Updated 12 months ago
Andy Corty, Publisher
New Year’s Day is typically the time when we assess our lives, looking back on accomplishments of the past year and setting goals for the coming 365 days.
You can read my resolution in the last sentence of this column. But let me start by proudly presenting Florida Trend’s first “Floridian of the Year” issue, recognizing Floridians who have had a major impact on the state in 2009.
With nominations from many of our loyal readers, Trend’s editors looked
at people as indelible icons of this year past.
As you will see starting on page 73, 2009’s top designee is an educator — Eduardo Padrón, president of Miami Dade College. We recognize not only his personal achievements, not only his college’s incredible growth, but also the important role that education is playing in Florida’s future.
The Floridian of the Year section includes other notable achievers over the past year, representing fields such as medicine, tourism, sports, government, philanthropy, the military — even crime! Symbols were fair game as well, including a foreclosed home.
Any selection like this is bound to stir alternate suggestions, all of which we welcome. Please understand, however, we didn’t set out to develop any kind of lifetime achievement award; while we considered the candidates’ work over time, for Floridian of the Year we put the focus squarely on activity in 2009.
Trend has always covered Florida’s localities; near the front of the magazine each month we print one of our most popular features, Around the State. This regional roundup provides a quick way for executives to keep informed of what’s happening statewide.
So it was logical for Trend to expand that service last year with more in-depth views on some of Florida’s communities. In 2009, Trend won appreciation for its “portraits” on Tampa/Hillsborough; Miami-Dade; Fort Lauderdale/Broward; Jacksonville; Orlando/Orange County; and the Pensacola/Fort Walton/Destin/Panama City region.
Editor Mark Howard oversees these community portraits himself. He explains that the portraits are personality profiles of communities that use data to paint the picture, highlighting a community’s “flavor” and what makes it different from others. We look at who lives in the community, how it functions economically and the quality of life, seeking to capture everything from demographic trends and buying habits to distinctive architecture, neighborhood information, infrastructure issues and economic drivers.
“The profile of Jacksonville accurately captured not only who we are but also where we’re going,” says Ron Barton, executive director of that city’s EDC. “Trend certainly helped us get the word out about our great area.”
Based on positive feedback like that, we’re building more community portraits in 2010 and kick off with a look at our own home base, St. Petersburg/Clearwater.
In coming months, we will draw portraits of Volusia County & Daytona in February; the Miami international scene in March; Palm Beach County in May; Ocala in July; Tallahassee in October; and Naples/Fort Myers/Cape Coral in November.
If you have an idea for a community we need to cover in this feature, please let Mark or me know.
And now for my 2010 resolution: I resolve to work out in the gym past the first three weeks of January, my pathetic record from 2009.
— Andy Corty