The Sunshine Economy

Cuba Back In Business?
2:25 pm
Mon May 18, 2015

The Sunshine Economy: Commerce With Communists

A reprinted 1956 poster for ferry service hangs in the window of the Old Town Bakery in Key West, one block from the ferry terminal.
Credit Nancy Klingener

When Bill Lane visits Cuba, he looks at the roads. It's not that he's a veteran traveler to Cuba even though he's visited three times since 1998. Lane works for Caterpillar. His company sells paving machines, road graders, bulldozers and other heavy equipment used to build and repair roads.

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News
2:38 pm
Sun May 17, 2015

Key West Looks To Reconnect With Cuba By Ferry

A ferry at the dock at Trumbo Point in Key West in the 1920s.
Credit Monroe County Public Library

Every day, ferries come and go from the ferry terminal at Key West's historic seaport. For now, they're carrying passengers to Dry Tortugas National Park, 70 miles west, or from Fort Myers Beach and Marco Island on Florida's Gulf Coast.

But many on the island hope the ferry traffic to Key West will soon regain one of its historic destinations: Havana. Earlier this month, the Obama administration took another big step toward normalizing relations with Cuba when it issued licenses to at least four companies to run ferries between the U.S. and Cuba.

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The Sunshine Economy
2:54 pm
Fri May 15, 2015

The Problem With Selling Solar In Florida

Chief Marketing Officer William Berenson and co-founder Ludovic Roche show a PWRstation on the screen while at work at the Lab in Wynwood.
Credit Miami Herald Staff

The state of Florida is known for its great weather -- the state’s official nickname, after all, is the “Sunshine State.” But try selling solar energy in Florida and you’re likely to get a chilly reception, says a Miami-based founder of a solar startup.

Ludovic Roche, co-founder of PWRstation, claims that when it came to keeping his company’s headquarters in Miami, he and business partner, Robert Albertella, were encouraged to take the better offer and leave the U.S.

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Sunshine Economy
1:17 pm
Wed May 13, 2015

Gaining Altitude: The Aviation Industry in South Florida

Adult aviation students at George T. Baker Aviation Technical College in Miami await a classmate's instruction. Miami is one of the largest job markets for aviation technicians in the U.S.
Credit Tom Hudson

In Florida, flight is the number one export. In 2014, almost $4.8 billion worth of aircraft, engines and aircraft parts made in Florida were shipped out of state, putting it in the top 10 for aviation.

Toya Henry wants to enter the family business, but she's not sold on staying in Miami. She's in the adult powerplant program at George T. Baker Aviation Technical College in Miami. The school is a Miami-Dade County Public School that has been training aviation workers since the early days of the industry.

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Aviation Industry
11:53 am
Wed May 13, 2015

Sunshine Economy: Training Tomorrow's Aviation Workers

Students at George T. Baker Aviation Technical College have to attend 85 percent of the time in order to qualify for FAA certification.
Credit Tom Hudson

This is a sign in a second floor avionics classroom at George T. Baker Aviation Technical College in Miami. It's a Miami-Dade County Public School with 550 high school students and 800 adult students taking FAA-certified classes on airframes, power plants and avionics. The sign serves as a clear reminder this is more than a classroom.

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Building A New Domain
8:48 am
Mon May 4, 2015

The Sunshine Economy: The Tech Industry in South Florida

This is what it looks like when five insiders write letters to the South Florida technology industry of the future. 

For several years now the tech industry here has been a mix of promise and proclamations. Miami has been listed among the places to become the next Silicon Valley even while many in the industry here resist that kind of hype.

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Politics
8:55 am
Mon April 27, 2015

The Budget Battle In The Sunshine Economy

Florida's regular legislative session is due to end May 1. Lawmakers are not expected to have agreed to a new budget by then. They have until July 1 to come to a compromise.
Credit flguardian2 / Flickr Creative Commons

  Two big financial questions remain unanswered as the state Legislature enters its last days of the 2015 regular session – how will Florida's government spend money on health care and the environment?

Billions of dollars are on the line.

The dual debates over Medicaid and Amendment 1 are not linked except for the disagreement between Republicans, who control both houses of the Legislature, over how much money to spend on the health of Floridians and Florida's environment.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

    

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