Magic's Martins Tops Orlando Magazine's Most Powerful People List
By John Denton
June 12, 2012
ORLANDO – Pinpoint any of the major developments and achievements in Orlando over the past five years and usually Alex Martins’ fingerprints can be found. As the day-to-day leader of the Orlando Magic and a person who serves on 10 different Board of Directors in the community, Martins is a man of action who specializes in getting things accomplished.
Martins’ work with the Magic and throughout Central Florida helped him become the leader of Orlando magazine’s ``50 Most Powerful People in Orlando’’ list. He is the first private person to ever rank at the top of the list after the mayors of Orlando and Orange County and UCF’s president – all public employees – had dominated the prestigious list’s top spot since its inception in 2004.
Martins, the Magic’s CEO since last December, ranks just ahead of Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, UCF President Dr. John Hitt and the late Gary Sain, the former President/ CEO of Visit Orlando. Martins, 48, was also was one of five people given ``Hall of Power’’ status after earning top-five status for five consecutive years. Others in the 2012 ``Hall of Power’’ class were Ronald Blocker, Meg Crofton, Rasesh Thakkar and Sain.
Martins’ rise to the top of the Orlando business community is a remarkable one considering that he got his start as a public relations director with the Magic in 1989. Since then, he’s steadily climbed the corporate ladder to where he now runs the day-to-day operations for the Magic. Quite possibly no one knows the organization better top to bottom, and he’s committed to making the Magic champions on and off the court.
``I grew up in this organization and if anybody does, I bleed Magic blue,’’ Martins said recently. ``I’ve learned the business from the ground up and I’ve virtually worked in every corner of this business – be it public relations, marketing or sales or in the development. It’s been a great period of 20 years in working with this (DeVos) family and this organization. I look forward to doing it several more years as well.’’
Clearly, the Magic like Martins’ business savvy and negotiating skills and want him running their organization for several more years to come. Martins was promoted to CEO in December and guided the franchise back to the NBA playoffs for a sixth consecutive season, the longest such streak in the Eastern Conference.
Some of Martins’ finest work came in February and March when he took over discussions with Dwight Howard and convinced the Magic superstar center that it was in his best interests to remain in Orlando. Howard ultimately waived the opt-out clause in his contract, a move that kept him under contract with the Magic through next season.
It was yet another landmark achievement for Martins, who a year earlier had overseen the construction and the grand opening of the dazzling Amway Center in downtown Orlando. The facility is considered the finest sporting venue in the NBA by Commissioner David Stern and it allowed Orlando to host the NBA All-Star Game in February with rousing success.
But because Martins means so much to so many in Central Florida, Martins work with the Magic was just a small part of his imprint on the community. He helped convince Gov. Rick Scott to approve the SunRail project, helped a team lure the Burnham Institute for Medical Research to Central Florida and he helped broker the approval of the construction plans for the downtown Performing Arts Center. He also is chairman of the Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission, serves on the boards of Visit Orlando, Coalition for the Homeless, the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness and the Central Florida board of directors for Seaside National Bank & Trust.
``I’m a people person,’’ Martins told Orlando magazine. ``I’m also an optimist by nature. From my optimistic point of view, once you take emotion out of the situation, you can get two people to see common ground. I love the challenge. I relish the opportunity to bring parties together and find a compromise or come to a solution to a problem that may not be exactly what everybody wants, but ultimately allows all the parties to achieve what their goals are.’’
Martins’ desire to make an impact on the community as well as on the basketball court spreads throughout the Magic organization. Every member of the Magic’s leadership team sits on at least one community board. In the last year the Magic’s staff provided more than 6,000 volunteer hours and affecting the lives of approximately 75,000 children.
Saying for years that he has channeled legendary Magic owner Rich DeVos’ desire to win on the court and in the community, Martins is more than happy to have his hand in several projects throughout Central Florida. When one wins, we all win, Martins said.
``Ultimately, I want the Magic’s impact to be Orlando’s first world championship in a major professional sport,’’ Martins told Orlando magazine. ``But it goes beyond that. Hopefully it’s the piece that we already execute on all the time, and that’s to have a major impact on Central Florida and the quality of life in Central Florida.’’
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