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People who intrigued us in 2013

Some surprise with their decisions, some impress with their achievements and some stun with their missteps.

All of them provided intrigue in 2013, helping define the year through headline-grabbing actions or under-the-radar resolve.

In compiling this annual list of Tampa Bay's most intriguing people, we offer apologies to those who just missed the cut — such as Hillsborough County Bar president Susan Johnson-Velez and Clearwater Marine Aquarium chief executive officer David Yates — and promise to follow all these folks in the new year.

Hoe Brown. The revelation that Brown, the former Tampa Port Authority chairman and state Republican Party committeeman, rented run-down trailers to people desperate for a place to live will forever change the way the community deals with the homeless. The incident, disclosed by the Tampa Bay Times, leaves me intrigued because Brown, more familiar with the problem than others in power, could have led the effort. Instead, he became a change agent for all the wrong reasons.

Julius Davis. The president and chief executive officer of VoltAir Consulting Engineers has guided his business into one of Tampa's most successful while earning spot on the board of Enterprise Florida. He remains humble, pursuing an MBA at the University of South Florida.

Chetan "Jason" Shah. It's Shah who first envisioned Tampa hosting the International Indian Film Academy Weekend & Awards, and he helped bring that Bollywood vision to reality. Celebrate people who think big.

Rick Kriseman. St. Petersburg's mayor-elect posted a double-digit win over incumbent Bill Foster, but he's raised more eyebrows than expectations with a slew of expensive hires. It'll be interesting to see what happens when he officially takes over.

Ken Lawson. I've known him for more than 40 years, but Florida's secretary of Business and Professional Regulation still leaves me intrigued every time we talk. And from all indications, he's delivered in his state role.

Amanda Murphy. The moderate Democrat ran for a Pasco County legislative seat long held by Republicans by relying on a substantive message and bipartisan support. What makes her intriguing? She actually won. Is it a trend for 2014?

Greg Schiano. The Bucs coach made questionable decisions, failed to overcome a rash of injuries and may not keep his job. But I actually admire his steady demeanor through news conferences and radio shows.

Julie Weintraub. The Gold & Diamond Source vice president may be best known for her glam appearances on TV commercials with husband Steve, but the camera doesn't reveal her humble upbringing or charitable heart.

Beverly Young. Young made the memorial for her late husband, U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young, an invitation-only affair, then set off a feud with her son because he's not backing David Jolly in the special election to fill the Pinellas County-based congressional seat. Regardless of the election's outcome, I guarantee we'll hear more from her.

Tarsicio Caballero-Perez and Elizabeth Rosas. The parents of Jennifer Caballero, an 11-year-old with Down syndrome who drowned behind Riverview's Rodgers Middle School in 2012, could have remained forever angry at the Hillsborough County school district. Instead, they thanked — thanked the district for improving safety for special-needs children. It's a noteworthy profile in courage.

That's all I'm saying.

People who intrigued us in 2013 12/29/13 [Last modified: Sunday, December 29, 2013 7:40pm]
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