For entrepreneur Craig Danzig, there were PET/CT scans before Porsches, medical films before Ferraris and medical billing before Bugattis.
Danzig is the owner of Blue Marlin Motors along with his partner, Janet Basey. In 2010, he changed careers as quickly as a Maserati can turn after selling a successful medical technology company.
Today, the couple’s newly opened 20,000-square-foot building in south Stuart (painted bright turquoise with a huge marlin out front) includes a classic and exotic car dealership, as well as a service center, real estate company, yacht broker, aviation sales, and insurance and appraisal companies.
They use their success in business to give back to the community, with causes that range from finding a cure for cancer to helping veterans.
“We like what we do, and we do it for a reason,” Danzig says. “You have to be giving because people need help, and really you’re here to help people through life.”
Growing up in Rochester, N.Y., Danzig began his career in the health science division of Eastman Kodak. First he made X-ray films in the factory. Soon he transferred to sales, which eventually brought him to Florida.
Technology was moving fast. He became an expert in film, then lasers for CT scans and MRI scanners. In the late 1980s, he and Basey opened their own company to distribute X-ray products to hospitals nationwide.
So when his brother, Richard, was fighting brain cancer, Danzig did research. MRI scanners could not determine if tumors were malignant or benign. But PET/CT scanners, which could use molecular imagery and injections of isotopes to more precisely diagnose cancerous tumors, were being tested in universities. Danzig and Basey knew they had to find a way to distribute the technology to hospitals and private practices.
When they sold their medical distribution company, they started Health Imaging, Inc., which focused on PET/CT scanners to be used by radiologists. They built the first cyclotron, which created the radioactive isotopes needed for injection, worked the system to establish a billing code for insurance companies, and provided training for physicians and technicians to learn the machine. They distributed the machines, and the first PET/CT scan was completed in 1999.
“We knew it would change the world and change people’s lives,” Danzig, 54, says. “It would save lives for sure in a big, big way. And it did.”
The company grew to delivering the time-sensitive isotopes via plane and truck every few hours throughout the nation and improving the technology with top scientists so PET/CT scans could also detect Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases in a faster, less expensive way. Today, there are more than 5,000 machines in the U.S. and 18,000 worldwide.
Soon after moving to Stuart, which they picked for its growth potential and top hospitals, Danzig and Basey accepted an offer to sell their company.
A year later, they opened Blue Marlin Motors, which connects with global customers in search of distinctive, investment vehicles via the Internet. The new facility offers a network of service and sales needs for a sophisticated clientele.
And they have shared their success with non-profits, just like they have for their entire careers.