Youthful Leaders Making Their Mark

Youthful leaders are making their mark on Northwest Florida

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Scott Holstein

Multi-Talented — At the age of 25, Fred Rabbath already has a host of successes under his belt.

Most of them went to school in Florida — and decided it’s a good place for career and family. They also have an intense desire to see communities in the 16-county region of Northwest Florida band together and create a vision to help grow the area’s economy.

These leaders profiled in the fourth round of our 40 Under 40 include the CEO of a major hospital, a filmmaker and inventor, a marketing specialist, a financial planner, a hotelier and an entrepreneur. Five of them have attended a Florida college — including four who earned a degree from Florida State University.

Brian Cook was born and raised in Miami and went to FSU, where he met his wife, in the 1990s. He began his business life owning and operating a Chick-fil-A in Palm Beach Gardens but then broke into hospital work nine years ago, at the age of 28. Since then he has served as a COO and CEO of hospitals in Tennessee and, in March, he became CEO of Capital Regional Medical Center in Tallahassee.

Sabrina McLaughlin began her career in radio then branched into marketing for a local company and the Okaloosa County elections office. She formed her own award-winning marketing firm before joining the administrative team at the University of West Florida, where she teaches marketing and public relations courses and is the university’s director of marketing and communications.

Hemant Patel owns two award-winning hotels in Gadsden County and has been an active proponent of community economic development efforts. Past president of the local Rotary Club and past chairman of the county’s tourist development council, he remains active in the county’s chamber of commerce and the Asian-American Hotel Owners Association.

Fred Rabbath, at the young age of 25, appears to have done it all already. He has made more than 100 short films — shot and edited with no budget — that have an audience of more than 7.5 million viewers on YouTube. He’s won more than 20 film festival awards, speaks four languages fluently (and he’s working on three more), is releasing two children’s books this fall and sold a patent for a cooling box fan to GE for a hefty sum. In his spare time he’s produced and directed commercials for companies like McDonald’s and Ace Hardware.

Sterling Scott has managed parking facilities in multiple states, which he opened with his father, and is now focusing on a facility in Bay County near the Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport. He’s involved with the U.S. Ski Association and has been active in several national charity organizations, including Toys for Tots.

Jonathan Tallman began his career at Northwestern Mutual but quickly broke off to form his own company in the community near where he was born (Eglin Air Force Base). While advising his clients on a wide range of financial issues, from life insurance to investing for retirement, he is active in local organizations like the Rotary Club and chamber of commerce and serves on the alumni board of Northwest Florida State College. He is chairman of the school advisory council for Collegiate High School, coaches basketball at his church (where he also serves on the board), and works at a Guatemalan orphanage twice a year while serving on the board of Friends of Children Everywhere, which operates the orphanage.

Like the young leaders we have previously profiled, these six represent some of the best business leaders that Northwest Florida has to offer and are a credit to their community and the entire region. If you have someone you’d like to have considered as one of 850’s 40 Under 40, please send a nomination to The final deadline to submit a nomination is Sept. 1, 2012.

Click "Next" to read about this issue's 40 Under 40

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