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Board Members


Michael Karcher
Luxury Law Group

Michael R. Karcher is a member of the Luxury Law Group, practicing in the area of admiralty law, and concentrating in maritime litigation, yacht, commercial vessel and insurance issues.  His undergraduate degree was from the University of Miami majoring in marine affairs and economics and is a graduate of the University of Miami School of Law.  He is a member of the Florida Bar, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, the U. S. District Court for the Northern, Middle and the Southern Districts of Florida.  He has been designated as a Proctor in Admiralty by the Maritime Law Association of the United States.  He is a member of the Southeastern Admiralty Law Institute, and is the past President, and Program Chairman of the Marine Council of Greater Miami and is the acting Chairman of the Miami Maritime Arbitration Council.  He has been the General Counsel for the United States Super Yacht Association.  He has served as a Special Assistant Attorney General for the Florida Department of Natural Resources.  He is currently an adjunct professor at the University of Miami, School of Law teaching Admiralty Law, and Marine Ecology and the Law.

Vice Chair:
Frank Sioli
Sioli Alexander Pino

Frank Sioli has been practicing in the Admiralty/Maritime, Insurance, and Commercial Transactions-Litigation fields for over 20 years. Mr. Sioli has also earned the distinction of being Board Certified in Admiralty & Maritime Law. Throughout his career, he has successfully mentored scores of attorneys, and is thrilled to be practicing with the best. Mr. Sioli honed his legal skills at a young age, debating coverage and other insurance related issues at the dinner table with his insurance broker father. As fate would have it, Mr. Sioli later found himself smack in the middle of such issues as his experience and practice areas expanded. While in law school, Mr. Sioli participated in jury trials as an intern for the Miami-Dade County Public Defender's Office, and taught "Street Law" to high school students, helping students learn about the legal system and ultimately participate in a county-wide trial competition. Because litigation is basically about educating the Judge or Jury on various subjects, Mr. Sioli believes in keeping his teaching skills sharp, having presented topics at various national and local seminars as well as on an in-house basis. Mr. Sioli is also one of the few lawyers in Florida who has tried cases to verdict in the Criminal, State Workers' Compensation, Longshore Workers' Compensation, and Civil Litigation venues. This versatility allows him to employ successful litigation strategies from one litigation forum to another.
Mr. Sioli received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Pittsburgh in 1991, and his Juris Doctor from Nova Southeastern University in 1994. He is admitted to practice in the State of Florida, United States Supreme Court, United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and the United States District Courts for the Southern and Middle Districts of Florida.

John Thomas
Thomas Marine Systems

John Thomas Jr. is president and owner of Thomas Marine Systems, Inc., an industry leader in the design, installation, and service of marine air conditioning, refrigeration, and watermaking systems. His father, an early pioneer of marine air conditioning, founded the company on the shores of the Miami River in 1967. John Jr. took the reins in 1989. A South Florida native and U.S. Navy veteran, he has also served on the board of the Marine Industries Association of South Florida and is a member of the American Boat and Yacht Council, the U.S. Superyacht Association, and the Propeller Club of Miami.

Past Chair:
Ed Swakon
EAS Engineering

Ed Swakon did his undergraduate studies at Purdue University where he received his BS in Engineering in 1975. He received his MS in OceanEngineering in 1977 from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marineand Atmospheric Science (RSMAS). He has been a Florida Registered Professional Engineer since 1981.
Upon graduation from the Rosenstiel School, he took a position with DadeCounty Department of Environmental Resources Management (DERM). During his last two years with DERM, Ed was the Chief of the Water Management Division and responsible for all coastal and freshwater wetland permitting programs, Dade County's canal systems, local and federal flood criteria programs, Dade County Artificial Reef program and the efforts to restore and enhance the water quality and biological quality of Biscayne Bay.

In June of 1987 he established EAS Engineering, Inc.  EAS Engineering, Inc. an environmental engineering firm located in South Florida specializing in Wetland Permitting (Marine and Freshwater), GIS (Geographic Information Systems), and Image Processing. We also provide helicopter aerial photography services.

Mike Black
Cassidy and Black

MICHAEL C. BLACK is an attorney with his own law firm, Michael C. Black, P.A., in Miami where he specializes in all aspects of maritime and transportation law.  Mr. Black graduated from Vanderbilt University in 1990; and received his law degree from the University of Miami in 1995.  In addition to serving on the Board of Directors with The Marine Council, Mr. Black is a member of The Florida Bar, the Dade County Bar Association, the Maritime Law Association, the American Association for Justice, and the Southeastern Admiralty Law Institute.  Mr. Black is board certified in Admiralty & Maritime Law by the Florida Bar. 

Phil Everingham
Marine Advisory Group

Joe Kolisch
Kolisch Marine Insurance

With over 30 years of experience as a Yacht Insurance Broker in Miami, Joe has become one of the most recognized Marine Insurance professionals in the industry. He started his career in 1979 with the family business founded by his father. After merging with USI Insurance Services in Coral Gables, he then spent 12 years with USI as Vice President of Marine Insurance Products. Joe wanted to give his yacht insurance clients the personal touch and attention that a large corporation is unable to provide, so in 2010 he founded Kolisch Marine Insurance, headquartered in Coral Gables. As word spread among yacht and boat owners alike, Kolisch Marine Insurance grew quickly and soon a branch office in Ft. Lauderdale was opened.

David Smyth

David Smyth took his passion for boating from personal to professional in the early 1990’s when he obtained his 100 Ton USCG Captains license. Due to his work history onboard large vessels, he was able to bypass the traditional 50-ton License and qualify for the 100-ton master license.

In 2009, David was offered a position in a “new marina” that was being built on the Miami River. The developer happened to be very close friends with a past employer and was very eager for him to take on the marina. This was a huge learning experience as he had been a yacht captain for the past 10 years.

In 2014 the ownership structure changed, and the remaining partner wanted him to keep running the marina. David decided to create a marina management company and named it Yachtsmyth. Headed into his seventh year, they have since opened another marina of which they manage and work with City of Miami with a mega yacht dock they have. He has been fortunate enough to consult on several new marinas as well as consult on the purchase of several marinas. It is an honor to be asked to consult on projects and he look forward to working with more marinas and surrounding communities.

Jerry McGinley
Admiral Oil

Jerry McGinley is owner of Admiral Oil Fuel Delivery.  They lead high-quality fuel delivery services throughout Miami-Dade County and Broward County. They carry and deliver gasoline, ultra-low sulfur diesel, and lubricants. Admiral Oil Fuel Delivery supplies all applications for your refueling needs. They specialize in fuel delivery for marine vessels, construction sites, generators, and equipment. They perform deliveries on a 24-48 hour basis with emergency same-day service available upon request. Call Admiral Oil Fuel Delivery at 305-371-3835 to schedule fuel delivery today!