FloridaTrend.com, the Website for Florida Business

2016 is off to a running start in Florida

(Mark Wemple)

Each year, Florida Trend names a Floridian of the Year. This year, our editors selected Colin Brown, chief executive officer of JM Family Enterprises.

Brown, the first non-family member to head the Jim Moran organization, understands the company’s culture astutely. When he proposed raising the minimum wage for 400 employees to $16 an hour, the move reflected his belief that it was consistent with JM’s values. He named a group to study his proposal and got approval from JM’s board —a process that also resulted in increases for another 600 employees already making $16 and above.

While the article focuses on Brown’s success at raising the wage floor — certainly a key topic these days — it also reflects how the company has responded to economic and other troubles in its past. Some companies just pay fines or lay off staff heartlessly; JM Family Enterprises, on the other hand, has evolved in ways that made it a stronger company.

We are proud to name Colin Brown 2015 Floridian of the Year and to celebrate the great success of one of Florida’s trendsetting companies.

The outlook for 2016 is positive in many industries across the state. Most executives see a continuation of positive trends, but there’s little ebullience or talk about
a bonanza.

Rick McAllister, retired president of the Florida Retail Federation, notes that “consumer confidence equals consumer spending,” and he sees solid year-over-year growth. Read what other executives have to say.

Our new Economic Backbone section freshens up the front of the magazine. Each month, we will peek at an important segment of Florida’s economy. This month, we look at how millennials approach their health and their health care — from exercising to using apps for information and bill-paying.

In future issues, we will look at telecommunications, MBA programs, wealth management, transportation, real estate and other key economic sectors.

Here we go again . . . another legislative session. This one starts Jan. 12, two months earlier than normal, which is why our annual Advocacy roundup is published in this edition.

As reporter Jason Garcia writes, 2015 was “ugly.” The question that hangs in the air is whether squabbles between Gov. Rick Scott and the Legislature will make this year just as ugly. Or will the governor and lawmakers make up and take care of the state’s business without so much discord?

We list the key issues facing the Legislature — everything from health care to tax cuts to economic development to education. As the adage goes, we live in interesting times.

The Best Companies program in Florida Trend is a free way to gauge employee satisfaction and get useful feedback about your business. We will feature the 100 top-rated companies in our August issue, and each entrant receives a benchmark report that can help strengthen recruitment and retention. Please refer to BestCompaniesFL.com. Registration deadline is Jan. 22.

Fitness update: I ran a personal best in the Turkey Trot 5k at 7:00 a.m. on Thanksgiving — 29:35, which is 24 seconds better than last year’s time despite the warm 66-degree weather. The full moon shone brightly as I drove to Clearwater, and bright sunshine greeted the finishers. I’m feeling good about having participated for the fourth year in a row.

— Andy Corty


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