Pensacola’s ‘living legends’ a sign of city’s promising economic future

Pensacola’s ‘living legends’ a sign of city’s promising economic future


Florida has a remarkably diverse and robust economy, driven by the big six: tourism; agriculture; international trade; aerospace; life sciences and financial services.

Last year, for the first time, Florida’s gross domestic product topped $1 trillion. If it were a nation, it would have the 17th largest economy in the world.

Keeping a steady finger on the pulse of the Sunshine State’s economic vital signs is Florida Trend, one of the oldest and most respected business magazines in the nation. 

For the past several years, St. Petersburg-based Trend has published the “Florida 500,” its list of the most influential business leaders in the state.

In choosing individuals for the list, the magazine’s editors use three simple criteria: 1) People they find particularly interesting; 2) Have a wide sphere of activity in the business world and their respective communities; and 3) Leaders who embody the growing diversity of Florida’s economy.

Ken Ford, co-founder and CEO of the Institute for Human & Machine Cognition, stands for a photo on Wednesday, March 22, 2017.

While there are many quantitative barometers to measure a region’s economic vitality, the caliber and number of business leaders the magazine selects for its Florida 500 is an excellent indicator.

So, how does Pensacola and Northwest Florida stack up against the major population centers of Miami, Orlando, Tampa and Jacksonville?

Quite well, thank you. 

Despite having only 6 percent of the state’s population, Northwest Florida has 48 business leaders on Trend’s recently published list, including eight from the Pensacola area.

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