Wednesday's Afternoon Update
What you need to know about Florida today.
Poll shows Romney leading Obama in FloridaMitt Romney has crept to a 6-percentage-point lead over President Barack Obama in Florida, where a new poll shows a majority of registered voters don't think the incumbent deserves a second term. Romney's 47 percent to 41 percent lead over Obama would grow even bigger — to an 8 percentage-point advantage — if the challenger chose Sen. Marco Rubio a running mate, according to Quinnipiac University's new survey. Read more from the Times/Herald and the Orlando Sentinel.
Meet Bill Koch.
The gallery at the Society of the Four Arts in Palm Beach earlier this year overflowed with a fortune in art and artifacts of the American West — antique firearms, photographs, paintings, a Wells Fargo stagecoach — enough for several museums. One item, the only verified photo of Billy the Kid, cost Koch more than $2 million at auction.
The owner of all is Bill Koch (pronounced coke). Though only a sixth as wealthy as his prominent conservative political donor brothers Charles and David, the Florida Koch isn't short on pocket change. No. 81 on the Forbes 400 with $4 billion, Koch heads West Palm Beach-based industrial products and commodities company Oxbow Carbon, No. 9 on Florida Trend's private companies list.
Closing the deal; it’s not always easy
Michelle Wolfe of Halo Branded Solutions has good business relationships and can easily set up a meeting with South Florida hotel executives or attorneys to talk about her 300,000 promotional products. But when it comes time to closing the deal, she often finds herself stuck in an awkward moment.
“Sometimes I get to a certain point and I hesitate,” Wolfe says. “It’s hard to drive the sale home.”
Today, about 85 percent of the interactions between people and prospects end without the person ever asking for the sale. [Source: Miami Herald]
Florida had 70 mass layoffs in April, down from 98 a year ago
Despite signs of economic recovery, pink slips are still happening for large groups of employees.
Florida had 70 "mass layoff" actions in April, compared to 98 for the same month in 2011, according to data released Tuesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
More than 4,900 employees lost their jobs in the state as a result of the layoffs, compared to 7,600 a year ago.
[Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
University of Miami medical school shakes up leadership
The top ranks of the University of Miami’s medical school continue to be shaken up as part of the massive restructuring that includes laying off of up to 800 full-time employees. The latest change: Steven Lipshultz, the longtime chair of pediatrics, one of the largest departments in the school, “will be stepping down from his leadership roles,” Dean Pascal Goldschmidt announced in a memo to staff. Four other top leaders have also lost their posts. [Source: Miami Herald]
Florida outperforms as hurricane forecast improves
With the Atlantic hurricane season days away, bonds of Florida’s largest real-estate insurer are rallying the most in nine months as forecasters assess a below- average chance the state will be hit by a major storm.
Buyers are demanding the smallest yield penalty since August on tax-exempt debt from state-owned Citizens Property Insurance Corp. No hurricane has made landfall in Florida since 2005.
[Source: Bloomberg News]
Travelers this Memorial Day and summer season are determined to take their trips -- but resolved to stick to a budget. Surveys show more people plan to travel this summer than last, despite higher average airfare prices and the threat earlier in the year of skyrocketing gas prices. Destinations and hotels are doing their part to sweeten the deal for out-of-towners and staycationers alike.