Miami Mayor Francis Suarez emphasized the importance of the marine industry to the South Florida area as he welcomed more than 60 students to Career Day at the Miami International Boat Show last week.
Suarez, his wife and two children are a boating family. So it’s not surprising he would take time out from a packed schedule to join the students. He told them the opportunities for good-paying careers in the boating industry have never been better, citing the need for many related talents and interests.
“Whether you have a passion for engineering, manufacturing, designing, or selling and servicing boats and equipment in a dealership, there are good jobs waiting for you,” Suarez said. “Boating here in our greater Miami area is an exciting lifestyle. You see it all around you every day. And if you love the water like I do, getting your necessary education and working in the boating industry could be a wonderful career choice.”
The students are enrolled in the Maritime and Science Technology Academy, also known as MAST, a Miami public high school on Virginia Key. Allan Miller, an instructor in applied engineering at MAST, brought the students to see what the boating industry is all about.
It was my pleasure to moderate the Career Day program. But it was the outstanding panel of industry veterans who shared their knowledge and outlined career opportunities that carried the day. They also provided answers to serious questions from students that took the Q&A period into overtime.
The panel included Bobby Garza, director of engineering at Brunswick Corp.; Joe Maniscalco, service division manager for Yamaha; and David K. Witty, OneWater Marine Group’s executive vice president of retail operations. In fact, Witty invited the students to consider possible internships being offered at OneWater locations.
Perhaps most impressive was that Miller’s students exhibited an obvious desire to digest as much information as possible. Indeed, all of them had just completed a course segment called “Entrepreneurship” in which Miller challenged them: “Go and find a problem in the world and solve it!”
Three of the students teamed up to design a solution to a wakesurfing problem. Pending the appropriate clearances from the students and the academy, I will enjoy revealing their design here in Dealer Outlook soon.
In the meantime, a well-deserved shout-out goes to the many national, regional, state and local marine trades associations for holding career events; for establishing intern opportunities; for teaming and supporting local tech programs; and particularly to manufacturers that are providing products and educational materials to schools for students to gain practical hands-on experience.