Advertisement
  1. Business

These four people made Florida Trend's list of the 500 most influential business leaders

Florida Trend has released its roster of the state's 500 most influential business leaders. (Times files)
Published Sep. 19, 2018

The 180-page Florida 500 is a compelling read for anyone curious about how the state's most influential business leaders rose to power.

Florida Trend magazine undertook some heavy lifting to compile the 2018 roster. Sure, some of the 500 bios read like they were cleared by public relations specialists. But more often, they provide a candid, and at times humorous, look at how these men and women turned challenges into opportunities.

They reveal an astonishing array of backgrounds. Many started with very little. Some overcame shyness, alcoholism, prejudice or their own bad decisions.

RELATED: More business news

They comment on where the state is headed. No rah-rah session, they worry about education, transportation and climate change.

The magazine, a sister publication of the Tampa Bay Times, broke the list into 16 sectors, including agriculture, education, finance, manufacturing, tourism and technology. The "Living Legends" category includes Tampa-based real estate developer Edward DeBartolo Jr., legendary golfer turned businessman Jack Nicklaus, and Micky Arison, who grew Carnival Cruise Line into one of the industry's Big Three.

A few of the locals who made the list: University of South Florida President Judy Genshaft, West Point graduate and Celestar CEO Gregory Celestan, Tampa Bay Times Chairman and CEO Paul Tash, Penny Hoarder founder Kyle Taylor and Gary Wishnatzki, owner of Plant City's Wish Farms.

Some genuine celebrities made the list — Jimmy Buffett and Gloria and Emilio Estefan — along with some well-known politicians — former Gov. Jeb Bush and former Florida House Speaker John Thrasher, now president at Florida State University. He revealed his affection for all things Elvis.

FLORIDA ECONOMY: Prospects are good as state's population continues to grow.

Many of the bios include how the movers and shakers spend their free time.

Genshaft is an avid bicyclist. Port Tampa Bay CEO Paul Anderson surfs. Bill Carlson, president of the Tampa-based public relations firm Tucker/Hall, writes poetry. James Nozar, CEO of Tampa's Strategic Property Partners, loves wandering the aisles of hardware and home improvement stores Maryann Ferenc, CEO of local fine dining staple Mise En Place, cherishes her Sunday morning spiritual routine.

They also list some of the jobs they had along the way.

Mark Perlberg, president and CEO of Oasis Outsourcing in West Palm Beach, was a Fuller Brush salesman in high school. Lawyer John Morgan, founder of Morgan & Morgan, played Pluto at Disney World. Tampa International Airport CEO Joe Lopano drove a cab.

"And I'm kind of an introvert," Lopano added.

Go to floridatrend500.com to access the first of what will be annual Florida 500s. You can also use that link to buy a hard copy or nominate someone for the 2019 list.

Contact Graham Brink at gbrink@tampabay.com. Follow @GrahamBrink.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Frances Werner-Watkins Julie Rinaldi
    News and notes on local businesses
  2. Left to right: Oak Hill Hospital Anesthesiology residents Daniel Eskander, Wayne Simmons, Jeffrey Huang and Benjamin Segil. Katie Stacy/Oak Hill Hospital
    News and notes on local businesses
  3. A total of 131 employees are scheduled to be laid off in January as Locale Market and Farm Table Cucina close at the Sundial to make way for a new food hall created by the developers of the Heights Public Market at the Armature Works in Tampa. CHRIS URSO   |   TIMES
    In a notice to the state of Florida, Sundial owner Bill Edwards said the layoffs are expected to take place the first week of January.
  4. WeWork is opening Tampa offices at 501 E Kennedy Blvd. despite company struggles, including $1.25 billion in losses over 2019. SCOTT KEELER  |  Tampa Bay Times
    WeWork has 200 planned coworking space openings as leadership tries to manage $1.25 billion in losses.
  5. Florida's unemployment rate was unchanged in October at 3.2 percent, according to numbers released Friday. LYNNE SLADKY  |  AP
    The latest numbers were released Friday morning.
  6. Apollo Global Management has offered $130 per share for Tech Data's stock in an acquisition worth $5.4 billion. If regulators shareholders approve, the home-grown company will remain based in Pinellas County, where it employs 2,000 of its 14,000 workers. DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Private equity firms like Apollo create wealth for pension funds, financial institutions and individual investors by buying assets that typically are sold later at a profit.
  7. Some of Tampa Bay's largest companies are being sold or are up for sale. Times files and Bloomin' Brands
    Tech Data is just the latest in a growing list of public companies bought up by out-of-state firms.
  8. Hillsborough Community College solicited "non-binding letters of interest or intent” last month from developers interested in purchasing the Dr. Gwendolyn W. Stephenson District Administration Center on Davis Islands. OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    Developers have eyed the 3.7 acre waterfront parcel for years, but recent interest has prompted the college’s trustees to finally start the conversation.
  9. Tampa International Airport looking north. The Wall Street Journal ranked it the best midsize airport in America. [Times files]
    TPA took first place in the Wall Street Journal’s annual survey of U.S. airports.
  10. Tech Data's CEO Rich Hume (left) shares a moment with former CEO Bob Dutkowsky during a send off celebration for Dutkowsky earlier this year. JIM DAMASKE   |   Times
    A private equity firm has agreed to buy Tech Data.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement