40 things I really like about the latest issue of INFLUENCE Magazine

in Apolitical/Top Headlines by

The third edition of INFLUENCE Magazine will arrive in mailboxes next week. If it doesn’t and you would like to receive a hard copy of this inside view into Florida’s news, politics, and culture, please drop me a line.

As you can imagine, I’ve read everything in INFLUENCE several times, backwards and forwards.

Going through it one more time, underlining the sentences and paragraphs I really liked, here are … things I especially enjoyed about the latest issue of INFLUENCE Magazine.

• The ads near the front of the book for Southern Strategy Group and Ballard Partners, the state’s two largest governmental affairs firms. Each ad very much represents the individual styles of the two firms. SSG’s ad is bold, creative, and dominant. Ballard’s spread is confident, engaging, and aggressive. Even in their advertising, SSG and Ballard demonstrate why they lead the industry.

• Yes, that’s a picture of me holding a dirty martini in my hand. Friends like Sarah Bascom, Slater Bayliss, Alia Faraj-Johnson, and Alan Suskey, all of whom share our enthusiasm for Disney cruises, will recognize the setting: the elevator banks aboard the Disney Fantasy.

Rosanne Dunkelberger‘s answer to who she think belonged on the INFLUENCE 100 list: “Mothers.” Jim Rosica‘s answer “Unsung State Worker” is smart, too.

Chris Carmody‘s and Robert Stuart‘s tribute to their late colleague, Fred Leonhardt, always leaves a lump in my throat. Rest in peace, Fred.

Ashley Kalifeh‘s 4th Floor File. Of the hundreds of lobbyists I’ve interacted with the past two years, Ashley is one of the smartest. Like, she’s on the Top 10 smartest list. She is a five-tool player, I kid you not. File this 4th Floor interview away for future reference when Kalifeh is ranked as one of the top 20 lobbyists in the state.

• I wish I looked as good in a suit as Jon Kilman and Alan Suskey do on pages 43 and 45.

• How smart are Steve Vancore, Blake Dowling, and Brecht Heuchan? Their columns are dense, registering high on the Flesch-Kincaid reading scale. My advice: Don’t try to read them during your first skim of the magazine. Set them aside, as I did, and dive into them when you can really pay attention.

Mike Fasano as a comet on page 63.

• The 11-by-17-inch ad for Capital City Consulting. Along with the venerable Gerald Wester, that is a roster of lobbyists who will be a force in “The Process” for decades.

• There is a lot of interesting data in Fred Piccolo‘s infographic on page 67. I might have to do a separate post on all of those stats.

• Such a smart layout choice by Tisha Keller on pages 79-82, juxtaposing the vision for Brian Ballard’s forthcoming building with its historical predecessors.

• Metz Husband & Daughton’s office, pictured on page 86, is some Bruce Wayne stuff right there.

• Each time I read Jim Rosica‘s interview of the brilliant and controversial Paul Hawkes, I wonder, how did Jim score this interview? Hawkes hasn’t spoken to the media about his journey, but here he is opening up to Jim. Proof again that INFLUENCE Magazine isn’t all glossy photos and puff pieces of the lobby corps.

• It’s not lost on me that this issue is bookended by profiles of Hawkes and his bete noire, Lucy Morgan. That was not on purpose. It was just serendipitous.

Here’s what stands out to me about the INFLUENCE 100 of the most powerful people in Florida politics:

• Most everyone agrees it was the smart decision not to rank the list. All I would have done is make one person very happy and 99 others upset.

• How cool is Pat Bainter‘s picture? Dude is the most in-demand GOP political consultant in the state, yet a shot of him winning an antique tractor race is the image he really wants to convey.

Sarah Bascom‘s smile. That hint of a smirk tells me she knows she owns it.

• The photo of Ana Cruz, shot by my dear father-in-law Benjamin Todd, deserves a double-truck spread as it shows off both Ana and her beloved Tampa.

• Honored by the A-list elected officials who contributed to the magazine, such as Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, who writes about cover girl Kelly Cohen on page 97.

• Yes, that is Yoda in the background of Eric Johnson‘s picture. Here is the background on Johnson’s fanboy affinity for Yoda.

• Of course, Rick Wilson sat for his photo wearing hunting gear. Hunting for what? Probably for trolls on Twitter.

• Are there three more powerful pages than 106-108? Brian Ballard, Ron Book, Dean Cannon, Gaston Cantens, Al Cardenas, and Paul Bradshaw. That is Adams Street.

• I told Ballard how much I like Mary Beth Tyson‘s photo of him. All of the ones in the media have him a) on a phone b) the back of the room c) on the phone in the back of the room. This shot reflects the gravitas and, what is it worldliness, world-weariness? – of Florida’s top lobbyist.

• Yes, those chickens in the background of Paul Bradshaw’s photo. Probably very expensive chickens. Here is the background on Bradshaw’s amazing chickens.

• I agree. If I wanted to sell more copies of this magazine, I should have made the picture of Nick Iarossi on page 111 the cover shot.

• Sen. Don Gaetz‘ explanation of why Lewis Bear is so influential is one of the best in the series. Bear’s probably not a household name in south of I-4, but he’s a giant in the Panhandle.

• The best picture in the book? Probably the one of billionaire Mike Fernandez at his horse farm in Havana, Florida.

• Another big city mayor who contributed to the magazine: Tampa’s Bob Buckhorn, who writes about Jeff Vinik‘s impact on his community.

• My FAVORITE photo? The one of Kathy Mears, because it captures her intelligence, her focus, and her affinity for the mischievous.

• That is a beautiful write-up of Rick Scott‘s Chief of Staff, Melissa Sellers, by Brecht Heuchan.

• There was never any doubt Steve Bousquet and Mary Ellen Klas would be on the INFLUENCE 100, no matter how much their newspapers despise me. I only wish the elegant and majestic Klas would have sat for a photo.

• Why Mike Deeson and not just another political reporter? Because Deeson is the most preeminent TV investigative journalist in a state that all but invented the craft. And that picture of Deeson is just priceless.

• One of my favorite selections is Carol Marbin Miller‘s place on the INFLUENCE 100. Every time she writes a story, a legislative committee is given a new mission.

• Of course Justin Sayfie is on the list. Just because he doesn’t include our work on his site doesn’t make him any less influential. The INFLUENCE 100 is not a list of 100 of Peter’s admirers, favorites or friends.

• Another great shot from Benjamin Todd is the one of Progress Florida’s Mark Ferrulo standing in front of the burgeoning St. Petersburg skyline.

• Thank you, President Andy Gardiner, for writing about David Johnson. Having the President and Speaker Steve Crisafulli, as well as CFO Jeff Atwater, Ag Commissioner Adam Putnam, contribute to the magazine is an honor.

• The shot of Ron Sachs is another one that needs to be blown up because the background of a rhinoceros “breaking through” (a motto for his firm) his very cool.

Will Weatherford. Under 40 years-old. Already a legend.

• I could underline EVERY SINGLE LINE in Lucy Morgan’s profile.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.