A New Sheriff in Town
Andy Corty, Publisher
No one summed up the feeling of those involved in state government better than Hal Melton, vice chairman of Enterprise Florida and a senior partner with the Holland & Knight law firm. Speaking at the business development group's January board meeting in Tallahassee, he said, "There's a new sheriff in town," referring, of course, to Gov. Rick Scott.
That was immediately evident to all of us. Not only did the governor and his wife, Ann, host a couple hundred business executives at the Governor's Mansion one evening, but the next day he arrived at the Enterprise Florida meeting at 8:20 a.m., took the podium and chaired the meeting until its conclusion three hours later. No one could remember the titular "chair" actually "chairing" the meeting before, calling on people for presentations, taking questions and (gasp!) acting as a CEO. The room was filled like never before, as one observer noted, because "moths fly to the flame."
Those of us in the dark-suit crowd, of course, loved it when Scott declared "Florida is open for business" and he went on to make news by announcing the re-formation of a Department of Commerce to streamline economic development, speed business through red tape and offer enhanced incentives to prospective employers. Further, Scott said he had already started making phone calls to companies around the country to tout Florida's attributes and would take an activist role as the state's chief development officer.
"In my experience, two things change a person," Scott said, "getting an education and getting a job."
All this was good news for Frank Brogan, chancellor of the State University System, who himself is pushing to streamline our higher education system to avoid duplicated efforts and put those resources toward training scientists and engineers for a high-tech economy.
We'll watch to see how all this plays out in an era of limited resources.
Florida Trend's special legislative preview includes an exclusive interview with the new governor, a look at some of his priorities, an examination on redistricting Florida's congressional and legislative boundaries and a compendium of what Florida business groups want from the Legislature as its session gets under way.
Looking forward to April, Florida Trend will once again present the popular Economic Yearbook issue, analyzing statistics on a county-by-county basis. And in May, we take a hard look at innovations in the healthcare industry while also continuing the popular Community Portrait series with a spotlight on St. Johns County, Ponte Vedra and
St. Augustine. We'll also look at Florida's luxury resorts, spas and summer getaway destinations.
I'd also like to call your attention to our special on Fort Lauderdale's 100th anniversary, a huge section that opens with a glorious photo of the city's waterways and high rises on. Fort Lauderdale has a unified business community that wants you to know it's a pleasant place to live and a productive place to work.
Enough people have asked, so I'll admit that the 2010 weight-loss plan fizzled out in the fourth quarter. So for my dear wife, Betty, and also for myself, I'm re-signing onto the no bread, no French fries, no dessert plan effective March 1. Not one day sooner.
— Andy Corty