Article by Patty Lindsay, Go Riverwalk
, October 2008
Today, Bob Roscioli, owner and president of Roscioli Yachting Center in Fort Lauderdale, is a successful businessman. The full-service, 14-acre fully enclosed facility recently underwent an expansion and extensive renovations to better accommodate their clients. To reach this level of success, Roscioli started off as many successful businessmen doat the very bottom of the totem pole.
Robert Jr., Heather, Sharon, and Bob Roscioli. Photo by Jason Leidy
In 1956, as a young kid, Roscioli arrived in Fort Lauderdale with his family to what was at the time a very small sleepy town. He attended Stranahan High and dabbled in the boating business helping his uncles at Bahia Mar on weekends, delivering blocks of ice to the boats and pumping gas at the fuel dock.
In this era, there were no mega-yachts or super-yachts but rather the classic Trumpys, Burgers, and Chris Crafts. These boats were not made out of aluminum and steel as they are today, but rather wood, which meant hours of labor to keep them in tip-top shape. Roscioli had the keen foresight to realize that sanding, painting and varnishing these yachts was undoubtedly a good way to make a living. His first job was sanding at Rolly Marine in Fort Lauderdale. It took time, and no one really wanted to teach him the ropes, but after a few attempts he knew it was for him and he decided, "I wanted to be a yacht refinisher." He was a natural at it and, with much hard work and perseverance, became the best at hand painting in the business.
Eventually paint spraying was introduced, which he also mastered, and he soon became the best and most skilled in the business. Roscioli flew all over the world to spray paint these wooden yachts for the rich and famous. No one at the time was capable of his technique, and he was constantly sought after. Eventually he became the whole package (varnish, painting, hardware) and always with attention to detail. He smiled wholeheartedly when he said, "I had an 18-year relationship with the Burger Boat Company," which is truly quite an accomplishment. But there came a turning point in his life when he knew he wanted more, and specifically he wanted to own his own yard and be his own boss.
In 1981, the dream came true, and Roscioli leased a shipyard in Fort Lauderdale sitting on four acres of land. A year and a half later he was able to purchase this property and named it Roscioli Yachting Center. Roscioli has built a reputation as a predominant designer and builder of some of the world's finest sport fishing boats - Donzi by Roscioli. His latest addition, the 80-foot line, is the culmination of his dream and desire to stay focused on the ultimate goal. "Having surveyed just about every type of sport fisherman on the market I have come to see that dollar for dollar Roscioli Donzi is truly in a class of its own," he said.
Approximately 12 years ago Roscioli's passion was to expand the yachting center. When he began his efforts to purchase five acres adjacent to his current property the dream struggled to survive as the land was deemed by Broward County to be wetlands. He was not to be deterred, but he also wanted to protect the wetlands. Eventually Roscioli was able to complete the deal by keeping approximately four acres for his project and donating one and one-half acres to the county for environmental concerns. His vision of the Roscioli Yachting Center was soon to be a reality.
This expansion included a new corporate headquarters in addition to new, state-of-the-art, executive work places that allow clientele to conduct their business around the globe while their yachting project is underway. Other amenities include captain's lounge, commissary, fitness room, laundry facilities, restrooms and showers. Plus, a full-service conference center will be on site. Retail space with a reception area will also be available to marine related business. The center will even have a chef on the premises.
The new yard also adds approximately 100,000 square feet of fabrication, refit and painting facilities, with accommodation for yachts up to 155 feet as well as an additional 100,000 square feet of dry dock space. In total, more than 100 yachts can be housed at a safe haven. Complementing the existing 220-ton travel lift is a new 165-ton travel trailer, the first of its kind in the United States. The new yachting center also complies with the Slate of Florida Clean Marine Program.
"We are very excited about the prospects of what this facility will mean to Fort Lauderdale's yachting community," Roscioli said. "Let's face it, today's yachts are getting bigger, and more complex facilities to accommodate these vessels are becoming increasingly scarce. International clientele are making our city a frequent destination stop on their voyages around the world. Our new yard will fill the requirements of our expanding client base and fit nicely into the landscape of South Florida's growing mega-yacht industry."
Today, the entire family works together at the yard. Sharon Roscioli works side-by-side with her husband as well as their children, Heather and Robert Jr. They have an extended family of 100-plus employees. The tradition continues and the legacy prevails.
When clients walk into the reception area of Roscioli there is a framed weathered poster hanging on the wall for all to see. It's of Vince Lombardi (who was many years ago the coach of the Green Bay Packers), and it states "Never Give Up," and that's exactly what Roscioli has stood by over the years. For more information, call (954) 581-9200 or visit www.RYCshipyard.com