The Sunshine Economy

9 a.m. and 7 p.m. Mondays

Tom Hudson
Tom Hudson
Credit WLRN

The Sunshine Economy, takes a fresh look at the key industries transforming South Florida into a regional powerhouse. From investments in health care, storm preparedness, international trade, real estate and technology based start-ups, tune in to learn more about one of the worlds most vibrant and diverse economies.

Made possible by:

Genre: 

Pages

Sunshine Economy
12:25 am
Mon April 20, 2015

The Health Care Gap in the Sunshine Economy

Credit Miami Herald

More than three-quarters of a million Floridians live in a health care gap. The gap was created by the national Affordable Care Act and Florida's rejection of an expanded Medicaid program. In between the two policies is a gap in medical insurance coverage where 850,000 Floridians find themselves.

Read more
Sunshine Economy
7:04 am
Tue April 14, 2015

The Sunshine Economy & Cuba

Cuban leader Raul Castro sits down with U.S. President Barack Obama at the Summit of the Americas in Panama. It was the first meeting of leaders of the two countries since 1956.
Credit Summit of the Americas

It's easy and obvious to call the photo above historic. It was. It followed a series of milestones: Months of secret negotiations, a phone call between the two leaders, President Obama announcing efforts to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba, easing of travel restrictions by Americas, allowing U.S. credit cards to be used in Cuba, expanding the list of items that can be legally exported to the island from America and increasing remittances sent to Cuba from family in the U.S.

Read more
Sunshine Economy
5:18 pm
Mon April 13, 2015

Flying From Key West To Cuba And Back

Air Key West owner and pilot Rob Valle stands in front of his Britten-Norman Islander. The 10-seat plane flies weekly from Key West to Havana and back on Fridays.
Credit Tom Hudson

  Rob Valle used to fly fighter jets for the U.S. Navy. Now he flies charter flights for his company Air Key West. Since late March that has included a weekly scheduled flight from Key West International Airport to Havana. He fits nine passengers, including one in the co-pilot seat next to him. They pay $525 for the round-trip flight.

Read more
Business
4:44 pm
Thu April 9, 2015

South Florida Tech CEO Talks Raising Capital & Raising Kids

Joanna Schwartz is the CEO of EarlyShares, which connects accredited investors with private funding opportunities. In April 2015, her company launched www.property.com.

In our continuing series on female leadership, we look at the technology sector. Certainly it is a lucrative industry and it's been criticized for gender imbalance.

Women make up only a quarter of the tech industry workforce, even though more women now enroll in college than men.

And here's another interesting data point -- women in Western countries use the internet 17 percent more than men do. So how does this all compute in terms of female leadership?

Read more
Sunshine Economy
3:41 pm
Mon April 6, 2015

Women in Business in the Sunshine Economy

Chef Adrianne Calvo's West Kendall restaurant has 60 seats and 16 full-time employees.
Credit Ines Ayra

This is the gender wage gap. It's based on the difference in median weekly pay for men and women in the United States. In 2014, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it amounts to $152 per week or more than $7,900 a year. This is the wage gap and it hasn't changed much over the past several years.

Read more
Business
10:18 pm
Sun March 29, 2015

The Sunshine Economy: The Tourism Trade

The tourism business is booming in South Florida.

The Sunshine State could welcome close to 100 million visitors this year.  They come from all over: the Northeast, the Midwest, Latin America, Europe, Russia and, increasingly, Asia. These visitors directly support hundreds of thousands of jobs and pump billions of dollars into the regional economy. 

Read more
Business
8:00 pm
Wed March 25, 2015

Social And Anti-Social Trends In Customer Service

Not too long ago, good customer service meant a warm welcome and personal attention. Today, great customer service can mean leaving the customer alone to fend for themselves. That shift is thanks, in part, to technology.

It’s the smartphone that allows customers to be simultaneously social and anti-social in how they relate to and interact with service staff. Websites like TripAdvisor, OpenTable and Yelp have given customers a voice, and restaurants and hotels are listening -- and responding.

Read more
Business
1:14 pm
Mon March 23, 2015

Sunshine Economy: Customer Service In South Florida

Julie Grimes came to South Florida from Canada about 20 years ago. She owns two hotels with about 250 rooms combined. She's managing partner at the Bentley Hilton South Beach.
Credit Tom Hudson

South Florida is known around the world for its sun, sand and surf. Those natural attributes are responsible for thousands of jobs, millions of visitors and billions of dollars. But what about service? South Florida may invite the world to come play on its beaches, stay in its hotels and eat in its restaurants, but what kind of hosts are its people?

Julie Grimes gives the overall customer service experience three out of five stars. She is the owner of two hotels in Miami: the Doubletree Hilton and the Hilton Bentley South Beach where she also is the managing partner.

Read more
Sunshine Economy
10:11 am
Mon March 9, 2015

Appetite for Risk - Restaurant Industry in South Florida

Credit Kahala / Flickr/Creative Commons

What do people who have bet their livelihood on good food remember as their favorite food?

Read more
Tourism
6:04 pm
Sun February 22, 2015

The Sunshine Economy: The Hotel Industry In South Florida

The Marseilles Hotel on South Beach is undergoing a $10 million renovation. Owner Lloyd Mandell is a second generation Miami Beach hotelier.
Credit Tom Hudson

A LITTLE HISTORY

Ian Schrager and Lloyd Mandell used to be neighbors. 

One is an iconoclast who made a fortune (and went to prison for tax evasion) as co-founder of the famed Studio 54 nightclub in New York, and the other a Miami Beach native whose dad owned a gas station where a Starbucks now stands on West Avenue.

The two men are in the same business now, technically. But they came to it in different ways.

Read more
Environment
1:49 am
Mon February 9, 2015

Sunshine Economy: Protecting Florida's Environment At $800M A Year (For 20 Years)

Voters overwhelmingly approved Amendment 1 in 2014. It guarantees one-third of the state's real estate documentary tax stamp revenues for the next 20 years will be used for environmental purposes. What qualifies for the money is up to the state Legislature. Environmentalists want some of the dollars to pay for restoring the Everglades (pictured above).
Credit Emma_L_M/flickr

More than 4 million voters approved Amendment 1 in the November 2014 election. The measure received an overwhelming 75 percent "yes" vote.

That vote unleashed hundred of millions of dollars this year and billions of dollars over the next 20 years that have to be spent on acquiring and improving Florida lands. The amendment uses fewer than 150 words to describe the types of projects the money has to be spent on. That section is highlighted in blue below.

    

Read more
Health Care
5:15 pm
Sun February 1, 2015

The Sunshine Economy: Obamacare In South Florida

Sunshine Life & Health Advisors kiosk at Mall of the Americas in Miami awaits Affordable Care Act sign-ups on Jan. 28, 2015
Tom Hudson

Odalys Arevalo works out of a shopping mall but she doesn't sell clothes or electronics or jewelry. She sells health insurance. And when it comes to the Affordable Care Act, she and her team of 600 brokers sell a lot of it.

Arevalo is co-founder of Sunshine Life and Health Advisors. The idea for the company began in a coffee shop. Operations started with a single mall kiosk and now the firm has eight outlets, including a 24,000 square feet "store" at the Mall of the Americas in Miami-Dade County.

Read more
Race & Business
10:58 pm
Sun January 18, 2015

The Sunshine Economy: Magic And Mike (Fernandez)

Health care billionaire Mike Fernandez and Earvin "Magic" Johnson. Johnson became a strategic partner with the Fernandez-owned health insurance firm Simply Healthcare.
Credit Mike Fernandez / Courtesy

  

By the looks of this photograph, one would think Mike Fernandez and Earvin "Magic" Johnson have known each other for years. When they greeted each other before their interview on the Sunshine Economy, they embraced in a bear hug, the 6-foot-9-inch former NBA point guard more than a head taller than the billionaire health care entrepreneur. Fernandez even gave Johnson a kiss on the cheek. This was not a boardroom greeting, but the two have known each other only since 2012.

Read more
Business
8:53 am
Mon January 12, 2015

Sunshine Economy: Beyond The Wedding Bells Of Same-Sex Marriage

Florida is the 36th state to allow same-sex marriage. While the court challenges continue, newlyweds and those who married out-of-state now have their marriages legally recognized extending the legal and financial rights brought by marriage.
Credit Tom Hudson

After the big emotions of the wedding day come the economics of marriage: insurance, taxes, wills, bank accounts, property titles, credit card accounts, etcetera. 

Thousands of gay Floridians have gotten married since January 6, when their unions became legal in the state. Thousands more are now recognized as married if they wed in a place that allowed gay marriage prior to Florida's ban on same-sex marriages being overturned by a federal judge.

Read more
Sunshine Economy
2:02 pm
Mon January 5, 2015

U.S. Cuba Policy Changes: Opportunity Or Entrenchment?

Credit WLRN

Miami is not a top departure point for American goods headed to Cuba. So say the official U.S. government trade statistics. Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale is the second-largest American port from which goods are sent to Cuba.

Yes, despite the 53-year-old trade embargo, America still does a little business with Cuba. The U.S. sells fresh and frozen chicken, soybeans, corn and an assortment of other food and medical supplies. 

Read more

Pages