Up Front - The Publisher's Column
Tallahassee clout; Floridian of the Year; Turkey Trot
Tallahassee has developed into a burgeoning city anchored by home-grown businesses with international reach.
My role as publisher here at Florida Trend takes me to the capital city half a dozen times each year. I visit with friends in Florida agencies for tourism, workforce development , the lottery, corporate growth and many others .
But there is so much more to Tallahassee — from major educational institutions (our son studies at FSU) to technology to associations to media. Tallahassee today has all sorts of fine dining, from the Governors Club and Cypress Restaurant to Shula’s and the Edison in the fantastic Cascades Park.
One thing I particularly like about Tallahassee is the change of seasons, which is quite different from much of the rest of Florida. There are plenty of outdoor activities, everything from tennis to golf to hunting to simply walking. The trees are always a treasure.
I find the people intelligent, engaged, exceedingly friendly and dedicated to their city and their county. They are proud of the progress they have seen and directed.
Be sure to read our special section on Tallahassee here (on page 72 in the magazine).
Frank DiBello is our Floridian of the Year. As president and CEO of Space Florida, this 70-plus-yearold gentleman has rebuilt Florida’s commercial space infrastructure since the dismantling of the shuttle program.
I’ve known Frank since he accepted the position in 2009 after a superb career as a consultant at KPMG and a stint with a local EDC.
In a bit more than half a dozen years, DiBello has lowered Florida’s dependence on big federal programs and instead has brought a host of private companies to the Melbourne area, including some focused on exploration.
The ace up his sleeve has been Space Florida’s ability to finance the growth of many of these commercial entities. He has been instrumental (along with many others) in expansions at Embraer, Northrop Grumman, Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, Lockheed Martin and numerous others.
This combination of a state agency, a thoughtful board, private financing and state incentives is key to Florida’s success. And, of course, strong leadership! We are happy to honor Frank DiBello. (The full profile of Frank DiBello is here.)
Deceased Soldier: Every year since 2009, Florida Trend’s Floridian of the Year issue has included a list of active duty soldiers from Florida who died during the previous year. The numbers have fallen drastically since a high of 35 in 2011. However, one Floridian did die while serving her country in 2016 — 1st Lt. Anais A. Tobar, of Miami. Tobar, 25, died July 18, 2016, in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. Tobar was in the Middle East as a part of the U.S.-led operation against ISIS. Tobar, who went to high school in Osceola County, joined the Air Force after graduating from Florida State University.
The deadline for Best Companies is fast approaching. Please register at bestcompaniesfl.com by Jan. 27.
Fitness Update: I finished the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving in 29:10. That’s a personal best and 25 seconds faster than last year’s run. The good training (two runs per week) and some needed dieting really helped. Victory! Happy New Year.
— Andy Corty