March 28, 2015

Up Front: Publisher's Column

Florida's Great Northwest

Andrew P. Corty | 5/28/2014

Most of us probably don’t get the opportunity to visit northwest Florida as often as we should. It’s a beautiful and historic part of the state, with white sand beaches and wide swaths of timberland and farms.

The 12 counties of Florida’s Great Northwest comprise 10,661 square miles, or 16% of the state’s total area. With a population of just over 1 million — 5% of the state’s total — the pace is far more gentle than in cities like Miami or Orlando and the density much less than the balance of Florida.

Palm Beach County

For tourism and economic growth, the northwest frequently looks north to Georgia and Alabama and beyond. After all, the rest of Florida has its own beautiful beaches and attractions. We should become familiar with this important region of our state, where agriculture, the military, marine life, health care, tourism and innovation now reign. So please take a serious look at the special Northwest Florida section.

Education is the key to the future. It leads to better jobs and higher incomes. Graduate-level research leads to business innovation. When considering location, companies turn to regions with a trained workforce.

This edition of Florida Trend examines the world of colleges and graduate schools. Though there is consensus on the general benefits of strong education, there are obviously many different approaches.

Eckerd College, like many private liberal arts schools, believes an intense campus experience and wide exposure to the world abroad guarantee a thoughtful life with many paths to success. On the other hand, the University of Florida is developing an entirely online university experience that is more approachable and attainable by many.

Then there’s Florida Poly, the newest state university, which is well on its way to be up and running, moving at a pace faster than many thought possible. Leaders already tout the close connection between the university and technology-driven businesses. In fact, school leaders have established partnerships with dozens of businesses that collectively need thousands of trained employees.

On the research front, there is tremendous forward momentum, not just in biologic sciences or medicine but also in group dynamics, nutrition, lasers and hydrogen fuel. All of these elements of higher ed are necessary to guarantee that tomorrow’s leaders have the skills to keep moving us forward.

Earlier this year, Florida Trend launched a digital edition available on iPad and other devices. I’m happy to report that the digital version is off to a fast start. Already 348 subscribers receive the magazine digitally, many in addition to their print copy. That number will grow month by month. remains strong with 81,000 unique visitors each month. And our free Daily Pulse e-newsletter about Florida business enjoys 42,000 opt-in subscribers. To join them, scroll to the top of this page and enter your email address on the top right corner.

Even as Florida Trend continues to move forward digitally, however, I can’t foresee the time we’ll stop printing on paper.

Fitness update: Betty and I celebrated our anniversary at a wonderful boutique hotel in Naples, and beach-walking balanced the sumptuous “free” breakfast. At home, the running continues sporadically.

— Andy Corty

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