The Marine Industries Association of South Florida (MIASF), the association that owns the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, has announced the appointment of Phil Purcell as the new executive director of the association. Formerly vice president of Westport Yachts, Purcell decided to step down from the brand last year after 17 years of employment due to health reasons.

Purcell’s appointment was approved by a unanimous vote of the board of directors on 23 December, 2013 and his tenure commenced on 27 January, 2014.
Purcell will be replacing Carlos Vidueira, who has served in a part time capacity since 2010. Vidueira will continue to serve as the association’s treasurer and on its executive committee.

“I am honoured and thrilled to take a leadership position at an association that is helping to transform all aspects of the recreational marine industry,” said Purcell. “I am looking forward to working with our members, as well as other South Florida stakeholders and the entire international marine industry community toward the common goal of greater professionalism and prosperity.”

Speaking to Purcell about the current challenges he sees in the US superyacht market and some of his aims for his new role, he revealed that top of the list was creating a yachting industry that is easier to be a part of. “We need to make it easier on them because this is an elective industry not a necessity,” he added. “You are always going to have to deal with regulations and I hear from a lot of people that our clients are dying. But my question to them would be; are they dying or are we killing them? So we need to focus on how we make it easier on yachtsmen from every size of boat, because the future boater isn’t a yachtsman right now. So we have to embrace youth, embrace all these great entrepreneurs that are doing things all over the world and understand that their needs are going to be different from the yachtsmen that we currently serve.”

“From the shipyard point of view, the biggest hurdle for the industry right now isn’t the money,” Purcell continues. “The money is there but we need to build the confidence and the desire and helping people realise and explore this side of the life. In what other industry can you build a home and take it all over the world? We need to make it easy and spend a lot more time working closely with our clients and doing exactly what we say we can do.”

Former executive director, Carlos Vidueira, believes that Purcell will a great asset to the association in working towards this goal. “We are at a very exciting time for the marine industry and the addition of Phil Purcell as a full time steward of our association provides the necessary strategic thinking and expertise that will elevate our association’s positive impact upon our industry and upon our community. I look forward to working with Phil for years to come.”

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Marine Industries Association of South Florida

Westport Shipyard

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