Congratulations to all of this year’s finalists!
The winners will be announced at the Ninth Annual Go Blue Awards Luncheon,
being held at PGA National Resort & Spa on Friday, October 27, 2016.
Blue Business of the Year Finalists:
The Blue Business of the Year Award recognizes a business or nonprofit that has made outstanding contributions toward promoting and encouraging conservation, restoration, or preservation of marine life and/or marine ecosystems through their business practices, products or technology.
For the past 50 years, people who’ve needed to keep things cold – whether they’re on the water, on the road, or even off road – have turned to ENGEL, the pioneer in portable refrigeration and cooling. With ENGEL’s strong connection to the outdoors, the Jupiter-based company has become involved in promoting and supporting many various marine conservation efforts. As ENGEL has enjoyed great success and growth over the years, they have embraced philanthropic efforts as primary goals. ENGEL is an exemplary representative of a prevailing corporate culture that seeks to contribute to the future enjoyment of our marine ecosystems through their involvement with pro staff, tournaments, NGOs, and associated marine industry companies; which is why they should be nominated for the Blue Business of the Year Award.
ENGEL is an official member and sponsor of many organizations, including a State Sponsor of Coastal Conservation Association for Florida, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Texas, California, Oregon and Washington, as well as the American Sportfishing Association. ENGEL is a proud donor for the Congressional Sportsman’s Foundation and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, in support of their Lionfish Removal incentive programs and events. In addition, ENGEL is currently finalizing a corporate sponsorship of an Everglades restoration group, BullSugar.org, and an active supporter of the Now or Neverglades Declaration. ENGEL sponsors a plethora of events to benefit conservation efforts, most notably the Miami Sportfish Tournament. ENGEL’s pro staff is largely comprised of strong advocates for marine conservation, many of which have championed a litany of topics such as circle hook adoption, gill net ban, sport fish designations, and education on the proper handling of marine life (such as effective catch-and-release fishing). ENGEL’s well-known brand ambassadors, including Jack Hanna, George Poveromo, Mike Anderson, Robert Arrington and many others, are leading purveyors of conservation-minded practice and resource management.
Most notably, ENGEL has partnered with country music star Kenny Chesney to facilitate awareness and funding for coral reef tract health through No Shoes Reefs. By generating funding through the sale of “No Shoes” branded merchandise from ENGEL, No Shoes Reefs donates and supports appropriate groups to further support marine conservation efforts. The Andrew “Red” Harris Foundation, an organization committed to the building of artificial reefs, recently deployed 100 of their unique four-ton “Coral Head” artificial reef modules, 34 of their four-ton “Fish House” modules, and 1000 tons of boulders offshore of the Jupiter Inlet in South Florida through the support of ENGEL Coolers, Kenny Chesney, and No Shoes Reefs. This is the largest artificial reef deployment to date, and is part of the continuing quest to create new reefs and spawning habitats that are a fundamental piece of marine ecosystems. ENGEL continues to support the Andrew “Red” Harris Foundation, as well as many others, through monetary donations and lending additional energy and support for public relations efforts to drive awareness.
Behind each of ENGEL’s various involvements are the people of ENGEL Coolers. Founded in 1962 by an ecology/marine biology graduate, Paul Kabalin, the company culture is reflective of a cumulative desire to be proactive. In addition, ENGEL’s Vice President, Mike Dixon, and Vice President of Sales, Rob Bowie, are both dedicated to raising awareness and supporting initiatives for a healthier ecosystem. With an extensive history of active involvement in recreational fishing, Dixon is currently serving a tenure on the SEFCRI (South East Florida Coral Reef Initiative) board. Dixon recently traveled to our nation’s capital with other respected representatives of the marine industry to speak to senators and congressman about the importance of a healthy marine ecosystem, as well as clean water to support vibrant, sustainable fishery stocks and public enjoyment. Working closely with a nationwide network of Coastal Conservation Associations, Rob Bowie spends a significant amount of time with managers and directors to ensure timely activation of regional issues of importance when needed. The company’s passion for marine conservation only starts with Kabalin, Dixon, and Bowie. Each of ENGEL’s employees are invested and dedicated to marine conservation efforts across the United States, making ENGEL a deserving candidate for the Blue Business of the Year Award.
While many companies today are joining the worldwide effort to increase social and environmental responsibility in the business world, MG Surfline is taking it a step further and making these values the basis of their business. MG Surfline, which produces and sells swimwear and active-wear, states that they operate with a mission “to create high quality waterwear made in an environmentally conscious way, and use business to inspire the desire to contribute to conservation, incorporate sustainability in our way of life, and put into action solutions to our environmental problems.” Founders Alexandra Menk and Melissa Gil both have backgrounds that have fueled their passion for ocean conservation and given them the knowledge necessary to produce active-wear they believe is simultaneously ideal for the consumer and the planet. Menk is an avid participant in watersports, stating, “The Ocean is my playground, my passion, and it is our responsibility to protect it.” Gil is a surfer and professional kitesurfer as well as a marine biologist, and she acknowledges that “protecting the environment is not just my job, it is something that is incorporated in everything I do in my life…”
MG Surfline uses recycled materials to create clothing in a way that is mindful of the goal of reducing the amount of plastic debris in our world ocean. Their products are made using polyester from recycled plastic bottles (some collected via bins at local Palm Beach County businesses), and even their packaging is all recycled. Beyond this, MG Surfline also partners with other businesses and organizations for beach clean-ups as well as using their website, social media channels, and blog to spread awareness about the problems caused by plastic in our ocean and the solutions that we can all work into our daily lives.
MG Surfline is setting an example as a business that prioritizes the health of the environment – specifically the ocean – and the company is using its voice to fight for our blue planet every day.
The Scuba Club
For 45 years, The Scuba Club has proven to be a business that promotes and encourages conservation through its business practices, preservation activities and examples in the community. They were so honored to be a finalist in the 2016 Go Blue Business of the Year Award. Below are the reasons The Scuba Club should be the Blue Business of the Year for 2017!
• As the longest running dive operation in Palm Beach County, they scuba certify hundreds of people each year. In each class, students learn about the beauty and importance of marine life and how to safely and respectfully interact with it. After 45 years, the message of conservation has made a major impact on our community.
• The Scuba Club has been opposed to spear-fishing since it opened in 1972, and continues to stand by the belief that we should not kill the ocean’s natural ecosystem. Spearfishing is only allowed for lionfish, which is an invasive species.
• The Scuba Club’s educated staff are good examples to fellow divers of how to respectfully interact with marine animals and reef systems. They clearly and gently correct divers who are not respectful of the ocean habitat.
• The Scuba Club is active supporters of Lionfish Derbies, which act to deplete the invasive lionfish species on our reefs. They hold their own derbies and reward divers who help to solve the problem. This year, The Scuba Club partnered with LMC to represent their staff in the 2017 Palm Beach County Lionfish Derby and Festival!
• It was such an honor to help LMC release a cute hatchling into the ocean this year and hope to be a part of releases for years to come.
• The Scuba Club encourages their staff, members and customers to clean up the reef as they dive. Many divers bring up trash from the bottom, helping to save the lives of turtles, fish and other marine species.
• JD Duff, co-owner of The Scuba Club, had a film that was shown at the prestigious San Diego Film Festival about the importance of preserving the Goliath Grouper population and keeping the moratorium on groupers. His film was shown alongside films from other famous videographers like Howard Hall.
• The Scuba Club believes that conservation starts with the youth in Palm Beach County. For the past 11 years they have implemented Scuba Camps teaching kids to love and preserve the ocean’s beauty through Discover Scuba classes, Scuba Camps (where kids get certified) and ocean dives.
• Not only is Scuba Camp available for kids to get certified, The Scuba Club offers Scuba Camp for certified divers too. This important yearly camp keeps the excitement of the ocean and its inhabitants in the minds and hearts of our youngest conservationists.
• For the last four years, The Scuba Club has held Scuba Camps during lobster mini-season instead of running trips for those hoping to catch them. They do not support mini-season and believe that the regular season should be shortened on both ends by one month because so many pregnant females are captured.
• The Scuba Club has also reached the college population by teaching scuba certification classes to students at Palm Beach Atlantic University for 41 years! Through The Scuba Club, this important population is taught about the importance of preserving marine life ecosystems.
• Scuba diving isn’t for everyone, so The Scuba Club uses social media to bring the beauty of the ocean to the masses. The staff and members take pictures that are posted to Facebook, Instagram (which has a strong youth, high school and college following) and Twitter that promote conservation, restoration and preservation of our beautiful marine life and ecosystems.
Women of the Wild
We would like to nominate The Women of the Wild (WoW) for the Blue Business of the Year Award. The WoW is a diverse group of exceptional women who, through their relationships and networking, accomplish positive change by raising awareness and garnering support for critical conservation initiatives affecting our community, our region, and the world. Using an eclectic mix of social events, field trips, volunteering, and fundraisers, WoW promotes conservation across species and habitats. Starting with just a few women in 2014, the group has grown to over 500 women with an incredibly wide range of backgrounds and life experiences. Through commitment to a common purpose and belief that change comes about through the concerted efforts of many, WoW creates a template of empowerment that ensures mission success. They are the dedicated and driving force behind the success of programs and projects supported by Brevard Zoo.
During a visit to the zoo’s Sea Turtle Healing Center, WoW saw the effects of many threats to sea turtles living along Florida’s coast. The group took specific interest in how fibropapillomatosis, a disease associated with poor water quality, severely impacts green turtles in the nearby Indian River Lagoon. With a new found appreciation for sea turtles, WoW christened this past year as “The Year of the Turtle” and focused their efforts on these threatened species. During “The Year of the Turtle,” WoW continued to support Brevard Zoo’s Sea Turtle Healing Center and raised significant funds to support sea turtle health studies conducted by Inwater Research Group and Loggerhead Marinelife Center. These studies examine the connection between green turtle health and the severity of fibropapillomatosis. The goal is to find better ways to help treat turtles with the disease when they are brought to rehabilitation facilities. Without the support of WoW these critical studies would not have been possible. Together, the funding for these projects will result in at least three scientific publications.
The group has also reached out to other conservation organizations to increase their understanding of sea turtles and participated in lectures, events, and sea turtle walks with the University of Central Florida Marine Turtle Program, Friends of Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge, and the Sea Turtle Preservation Society. WoW has then taken their new found knowledge and worked to spread the message of sea turtle conservation. The diverse group of women has been able to carrying their message into areas of the community not normally reached. WoW has positively impacted sea turtle conservation through their direct support of rehabilitation facilities and local scientists. More importantly, they have become lifelong advocates for sea turtles and marine conservation within our community. Please do not hesitate to contact us for more information.