The Schroeder-Manatee Ranch CEO and president earns the Rick Fawley Economic Development Award of Distinction.
When it comes to awards, the Rick Fawley Economic Development Award of Distinction will have a special place on the mantle of Rex Jensen, the president and CEO of Schroeder-Manatee Ranch.
Jensen accepted the award from Fawley-Bryant Vice President Stu Henderson on Thursday night at the 2019 annual Update Reception hosted by Bradenton Area Economic Development at Feld Entertainment in Palmetto.
"He was one of my go-to friends, and this means a lot to me because of that," said Jensen, whose vision and work has led to the development of Lakewood Ranch, which last week secured the nation's top spot in annual housing starts (1,467) by Metrostudy for the second consecutive quarter. "There are a lot of ideas that go through SMR, and sometimes people outside say, 'How about this?' Rick could conceptualize things. He was a good guy with a great mind."
Fawley died in 2015 after a career of being a force both in area architecture and community involvement.
Jensen was recognized for being a force as well.
"I was helping SMR since before Rex came," said Caleb Grimes, a partner at Grimes Goebel Grimes Hawkins Gladfelter & Galvano, who specializes in land use law. "They were going in lightly (to develop Lakewood Ranch) and then they realized to develop the Ranch, they needed someone really good to lead the development process. He proved them right.
"What I like about him is yes, he is tough, and he can have interesting language, but he can analyze things and come up with the right decision."
Henderson called him bold, funny and irreverent before presenting him with the award.
"Rex is great to work with," said Hugh Miller, who added the Grove in Lakewood Ranch to his stable of restaurants. "I totally respect what he has been able to accomplish. That's why I wanted to be (in Lakewood Ranch). What he does a great job of, is that he has a long-term perspective. He is looking at six to 10 years from now. We're on the same page with that."
Miller said he loves that Jensen has the foresight to do things like keeping diversity among the restaurants on Lakewood Main Street.
"They have thought it through," he said of SMR. "These are smart people to be around."