Welcome to 2007

By Hannah Wallace December 31, 2006

When you flip through this issue, you'll see we're ushering in the New Year with a fresh, new look. Inspired by Jesse Adams, art director of our sister publication in Naples, Gulfshore Business, and creatively interpreted by Amy Klinedinst, associate art director of Sarasota/Manatee BUSINESS, the clean, bold new design showcases our stories, making them easier to find and a pleasure to read.

And, wow, do you have a lot to read this month! January is the time we reveal the region's Top Companies. Associate editor Hannah Wallace has spent months researching and compiling this annual ranking, which is a must-read and must-keep directory of Sarasota-Manatee's largest businesses. To qualify, companies must have earned a minimum of $20 million in gross revenues in 2006; 97 companies in Sarasota and Manatee qualified, a decrease from the 101 companies included last year. 2006 was a tough year for real estate firms and homebuilders; many suffered steep declines in revenues. A few companies that formerly reported their revenues to us refused to do so this year because of those declines. If there was no other way to estimate what they grossed, we removed them from the list.

Despite the bumpy ride for some, however, total collective revenues increased over those of 2005 by $1.4 billion, which shows both the health of our growing economy and why it is crucial to continue to attract and expand businesses. A good example is our cover company, Fantech, a national manufacturer of heating and cooling systems, which produce goods and services outside our traditional real estate and tourism industries.

The New Year also brings expanded pages and a regular column on the global market by seasoned business journalist Johannes Werner. Werner, who has done considerable reporting in Latin America and now publishes Cuba Trade News, convinced us that our sophisticated readership craves news from abroad, and his insights-sometimes surprising and contrary to conventional thinking-are provocative and important for any businessperson who follows the world economy.

Also by Werner in this issue is a profile of the elusive Ned Davis of Ned Davis Research, one of nation's top financial analysts, who works out of a small strip mall in Venice. Davis came here 29 years ago for the same reason many of us did-year-round sunshine-but his historical perspective on the financial markets are global in reach. You'll want to read his 2007 economic forecast for the economy, page 39.

And don't forget to turn to page 29 where you'll find a nomination form for our Best Bosses contest. Tell us in detail why your boss deserves to be recognized. We'll convene a panel of judges to select the supervisors who have gone above and beyond in empowering their employees. You can also submit your nomination online at All nominations are due by Feb. 1, 2007. The winners will be announced at a celebration this spring and showcased in our May 2007 feature, "Best Bosses"-along with the workers who nominated them.


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