How FGI’s Chairman and Founder made waves in the world of yachting
Frank Grzeszczak Sr.’s backstory is one of tenacity, commitment and passion – resulting in the fulfillment of the American Dream. Born and raised in North Carolina, and one of 13 siblings, a love for the water was fortified in days spent water skiing on the lakes of North Carolina and, later, learning to scuba dive. Grzeszczak Sr. attended the private Elon University in North Carolina and spent summer breaks working down in Florida. His first summer job during college was in construction, until he was injured on the job, which resulted in Grzeszczak Sr. spending 40 days in the hospital and missing a semester at school. After recovering, his next job took him into the world of boating, working on board an Andy Mortensen fishing boat.
An entrepreneur from a young age, when Grzeszczak Sr. returned to University he opened up a successful nightclub in Elon. But the call of the sea eventually brought him back down to Florida, where he started his first job in the yachting industry, working for Bowman Yachts. “My very first week, I sold a boat,” he says. It was the first in what would become a long record of success in selling yachts.
He soon became interested in the new construction aspect of yachting, and future roles would expand his knowledge from sales to new builds and beyond. Early in his career, Grzeszczak Sr. worked with the likes of well-known yacht builders such as Burger, Hatteras and Westship. “At the time, I sold more new Westships than anyone in the world,” he says.
Grzeszczak Sr. went on to work for the Italian Yacht Collection, now know as IYC, where he served as the exclusive representative for Cantieri di Pisa yachts. He next worked for Palmer Johnson in the new construction arm of the business, then later went to join the brokerage firm Camper & Nicholsons. This blend of working in yacht brokerage sales and for yacht builders has served Grzeszczak Sr. well, giving him immense expertise in yacht sales, new builds and the brokerage market.
In 2008, he returned to work with IYC, where he remained until 2020, when he went out on his own to open the FGI Yacht Group. Over the years at IYC, he was named top yacht broker at least seven times and had always ranked in the top three brokers in the company. Grzeszczak Sr. was also named one of the top brokers in the world by Yachts International magazine.
A turning point for Grzeszczak Sr. was getting involved with Admiral – The Italian Sea Group, exclusively representing their yachts for sale in the Americas (including North, Central and South America). “One of their newest yachts, Life Saga, completely blew me away,” he says. Life Saga shows off a new, incredibly high standard for this Italian builder, which is also renown for its impressive yard. “The yard itself is second to none in terms of cleanliness, the modern crew facility, and the office, which is like an art museum – they have also proven to be extremely stable as a business,” says Grzeszczak Sr.