John Nigro of Fort Lauderdale-based Show Management is director of land, booth display exhibits and operations manager for the Fort Lauderdale International Boat show, a role he's held for the past decade.
The show runs from Oct. 27 to Oct 31 and spans six sites: the Bahia Mar Yachting Center, the Hall of Fame Marina, the Las Olas Municipal Marina, the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina, the Broward County Convention Center and the Sails Marina and features 1,000 boats in-water and 800 on land across all of the show sites.
Nigro's job is to clear the way for participants by managing permits, logistics and set ups so they can display the $3 billion worth of boats, yachts, super yachts, electronics, engines and boating accessories from marine manufacturers and boat builders around the world, he says.
Additional vendors to complement the boating lifestyle include those displaying exotic cars and selling clothing and jewelry. Marine seminars, fishing clinics, entertainment and food courts fill out the expo.
The show begins early for Nigro and his team of 50 people. They start their tasks about three months in advance of the event.
The drill down:
What is your core duty?
Nigro: To assign exhibitor space; coordinate show permitting with the State of Florida Department of Transportation and the City of Fort Lauderdale for electric, structure and plumbing; design; permitting with the Coast Guard, marine patrol and FLPD Marine Units. We coordinate transportation; and efforts with the sales director for in-water displays, to facilitate move-in and move-out of all boats.
Fort Lauderdale is a popular trade show location. What are some notable events you've helped to organize in the past?
Nigro: The St. Petersburg Power & Sailboat Show, the Yacht & Brokerage Show in Miami Beach, The Palm Beach International Boat Show, the Suncoast Boat Show in Sarasota and the Bertram Hatteras Shootout Fishing Tournament in the Abaco Islands of the Bahamas.
What's the common thread in making an event successful?
Nigro: To make it a memorable experience.
The boat show happens simultaneously on different levels, at different sites - how are you able to be effective in all these platforms?
Nigro: I schedule my day ahead to distribute my time across all six show venues so I can address any pending issues specific to those locations.
Is there an aspect to working in South Florida that sets you apart from your counterparts around the rest of the country? If so, what is it?
Nigro: South Florida is the yachting capital of the world and Fort Lauderdale is known as the Venice of America. The boat show is in a unique position, as much of the community lives the boating lifestyle. Our guests come to be a part of that lifestyle, if only for a few days.
What is the best advice you ever received? We are showmen who orchestrate the greatest boat show on earth. The best advice is to simply do all that I can to make the show a memorable experience for all attendees and exhibitors and to approach each day with enthusiasm and dedication.
What keeps you up at night?
Nigro: The weather. For weeks leading up to the Show I am constantly checking NOAA to see what the weather is doing, monitoring storms, checking winds, fronts and tides.
Details: Web: ShowManagement.com; Facebook: fortlauderdaleboatshow; Twitter: boatshowupdates.
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