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Palm Beach County marine industries leader ready to ride wave to success

Mike Antheil has been living in Palm Beach County for 10 years as he built his career path in renewable energy. Today he starts as executive director of the Marine Industries Association of Palm Beach County, putting more of his passion for the Florida environment into his work.

Marine industries have been hit by the recession just like other businesses, Antheil said. But water-focused businesses are poised to grow and help boost the economy, says the avid boater and fisherman.

As he takes over the organization that has been without a director for more than a year, Antheil plans to first focus on increasing the group's base, which is about 165 members. Then, he wants the industry to speak with a collective voice to state, local and federal lawmakers and regulatory agencies to foster a marine-friendly government.

"We want to work with them to pass and evolve regulations beneficial to the water and the environment," Antheil said. As Antheil says, he's already "gotten his feet wet" meeting with people in the marine industries. The group is a major lobbying force for marine issues, and Antheil brings experience lobbying through his own group and as a partner of Green Asset Finance. He also was a business consultant and commercial lender for Merrill Lynch and financial adviser for Capital Growth Financial and SW Bach & Co. He'll stay at the helm of Florida Alliance for Renewable Energy, which he founded three years ago, until March. Antheil moved to West Palm Beach 10 years ago and now lives in Boynton Beach with wife Amy and sons Zack, 3, and Jack, 2. "I grew up on the water, grew up in the woods," Antheil said. "I'm passionate about all things Florida. I'm a Florida boy through and through." Age: 32 Hometown: Sarasota About your organization: The Marine Industries Association of Palm Beach County represents the entire local marine industry, lobbies for local, state, federal and regulatory marine related issues, and owns both the Palm Beach International Boat Show and the Palm Beach Holiday Boat Parade. How your business has changed: The marine industry has weathered the economic storm like so many other industries in Florida, but unlike many other industries, the marine industry is poised and ready to lead the path toward local growth and economic resurgence in Palm Beach County, bringing billions of dollars to the local economy. First paying job and what you learned from it: My first paying job was for an event catering company where I learned how to perform under a deadline, adapt to adversity and to be responsible for expectations as part of a team. Best business book you ever read: Play to Win by Larry and Hersh Wilson. Best piece of business advice you ever received: Find something that you are passionate about and the rest will fall into place. What you tell young people about your business: It's a great industry to be part of. Number one, look at your office. You have the most beautiful office space in the world when you're in the water and around the water. Look at the people you're involved with. These people take pride in what they're a part of. This is an industry that prides itself on knowledge and history, so the sooner you get started, the better. A fisherman lets you talk until he finds out how much you know, about your engine, about how to tie a knot, what kinds of fish you know. Marine industries contribute a lot to the state, contribute more than the citrus industry. ... And to see it go on, we want to see folks that are passionate. What do you see ahead for Palm Beach County? Palm Beach County will continue to be a leader in the state in terms of business, arts, recreation, local growth initiatives and leadership. Power lunch spot: City Cellar Favorite smartphone app: Sadly I am still stuck in the dark ages of circa 2008 with a BlackBerry. What is the most important trait you look for when hiring? The ability to successfully execute on a wide variety of dynamically different situations and objectives.

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