April 26, 2015

Up Front - The Publisher's Column

Luring business to Florida

Andrew P. Corty | 1/31/2014

As a member of the board of Enterprise Florida, the public-private partnership charged with job development in the state, I have witnessed firsthand the tremendous energy and talent that Gov. Rick Scott has brought to the effort.

No area of government is more important to the governor than job creation. Three years ago, he stole a consummate professional in Gray Swoope from Mississippi, naming Swoope president of Enterprise Florida and jointly as Secretary of Commerce.

The two, along with a cadre of teammates, have been tireless in touting Florida. I have personally witnessed them energize a moribund system. They have traveled the nation and the world extolling the benefits of locating businesses in Florida.

Some critics do not understand that business is competition. Any company relocating to Florida — or one staying here instead of moving — makes its decision based on what’s best for its own business, not to be nice to the governor.

These companies have cornerstone requirements. They are interested in tax rates. An available workforce. Transportation. Education. Utility costs. Incentives. And lifestyle. Each company considers a grid of factors unique to that organization. To win that competition, Florida must have more “A” grades on the grid than any other state.

Attracting business is also about sales and marketing, but many critics do not understand this key element. To even be considered, Florida has to be in the game. Not only do we need advantages to tout, we must travel widely and advertise those advantages. We must establish personal relationships with site selectors and corporate bigwigs. Shyness doesn’t help.

Some critics do not understand the lag time in economic development. Sure, Hertz made a big announcement last May about moving its headquarters to Fort Myers. But it started investigating locations a year earlier. Then it had to purchase the land. Recently, it broke ground for its building. The whole process could take three years from start to finish. And that’s fast.

Some critics do not understand the role of perception in economic development. To be simplistic, everyone understands that Florida is “tourist friendly” with beaches, resorts, sports, shopping, museums, great food and warm weather.

But is Florida “business friendly?” What does that even mean? It means that Florida has a welcoming policy that helps business locate, grow and prosper. It means we have top officials who want to help business succeed.

Does Florida bat 1,000%? Not a chance. Every “at bat” doesn’t result in a corporate relocation. Every new company doesn’t grow just the way it planned. That’s simply the reality of the free enterprise system, where ambitious executives try . . . and sometimes fail.

So I would simply ask the critics to step back and understand that Florida is in the hunt for new business as never before. It won’t be a straight line. Some people in other states may be a tad upset. But Floridians will end up with more job prospects thanks to this strong effort.

In keeping with the times, Florida Trend now offers the full magazine in digital format. Current print subscribers can access the digital version — for iPad, Android devices or desktops — for an extra $10 per year. Or at no additional cost, you can switch from print to digital. Or readers can buy a digital-only version at the introductory rate of $15 per year. FloridaTrend.com/digital

Fitness update: Back to the agonizing weight-loss plan — no French fries, no bread, no desserts for 60 days. We’ll see.


— Andy Corty

To download the digital version of this column...

Purchase and download this issue of Florida Trend. Or for an even better deal — opt for a one year SUBSCRIPTION in the format you prefer. When you pay now, you'll receive a complimentary copy of this issue in digital format, PLUS a FREE gift!

Check your preferred option:

This issue of Florida Trend in DIGITAL (available immediately): $4.95  
This issue of Florida Trend in PRINT: $4.95 plus $3 postage and handling
One year DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTION $14.98* plus a FREE gift!
One year PRINT SUBSCRIPTION $14.98* plus a FREE gift!
One year ALL ACCESS SUBSCRIPTION: (combo Print + Digital) $24.95* Best Deal!
* offer valid for new subscribers only

If you are already a subscriber and would like to add access to our Digital Edition to your subscription, click here or call our office at 727-892-2643.

If you already subscribe to Florida Trend's digital edition, you should have received an email with the link to your issue. You can also simply click here for access.

Tags: Publisher's column

Digital Access

Add digital to your current subscription, purchase a single digital issue, or start a new subscription to Florida Trend.

An overview of the features and articles in this month's issue of Florida Trend.


Florida Business News

Florida Trend Video Pick

Chipola Feather Fest Preview
Chipola Feather Fest Preview

Between April 24-26 the Great Florida Birding & Wildlife Trail festival will take place in the Chipola area of the Florida Panhandle. See what the birders are looking for.

Earlier Videos | Viewpoints@FloridaTrend

Ballot Box

About the Everglades, we should...

  • Increase efforts toward restoration, esp. in light of rising sea level
  • Status quo - keep trying to fix it, as we have been
  • Get realistic. We will never restore it with millions living in South Florida.

See Results

Ballot Box