This image is the cover for the book Florida Made, American Heritage

Florida Made, American Heritage

Once considered just an insect-ridden swampland, Florida is now a top destination for tourism, business, agriculture and innovation thanks to these 25 individuals.

Florida is in many ways both the oldest and newest of the megastates. The ideas and actions of a colorful cast of characters - from beloved cultural icons to political heroes and even a socialist dictator - transformed the peninsula. A Barbados native rescued Florida's orange industry after the catastrophic 1835 freeze. Known as the "Grande Dame of the Everglades," Marjory Stoneman Douglas worked tirelessly to save the state's vast, incomparable wetlands from annihilation in the early twentieth century. In the mid-1800s, a Florida doctor developed a precursor to modern air conditioning. Join former U.S. senator George LeMieux and journalist Laura Mize as they profile and rank, according to impact, the 25 trailblazers who have changed the Sunshine State forever.

George S. LeMieux, Laura E. Mize

George S. LeMieux is a native Floridian who has a varied career in both the public and private sectors. George served as Florida's 34th United States Senator in the 111th Congress. In the United States Senate, he served on the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee; the Armed Services Committee; and the Special Committee on Aging. George also worked as Florida's deputy attorney general, managing more than four hundred attorneys and appearing before appellate courts on behalf of the State of Florida, including the United States Supreme Court. As the governor's chief of staff, he oversaw, on behalf of the governor, all state agencies and operations. In that role, he negotiated a gaming compact with the Seminole Tribe of Florida.

George currently serves as the chairman of the board of Gunster law firm. He is the founder of the LeMieux Center for Public Policy at Palm Beach Atlantic University. He lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Laura E. Mize is a freelance journalist and former reporter for the Palm Beach Post. She has written extensively about Florida business, culture, food and dining and agriculture. She also has worked as a health and medical sciences writer for organizations such as the University of Florida and Mayo Clinic and the nationally syndicated radio show Health in a Heartbeat. Laura's work has appeared in newspapers across the country and in the Local Palate magazine. She lives in Southwest Florida with her husband and daughter.

The History Press