Rising Stars 2018
In the first five years of this newspaper, we saw some of our best and brightest seek opportunity elsewhere. Local young professionals were frustrated with doors being shut in their face and being told to wait their turns.
During the height of the Community Maritime Park debate in 2006, we facilitated the creation of the Pensacola Young Professionals (PYP) because we knew that unless they were given a seat at the decision-making table, we would continue to lose the talent and enthusiasm of the next generation and Pensacola would become a minor player in Florida’s future.
The park referendum passed and PYP members were asked to serve on several community boards. However, we thought we could do more to spotlight the tremendous talent this age group had to offer.
In 2008, we created Rising Stars to help the community put faces to the names of those young leaders seen by their peers, clients and bosses as up and coming leaders in their fields and the community. And since its inception, over 550 men and women have been named Rising Stars.
Several have gone on to seek and win political office. Dr. Megan Pratt was elected to the Pensacola City Council in 2008. Lumon May won the District 3 seat on the Escambia County Commission in 2010, and Clay Ingram, Frank White and Jayer Williamson have been elected to the Florida House of Representatives. The year, we have even more Rising Stars seeking elected office.
One might think that after eleven years the number of nominations might dwindle. That hasn’t happened. We received 148 nominations and chose 64 people for the 2018 Rising Stars class. Just like their predecessors, they have a wide variety of professions—including dentists, nurses, lawyers, accountants, artisans and teachers. We are particularly proud of the number of small business owners in this year’s group.
The 2018 Rising Stars class will have a meaningful impact on our community. We look forward to seeing how they help the Pensacola area grow and improve.