Faces in the Industry - Frank Gernert
By: MIASF Staff
Date posted: Jun 29, 2020 Mon
Tell us where you are from, what brought you to Florida, and how long you’ve lived here.
Born and raised here in Fort Lauderdale, a Broward General baby, I have made Fort Lauderdale home for well into 50 years. I remember hearing my parents and family say how much the area had changed and grown up as I was doing the same. Man, what they would say now after our growth over the last decade or so! To me Fort Lauderdale is still a “big small” town. Those in the marine industry especially have an appreciation for the value of relationships and the historical significance that the marine industry has on the growth of Fort Lauderdale. I have lived here so long because of the blend of business and natural resources. We are very blessed with both.
Where do you work, what is your job title, and what does your job entail?
Florida General Enterprises is the brand I operate under other than my name. Specifically, this combines a broad range of practical experience to be engaged on special interest project management, collaborative relationship management and strategic planning and implementation. Most of my clients are in the sports, music, or marine industries but some engagements extend outside of those markets. I am basically a Chief Development Officer or COO for project-based engagements.
How did you initially become interested in the marine industry?
My brother, J. Christopher Gernert the photographer. He had a Sears Gamefisher with a 9.9 Evinrude when I was about ten and took me out and ultimately let me use this and his subsequent boat. How crazy is that right? He has a few years on me and since we grew up in a family trucking business hauling liquid combustible fuels, we always had gas! I bought my first boat at 13 from Mr. Cox and the Lauderdale Marina. Got a school board permit to work up to 20 hours a week and made the monthly payment to Landmark Bank for those of you who remember the brand! It was all downhill from there. I was on the water, had my freedom and got to know the marine industry from the waterline up (and down in some cases).
What is your favorite or most valuable benefit of membership in MIASF?
Relationships and Relevance. The relationships and fraternal nature of the marine industry is second to none. Like a family, always spicy and dynamic but united in one cause could describe the MIASF and its membership. Relevance through its communications and programs. Current and historical leadership has kept the industry relevant and informed. Most importantly, the relevance has given to recognition outside of the industry. The MIASF was under the radar of many outside of the industry but the association has proclaimed itself and shouldered in to say hey, Broward County….we basically built you and sustained you in the early days and now contribute over $9 BILLION to our economy annually. Anyone else care to stand up and say they have done the same as an industry consistently?! You are welcome – lol. Of course, the MIASF delivers this message much more appropriately.
Describe any other community organizations or events with which you are involved.
I have served two gubernatorial appointments to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Boating Advisory Council, Florida Boating Improvement Fund Grant Review Committee as well as serving on the boards of the Barry University Andreas School of Business, Nova Southeastern University Oceanographic Center, Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce Beach Council, John U. Lloyd State Park Master Planning Council, Florida Historic Capital Foundation Board and a variety of other business and civic associations. Most recently I was appointed by Governor Scott to the Florida Inland Navigation District (2017) as the District’s Broward County Commissioner and appointed to the Board of the Florida Sports Foundation, a division of Enterprise Florida, (2018).
Tell us about your hobbies and what kinds of things you do for fun.
Faith, life, dogs, boating, and music are my sources of entertainment and inspiration. Life and business by the Golden Rule is my internal creed and I have a relentless commitment to our State’s natural resources. So, for fun, I get out on the boat, listen to some good jams, have family and friends aboard and make sure there is a dog involved - preferably Lucie my trusted hound.