August 12, 2020

Up Front - The Publisher's Column

Spotlight on Polk County

Andrew P. Corty | 2/27/2017

You probably know Polk County and Lakeland, its biggest city, located between Tampa Bay and Orlando. The county is the longtime home of Publix and the new home of Florida Polytechnic, both of which I and other members of the Florida Trend team have recently visited.

Polk County

You are also probably aware that Publix is expanding beyond Florida to a half-dozen Southern states. Our son in North Carolina just texted, “I’m in Publix!”

After a contentious political battle, Florida Poly has started quickly. Its 1,330 students are the most active, engaged bunch I’ve ever witnessed. The school is in line for accreditation this year.

I think you will be very interested in our profile of Polk. You’ll learn about the CSX intermodal center, important colleges like Polk State and Florida Southern, the Watson medical clinic, phosphate mining from Mosaic (and its glorious Streamsong golfing resort), the important agricultural sector and the transportation/warehousing business.

You’ll also learn about the many leisure activities in the county, from Detroit Tigers spring training to Legoland to Bok Tower Gardens.

Here we go. The annual 60-day Legislative session starts this month and runs until the first week of May. Florida Trend offers a preview of key issues facing elected officials, from the budget (will cuts be necessary?) To K-12 and universities, to Medicaid and the Everglades . . .and so much more.

All of these topics are of great interest to Florida’s business leaders, but perhaps none more so than money for economic development and tourism. Is funding for these efforts money well spent or is it “corporate welfare?”

Jason Garcia has written a superb profile of House Speaker Richard Corcoran, whose priorities don’t necessarily match those of Senate President Joe Negron and Gov. Rick Scott, though all are Republicans. Buckle your seatbelts.

Florida Trend has expanded its digital footprint. Early this year, we launched three eNewsletters — on health care, education and executive moves in Florida.

Each provides news, insight and analysis for senior leaders. And each free, weekly alert goes to more than 11,000 targeted readers. I expect the number to grow as word spreads. To sign up, go to And please let me know of other topics we should explore — these three are only the opening gambit.

Fitness Update: My new goal is to run 10k on Thanksgiving morning, double my prior distance. The 6.2 miles is within reach since I’m already covering 4.0 miles about twice each week.

— Andy Corty


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