Thursday, April 25, 2019

A Familiar Face in a New Place


Alex Galiana, the new business manager for Walker Marine Group. Photo by Don Manley

Alex Galiana, the new business manager for Walker Marine Group. Photo by Don Manley

Fun is once again an essential part of the professional life of Alex Galiana, the former administrative and facilities manager of Marco Island’s Parks and Recreation Department.

Since last November, the long-time Marco resident has been business manager for Walker Marine Group, which sells new and used boats, and parts, as well as offering repairs, boat rentals and tours and fully stocked ship stores and three marinas. The company has seven locations; two of them on Marco, and one each in Goodland, Naples, Cape Coral, Fort Myers and on Fort Myers Beach.

“My responsibilities are basically taking the customer from the point where they decide to buy a boat to the point of delivery,” he said. “I become their point-person during that process. In some cases, it might be only a couple weeks, if we have a boat in stock and all we have to do is get it ready and deliver it. In other cases, it may take a couple of months if we have to order a boat.”

That process sees Galiana doing everything from arranging financing, to working with salespeople and ultimately, the service department, which delivers the boat. He’s also responsible for registering each craft for warranty purposes and ensuring they have a State of Florida title.

The position is an ideal match with skills he’s honed over the years, said Galiana, who happens to be an avid boater.

“What excited me about the job was is that it falls into the wheelhouse of the different things I’ve done during my life,” he said. “There’s a strong organizational component, but I get to deal in customer service, which I’ve done. There’s some salesmanship involved, especially when it comes to financing, and financing is another component.”

As Galiana puts it, he’s worn many hats during his work career.

“My friends, especially my old friends from Chicago laugh about it because this is about the fourth different time that I’ve reinvented myself or started a new career,” he said.

Aside from his position with the city, Galiana’s resume includes stints as a realtor on Marco, serving as vice-president for retail and business banking for Marco Community Bank and 15 years as a commodity broker on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, where he handled institutional accounts.

During his more than six years with the Parks and Recreation Department, he prepared budgets, oversaw operations, ensured compliance with policies, goals, and recreation facility procedures, and oversaw some of the activities at Veterans Community Park, including managing the farmers market.

In addition, Galiana was the project manager for construction of the city’s new Community Center. He resigned his post with Parks and Recreation last April.

He was selling real estate for Downing- Frye Realty’s Marco office, when he decided to apply for an open position at Walker Marine. That led to a surprise phone call from the company’s owner, Jim Walker, whom he’s known for about 17 years, about a different job, the one he now holds.

“He called me up and said, ‘Hey, I’ve known you for a long time. I’m familiar with your experience. I’ve got something that may interest you. Why don’t you come in?’” Galiana adds, “And that’s how we put it all together.”

It was 2001, when he and his wife Lori, a Golden Apple-nominated teacher at Marco Island Academy, and their two young sons, A.J. and Max, moved to the island from the Chicago area. They are natives of Miami and Inverness, respectively.

After the move, Galiana started the Marco Island Charter Middle School’s baseball program and coached it for seven years.

The couple’s sons grew up on Marco Island and are now entrenched in careers. A.J. Galiana lives in Orlando, where he’s an IT recruiter, while his brother Max works for Oracle’s cloud-based support group in Denver.

“Both Lori and I are very fortunate because they are two fine young men.”

For more information on Walker Marine Group, its locations and services, visit walkersmarine.com.

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