It’s one thing to tell people about the number of jobs the marine industry provides to people in South Florida. It’s another thing entirely to show them.
But that’s exactly what a new “Marine Industry Day,” which the city of Fort Lauderdale has designated as June 11, is designed to do — serve as an industry mouthpiece for area leaders and media members, Marine Industries Association of South Florida director Phil Purcell told Trade Only Today.
“The real goal is to make sure everybody is aware that we cannot put this industry at risk for any reason … and really getting recognition for what the marine industry brings to the region,” Purcell told Trade Only. “We want to make sure that all the public officials support and make decisions that are not providing unfair protection, but that make sure we do not risk the industry in any way. And we want to partner together in a way that grows the industry.”
The June 11 event will be held at the NSU Oceanographic Center in Dania Beach and will serve as an industry awareness day for city leaders and the media. Included will be panel discussions related to jobs, education and industry growth, along with several MIASF scholarship presentations for promising students planning a future in marine-related fields.
The following Saturday, June 14, will honor the marine industry workforce — from dealers to welders to sanders — who make up Broward County’s No. 1 economic driver, Purcell said. Those are the people filling the middle-class jobs that often go overlooked by the general public and the people who deserve some recognition for their contribution to what the industry brings to the region.
“We expect a couple thousand people, but it’s really about the 90,000 people who contribute to this $7 billion industry,” Purcell said. “It’s a day to recognize them and what they contribute to the local economy.”
That business-sponsored event will take place at Esplanade Park in downtown Fort Lauderdale and will entail games, live music of various genres, boats, cars and general family fun. Sponsors include Active Interest Media-owned Soundings Trade Only and Show Management, among others in and outside the marine industry. Workers are encouraged to bring their children and spouses.
A number of related events will serve as an outreach to key sponsors, city, state and county officials and VIPs. These include a May 14 reception in support of Artists for Conservation and exposure to the industry’s largest showcase event, the MIASF-owned Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, which is held in October each year.