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September 25, 2018


Most Influential Emeritus

Reubin Askew
Tallahassee, 76
One of the most important Floridians ever, the former legislator, governor and U.S. trade representative now teaches public policy at the Askew School of Public Administration and Policy, renamed in his honor in 1994, at Florida State University. He also is a senior fellow at the Tallahassee-based Florida Institute of Government, a public institute that studies government issues.

Iain Calder
Boca Raton, 65
Calder served as president and editor of the National Enquirer for 20 years. For better or worse, the Enquirer changed American journalism; the Newseum, a news media museum in Arlington, Va., has named Calder as one of the most influential 500 journalists in American history. He now consults part time for a number of news organizations.

Alvah Chapman

Miami, 83
The former president of the Miami Herald and chairman of Knight-Ridder was a key player in a circle of business leaders that influenced Miami-Dade County's agenda for years.

Marshall Criser Jr.
Gainesville, 76
One of the most influential presidents of the University of Florida, Criser has continued to serve the state on a slew of task forces and boards, including as chairman of the oversight board for the Scripps Institute's venture into Florida.

Charlie Gray

Orlando, 72
Gray co-founded the Orlando law firm that bears his name. He has been an adviser to numerous politicians through the years and a major player in the region's civic affairs.

Fort Myers
Ben Hill Griffin Jr. and his son, Ben Hill Griffin III, established the citrus-business family as a politically dominant force through the 1990s. It's also been one of the most generous in the history of the state's public universities. The elder Griffin's name is on the stadium where the Florida Gators play football. Griffin III, 62, donated 760 acres for Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers; his name is on the central highway leading to the school and on its main academic hall.

Preston Haskell
Jacksonville, 66
Haskell and the firm he founded have been leading advocates of the design-build approach, both in Florida and nationally. Haskell, who has handed day-to-day management of the Haskell Co. to Steve Halverson, continues to be influential in both Jacksonville's political life and the state's.

William R. Hough
St. Petersburg, 77
A high-profile sponsor of the arts, Hough founded the successful municipal bond business that bore his name until RBC Dain Rauscher acquired it earlier this year.

Wayne Huizenga
Miami, 66
A true business heavyweight, billionaire Huizenga founded Blockbuster Entertainment and AutoNation. His active management role these days is confined mostly to the Miami Dolphins, which he owns.

Delores Kesler
Jacksonville, 64
The founder of Accustaff (now MPS Group), Kesler serves on a number of boards and is a sustaining member of the Florida Council of 100.

Fred Levin

Pensacola, 67
Levin is a controversial, outspoken trial attorney in Pensacola for whom the University of Florida's law school is named. He was among the lawyers who represented the state in its suit against the tobacco companies. In his career, he has won at least 25 jury verdicts in excess of $1 million, including six for more than $10 million.

The Lykes

Some family members -- Howell Ferguson, sister Stella Ferguson Thayer and her husband, A. Bronson Thayer, to name a few -- still have considerable influence, but the Lykes' former billion-dollar empire has lost much of the cohesiveness that gave it its clout.

Kenneth H. "Buddy" MacKay

Oklawaha, 71
One of Florida's premier public servants, MacKay has served the state as a state legislator, congressman, lieutenant governor and, in the time between Gov. Lawton Chiles' death and Jeb Bush's inauguration, governor. He also served as President Bill Clinton's special envoy to the Americas, a trade-related post.

Bob Martinez

Tampa, 69
The former governor still carries clout as managing director of Carlton Fields government consulting in Tampa. President George H.W. Bush appointed him U.S. drug czar in 1991. Martinez also serves on several corporate and non-profit organization boards.

Al Neuharth

Cocoa Beach, 80
Neuharth is the former chairman and CEO of Gannett Co. and the founder and former chairman of the Freedom Forum. Neuharth built Gannett from a lightly regarded chain to a financial powerhouse that became the performance yardstick that other publicly traded media chains felt they needed to emulate. Under Neuharth, Gannett founded the nation's first national daily, USA Today. Neuharth still writes a column for Florida Today in Cocoa Beach.

Dick Nunis

Orlando, 72
Retired as chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts after a 44-year career, Nunis serves on the boards of companies, including Progress Energy and MDI.

Robert Rauschenberg
Captiva Island, 79
The Captiva Island-based Rauschenberg is a world-renowned artist. The Captiva Island-based Rauschenberg is a world-renowned artist.

Nat Reed
Hobe Sound, 71
The legendary Audubon Society environmentalist has waged a tireless battle to preserve Florida's natural environment, most specifically the Everglades and Lake Okeechobee. He served as assistant secretary of the interior under Presidents Nixon and Ford.

Arthur Rutenberg

Clearwater, 77
The king of Florida home design is credited by some with introducing the split-bedroom floor plan. Rutenberg has been building homes in Florida for more than 50 years, and Arthur Rutenberg Homes claims to be the country's largest franchise system of independently owned and operated building companies.

Gus Stavros

St. Petersburg, 79
Stavros made a fortune with Better Business Forms, then turned his attention to philanthropy. A major donor to both FSU and USF, where he's a trustee, he also has founded numerous educational programs in the Tampa Bay area focused on teaching free enterprise.

Robert Traurig

Miami, 79
One of the founders of the Greenberg Traurig law firm, Traurig has seen the firm grow from its Miami base to an international firm of more than 1,150 attorneys. He still works at the firm and continues numerous civic involvements.

Tags: Around Florida

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