Sarasota, FL – (June 10, 2015) A Summit of Florida’s regional Marine Industries Associations was held at the Hyatt Regency in Sarasota on June 1st and 2nd. The purpose, improve dialogue among associations and begin creating a unified statewide voice on issues impacting the boating public and the Marine Industry. It was the first time in several years that all eight associations were together at the table.
Represented were: Northwest Florida Marine Industries Association, Southwest Florida Marine Industries Association, Collier County Marine Industries Association, the Marine Industries Association of South Florida, Marine Industries Association of Palm Beach, Marine Industries Association of the Treasure Coast, Marine Industries Association of Central Florida, and the Jacksonville Marine Association.
The summit was facilitated by long time industry veteran, and past Executive Director of the Lake Erie Marine Trades Association, Norm Schultz. He began with an around the room session of introductions of attendees and their respective associations. It gave everyone a better understanding of the different geographic regions and how each MIA operated. The diversity of the organizations not only drove home the scope of the marine industry in Florida but also the importance that this summit be the first step in bringing the industry closer together.
Many issues were touched on such as; All Aboard Florida’s bridge closings impact on boating, pending statewide anchoring and mooring regulations, continuing permitting problems, and a variety of questionable fishing regulations that impact boaters enjoyment of time on the water. The purpose of this summit, however, was not to address specific issues. Instead it was to find common ground, establish lines of communications within the associations and set some realistic goals as a starting point.
There were two days of lively conversation and by the end, a spirit of optimism and a commitment to move this effort forward. The final Tuesday session resulted in a list of short-term goals that were mutually agreed upon as the next step.
The Marine Industries Association of Florida should continue to function as the industry’s statewide legislative and communications voice. Currently only five of the eight associations participate in MIAF. To be most effective, all eight must join in the collaboration.
A statewide Economic Impact Study should be commissioned so that all marine organizations in the state are using the same data to position the marine industry with state and local governments and the media. This would be the first step in a unified branding or positioning of the marine industry in Florida.
Develop a realistic budget/business plan for MIAF to clearly establish goals and operational needs.
Establish direct lines of communications between participating organizations, their members and other interested industry.
This list was to be presented to the Executive Committee of MIAF.
Norm Schultz summed up his feelings in an e-mail to attendees. “I was very impressed with the obvious commitment of everyone to their MIA. Even more, it's clear to me that the Florida MIA's working together can be a very powerful force to accomplish favorable things on a statewide basis. Equally important, I'm convinced from your active dialogue in the Summit, that each MIA could honestly say "I've got your back" to the others and stand ready to help in local issues when possible or needed. That alone will strengthen our industry.”
For more information contact, Michele Miller,
Marine Industries Association of Florida is a 501.c(6) dedicated to preserving and promoting the Marine Industries throughout the State of Florida