Up Front - The Publisher's Column
Adam Putnam, Florida’s agriculture commissioner, has a wide portfolio that includes not just agriculture and consumer services, but also takes in school lunches and the state’s Office of Energy — to say nothing of his role as a member of the Florida Cabinet.
To those of us in the business community, energy is vitally important. As Putnam says, companies require not only fair prices for the energy they use, but also long-term stability and an assurance that their needs can be filled without major bumps decade after decade.
Putnam attracted 500 participants to his second annual energy summit in Orlando late this summer. Here are my takeaways:
» Diversity is good. Just as we diversify our personal stock holdings to prevent nasty surprises, Florida needs to use coal, natural gas, oil, nuclear and renewables such as solar or biomass. And for each of these fuels, we need multiple sources and multiple entry points so one kink doesn’t bring us to our knees.
» Right now, natural gas is the least expensive source. But times change. We can’t forgo long-term plays like nuclear based on recent bad publicity.
» Energy consumption across the United States has reached a plateau, and demand won’t increase for years. Why? Because of conservation. The low-hanging fruit is increased efficiency in our cars and equipment. Just install a new A/C unit at home as I did recently, and you’ll notice an immediate difference. The same for all aspects of your business.
» Research will lead the way on renewable energy sources and higher efficiencies. Developments under way at Florida’s leading research universities are truly impressive. Some of their work is incremental, but it all adds up.
» Finally, we need to realize the global implications of energy. Our supplies and prices are inextricably tied to worldwide demand. For specifics, turn to the report “Outlook for Energy: 2040” on ExxonMobil’s website. You’ll see the impact of surging growth in China and India, and you will understand that capital will flow to Asia and other developing continents.
This month Florida Trend highlights the state’s finance sector. We’ve tried something new by printing two different covers. Subscribers in southeast Florida will be greeted by Mario Trueba, president of Sabadell United Bank, while readers in the rest of the state will see Brian Philpot and Rob Harper, two Lakeland financiers. I invite your thoughts.
There’s also a special business portrait about downtown Miami. Just a few years ago, we heard about an “overhang” of 20,000 unsold condominiums in Miami and the potential drag on southeast Florida’s economy. Well, that’s old news. Not only are they all sold, but cranes once again dot the Miami skyline.
As a frequent traveler, I can attest to Miami’s verve and international flair. Read the ezine.
I was shocked to learn that we will be voting on 11 constitutional amendments on Election Day in early November. Take a moment to educate yourself on these important ballots. If you don’t have our September issue handy, please turn to FloridaTrend.com/Amendments for an explanation of each one.
Fitness update: Despite four long walks, four gym sessions and one 5k run, I’m just holding even with no further weight loss. To Clayton Hollis and my friends at Publix, please remove Nutella from your shelves. This devilishly tasty, chocolate-hazelnut topping is not helping.
— Andy Corty