50 Most Powerful 2018: 15 To Watch

These Leaders Are Also Making a Mark in Our Community.

A Powerful Force | Government and Politics | Education | Business | Entertainment, Sports & the Arts
Transportation & Tourism | Philanthropy & Community Voices | 15 To Watch

Aramis Ayala

The Orange-Osceola state attorney, who last September rescinded her death penalty ban after a heated battle with Gov. Rick Scott, has recently drawn praise for a new policy in which her prosecutors will no longer require monetary bail for defendants accused of nonviolent misdemeanors, alleviating what Ayala calls the “poverty penalty.’’

Phil Brown

Executive director of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority since 2010, Brown runs day-to-day operations at the nation’s 11th busiest airport. A south terminal is in the works to go with a completed intermodal rail station.

John F. Davis

The former president of the African American Chamber of Commerce of Central Florida was appointed in January to head Orlando, Inc., the chamber of commerce wing of the Orlando Economic Partnership.

Anna Eskamani

An outspoken advocate for social justice issues, Eskamani is running as a Democrat for the state House seat in District 47. The daughter of Iranian immigrants, the 28-year-old holds two undergraduate degrees, two master’s degrees and is pursuing a doctorate in public policy, all from UCF.

Tim Giuliani

In his second year as CEO of the Orlando Economic Partnership, Giuliani leads a not-for-profit public/private group with more than 140 board members/investors from the region’s top companies, representing a seven county-area.

Eric Gray

He heads United Against Poverty, a nonprofit social service agency that helps locals in need. Of Orlando’s 330,000 low-income families, more than 33,000 look to UAP for help through discount groceries, job training and more.

Fred Hawkins Jr.

An Osceola County commissioner since 2008, Hawkins is also chairman of the powerful Central Florida Expressway Authority, which recently opened a Beachline Expressway interchange that provides greater access to rural areas of eastern Orange and northern Osceola counties.

Josh Heupel

UCF’s new head football coach is faced with matching the departed Scott Frost’s perfect 2017 record, but some think this year’s team has even more talent. As quarterback, Heupel led Oklahoma to a national championship in 2000.

Kurt Kamperman

He is chief executive for the U.S. Tennis Association’s National Campus, which just completed its first year of operation in Lake Nona and is drawing accolades for its combination of training players for tournament play as well as a focus on community youth and adult tennis programs.

Georgia Lorenz

The new president of fast-growing Seminole State College takes over Aug. 1, succeeding E. Ann McGee, who led the institution for 22 years. Lorenz was formerly vice president of academic affairs at Santa Monica College in California.

‚ÄčJoAnn Newman

The president and CEO of Orlando Science Center since 2009, Newman is leading Unlock Science, a $30 million multi-year campaign to renovate exhibits and enhance visitor experiences. Fund-raising efforts are now focused on a massive exhibit that will feature live animals.

Gaby Ortigoni

The new president of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando has served the area’s Hispanic community for 20 years, most recently as an executive for Prospera, a nonprofit that provides bilingual assistance to Hispanic entrepreneurs trying to establish or expand their business.

Dominique Greco Ryan

The city of Orlando’s “night manager’’ ensures that downtown nightlife doesn’t go off the rails, particularly when clubs let out. That means getting businesses to work in harmony, as well as figuring out ideal pickup points for ride services so that people get home safely.

Thad Seymour, Falecia Williams

They are leading the establishment of the collaborative UCF-Valencia College downtown campus, set to open in the fall of 2019. Seymour is vice provost of UCF’s downtown location; Williams oversees Valencia’s efforts as president of both its downtown and west campuses.

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