Faces in the Industry: Nicole Squartino
By: MIASF Staff
Date posted: Mar 30, 2021 Tue
Tell us where you are from, what brought you to Florida, and how long you’ve lived here.
I was born in Delaware, and moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida at the young age of 2, and I couldn’t imagine myself ever leaving. My Father worked for Coca-Cola bottling company, and was relocated to the new Coral Gables location as the Marketing Director. I followed in his footsteps, eventually starting my own marketing agency.
Where do you work, what is your job title, and what does your job entail?
Through my agency, First On Deck Marketing, I am the proud Director of Marketing for RMK Merrill-Stevens in Miami, Florida. My team manages the company’s marketing, public relations, social media, graphic design, web maintenance, networking, event management, video production and more. RMK Merrill-Stevens works closely with the MIASF team, participating in the Membership and Workforce committees, and the Yacht Service Technician Apprenticeship Program. Seeing RMK Merrill-Stevens return to their former glory and push what is possible for yachts and superyachts in Florida has been one of the highlights of my professional career.
How did you initially become interested in the marine industry?
Being raised in Fort Lauderdale offered me the greatest opportunity to grow up on the water. Whether it was boating, fishing, water sports, exercise/volleyball on the beach, surfing, kayaking, or snorkeling, you could bet that I did it! My eldest brother also served in the Navy and was taught many skills that helped his career in the marine industry as a welder. He worked at Broward Yard in the 80’s as a marine welder, and eventually opened his own company. At times, I would work with him as an assistant during the summers and remember walking the yards, checking out the large boats, and dreaming of either having a yacht of my own or working on one. I knew early in life that my career would be focused on this industry, and that I would raise my family in South Florida. My heart belongs to the marine industry, and I am very grateful for the opportunities it has provided me over the years.
What is your favorite or most valuable benefit of membership in MIASF?
I started my career in early 2000 as a graphic designer for MIASF under Frank Herhold’s helm, and learned so much about the impact of the marine industry in South Florida. As an employee, I was in awe of the work MIASF does for marine businesses but also how dedicated the staff is to MIASF members, the environment, advocacy and the local community. I don’t think there is only one favorite benefit or most valuable benefit of membership at MIASF, I feel strongly that everything MIASF offers members is top-notch. The association provides a portal of information to businesses, locals, visitors, governments and more all while providing marine scholarships, opportunities for employment and educating individuals on how to keep our waterways clean. In addition, the plethora of networking options provided by MIASF both virtual and in-person should not be overlooked as they provide much opportunity for members to mingle with other members to keep abreast of happenings in the industry. As a creative marketer in the marine industry, if your company sells marine products or services -- I suggest MIASF membership should be a part of your overall marketing strategy!
Describe any other community organizations or events with which you are involved?
Over the last 15 years, I have been involved in several local volunteer organizations such as Volunteer Broward as a Disaster Coordinator, Feeding America as a sorter, other local food drives and as a volunteer within the marine industry for several local associations. I also participate in Plywood Regatta as a judge, Waterway Cleanup, Palm Beach Paddlefest, Palm Beach Holiday Boat Parade and On the Water Toy Drive benefiting Toys for Tots and Little Smiles, Miami River Day, Triton Expos, and all South Florida boat shows.
Tell us about your hobbies and the kinds of things you do for fun.
My hobbies are my dogs, walking, yoga and spending time with friends and family. My weekly escape, or restart, is to lay out on the beach — soaking in the sun and enjoying the scenery while jamming to some tunes.