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mark-bakerTake a look around you. If you are on Hilton Head reading this, just glance to your left and right. Mark Baker probably designed that.

See that development over there? Mark Baker probably did that too. Oh, you live in Hampton Lake? Mark Baker. Your daughter plays soccer at Florida State University’s intramural fields? Mark Baker. You get drinks on the weekend at any of the Marriots here on island? Mark Baker. He is one of the most sought-after land developers in the southeast. And South America. And the Caribbean. And, boy, is he good at it.

lowcountry-boilWhen local bluegrass band Lowcountry Boil was created, it was a warm-up session before rock band Daly Planet concerts. About 15 years later, Daly Planet no longer exists, but Lowcountry Boil has survived as one of the longest-running bands in the area.

john-jacobsMost people are lucky enough to achieve success in one career their whole lives. John Jacobs is currently on his fifth.

Starting out as a teacher, becoming an administrator, segueing into a twenty-six year career with National Starch and Chemical, utilizing those skills to found a distribution and packaging logistics company, and now settling into small-business ownership quite nicely with his wife, Ramona Fantini, his success in seemingly everything that he does is a direct reflection of his outlook on life.

ida-martinMrs. Ida Martin, the founder of Bluffton Self Help Inc., in Bluffton was born in the rural town of Walterboro, in the mid 1920s. Her destiny: to grow up to become a well-recognized icon in the Lowcountry. She did it one task at a time and with the spit and fire of a woman on a mission. Her mission: to assist people lacking basic needs such as food, clothing and emergency financial assistance.

dr-herrmannIn the darkest times of your life, when you are down without any visible signs of ever getting back up, Dr. Virginia Herrmann is the buoy to which you can cling. She’s no miracle worker. No one is. But she is pretty close.

“When you are dealing with breast problems, it becomes so overwhelming for the patient. You are invited into a part of their life that is very intimate. They are very vulnerable, it’s the worst time in their life for the moment, and so if you can be there with them and help them through that journey, it’s really a privilege. You’re sharing something with them that they don’t share with everybody. It’s a privilege to help see them through that,” she said. And she does.

bob-gregoryThere’s a building somewhere, mid-island. We probably shouldn’t tell you where exactly.

From the outside, its stucco interior and towering garage door betray nothing other than an architectural kinship with the all the other commercial and light industrial structures huddled around it.

artj1bA small memo tacked on a bulletin board in the science halls of Rutgers University in 1957 offered Arthur “Red Jacket” Jorgensen the opportunity to rub elbows with some of the most famous explorers of the modern age.

The college junior applied for a position offered by the National Science Foundation to participate in scientific studies during the International Geophysical Year 1957-58.

Drew LaughlinDrew Laughlin is a rabid fan of the Pittsburgh Pirates, “Rumpole of the Bailey” and jazz — the kind that “has something happening,” he says.

But Hilton Head Island’s first new mayor since 1995 is finding that he doesn’t have as much time to dedicate to those pursuits as he used to.

“People don’t realize that when the campaign is over, it’s not really over,” says the McKeesport, Pa., native and Hilton Head resident since 1977. “There’s a lot of  thanking to do, a lot of recognizing people’s efforts. I can’t just turn and forget the people who worked hard on me.”

Ken CribbSome in the Lowcountry view Ken Cribb as a miracle worker. Many simply call him “Coach Cribb.” Most are just thrilled he doesn’t take rejection hard. Cribb, 45, became the toast of the town this fall after he led Bluffton High School’s football team to unimaginable heights: The team reached the Lower State finals to cap a season that galvanized the Lowcountry.

For Cribb, it was the latest chapter in an already-impressive multi-sport coaching career. But, the coach says, it was also something much more special. Prior to the 2010 season, the Bobcats had never beaten archrival Hilton Head Island — or for that matter won more than four games in season, let alone a region championship or a playoff game. This year, Bluffton went 12-2, beat Hilton Head twice, and won its region and three playoff games.

For Cribb, those kinds of turnarounds have become something of a speciality. “I’ve gotten labeled as a builder,” says Cribb. “I’ve taken over many teams that were bad.”

Mel GibbensMel Gibbens is a bartender who isn’t rooted behind the taps and coolers.

The Oxford, England, native assisted Thomas Viljac in the building of the Old Town Dispensary in downtown Bluffton last year — you can see his work in the carpentry, plumbing and painting — before morphing into the manager of the pub. “This is the fifth bar I’ve built. I’m quite handy with my hands,” he says.

But if he’s not manning the taps, there’s a good reason: He’s probably wandering the globe on the cheap.