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Marine Industry Day set for South Florida

The Marine Industries Association of South Florida is hosting a panel discussion Wednesday on the industry’s economic impact and educational opportunities, followed by the launch of a scholarship program, at Nova Southeastern Oceanographic Center in Dania Beach.

Active Interest Media chairman and CEO Skip Zimbalist will be among several speakers addressing the industry’s economic impact in South Florida at 11 a.m. (Active Interest Media owns Soundings Trade Only as part of its marine group.) Speakers also will include Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler, MIASF executive director Phil Purcell and National Marine Suppliers owner Dean du Toit.

Leaders will explain how the marine industry drives $8.9 billion to the region and $7 billion in Broward County. The industry employs 107,000 regionally and 90,000 in Broward. The speakers also will announce the scholarship program and present six recipients with $1,000 scholarships.

The city of Fort Lauderdale named Wednesday as Marine Industry Day. The events are designed to demonstrate to the region the impact of the industry on the economy and jobs, according to Purcell.

“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 roundtable panel discussion, which takes place at 8:30 a.m., features leaders in the industry, community and education system, who will discuss the economy in the first panel, and the significance of training programs and institutions dedicated to educating people interested in working in South Florida’s large marine industry during the second.

Speakers include David Coddington, vice president of business development at the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance; Dean du Toit, owner of National Marine Suppliers; James Brewer, director of sales and marketing at Derecktor Shipyards; Dick Dodge, dean at Nova Southeastern University Oceanographic Center; Russell McCaffery, dean of transportation programs at Broward College; Dr. Jay Lasner, CEO at International Crew Training; Ted David, magnet coordinator at South Broward High School; and Lisa Morley, vice president of sales at Maritime Professional Training.

Saturday will honor the industry’s work force — from dealers to welders to sanders — who make up Broward County’s No. 1 economic driver, Purcell said. Those are the people who fill the middle-class jobs that often go overlooked by the general public and the people who deserve recognition for their contribution to what the industry brings to the region.

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 AIM-owned Soundings Trade Only and Show Management, among others within and outside the industry. Workers are encouraged to bring their children and spouses.

“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.”

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