SLIDESHOW: Q&A with Mirage founder Ken Fickett

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Ken Fickett got his start when his mentor — Miami builder Raleigh Stapleton — loaded a truck with mat, resin, acetone and catalyst, and told a young Fickett, “I don’t care where you take it, just go and start your own business.”

The directive was part altruism, part anger, but it set Fickett on a path that eventually led him to start Mirage Manufacturing, the Gainesville, Fla.-based builder of Great Harbour trawlers.

Since 1971, Fickett has designed everything from airplanes to open fishing boats to oceangoing trawlers, and he is currently working on a 74-foot trawler, as well as a new line of sportfishing boats.

In this slideshow, Fickett talks about launching a new line in hard times, the difference between airplanes and boats, and the business practice that helps him sleep at night.

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