Updated 3 yearss ago
Andy Corty, Publisher
Florida is the fourth-largest exporting state, trailing only Texas, California and New York. Economists say that foreign markets will outperform the U.S. in coming decades. Fortunately, we have a huge international presence here already, with the advantages of geography placing the Florida peninsula close to South America for north-south trade, and we are easily reachable from Europe and Asia for east-west trade. Our potential for further growth remains great.
So, it’s no surprise that several topics at the recent Enterprise Florida board meeting in Coral Gables centered on internationalism. We heard an in-depth review of the U.S. Southern Command and its multiple roles in Latin America. We heard a briefing from Bill Johnson at the Port of Miami on the need to rapidly expand Florida’s ports in terms of water depth, loading capacity and land transit routes in advance of the Panama Canal widening, which will be complete in 2014. And we heard about EFI’s summer trade mission to Bogota and Cartagena, Colombia, and about its exhibition at the Farnborough International Airshow outside of London.
Manny Mencia, EFI’s charismatic senior vice president for international trade, explains that exports of Florida goods as well as direct investment by foreign companies build jobs here at home. “Both of these sectors have tremendous unrealized potential,” he says, and “exporting companies grow faster, pay higher wages and turn more profit than those who don’t.”
This is where funding comes into play. Until two years ago, Florida had a representative office in Brazil, where connections are made that lead to long-term deals. But the office closed due to belt tightening. One of Enterprise Florida’s goals for 2011 is to restore that office, which is appropriate since Brazil is Florida’s No. 1 trading partner. Expansion in Shanghai, China, and restoration of an office in Tokyo are also high on the list of priorities, with the Middle East and India as potential targets.
I’m not against belt-tightening. In fact, as I know from the publishing industry and others know in banking or real estate, we’ve all needed to trim expenses over the past year. But we can’t cut our way to prosperity. Someone — whether that’s the state government or a generous private donor — needs to pony up the funds so Florida can have the appropriate outreach to international markets.
Each year, Florida Trend provides a list of topics that we’ll cover during the upcoming year. Subscribers want to know what’s in store and why they should keep the magazine coming to their desks. Advertisers and their agencies wish to plan messages that coordinate with relevant editorial coverage. You will find our “planning calendar” for 2011 at FloridaTrend.com/planningcalendar.
We start the year with our second annual “Floridian of the Year,” then put a focus on Florida’s small businesses in February and follow with a special piece on advocacy in March as the legislative session gets under way.
In April, we produce the popular annual Economic Yearbook with facts and statistics from each of Florida’s 67 counties. We’ll cover healthcare twice next year — in May with a focus on insurance and in September with a focus on hospitals. In June we present a compendium of Florida’s largest companies.
Something new for July will be a focus on higher education, certainly a topic of interest to business leaders. In August, we again look at the Florida companies that employees say are the best. Next October — as in this edition — we take a deep dive into the finance industry, then we’ll go global in November and finish 2011 with the Golden Spoon restaurant awards.
Throughout the year, you will see half a dozen community portraits similar to the one on Tallahassee in this issue. These portraits have proven immensely popular as they paint a regional picture not only in words, but also in statistics and photographs. In 2011, we’ll highlight Sarasota County; Gainesville; the St. Johns County/Ponte Vedra/St. Augustine area; Lakeland/Polk County; Coral Gables; and the Brevard Space Coast. Also, we’ll have a special advertising section to commemorate Fort Lauderdale’s 100th anniversary.
New Year’s Resolution Update: The summer ended in cruel fashion. I lost no pounds for the month. Zip. Nada. Zilch. And I went to the gym a pathetic four times. I can’t really blame anyone except myself. Well, I’ll blame the Versailles Restaurant on S.W. 8th Street in Miami. Cuban sandwiches are delicious. Couldn’t skip the black beans and rice. What’s a meal without dulce de leche ice cream?
— Andy Corty