Host Geoff Simon meets our area’s best businessmen and women and interviews them about the triumphs and inspirations that shaped them into the successes they are today.
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Meet Ambassador Douglas L. McElhaney. For more than 30 years he played an important role in the U.S. State Department in both Europe and the Middle East. Now a resident of St. Petersburg, he recently organized the first Conference on International Affairs at the University of South Florida - St. Petersburg.
If you want to visit the most beautiful college campus in America, and a national leader in experimental education, visit Florida Southern College - a 130-year-old private college renowned for its innovative education, remarkable Frank Lloyd Wright architecture, and leadership of its President Dr. Anne Kerr. Meet this innovative education entrepreneur on the next Suncoast Business Forum.
Meet Eugene Patterson, former Publisher of the St Petersburg Times & Pulitzer Prize winner. For more than 40 years he led some of the nation's top newspapers. What are his thoughts on the growing concern that a number of newspapers and media outlets may be forced to shut down?
Meet William Reece Smith, past Chairman of Carlton Fields & Chairman of the American Bar Association. Over the course of more than half a century he led the Florida Bar, the American Bar, and the International Bar Associations and convinced lawyers to provide legal services to millions of indigent people. He did this and more while building one of the most prominent law firms in Florida.
Meet Tom James, CEO of Raymond James Financial Services. He has spent the past 40 years transforming a tiny St. Petersburg investment firm into a diversified financial powerhouse that competes nationally and internationally with some formidable competitors.
In 2004, Lt. Colonel Gregory Celestan, a West Point graduate, decided to trade his Army uniform for a business. Starting from scratch he has turned his expertise in military intelligence and operations into a $20 million business, providing specialized services to the military and the private sector in less than a decade - with more growth on the horizon.
Entrepreneurs are inspired in many different ways, but finding inspiration in an emergency is not what you’d expect- unless you’re Dr. Stephen Dickey, former head of emergency services at a major regional hospital. He realized a lot of the patients shouldn’t be there. He left the hospital, opened a clinic across the street, and over 30 years it grew to 8 locations serving a 1,000 patients a day.
If you ask a successful person how they did it, they'll likely tell you they had lots of help along the way. On this month's SUNCOAST BUSINESS FORUM, you'll meet Hjalma Johnson, a successful entrepreneur who grew up in Dade City. With the right help at the right time, he went on to build nearly half a dozen banks and become President of the American Bankers Association.
Some folks are born to be entrepreneurs. In the 1930s, during the Great Depression, a 15 year old high school student in Opelousas, Louisiana went door to door selling refrigerators, washing machines and radios. Meet Herb Brown, a successful businessman who’s been a leader in retailing, fast food restaurants, and real estate development - while also leading a successful world-wide campaign to fig
Entrepreneurs are a different breed. What makes them march to a different drum, and risk it all to start their own business? It’s their quest for the American dream that makes our economy strong, and allows them to endure all the trials and tribulations of creating a new business.