At the top of the list a year ago, the Dominion Resources’ chief is Gov. Bob McDonnell’s (No. 7) inner conscience — they’ve been friends since high school — and a growing confidante of Mayor Jones. He leads the governor’s higher education reform commission, and recently was appointed to the Virginia Commonwealth University board of visitors, which desperately needs steady leadership. Farrell is of the new generation of power executives, efficient and organized and unafraid to make executive decisions — but not much of a fire starter. He spent years in the background, content running the state’s largest electric utility, but jumped out front when McDonnell took office. So he’s new, and takes no for an answer (he pushed for the Coliseum on the Boulevard, to no avail). Farrell doesn’t just campaign for better city schools but also delves into the details, pushing a behind-the-scenes effort to improve middle schools and teacher recruitment. Farrell, we just need you to punch harder.
2010 Ranking: 1