About Us

The Business Observer is the weekly newspaper for business leaders on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Started in 1997 as the Gulf Coast Business Review, we focus on delivering the business news and stories for the C-Suite: decision-makers from Tampa to Naples. Our internal motto? Give readers what the “boss needs to know.” We specialize in reporting on industry and economic trends; emerging companies; corporate strategies; identifying and profiling the region’s up-and-coming entrepreneurs and top business leaders; and keeping our readers abreast of state, regional and local government actions affecting business and the economy. We champion free-market principles and celebrate business owners who help make the Gulf Coast of Florida one of the best places to live in the world.

MattWalshMatt WalshEditor and publisher. Walsh has been a business journalist in Florida for more than 25 years, serving in previous capacities as assistant business editor at The Miami Herald, editor of Florida Trend magazine for seven years and Southeast Bureau Manager of Forbes magazine. Walsh is founder and co-owner of The Observer Media Group Inc. and serves as the company’s CEO. His economic philosophy sets the tone for the company and its newspapers’ editorials. The newspapers are unwavering proponents of laissez-faire capitalism. When he’s not reading books by Austrian economists, he can be overheard at the office quoting Adam Smith or proclaiming: “Let us be!”




Kat HughesExecutive Editor. A graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism (Go Tigers!), she came to work for the Business Observer’s parent company, the Observer Media Group Inc. as a reporter for the Longboat Observer. Since then, she has covered government for a daily, produced crop guides for farmers in a university job and helped wrangle Cowboys in Wyoming (as in, mentored UW football players to make sure they went to class, did their homework and generally behaved). She loves business, cycling and reading everything she can get her hands on — including the five newspapers she edits each week.


Mark GordonDeputy Managing Editor. Mark Gordon has been a reporter and editor for more than 15 years, working for daily newspapers in upstate New York, suburban Philadelphia and Jacksonville, with the Florida Times-Union. Gordon also worked for SmartMoney magazine in New York City and was one of the first reporters to write and report on publicly traded companies for the magazine’s new website in 1999. He has been working for the Observer Media Group Inc. since 2005. He lives in east Manatee County with his wife and six-year-old son.


Jean GrussEditor/Lee-Collier. Jean Gruss joined the Business Observer in 2005 to open the Fort Myers and Naples offices. Previously Jean worked for Kiplinger Washington Editors, The Tampa Tribune and the Panama City News-Herald. When he’s not writing, Jean enjoys long-distance running, scuba diving and practicing karate.


Alex MahadevanDigital Content Producer. Mahadevan is responsible for filling the web with Observer Media Group and Business Observer articles, breaking news and videos. He reported for the Business Observer after obtaining an M.S. in Economics from the Florida State University, then served as news editor for the Pelican Press until 2012. In his spare time, Mahadevan likes to pick up heavy things and put them back down, play the drums and complain about local politics.


Mark WemplePhotographer. Wemple is a professional photographer with over 20 years experience. He really enjoys that his job gives him the opportunity to meet so many interesting people, and do so many interesting things.   Mark can’t believe he actually gets paid to do this.

Traci McMillan Beach – Contributing writer – Tampa. From the day Beach started talking, she hasn’t stopped asking the question, “Why?” Proudly flying the only Notre Dame flag in South Tampa, now people are asking her, “Why???” Beach is happily settled in the Gulf Coast with her husband and rambunctious puppy, after working in DC as a Bloomberg News reporter.

Nicole Thompson – Design Editor. Thompson graduated from the University of Missouri school of journalism in 2012. She’s been working for the Business Observer ever since, creating colorful designs and information graphics. A Chicago-native, Thompson is positive the Cubs will one-day win a world series, and she’s very confused as to why all the pizza in Sarasota is so flat…