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September 23, 2018

Up Front - Publisher's Column

Sarasota is Popping

Andrew P. Corty | 8/28/2018

Sarasota is popping. I took an Urban Land Institute tour of downtown and was amazed at all the construction — a good mix of commercial space along with apartments for the younger set and higher-end developments.

Community Portrait

Full report here.

Our son Edward attends college in town. He and his roommate got a nice apartment close to downtown — across the street from a Publix — at a reasonable rate.

The arts scene, the educational opportunities and the access to health care all make Sarasota County a desirable place to live and work. The Ringling Museum of Art is to die for. If you haven’t been there recently, I recommend spending a full day there.

Selby Gardens and Mote Marine are also both worth visiting. St. Armands Circle is a major draw, of course, and has a great array of retail options as does the rest of the county.

We like to visit Longboat Key, but the beaches up and down the coast are all just as beautiful. Tourists like us make a huge impact through our spending on hotels, dining and shopping.

And if you’re in need of medical care while in town, you’re in one of the best places in Florida for top-notch health care at Sarasota Memorial, Doctors Hospital and others.

Speaking of high energy, this month’s Economic Backbone section spotlights Florida’s energy sector. We write about everything from nuclear and natural gas to corporate moves and a rising star at the University of Central Florida.

Indian River State College has been so successful training nuclear technicians that the federal government asked it to replicate its program nationally.

We also cover Duke Energy’s and FP&L’s nuclear plans and the NextEra purchase of Gulf Power and Florida City Gas.

Research is a major focus of this edition, including exciting advancements in drone technology. With drone pilot training programs and other infrastructure — including insurance — readily available, entrepreneurs, businesses and schools throughout the state are racing to take advantage of the aerial vehicles’ capabilities. Eric Silagy, president and CEO of FP&L, told me his company used dozens of drones after Hurricane Irma to look for damaged lines, allowing FP&L to speed crews to areas in need (saving days in some cases).

Other fields stepping up their use of drones include construction, real estate, insurance and agriculture. Take a look at Amy Martinez’s piece (page 90 in the magazine.)

Also in this issue is an interesting look at Harris Corp. in Melbourne, one of Florida’s largest public companies, which now focuses exclusively on government contract work. The company plans to launch its own small satellite, a step up from just providing components for other companies’ satellites. Jason Garcia’s report, starting on page 98, points out that Harris is spending more than $300 million on research and development this year alone.

Similarly, Mike Vogel has written a fascinating profile on Ken Ford, who heads the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition in Pensacola. Like Harris, IHMC’s major customer is the federal government, with the Defense Department and NASA leading the way. Mike’s article is on page 78.

Fitness Update: My knee is mostly healed, and I’m planning to run the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning. It would be best if I lose 10 pounds, but either way I’m a go. Of course, I’ll keep you posted.

— Andy Corty, Publisher
[acorty@floridatrend.com]

 

 

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