As told to Christine Rodenbaugh
What can you share about your background?
I was born and raised in New Jersey and have had the good fortune to live in many diverse locales — Arizona, North Carolina and Georgia to name a few — in pursuit of my career goals.
How did you choose to call Fernandina Beach home?
My wife, Nancy, and I had been looking for a weekend beach getaway place when we lived in Atlanta. We had looked at almost every area from Little River, South Carolina, to the Louisiana bayous and always seemed to come back to Fernandina Beach.
Tell us about your role at Swisher International.
My team is responsible for managing and directing the Global Supply Chain. We move tobacco from all over the world, managing ocean freight, land freight, global purchasing and logistics.
What inspires you to “give back”?
There are so many tragedies in today’s world it isn’t hard to be inspired to help someone. Our hearts have been struck by the most recent devastation of the Abacos and Grand Bahama Island from Hurricane Dorian, especially having visited there often and fished with several friends in the islands. We have contributed to the relief fund and can only wish all Bahamians the best.
Does visiting the Dominican Republic change your world view?
In my view travel is the best educator – prodding the traveler, whether on business of for pleasure, to understand more of the outside world and therefore more of oneself. Mostly due to work, I have visited the Dominican Republic more than 150 times and have fallen in love with the country, people and culture. All of this contributes to my personal growth as well as the growth of those I come into contact with.
Who is the Fish Dancer and how did you meet?
‘THE’ FishDancer is the alter-ego for my wife, Nancy. We have been married 33 years and together for 35. We met at Revlon where I was in management and Nan was the company nurse. I used to escort healthy employees to her for treatment just so I could speak to her – today this would probably create a scandal.
Why are you so passionate about kingfish tournaments?
Nan and I have been fishing king mackerel tournaments since 1996. For me, it is a process thing — preparing the equipment, fine tuning the boat and then trying to figure out the weather and fish. It’s a constant challenge. Add the camaraderie and the competition and you have something of an addictive activity. I never calculate our performance against the size fish we have caught. I am always asking if we were properly prepared, were we in the right place and did we fish well. Otherwise, this sport could drive you crazy.
What is your most memorable catch?
Probably the most important fish we have scaled is nowhere near our biggest, nor did it win us a tournament. In 2002 we scaled a 25.16-pound king mackerel caught at the Nassau slough. That fish qualified us for the Southern Kingfish Association National Championship tournament for the first time and allowed us to begin competing along the SKA Pro Tour the next year. That qualifying fish has led directly to tournament wins, sponsorships, friends we have made and experiences we have had from Cape Hatteras, North Carolina to Port Fourchon, Louisiana, and almost everywhere in between.
What’s the last thing you crossed of your bucket list?
Nan and I visited Paris for the first time and fell in love with the city. Le vin du moment along the Champs de Elysee was unforgettable.
What do you enjoy most about living in Fernandina Beach?
Fernandina Beach remains a small beach town, encompassing all that goes with it. After summer is over, you can walk the beach for several miles and perhaps run into one or two others – something that is difficult to do anywhere else these days. We have many good restaurants, but they are all local – no real chains on the island. And we have made many friends in Fernandina Beach. All of this adds up to a great little seaside town.