Up Front - The Publisher's Column
A focus on women leaders in Florida
A big part of this issue focuses on women in leadership positions all across Florida — from Pensacola to Miami. Highlighting the package of stories is a profile of Judy Genshaft, president of the University of South Florida in Tampa. She will retire at the end of the academic year after holding the office for nearly two decades.
During her tenure, USF research has grown three-fold, its endowment has doubled, the graduation rate has tripled, and construction on campus has gone ballistic — including a new medical school and heart institute going up in downtown Tampa close to Tampa General Hospital, the chief location for med student clinical studies.
Genshaft’s crowning accomplishment is the school’s attainment of preeminent status, the third Florida university so honored. And this summer USF won a Phi Beta Kappa chapter, the fourth Florida institution with that distinction. She retires on a high note.
Genshaft, like UCF’s retired president, John Hitt, has always understood the links between education and economic development. Active on the Tampa Bay Partnership and the Tampa/Hillsborough Economic Development Corp., Genshaft has tirelessly touted Tampa Bay and Florida, regularly clearing her schedule to meet with prospective employers who visit Tampa.
As Mayor Bob Buckhorn states, “Any major pitch where I am, she’s there, too. The talent pipeline coming out of USF is so important to these companies.”
Along with the feature on Genshaft, this issue has profiles of Debbie Calder, the leader of Navy Federal Credit Union, the largest private employer in Northwest Florida with 7,000 employees, soon to be 10,000; Sue Ellen Beryl of West Palm Beach, a theater impresario; Kathleen Plinske, the #2 person in charge at Valencia College in Orlando; Cindy Watson, a leader of Jacksonville’s LGBTQ community who helps young people; and the many women who are working to foster growth in Miami’s entrepreneurial sector.
Last month, Florida Trend covered Florida’s population growth — 335,000 people each year are coming to the Sunshine State. That’s driving real estate prices higher and making “affordable” housing a bit of a misnomer.
Real estate expenses consist of two components — land costs and construction costs. Both are going up. Land is scarce in urban areas. And construction costs are rising as labor gets tighter and goods (like lumber) get pricier.
Amy Martinez’s feature examines some efforts aimed at creating affordable housing. They include micro apartments of less than 400 square feet, tiny houses of about 720 square feet each, shipping containers turned into housing units and even 3-D printed homes. With the median home value in Miami-Dade at $330,000 and the typical rent there for a modest two-bedroom apartment at more than $1,350, many people have been priced out of the housing market. Those efforts at trying to find solutions are a good start at lowering costs.
Nearly 20% of Floridians are spending more than half of their incomes on housing. Something has to give. Either people need to settle for less or the government needs to step up its incentives to create more workforce housing.
I’m curious to hear your thoughts.
— Andy Corty, Publisher
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