FRED LEVIN (2007)
The flamboyant and outspoken Pensacola trial attorney has the University of Florida law school named after him. His biggest achievement was helping rewrite legislation in 1993 that led to a $13.2 billion settlement by the tobacco industry with the State of Florida.
J. COLLIER MERRILL (2008)
This developer and restaurateur works behind the scenes for the maritime park, downtown improvement and political candidates and causes. With his brothers, Will and Burney, Merrill co-owns Merrill Land Company, a real estate development and holding firm, along with The Fish House, Atlas Oyster House and Jackson’s Steakhouse in Pensacola.
LEWIS BEAR JR. (2009)
It’s difficult to find a charity or community organization that hasn’t been helped by the Lewis Bear family. Bear is the driving force behind the Greater Pensacola Chamber’s economic development efforts and does a masterful job at reining the many political forces at play.
QUINT STUDER (2010)
The founder of Studer Group and co-owner of the Pensacola Blue Wahoos was the big champion for the Community Maritime Park. Autism Pensacola, Pensacola Business Challenge and the Pensacola Promise scholars have all benefited from his and his wife Rishy’s philanthropy.
ASHTON HAYWARD (2011)
Pensacola’s young mayor came on in his first year as a superstar, accomplishing most of his top 20 campaign goals in his first year in office. Last year, he tackled city pensions, getting the general employees and police unions to close their plans.
DR. JUDY BENSE (2012)
She is the hero of every interim officer, turning what was originally only a 12-month gig into a full-time contract that was recently extended by her board of trustees with a nice pay raise. Bense is, by far, the best politician in the Pensacola area and has substantial influence on the state level.