VP of Aviation, Jacksonville Port Authority
Extracurricular: Clark is past-chairman of the Jacksonville Urban League; current chairman, Jacksonville and the Beaches Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Travel irritant: Delays.
Travel tip: "The only time I check my luggage is if I'm going out of the country."
Family: Wife, Hester; son, Jonathan, 14; and daughter, Rebekah, 11. Jonathan started pilot training at age 9.
As a kid, John Clark spent weekends at the San Francisco airport watching his uncle work and dreamed of one day working at an airport himself. He got his dream -- four times over. As vice president of aviation for the Jacksonville Port Authority, he manages Jacksonville International and the area's three general aviation fields -- Craig, Herlong and Cecil.
In September, the City Council was expected to vote on whether the airports should be split from the port authority and given their own governing board. Clark, 39, is presumed to be the front-runner for the top executive's job.
The change would be but the latest in the region's air service picture since 1995, when Clark arrived from Detroit City Airport. Clark added to Jacksonville airport concessions, which lowered the cost-per-passenger to airlines. He added a customer service department and is at work on a $200 million terminal expansion at Jacksonville International.
"John has a sense of -- I don't know how you can get around the word -- vision," says authority chairman and former Jacksonville Mayor Ed Austin. "He wants to create the best airport system in the world."
Airport-hopping is typical in an aviation management career, and Clark is no exception. He has managed at airports in Fresno and Sacramento in California, in addition to Detroit and Jacksonville. Clark wants to run one of the nation's major airports one day but says he has no immediate plans to move on. "I'm not finished here," he says.
Executive Director, Port Manatee
Education: Bachelor's, industrial psychology, 1975, Florida International University. MBA, 1983, University of South Florida.
Place of birth: South Carolina. His family moved to the Bradenton area when he was 12.
Milestones: McDonald is celebrating his 25th wedding anniversary and his 25th year at the port. He recently watched his oldest daughter get married.
Name: David McDonald, 47, executive director, Port Manatee in Bradenton since 1992.
The Port: The state's fifth-largest in cargo tonnage, sixth in revenues and fifth in passenger traffic.
Primary markets: The Western Caribbean, Mexico and South America.
Growth: The port is on track for its fifth record year of tonnage and revenues.
McDonald's other job: Chairman, Florida Ports Council, the industry group for the 14 deep-water ports in the state.
Under way: A $130-million expansion of cold storage space, warehouse space, offices, a container yard, cruise line terminal and three new berths. The three new berths will be Port Manatee's first in 27 years. Linear dockage will increase by 50%.
Trade honor: McDonald was one of the first five port managers to receive the Professional Port Manager accreditation from the American Association of Port Authorities.
Expectation: He hopes to be announcing additional cruise business for the port within six months.
Why he visited the Cuban Interests Section in Washington: "Pick-and-shovel work" preparing for the day Cuba is opened. Cargo follows relationships, and McDonald wants the cargo. "It's just a matter of time," he says.
Career start: A $3.15 per hour dock worker at Port Manatee. He couldn't find anything else in the 1975 recession. "I had to take something," he says.
RailRoads: Seeking Efficiencies
VP, General Manager, CSX Florida Unit
Nice thing about Florida after Pittsburgh: The water. Sanborn fishes, dives and boats.
Home: Harbor Island, Tampa.
Education: Bachelor's, 1987, computer science and economics, Emory University. MBA, 1992,
University of Miami.
Songwriters would have you think there's romance in working on the railroad -- Casey Jones climbing into the engineer's cabin or the City of New Orleans and its disappearing railroad blues. "It gets in your blood," acknowledges Cindy Sanborn, a second-generation railroad executive. But romantic? That's the wrong adjective for someone as focused on operating efficiencies as Sanborn.
As vice president and general manager of CSX's Florida business unit for the last year, the Tampa-based executive runs the railroad's 1,150 miles of track and 584 employees south of Tampa and Auburndale.
It's heavy-duty transport. Fertilizer and phosphate mined from central Florida's Bone Valley is a $318-million-a-year business. The unit also handles Bradenton-based Tropicana's daily "Juice Train" to New York and carries rock for concrete from Miami-Dade north -- along with other commodities.
Sanborn, 35, knows the railroad. Her mother, Marie, was a CSX secretary and administrative assistant for 32 years. Her late father, Richard, was president of CSX predecessor Seaboard Systems and later headed Conrail. Sanborn herself is a certified locomotive engineer. She joined CSX out of Emory in 1987 as an assistant trainmaster in Rocky Mount, N.C., and moved up in management in Jacksonville and Pittsburgh, where she helped with the integration of the parts of Conrail that CSX acquired in 1999. She's one of the few Florida executives experienced in working with a union labor force in a closed shop.
As Florida unit manager, she has her first oversight experience of CSX's "commercial" side -- the selling of train services to freight customers. She came up on CSX's "operations" side -- making the trains go, where "you see efficiencies. You go after efficiencies."
Railroads: Moving On
Executive VP, General Counsel, Florida East Coast Industries
Education: Bachelor's, summa cum laude, English studies and political science, 1978, Boston College. Law degree, with honors, 1981, University of Connecticut.
Best spot tourists overlook in St. Augustine: The Giggling Gator Pub.
Family: Husband, Charlie, a Bank of America personal banker; sons, Brett, 9, and Scott, 10; and daughter, Katie, 12.
The Rhode Island governor was very kind. So were the others at the meeting where Heidi Eddins' hair was falling out. She had been receiving chemotherapy for breast cancer but had continued, as general counsel for the Providence & Worcester railroad in New England, to manage a campaign for Rhode Island voter approval for a $72-million bond issue to upgrade the rail line. When it passed in 1996, it was "a real high. I spent four years of my life getting that done."
These days, after three operations, Eddins' cancer is in remission. The 44-year-old is managing new efforts as executive vice president and general counsel for Florida East Coast Industries: to increase FEC's corporate participation in local communities, negotiate a deal to put Amtrak trains on FEC lines, cut insurance costs and boost business, particularly to south Florida ports, where FEC has the exclusive rail rights.
Some tasks are easier than others. FEC, for example, never participated in St. Augustine's Nights of Lights despite its downtown location. Now, its headquarters building is lit up for the holiday festival. Eddins has cut FEC's insurance costs by $750,000 a year. Other challenges -- a conflict with West Palm Beach, which wants FEC to move its rail yard -- are tougher. Short-term, there's the spinoff of FEC from St. Joe Co. to complete.
Eddins says she left Providence & Worcester last year for FEC because FEC is a much bigger company where she can expand her horizons into telecom, real estate and trucking -- the three other FEC units. Not that P&W was a narrow job, especially while managing the cancer. Even if she could have taken the time off while ill, she wonders if it would have been wise. Without the job to occupy her, "you tend to wallow in it instead of sucking it up and moving on."
Auto Rentals: Creative Skill
Strategic Marketing VP, ANC Rental Corp.
Early honor: Florida Atlantic
University's Accounting Student of the Year, 1981-82.
Family: Husband, Paul Corban, with GL Homes of Florida; son, Matthew, 9; and daughter, Andie, 3.
Favorite vehicle ever rented: Chevrolet Suburban
For a strategic marketing veep, Maria Menendez has a heck of an accounting background. A native of south Florida, Menendez joined KPMG in 1983 straight out of the Florida Atlantic University accounting program. She spent 91¼2 years on audits before joining client Alamo Rent-A-Car in Fort Lauderdale as financial adviser to Chairman Michael Egan. She was Alamo's treasurer in 1996, when Egan sold the company to what's now AutoNation, headed by Fort Lauderdale billionaire H. Wayne Huizenga. She has a picture in her office of Huizenga, Egan and a supporting cast -- including herself at seven months pregnant -- signing the deal documents. "We started signing at 11 p.m. and were still signing at 2 a.m," she says.
When Menendez returned from childbirth, Egan and Alamo President Karen Beard suggested she try marketing. "I've been a bean counter," Menendez protested. A bean counter with creative skill, as it turns out. Menendez "literally in a few weeks got done what others had struggled with literally for years," Beard says.
Menendez heads a 65-person group charged with the strategic marketing of Alamo and National. AutoNation bought National in 1997 and spun it and Alamo off this year as ANC Rental Corp. The 38-year-old's key projects have included relaunching the brand websites and finding a way to understand and market to the company's customer base. The websites have gotten positive attention from tracking services while industry consultants see the effort to tap the database as innovative.
Whatever latent creative ability she's discovered, Menendez has a numbers-person test for everything: Will it increase revenues, cut costs or improve the customer experience? "I say it to myself every day," Menendez says. She's not itching to get back to counting beans. "This is much more of a kick," she says.
Trucking: Startup Lessons
A difference between Cablevision and PNV: "I don't have my Knicks and Rangers tickets anymore."
A fun ski area: Switzerland's Zermatt, "except for the attitudes."
Quote: "I've never been in a situation where technology tipped over the business equation. It's how you develop and use that technology and how you make that technology relevant."
Family: Wife, Marilyn; sons, Ryan, Charlie, Jonathon, Bobbie and Jeffrey.
Bob May has great stories from his days with a startup called Federal Express: siphoning gas from cars for delivery trucks during the 1970s oil crisis; renting a truck and driving through the night to carry an important shipment from Massachusetts to New York. The lesson of a startup that changes an industry, May says, is that "it is a little bumpy."
May's survival skills will come in handy as chief executive of Coral Springs-based PNV. It sells Internet, cable television and telephone access to truckers. Founded by broadcast and wireless executive Ian Williams, who now is company chairman, PNV at first wanted to provide only cable television to truckers on breaks. Now, it aims to bring just-in-time communication to an industry where drivers and their paperwork are on the road for weeks. The PNV website, PNV.com, is a portal for truckers and their companies. It also has a job board (openings are going begging in the industry) and offers a chance to win a fully loaded truck.
May, a 51-year-old Brookline, Mass., native, was hired in March 1999 to fill the role of experienced executive to run the company, says Prudential Securities analyst Tim Getz. May spent 20 years with Federal Express and 16 months as chief operating officer at Cablevision in New York. He was retired when venture capitalists approached him about the CEO job at PNV. May saw a chance to make a fundamental change in how the trucking industry operates and also "make a hell of a lot of money." His base pay is $275,000. He also has a truckload of options that will be worthless unless PNV's stock rises.
Getz projects PNV won't break even until the end of 2002. The company will need to raise money before then. So far, PNV has run through $109 million in losses since inception. It trades at less than $2 a share after going public last year at $18 a share. Watch for bumps.