Men & Women of the Year
Meet nine dynamic people we honor for their major contributions to our community.
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Randy Wayne White grew up landlocked in Ashland, Ohio. So it might seem strange that water is where he’s mostly made his living. Either he’s been on it—as a charter boat captain in the 1970s and ’80s, guiding anglers through the flats around Sanibel and Captiva—or he’s been writing about it—via his character Doc Ford, who is about to appear in the 21st book in White’s mystery series.
In between landing in coastal Lee County in 1972 and now, White, 63, has become a bestselling writer, adventurer of record for magazines such as Men’s Journal and Outside, and a restaurateur—with Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille on his home base of Sanibel and on Fort Myers Beach. He’s also been a humanitarian, environmentalist and, if truth be told, an all-around nice guy—despite his “stocky and bald” appearance. “People are terrified” by the look, though, he says.
Most gratifying experience: Most recently, it’s been the fight to ban snagging rigs in tarpon fishing off Boca Grande. The (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Committee) just voted them down. Different career path: Law enforcement. You are actually doing some good. How to improve Southwest Florida: More consistent surf. I love standup paddleboard surfing. We are just lacking that one attribute (waves). More seriously, do something about the runoff from Big Sugar into Lake O and the Everglades. Guilty pleasure: Doc Ford’s carrot cake. I didn’t come up with the recipe. But I named it the Drunken Parrot Carrot Cake. Still on his bucket list: Nothing left to do for the first time. But I’ve got to go back to Cuba, and I’ve got to go back to Colombia. Greatest success: My sons are doing very well. And I’ve been very blessed in my writing career. I work hard at it. Two books a year, and doing very well with each.