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Trendsetters: Today and Beyond

Lalita Booth
Lalita Booth

Self-Made Success
Lalita Booth

» Lalita Booth’s resume says it all: By age 27, the UCF student went from being a homeless, single mom to a student at Seminole Community College, where she won a Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Scholarship and transferred to UCF. She dual-majored in finance and accounting. Reunited with her 8½-year-old son — who was living with his grandparents for seven months while Booth got on her feet — she’s been a congressional intern, has won a Truman scholarship and founded Lighthouse for Dreams, a program to teach teens to manage money. She also has worked to reform welfare-to-work restrictions that led her to turn down promotions so she wouldn’t lose benefits. She holds UCF’s Order of Pegasus, the university’s top student honor. She’s now married and hopes to attend Harvard’s public policy/MBA program after she graduates next year.


David Bankston
David Bankston
Online Neighborhoods
David Bankston

» Naples-based Neighborhood America’s patent-pending software was used by the Municipal Art Society of New York to gather thoughts from people about how to redevelop Ground Zero. It was used by the National Park Service in drawing on the public for ideas for the United 93 memorial in Pennsylvania and by TV networks to get audience feedback in the form of text messages, images and video on important issues. Chief technology officer David Bankston, 44, co-founded the 67-employee company in 1999 to change how companies and government communicate with the public. It hosts and operates software for clients over the internet that absorbs e-mails and comments, analyzes them and presents the results. It allows businesses to build online communities to learn from the “collective intelligence of customers.” Bankston was named a “modern-day technology leader” by U.S. Black Engineer and Information Technology Magazine.

Daniel Uhlfelder
Daniel Uhlfelder
Foot Soldier
Daniel Uhlfelder

» Daniel Uhlfelder, 36, of Grayton Beach in Walton County, finished his history undergrad degree at Stanford in just 2½ years. After getting his UF law degree in 1996, he’s gone on to be the first non-minority member of the NAACP’s Okaloosa County branch, where he chairs the legal redress committee. The NAACP also bestowed on him its Foot Soldier in the Sand Award for his civil rights work. Meanwhile, he’s the county GOP lawyer. While in school, he worked at the White House, U.S. Attorney General’s office, the U.S. Senate and U.S. House.


Dean Gabriel
Dean Gabriel
Genetics
Dean Gabriel

» Florida’s citrus growers, facing two devastating diseases, lethal citrus greening and debilitating citrus canker, will be cheering if researcher Dean Gabriel, a University of Florida professor with his own transgenic plant company, Integrated Plant Genetics, succeeds in creating plants immune to those diseases. “I should know by the end of the year whether it works or not,” Gabriel says.

Climate Change
Andrew Baker (left), Amy Clement and Ken Broad

Andrew Baker (left),           
 Amy Clement and Ken Broad
Andrew Baker (left), Amy Clement and Ken Broad [Photo: Daniel Portnoy]

» A climate change power couple? University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine Science professors and husband and wife Ken Broad and Amy Clement fit the bill. Broad, 41, a National Geographic Emerging Explorer, came out with a study in June on Floridians’ views on climate change. Clement, 37, an American Geophysical Union medal winner and paleoclimatologist, is advancing new theories on climate change. Also at Rosenstiel: Andrew Baker, 37, who has been named a 2008 Pew Fellow for Marine Conservation for his work on saving reefs from rising ocean temps. He’s in a campaign to discourage people from using coral for decorating and jewelry.


Cesar Conde
Cesar Conde
Univision
Cesar Conde

» Cesar Conde should have a lot of say in what the booming Latin audience sees and hears. Conde, 34, is executive vice president and chief strategy officer for Univision. One of 12 White House Fellows in 2002, Conde’s resume includes executive posts at Univision, vice president of business development for StarMedia Network, the first internet company aiming at the global Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking audience, Salomon Smith Barney investment banker, Harvard grad, Wharton MBA, team member at the Council on Foreign Relations and a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute. He’s a co-founder of Futuro, a non-profit that supplies role models and educational workshops to Hispanic high school students and was one of the 28 inaugural winners of the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility’s Young Hispanic Corporate Achievers program.

Governor’s Choice
Jack Davis

Florida Trend asked Gov. Charlie Crist to write about a Floridian who’ll change the state in the coming years.

Jack Davis
Jack Davis watches as Gov. Crist signs a law named after the 11-year-old.
» “In his speech ‘The Man in the Arena,’ President Teddy Roosevelt reminded us that the man who matters, or makes a difference, is the doer. He believed, as I do, that you have to take action to make a difference and get things done. Eleven-year-old Jack Davis from Miami also believes in taking action.

Jack saw food being thrown away at a restaurant and wondered why it wasn’t being given to people who need it most. Instead of sitting idly by, he took action by calling on state Rep. Ari Porth of Coral Springs. Along with Sen. Nan Rich, they put together a piece of common-sense legislation that makes it easier for restaurants wanting to donate excess food.

During the 2008 legislative session, I had the opportunity to meet Jack and the privilege of signing into law the Jack Davis Florida Restaurant Lending a Helping Hand Act. The result of Jack’s action is there will be less waste and more food available to feed hungry families and Floridians.

I applaud Jack Davis for taking action to help our fellow man. He had an idea and then worked to make something special happen in his community and throughout our state.”

— Gov. Charlie Crist (2007-present)


Stephen Sundarro
Stephen Sundarro

Ideas
Stephen Sundarro

» University of South Florida professor and India native Stephen Sundarro, 40, teaches rehabilitative engineering, making his undergrads develop products to help disabled people in Tampa Bay. His Rehab Ideas company, now at USF’s research park, has seven patented student ideas — a crutch that can fold up, an off-road wheelchair platform — for licensing globally.

Ben Diamond
Ben Diamond

Legal Elite
Ben Diamond

» Yale undergrad and University of Florida law grad Ben Diamond, 29, special counsel to state CFO Alex Sink, serves as her senior legal and policy adviser. He was editor-in-chief of the Florida Law Review at UF and is a two-time member of Florida Trend’s Legal Elite.



Drive
Jennifer Olson

Jennifer Olson
Jennifer Olson

» After 20 years as a state Department of Transportation employee, engineer Jennifer Olson, 41, this year became COO and deputy executive director of Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise, the DOT unit that aims to run like a private-sector business.

Governor’s Choice
Garrett Johnson

Florida Trend asked Gov. Jeb Bush to write about a Floridian who’ll change the state in the coming years.

Garrett Johnson
Garrett Johnson
» “As governor for eight years, I had the privilege of traveling our diverse state and meeting many impressive young adults — brave soldiers and dedicated first responders, excelling students and gifted athletes, aspiring entrepreneurs and emerging leaders. I was even more fortunate to serve alongside some of these remarkable individuals in government.

Garrett Johnson was one of these fine young Floridians. While in college at Florida State University, Garrett joined the staff of our legislative affairs office, where he worked on a broad range of public policy and constituent issues.

Garrett’s a humble young man; we learned of his impressive accomplishments through accolades from others — graduated magna cum laude in three years, earned Academic All-American honors and led the Seminole track and field team to its highest NCAA finish in 31 years. In 2006, Garrett was one of only 32 students in the country selected as a Rhodes Scholar. The 24-year-old Tampa native is now finishing his master’s degree at Oxford. He competed over the summer for a spot on the Olympic shot put team but fell just short.

More notable than Garrett’s academic and athletic achievements is his commitment to serving others. Since first assisting Florida’s Haiti Advisory Group with its mission to improve dire economic and environmental conditions in the impoverished Caribbean nation, Garrett has devoted considerable time and energy to humanitarian work in Haiti. He’s a natural leader, and his volunteer efforts — ranging from raising awareness on challenges faced by the people of the country to raising funds to help the city of Pignon purchase an ambulance — are improving the quality of life for many Haitians.

The last decade taught me a lot about leadership. Leaders are not afraid to challenge the status quo. They embrace, and even enjoy, change. They don’t ask, “Why?” They ask, “Why not?” Leaders communicate clearly and consistently about what they are doing and why it is important. Most importantly, they stick with something. Success is not automatic, and it often doesn’t come easily. It takes hard work, determination and tenacity.

Garrett already embodies these leadership qualities. His character and commitment to excellence lend him tremendous potential to succeed on whatever path he chooses. Looking 50 years over the horizon, I am confident Garrett will shape Florida’s future — and we will be a better state because of it.”

— Gov. Jeb Bush (1999-2007)

Dexter Costin
Dexter Costin
Invested
Dexter Costin

» Dexter Costin, 37, is on an interesting trajectory. After earning a bachelor’s at Florida A&M University in 1995 in mechanical engineering on a ROTC scholarship, he spent five years in the Marine Corps, leaving as a captain in 2000 and picking up an MBA at Webster along the way. He discovered a love of business and finance and wound up as a financial adviser for Merrill Lynch in Winter Park, where he’s active in civic groups, the Boys & Girls Club of Central Florida, and his church, Orlando Baptist.

He’s so active at Orlando Baptist, in fact, that he spent part of the summer ministering with other church members at the Hope Academy in Nairobi, Kenya, and then in August left Merrill to become administrator of the 300-student church school Orlando Christian Prep.

“I couldn’t have predicted it,” he says, but he adds

that he’s always loved helping kids.


Governor’s Choice
Eric Henderson

Florida Trend asked Gov. Kenneth “Buddy” MacKay Jr. to write about a Floridian who’ll change the state in the coming years.

Eric Henderson
Eric Henderson [Photo: Mark Wemple]

» “My selection is Eric Henderson, M.D., a 32-year-old resident in orthopedic surgery at the University of South Florida. Eric is a product of Florida’s universities. He was raised in Tallahassee, a child of a faculty member at FSU. After an undergraduate degree in English literature with high honors from the University of Florida, he graduated form USF’s College of Medicine in 2004.

While still in training in his surgical residency, Eric has already shown great potential as an inventor. USF has applied for patents on two of his innovations, and he already has several more at the conceptual phase.

I singled out Eric for the unusual range of his interests and talents. His inventiveness is augmented by his interest in literature, camping, travel, the environment and gourmet cooking.

Like Florida Trend, I believe that today’s young Floridians will be decisive factors in changing the state over the next 50 years. I also believe that our most effective way to support them is to strengthen our universities.”

— Gov. Buddy MacKay Jr. (Dec. 12, 1998-Jan. 5, 1999)

Paul Kenny
Paul Kenny [Photo: Randy Smith]
Addictions
Paul Kenny

» Scripps Florida associate professor Paul Kenny, 35, is doing work in Jupiter that could lift the burden of addiction — drugs, alcohol, cigarettes and even overeating. A biochemistry undergrad at Trinity College Dublin and a Ph.D. holder from King’s College in London, Kenny has several young investigator awards to his credit as he studies the neurobiological mechanisms behind addiction, depression and anxiety.


Ed Laudise
Ed Laudise
Foundation
Ed Laudise

» “I am not going to change the world. It’s these kids” who will, says Ed Laudise, 44, executive director of the Immokalee Foundation. Laudise took over leadership of the foundation, launched in 1991 by Parker Collier of the Collier family, three years ago. It’s gone from a $585,000 budget to $1.89 million, from one staffer to nine, from two programs to 10, and from helping 50 kids with scholarships to helping 700 with scholarships, a program to ensure success in college, mentoring and funding the local soccer team and Junior Achievement and emergency medical care.

Rick W. Finch
Rick W. Finch
Commitment
Rick W. Finch

» “I made a commitment to stay in my community and help it grow,” says Rick W. Finch, 38, senior vice president in charge of business development and sales for monitoring device maker ActiGraph in Pensacola, a 15-employee company looking for rapid expansion. Finch, a Mobile, Ala., native and FSU grad, was one of the original board members of Pensacola Young Professionals.



Global
Michael Diaz Jr.

» Michael Diaz Jr., 47, sees a growing nexus among China, the Middle East and Latin America.

Michael Diaz Jr.
Michael Diaz Jr.

As founding partner and managing partner of Miami-based Diaz Reus and Targ, a 44-attorney firm, he has offices in Shanghai and Dubai along with Frankfurt, Caracas, Bogotá and Monte Carlo. A former president of the Cuban American Bar Association, he’s a frequent speaker internationally on trade issues, money laundering, international arbitrations and complex commercial disputes. He expects to expand in the Far and Middle East to serve clients involved in buying and investing in Latin America.


Bugged
Huiyang Zhou

Huiyang Zhou
Huiyang Zhou [Photo: Gregg Matthews]

» If you’ve ever been frustrated by buggy software, pray that Huiyang Zhou’s research pans out. Zhou, 38, an assistant UCF professor, is working on a way to automate debugging — finding bugs, isolating them, proving they’re the reason for a program failure. He’s also working with researchers at AMD in Orlando on general purpose computing on graphics processors.


Daryl Parks
Daryl Parks
Founder
Daryl Parks

» Daryl Parks, 40, was the first Florida A&M University student elected to two consecutive terms as student government president and was his fraternity’s National College Brother of the Year. After getting his law degree at Florida State University in 1995, he co-founded and became managing partner of Parks & Crump in Tallahassee. Parks grew up poor in Polk County. His mother died at 43 after her insurance company wouldn’t pay for a liver transplant. He’s now a personal injury lawyer and a Gov. Crist appointee to the FAMU board of trustees.

C. J. Roberts
C. J. Roberts
Governor’s Choice
C. J. Roberts

Florida Trend asked Gov. Bob Martinez to write about a Floridian who’ll change the state in the coming years.

» “Tampa Bay History Center President/CEO C.J. Roberts is a leader to watch. He was chief administrative officer of the George C. Marshall Museum at age 27, CEO of the National D-Day Museum at 30, president/CEO of the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum at 31 and now president/CEO of the Tampa Bay History Center at 39. His demonstrated fund-raising ability, museum construction experience, staff and volunteer human resource skills and his ability to work with the museum board of directors, community members and public officials set him apart.

He was recognized by no other than the late Stephen E. Ambrose, award-winning author and historian, when he praised C.J. Roberts by saying, “The worldwide success of The National

D-Day Museum came about in large part because of him.” In 2000, he was named as one of the top 20 People to Watch by New Orleans Magazine, and in 2001, the Savannah Business Journal named him one of the 40 under 40 to watch. The one constant about C.J. Roberts is his leadership, no matter where and what the mission is.

C.J. Roberts’ leadership has been instrumental during the planning and construction of the Tampa Bay History Center that is scheduled to open in December.”

— Gov. Bob Martinez (1987-1991)


Bryan Clark
Bryan Clark

Silver Bullet
Bryan Clark

» Since moving to Pensacola from Ithaca, N.Y., in 2002, serial software company entrepreneur Bryan Clark, 45, has started and sold one company and continued to build a second, Silver Bullet Technology, into a leader in check scanner software for banks. “We’re kind of like a linchpin piece,” he says. His latest product remotely monitors scanners and other hardware. He has also founded a club for local entrepreneurs, the High Growth Business Club, and served on local civic group boards.

James Hosman
James Hosman
Hall of Famer
James Hosman

» James Hosman, 31, covers 18 northwest counties as a vice president for small-business lender Florida First Capital Finance, a statewide non-profit economic development company. A member of the Florida Small Business Development Center Network’s “Lenders Hall of Fame,” Hosman says his clients run the gamut from professionals to manufacturers. He also chairs the Pensacola Young Professionals, a group that’s grown to 300 members from the 11 at its founding three years ago.


Governor’s Choice
Michael E. Griffin

Florida Trend asked Gov. Wayne Mixson to write about a Floridian who’ll change the state in the coming years.

» Mike Griffin is a senior transportation manager for Vertical Integration Inc. in Tampa. Clients for the company include the state of Florida, the U.S. government and many other public and private entities.

As chairman of the University of South Florida Finance Corp., Mike oversees the bond financing of new development projects at USF. Currently, assets of the USF Financing Corp. are in excess of $250 million, with facilities ranging from residence halls to sophisticated medical research buildings and office space.

Mike has received rewards for his leadership and service, including commendations from the Tampa City Council and Hillsborough County Commission. He is in his ninth year on the Hillsborough County School Board Citizen Advisory Committee, where he served as chairman for the last two years. In July 2003, Jeb Bush appointed him to the Florida Department of Education’s Advisory Council on Educational Facilities.

Michael E.           
 Griffin
Michael E. Griffin
Mike also served as co-founder and first executive co-chair of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce’s Emerge Tampa program — a program for professionals ages 21-35 — and served as a member of the board of directors for the chamber. He was recognized by the Tampa Bay Business Journal as one of the “Top 30 Under 30” in 2004 and was named as one of the “25 to Watch in 2005” by the Tampa Tribune. Mike is in the Leadership Florida Class XXVI and serves on the executive committee of the Greater Chamber of Commerce board of directors, where he serves as the co-chairman of the public policy committee. He was recently named the University of South Florida National Alumni Association’s Young Alumnus of the Year for 2007.

A 28-year-old native of Tampa Bay, Mike earned his bachelor’s of science degree from the University of South Florida College of Business Administration in 2003, where he served two terms as student body president and was a charter member of the board of trustees.

I see Mike as one well-positioned to help find and create jobs for our young people in Florida, one of our greatest needs.”

— Gov. Wayne Mixson (Jan. 3, 1987-Jan. 6, 1987)

Wind Gauge
Forrest Masters

Forrest Masters
Forrest Masters

» UF civil and coastal engineering assistant professor Forrest Masters, 31, studies what happens to buildings in hurricanes. Through simulators and field instruments set up just before hurricanes make landfall, he studies wind loading and rain intrusion to lead to advances in design and construction to lower property damage and insurance costs.


Brian Dean
Brian Dean
Free Markets
Brian Dean

» A Wisconsin native with degrees in political science, Ibero-American studies and Portuguese, Brian Dean, 42, is well-positioned as executive director of Gateway Florida to affect trade and democratic development in the hemisphere. The mission of Gateway, the successor to Florida’s Free Trade of the Americas organization, is to “promote the Florida trade franchise writ large.” A former senior congressional staffer who speaks Spanish and Portuguese, Dean was a country director in Guatemala and Peru and then all of Latin America and the Caribbean for the democracy-promoting International Republican Institute, a John McCain-chaired organization supported by the federal government. There he built contacts throughout the hemisphere, pushed for the rule of law, free markets, democratic values and market-based approaches to alleviating poverty.

Governor’s Choice
Hayley Jade Fink

Florida Trend asked Gov. Bob Graham to write about a Floridian who’ll change the state in the coming years.

Hayley Jade Fink
Hayley Jade Fink

» “I made a mistake during my first meeting with Hayley Jade Fink. I asked her how she typically used her free time. She responded that at various times she had taught underprivileged students in Hong Kong; attended the Harvard Asia project in Hong Kong and Tokyo; and led and prepared materials for a conference on United States legislative procedure in Bangkok, Thailand. If that were not enough, closer to home, she had volunteered as a script writer for Harvard’s radio station and interned at a small-claims court, where she helped claimants and trained other volunteers. I was impressed and exhausted.

With that recitation, Hayley had satisfied one of the qualities of leadership: Curiosity. She had already established a pattern, to learn by doing in a global environment. Energy linked to focus and tenacity is another characteristic for leadership. Hayley has demonstrated this throughout her life. Born in St. Petersburg, she was a 2004 graduate of St. Petersburg High School’s International Baccalaureate program and a 2008 cum laude graduate of Harvard. Her focus has been on the interconnection of science and civics. Hayley’s degree in earth and planetary science was complemented with activities such as a summer internship on environmental policy, resource recovery and geology divisions in Athens and field classes in marine geology on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

I grew to know Hayley’s unique capabilities and temperament when she worked for me as a liaison, assisting in the preparation and promotion of a class in participatory citizenship I was leading at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government in 2005. Her work was outstanding, which convinced me that she had a bright future ahead.

Hayley is spending this summer after graduation as an intern in Judge Lorraine Kelly’s circuit court and after a year away from the classroom will commence her legal education at Yale in 2009. I anticipate she will bring her then 25 years of preparation for public and civic service back to Florida. All of her fellow Floridians will be the better for it.”

— Gov. Bob Graham (1979-1987)


Chris Hart IV
Chris Hart IV
Workforce
Chris Hart IV

» As a state representative, Chris Hart IV sponsored the legislation that created Workforce Florida and the Agency for Workforce Innovation. Now 40, he’s CEO of Workforce Florida, the public-private group that oversees Florida’s workforce system. Hart, a former senior vice president of external affairs and investor relations for Enterprise Florida, also is credited with spearheading the state’s centers of excellence program, in which educational institutions get state money to build on specialties important to the economy.

Anand Pallegar
Anand Pallegar
Online
Anand Pallegar

» Anand Pallegar wanted to go to med school. But while still in college he started a web-hosting business in his dorm room. Now, at 30, he heads a Sarasota interactive agency, atLarge, that builds online branding strategies for companies. Clients signing on for his firm’s use of innovative technologies include Chevrolet, Ford and J.D. Power. His employees get paid time off to volunteer, and the company donates branding and creative work to non-profits.



Governor’s Choice
Alex Sink

Florida Trend asked Gov. Reubin Askew to write about a Floridian who’ll change the state in the coming years.

Alex Sink
Alex Sink
» “Florida is a state of innovation, invention and determination. During difficult times, we rely on strong leadership to guide the way to a more promising future. Today, as we face rising costs, higher unemployment and a housing recession, we don’t need quick fixes or political slogans; we need bold leaders to address Florida’s most urgent problems.

In her role as Florida’s chief financial officer, Alex Sink embodies this leadership. Whether it is calling an end to sloppy government contracting or demanding more accountability over tax dollars, Sink has been a leading force in reforming Florida government. Sink loathes “politics as usual” and uses her sharp business sense to advocate the solutions Floridians really need. A former president of Florida’s largest bank, she has been an outspoken force for change and reform, problem solving and accountability. She is, without a doubt, one of the most able persons during my memory to ever serve state government, and she’ll help change Florida for years to come.

I am most impressed with her perspective on the long term. Sink stands up to those who only think about the short term and demands more responsible policies that serve the best interests of the people of Florida before anything else. If we are looking for a stronger Florida in which to work and raise our families, we need courageous leaders like Alex Sink to continue to navigate the way.”

— Gov. Reubin Askew (1971-1979)

Governor’s Choice
Joe O’Shea

Florida Trend asked Gov. Claude Kirk to write about a Floridian who’ll change the state in the coming years.

Joe O’Shea
Joe O’Shea
» Joe O’Shea, a native of Dunedin, is a graduate of Florida State University, where he double-majored in philosophy and social science and served as the FSU student body president. A Rhodes and Truman Scholar with a 4.0 GPA, Joe was named one of the top 10 male undergraduates in the country by USA Today.

Joe lost both of his parents during college but remained active with initiatives ranging from founding a free health clinic in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans that sees thousands of patients a year to building a technical school in Rwanda. He has been involved with the campaign to provide healthcare to Leon County’s working families and co-founded a group for international service-based student exchanges. He is working in Washington, D.C., to create the U.S. Public Service Academy, the first civilian counterpart to the military academies.

Joe will study toward a doctorate in social policy at the University of Oxford under the Rhodes Scholarship. His plans include a career in the public sector working on some of society’s most persistent social problems. His interests include family, politics, sports and the outdoors.”

— Gov. Claude Kirk (1967-1971)