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Spotlight on CEOs

If you're looking for business intelligence, we've got it right here.

The results of our sixth Florida CEO Trends survey are in, and you can find out what the state's top executives are thinking in our special report. The annual survey represents the input of nearly 200 chief executives, reflecting their opinions on business issues in Florida and the national scene.

When I look at the results each year, I'm struck by the overwhelmingly positive outlook of the state's business leaders. Even with rising gas prices, destructive weather and other challenges, Florida's CEOs recognize the strength of our state's economy. That's the case once again, with 92% of CEOs expecting their organizations to meet or exceed expectations for 2005. That optimism is carrying over into next year, as 76% predict even stronger results for 2006.

You can expect results like those when you live and work in a state that consistently outperforms the rest of the country economically. But it's not simply a case of Floridian businesspeople being blinded by their surroundings.

Florida State University professor Lance deHaven-Smith, in his analysis of the past four years' survey results, points out that the CEOs' collective opinions tend to be more accurate than popular economic forecasts. Since these opinions come from the same people who steer the state's economy, it tells me that Florida CEO Trends draws on solid business intelligence that you can get only by going to the source: CEOs.

Along with this year's survey results, we invited reactions to the findings from 16 prominent business leaders. For an even more in-depth look at what Florida companies are expecting in 2006, we've included interviews with Chet Helck of Raymond James Financial; David Dunkel of Kforce; Bernie Machen, University of Florida president; Jim Smith of Smith and Ballard; and Jorge Perez of The Related Group.

Top executive compensation rankings, highest director pay and top stock price lists round out the package.

Florida CEO Trends is just another way we pay special attention to our readers, who are predominately executive-level decision makers. As THE Magazine of Florida Business, we rely on your input, and this is one way for us to put you and your opinions in the spotlight.

This month we also turn the spotlight on restaurants, with the 80-page 2006 Great Florida Restaurant Guide delivered to subscribers along with this issue. With reviews of the state's top 500 restaurants, the annual Golden Spoon winners, Golden Spoon Hall of Fame and Best Newcomers, you're sure to discover dozens of restaurants you'll want to try as you travel the state for business and pleasure.

Corporate travel and luxury residential real estate also share the spotlight in two special advertising sections. I encourage you to turn to the Florida Meetings and Conferences Planner for help planning your next corporate event at one of Florida's outstanding hotels, resorts or meeting facilities.

And if you're not already looking, after seeing the amenities available in the high-end properties featured in our first-ever Luxury Residential Real Estate special section, you might suddenly find yourself in the market.

Providing you with these four special reports this month is a great way to end the year, and we look forward to providing you with even more business intelligence you can use in 2006 and beyond.Lynda Keever can be reached by e-mail at LKeever@floridatrend.com.