Susan Burns (Lori Sax)We received a record 325 nominations for our seventh annual People to Watch story, and you can read about the 20 who made the final cut beginning on page 20. Every year, this competition reminds me of the extraordinary talent pool our region attracts. Our 2012 winners—most of them newcomers—represent a wide array of professions, but they share an innovative and entrepreneurial spirit. They make the region a better, more exciting place to live and work, and they help us attract more of their kind.

We also took a look at some of our past People To Watch; in most cases, they’ve gone on to bigger and better things. But not in one area: real estate and development. Many of our past winners in this category have seen their careers and finances ruined, along with the fortunes of others. The lesson? It’s risky and difficult to be a developer, and investors should remember that newcomers with big real estate dreams can’t always make them come true.

Unity Awards. We’re beginning the nomination process for our third annual Unity Awards, which we present in partnership with La Guia magazine. The awards are a celebration of the individuals, businesses and organizations that champion diversity in our region, and the winners are published in both magazines’ January issues. Please go to biz941.com to nominate your heroes. Deadline is Sept. 28.

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