As we near 2005, I can't think of a better media job in our bi-county region than publisher of this magazine.
Being a part of a publication that is totally focused on chronicling the dynamic development and growth of this region is exhilarating, made even more so by our commitment to tackle the critical issues inherent in such progress and to provide individuals and companies with the necessary tools to succeed in this rapidly changing market.
I've worked in national and local media-magazines, television and radio-for 35 years, but have never lived in a market that was exploding as dramatically as ours. As publisher of Sarasota-Manatee BUSINESS, I not only have a front-row seat, I hope to have the opportunity to interact with many of the leading players.
Growing up in southern Westchester County, just north of New York City, I learned at an early age about the local economy. My father was involved in the sale of heavy construction equipment, primarily bulldozers, backhoes, graders and cranes. I knew there was a correlation between his business and economic growth. There were years when I'd see construction jobs all over the county, lots of equipment and men at work. Good times. Then there were periods when there was little or no activity and I'd know from the tension in my father's face and hushed conversations between my parents that these were tough times.
Now I see heavy equipment all over this region-in the downtowns of both Sarasota and Bradenton, east Manatee County and south to North Port. Expansion abounds. Latest stats tell us that more than a thousand people are moving here on a monthly basis-that's 12,000 per year. Population increases translate to enhanced business opportunities. That's good for all of us. If we do it right. Even in a booming market, success is definitely not an automatic.
Vital decisions need to be sensibly made by forward-thinking people. There are the critical logistical ones like transportation and parking. And workers' housing is perhaps a larger issue than is readily understood. Creating the optimum retail composition between chains and independents is also essential. And the aesthetic impact of all this development must be considered.
Certainly there's much more to ponder, debate and resolve, and I look forward to doing so on the pages of this magazine and at forums around the region.