February 29, 2024

Up Front - The Publisher's Column

The Key to Florida's Success

David Denor | 5/1/2023

The growth of Florida’s economy over the past few years has been impressive. Yes, we have great weather and beaches, but we also have a terrific post-secondary education system, a strong talent pool and workforce readiness programs that are second to none — not to mention no state income tax and a business-friendly environment.

Even with all these advantages, Florida still must compete with other states, which can be very challenging when it comes to business growth, relocations and retention. Fortunately, our economic development leaders are more than up to the task. They are on the front lines, doing their part to make sure Florida’s economic engine remains healthy, strong and growing.

As you spend time with this issue, please make sure to check out our special Leadership Insights, which focuses on Florida’s economic developers.

The feature highlights some of the state’s important wins, leaders, their teams, their initiatives and their goals for the regions that they serve.

This month’s cover story examines Florida’s new blue economy (page 50), including electric boat manufacturers, suppliers and retailers.

South Florida Editor Mike Vogel also looks at the impact that Florida’s ocean-driven economy has on the state — from natural resources to emerging technology and everything in between.

Our writers also cover another important sector of the state’s economy — trade and transportation — in this month’s Economic Backbone starting on page 14.

Read about City Furniture’s decision to open a mammoth showroom and warehouse in the transportation hub between Tampa and Orlando.

Also in the Economic Backbone, Michelle Maikisch, executive director of the Central Florida Expressway Authority, talks about current road projects, including a stretch of the Lake/Orange Expressway that will include an in-road system that charges electric vehicles.

And learn about the unique way Tallahassee Community College is helping to offset today’s truck driver shortage, the economic impact of Brightline’s Orlando operation and key trends in foreign trade in an interview with Gunster attorney Peter Quinter.

Rounding out the issue is a piece on brownfield redevelopments across the state (page 65). Associate Editors Amy Keller and Laura Cassels along with contributing reporter Dave Scheiber highlight neglected and contaminated sites that have been transformed into vibrant economic and community assets.

As you will learn on the following pages, economic growth doesn’t happen on its own. It takes the incredible effort, energy, foresight, knowledge and determination of talented individuals serving in various roles across the state and working in tandem to realize Florida’s full potential.

— David G. Denor, Publisher ddenor@floridatrend.com

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