February 29, 2024
Voices of Leadership

Photo: Photo Illustration :Florida Trend

65th Anniversary

Voices of Leadership

On the occasion of the magazine's 65th anniversary, former FLORIDA TREND editors and publishers look back — and ahead.

Art Levy | 7/26/2023

Harris Mullen

“The creation and molding of FLORIDA TREND into a magazine we hope you will want and need has been an exhilarating experience. All of us who have been toiling away day and night shaping an incongruous mass of information into the first issue have worked sustained by the feeling that what we were doing was something meaningful. The pieces only had to be put in place and there it was! There was an industry in words and pictures. There was Florida industry on the move. We had not caused it; we had only stopped it for a moment and put it on paper.

The opportunity to serve you and Florida industry through TREND and to establish the publication will drive us relentlessly ahead. The challenge helps to immunize us against any discouragement or adversity we may meet along the way. If we can win your approval and support, nothing can prevent TREND from succeeding.” 

Harris Mullen, founder/ publisher, 1958-1980, excerpt from his first column, April 1958

“When I joined FLORIDA TREND in 1972, the magazine was 14 years old. Already, it was a very respected, award-winning business publication that routinely stitched together statewide coverage of business successes, failures, challenges and personalities. FLORIDA TREND wrote about the dynamic nature of business in Florida, zeroing in on stories about population growth and the challenges that alone would bring to the state. FLORIDA TREND tracked and reported deeply researched stories about banking and finance, commercial real estate, residential construction, tourism — all of which gave business leadership a broader view of things than what they read in the business pages of their local media. 

Jeff Tucker

FLORIDA TREND has a great formula that may need tweaking from time to time but shouldn’t be tampered with too much or too often. The magazine is still the sole source of in-depth coverage of business personalities: Readers across the state often only know about other leaders because they read about them in the pages of FLORIDA TREND. FLORIDA TREND’s rankings annually across a broad range of industries are the only dependable go-to source for that kind of information statewide. Through its reporting, FLORIDA TREND helps businesses and C-suite leaders make more informed decisions about all sorts of opportunities, business expansions or cutbacks and potential mergers and acquisitions. Having a statewide perspective on important business issues every month for 65 years is a praiseworthy achievement few, if any, statewide publications can match!”

Jeff Tucker, managing editor, 1972-1980, deputy publisher, 1982-1990

Andy Corty

“FLORIDA TREND is the bellwether of Florida business. The magazine has performed admirably. With 270,000-plus readers, the magazine is the ‘go-to place’ for understanding what the state’s business is all about. From Around the State to city stories, from the in-depth features to take-offs on a particular industry, from NextGen to the Icon feature, FLORIDA TREND is the perfect place to understand Florida. It has been that way for 65 years. My proudest moment was hiring the current publisher, David Denor, as my successor. He has led FLORIDA TREND to great heights and continues to do so.”

— Andy Corty, general manager, 1980-1985, president/publisher, 2009-2018

“At risk of the obvious, the key to reaching 65 is staying relevant to a business and leadership audience. But what’s relevant as the years pass, is less obvious — a moving target. When I started, TREND was already doing some politics and policy stories. I ramped that up on the theory that such stories cut through geographies and were critical to identifying opportunities and challenges. That broadened agenda seems to have stuck.

Back in those good old days, control of the Legislature and governorship was evenly split between the parties. It made for a more robust debate and a bipartisan search for solutions in Tallahassee.

Rick Edmonds

Influenced by Fortune, we did many in-depth company stories. We hit the major banks and saving and loans — of course, few of those have survived as Florida-based. These pieces included tough financial analysis, losing us (for a while) one of our top advertisers. The first cover story I edited was about the imminent opening of Epcot. The writer noted a decade-long slump in Disney creative (since fixed) and expressed doubt that Epcot could come close to the magic of the Magic Kingdom.

On the business side, Andy Corty and I thought we could phase out ad-driven supplements for a cleaner separation of church and state. Boy, were we wrong, and the Lynda Keever regime showed us the error of our ways.

In the early 1990s, I was succeeded as editor and publisher by Paul Tash. Smart personnel move, eh? And TREND leaders, business and editorial, have been good stewards of the franchise and kept it moving forward since.”

— Rick Edmonds, editor/publisher, 1982-1991

“I came to FLORIDA TREND in January 1990, at the dawn of a new decade and the start of a recession. Our company had been in an expansive mode — launching new TREND in Georgia and Arizona. (The smart aleck in me surmised that we were going to start magazines in every state with a name of 7 letters, ending in “a.”) But the economic reversal caught us out. We sold the TREND in Georgia and shuttered the one in Arizona. ‘It’s in the ditch,’ our sales manager told me.

Paul Tash

FLORIDA TREND went through some painful remodeling, but the magazine survived and then thrived. It’s easier to amputate at the extremities than at the core, but it wasn’t just homestate advantage that kept FLORIDA TREND going. Unlike states where a single major city dominates the economy (Atlanta, Phoenix), Florida represented a collection of five regions, and TREND was the only news company that knit them together in a community of interest and commerce. 

If you wanted to know what was happening in the rest of the state, you needed TREND. If your business wanted to reach leaders in the rest of Florida, you needed TREND. That was true in those days before the internet, and it remains true today.

There have been other, sharper economic downturns than the one that greeted me at FLORIDA TREND three decades ago, and there will be other challenges ahead. Serving the essential role that FLORIDA TREND plays in the Sunshine State helps it weather the storms and emerge strong.”

— Paul Tash, editor/publisher, 1990-1991

“FLORIDA TREND has done in all 65 years of its existence what its founder, Harris Mullen, envisioned: It helped Florida business leaders and policymakers connect with each other and realize and understand their commonality — that they were Floridians. Florida is often considered a state with five or six unconnected city-states with little in common. But FLORIDA TREND every month has provided a glue and a conduit to helping business owners, CEOs and entrepreneurs help each other succeed.

The challenge is staying relevant — doing a job that its readers need and want. The best way to do that is to live up to its name: TREND. Keep its readers informed of the business, industry, economic and public policy trends affecting Florida businesses. Florida business leaders want and need that information.

Matt Walsh

But it can also be relevant by highlighting and reporting on Florida’s leading CEOs and entrepreneurs. No one else is doing this, and it must be done. It must be done to celebrate the virtues of capitalism and entrepreneurism and how they contribute to Florida’s dynamic economy.

During my brief privilege to sit in the editor’s chair, we tried to live up to FLORIDA TREND's subtitle: The Magazine of Florida Business — writing about company strategies; profiling CEOs and entrepreneurs making a difference in their industries; and covering economic and government trends affecting Florida businesses. The reader response was gratifyingly positive.

As a personal note, my time at FLORIDA TREND ranked as the most enjoyable time in my professional life — that is, until the startup of the Observer Media Group. I have unforgettable and invaluable experiences of traveling the state and meeting fascinating business leaders. For a business journalist, the dynamism of Florida’s economy is incredibly fascinating and inspiring.”

— Matt Walsh, executive editor/editor, 1986-1993

“Economic development and education became real passions for me over the years, and two of FLORIDA TREND's most meaningful projects for me were the launch of magazines to highlight those topics: FLORIDA TREND's NEXT and Research Florida.

I envisioned NEXT as a way to mentor teens through the pages of the magazine by presenting the wide variety of choices that lead them to successful jobs, higher education or career technical training. I am proud that NEXT is now in its 23rd year of publication and reaches 125,000 high school students each year.

Lynda Keever

Research Florida magazine was a way to get the word out about Florida’s research commercialization and tech transfer successes within Florida colleges, universities and private businesses. It also put Florida in a position to take advantage of national and international partnerships and collaborations to become ‘the innovation state.’

Florida’s economy has diversified by growing a hedge against booms and busts and is well positioned to benefit in the global economy. For 65 years, FLORIDA TREND has provided reliable and well-respected coverage of the important issues and trends facing our state.

In challenging economic times, strong companies with a solid base, good products, dedicated staff and excellent customer service will survive. FLORIDA TREND is certainly one of those companies, and I am confident that the TREND family of publications will thrive and prosper.”

— Lynda Keever, publisher, 1991-2009

“Florida, now, the third-largest state in the country and growing in prominence, has many assets that have propelled its success, and in my humble opinion, FLORIDA TREND is one of them. Florida needs and deserves a magazine worthy of telling its stories for the betterment of its citizens, and the dedicated, talented team at TREND delivers on that objective with every issue.

Bruce Faulmann

When considering FLORIDA TREND's future, it’s as bright as the Sunshine State it serves. Our state is booming with rapid growth in nearly every sector of our economy, particularly in innovation and technology. That means Florida’s economy is more diverse and resilient, able to weather the inevitable ups and downs of the economic cycle. With growth comes challenges and impact on our infrastructure, and most importantly our environment — Florida’s most precious resource. With that in mind, FLORIDA TREND's comprehensive and thought-provoking reporting is more essential than ever.

But with the world of publishing under stress as it transitions to a digital future where thousands of content creators are competing to be found, journalism that thrives must be unique and mission-driven to draw revenue from subscribers and advertisers to support it. In Florida, TREND truly is both unique and mission driven. No other single source covers the state’s business and economic activity, each month, region by region, from the Panhandle to the Florida Keys, like FLORIDA TREND. Its feature stories on the issues impacting our state and the people behind the stories is second to none, and it’s that unique content that ensures TREND's future for decades to come.

Though I only served as TREND's publisher for one year, I gained a lifetime of memories and made friends with the best people in the magazine publishing business. Here’s to another 65 years, FLORIDA TREND!”

— Bruce Faulmann, publisher, 2009

“FLORIDA TREND has become an indispensable part of the state’s business landscape because there is no other publication that understands what Florida really is and isn’t. FLORIDA TREND has built its coverage around the realities of the state’s economy rather than catering to the stereotypes that persist among both outsiders and Florida residents. The magazine’s chief impact over the past 65 years has been in defining issues of real statewide concern and in keeping the state’s growing metro areas and their business communities in touch with each other.

The thing that I am proudest of during my 26-year tenure is that as essentially every other publication in Florida gravitated toward an ideological perspective, TREND played it straight. The magazine provided a factual, non-ideological perspective on the people and issues that define the state and ignored the winds generated by the inconsequential jabber that defines social media.

Mark Howard

Our success during that time was reflected in circulation growth — at a time when essentially every other print publication lost readers — and growth in ad revenue. TREND understood that to cover business, you need to understand how effective businesses function. TREND should have a future as long as it continues to understand Florida and provides a true non-ideological approach to writing about the state.”

— Mark Howard, managing editor/ executive editor, 1997-2022

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