September 1, 2014

Up Front - The Publisher's Column

A reflection of Florida

Andrew P. Corty | 10/25/2011

Andy Corty
Andy Corty, Publisher

The October issue of Florida Trend is an example of why Trend is a must-read for state leaders — the diversity of topics reflects Florida's own diversity.

» We portray one of the most interesting communities in Florida — Coral Gables. Southeast Florida resident Rochelle Broder-Singer does an excellent job spotlighting this lively locale, a paradise for residents and a haven of fine hotels, restaurants and shops for visitors. It is also a thriving business center, especially for companies that focus on intellectual capital.

Coral Gables' historic preservation mandate has created a distinctive look and feel. This ambience, along with the city's convenience as a gateway to the Americas, has attracted the "Americas" headquarters of Bacardi and another 150 international nameplates, to say nothing of consulates and professional firms on both sides of Miracle Mile.

With all the money rolling around Coral Gables, it seems probable that the city will be able to work out a lease that will keep the financially struggling iconic Biltmore Hotel open as a key landmark that brings pride and recognition to the people and corporations residing there.

» We switch from an in-depth look at one city to explore the entire state in senior writer Cynthia Barnett's piece comparing Texas and Florida. Our governor, Rick Scott, frequently cites Texas' job-generating prowess and has a friendly rivalry with Texas Gov. Rick Perry to see which state can be friendliest to business.

Cynthia explores the mechanics behind the Texas jobs machine. Is it the state's laws and regulations that are most responsible? Is it a central location that allows manufacturing efficiencies? Is it the growth of government funding for federal, state and local jobs? Is it the Lone Star State's educational system, trained workforce or the availability of low-wage immigrants? Or is it simply a culture or attitude?

The Texas-Florida connection is a great topic of conversation in the presidential race, especially now that Perry's Stetson is in the ring. Florida — a swing state carrying 29 electoral votes, more than 10% of the votes needed to elect the next president — will be at the epicenter of the race.

Leading up to the vote are two huge events in Florida. First, a Republican presidential debate scheduled for downtown Tampa in late February, co-sponsored by the St. Petersburg Times and the National Journal and carried nationally on NBC. And second, the Republican National Convention itself during the last week of August 2012, also in downtown Tampa.

» South Florida editor Mike Vogel examines the banking sector. Mike explores the new shape of Florida banking in a portrait of this important industry. The article foresees continued consolidation as the big banks get even bigger and stronger. You might be interested to know that the four biggest banks alone have combined assets of $200 billion in Florida, with another half-dozen charging forward and aggressively adding branches.

Mike's reporting points to a rough patch for smaller community banks, many of which are still hobbled by real estate loans from last decade, but then sees light at the end of the tunnel as the economy improves and the healthiest banks are left standing.

Thanks for reading Florida Trend. And thanks to each of you for contributing to Florida's diversity.


Fitness update (sort of): Betty and I now are empty-nesters, enjoying our college-age sons from afar and hoping they visit often. In the meantime, there is the opportunity for more visits to the gym. I said "opportunity."

— Andy Corty
Publisher
[acorty@floridatrend.com]

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