Phil Purcell sees potential to increase business collaboration across county lines when it comes to South Florida's marine industry — a roughly $14 billion economic engine.
The newly appointed executive director of the Marine Industries Association of South Florida is also keen on showcasing the importance and impact of the trade group's signature event, the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.
The annual boating extravaganza, which runs Oct. 30-Nov. 3 this year at several locations across Fort Lauderdale, has an economic impact of $500 million, and the association sees room to grow beyond that.
The Sun Sentinel sat down with Purcell, 51, to learn more about his background and the association's priorities and concerns in 2014. Responses have been paraphrased for clarity.
Q: What did you do before joining MIASF on Jan. 27?
A: I'd recently retired after 17 years with Westport Shipyards in Washington state, the largest yacht builder in North America. I was a partner and held senior management and sales roles during my tenure, and helped grow it from a small company to a leader in the industry both domestically and internationally.
Q: What are your priorities as executive director?
A: One is meeting with government officials and All Aboard Florida executives to iron out a workable plan regarding a lowering schedule for the drawbridge at the New River in Fort Lauderdale. All Aboard's passenger train service is a great thing for moving people around the state, but is also a major concern for the marine industry.
Another is working to increase collaboration with marine associations in Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties so industry efforts don't stop with a zip code or county line.
Q: Is anything new planned for the 55th Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show?
A: There are always new and subtle changes planned to add value to the experience of the show.
Q: What are some key industry concerns in 2014?
A: There's a proposal to get rid of the second-home mortgage deduction for boats, which is a mistake. Another is pushing forward legislation to allow repair workers in the recreational boating industry to again get workers compensation coverage through state workers compensation insurance rather than federal insurance.
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About Phil Purcell
Position: Executive director, Marine Industries Association of South Florida
Family status: Married 30 years to Betty; 3 children ages, 28, 23 and 13
Residence: Vero Beach