Executive Spotlight – A familiar ring

The 2005 North Carolina “What keeps you awake at night” list for marine business owners has a familiar ring - with a few new twists. On the list every year is the real (and perceived) shortage of a trained or trainable workforce - an accessible supply of workers ready to go to work on time, every day with a work ethic that incorporates pride in product and company. The rising cost of housing for employees is aggravating this problem, especially for the dozens of custom sportfishing boat builders in resort areas.

Also on the list each year are concerns about regulations, especially where the rulings are viewed as capricious or applied in a manner that leads to contradicting or “dueling rules.” These are found across the state, across the spectrum of marine businesses and most likely to include air and water quality, employee safety, and waterfront expansion. The 2005 problems will show up related to water quality (pressure wash sites) and to air quality (MACT - and resin boat building.)

Of increasing concern for 2005 is the lack of water depth along the ICW and in many of our state's inlets. This impacts marinas, boatyards, boat builders and waterfront communities along our 3,000 miles of tidal shoreline. With over 14,000 transient boaters moving north and south through the state, and dozens of high-profile fishing tournaments bringing in millions of dollars in direct and tourism spending, the lack of dredging is likely to be a growing component of the worry list.

Mike Bradley
Program director
SBTDC Marine Trades Services

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