22 tons of trash from inland waterways throughout Broward County, the Plywood Regatta introducing more than 300 students from 30 schools to the marine industry by having them build vessels in teams and compete to see which team’s boat performed the best, Marine Industry Day attracting 2,500 visitors to more than 30 interactive and educational exhibits, or joining efforts with Habitat for Humanity to help build a home for two families, we continued to strengthen our relationships within the communities we effect.
Of course, the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show is our biggest and most influential event, with 100,000 visitors from more than 50 countries boosting the State’s economy by $857 million. FLIBS continues to be an important catalyst for hosting the annual Marine Hub Luncheon with notable business leaders onboard the MIASF Hospitality Lounge, and this year provided an opportunity to further the branding of South Florida as a global Marine Research Hub with a meeting of four university presidents.
Other notable accomplishments of 2016 include the execution of a 30-year agreement with Show Management, completion of the Intracoastal waterway dredge, receiving the first recreational boating Foreign Trade Zone designation in the country, and the launch of an educational video series called Salty Jobs that showcases marine industry career opportunities in the South Florida area.
Our Workforce and Education Committee organized a successful faculty field trip for Dillard High School, including a panel discussion, marina visit, and New River tour, and the Membership Committee has helped facilitate the popular Member-Mingles and Better Business luncheons, and volunteered at FLIBS and other trade shows.
We can certainly be proud of all that we have achieved, but there is always more to be done. We will start the new year with a meeting to update and modernize the association bylaws to become current with government regulations, job titles, and existing operations, and host a luncheon to learn about updates to Yachts Miami Beach and the Miami International Boat Show. We will also continue to build our community relationships, provide oversight and advocacy on legislative issues, present our annual events, coordinate monthly networking events, promote and protect the marine industry, and we hope to offer valuable exhibitor training opportunities and grow our membership.
You may have heard that I submitted notice to the Board of Directors of my intention to step down as CEO/Executive Director of MIASF effective January 2018. For the next 12 months, I will be working to ensure the successful operation of our association and help identify and support its next leader. I have loved working in this capacity with an amazing team of people, and I am proud of what MIASF has achieved. We have created a culture of high integrity, and a success-driven, highly adaptive, forward thinking mindset. With an $11.5 billion economic impact, the marine industry has a seat at the table to help address critically important issues, such as job creation, trade, philanthropy, transportation, and infrastructure – specifically in regard to the FEC/All Aboard Florida plan to repair the bridge across the New River and the absolute necessity for an elevated bridge before any additional passenger rail can be accomplished.
I wish everyone a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year!