26. C.T. Hill
He's the last big banker in town, and he advised Mayor Jones (No. 12) on financial matters during his transition into office. The head of SunTrust Bank's Mid-Atlantic Region, including all Virginia banks, also serves as chairman of Venture Richmond. Considering the decaying corporate oligarchy, that's worth something.
27. Richard Cullen and Frank B. Atkinson
Former Republican Attorney General Richard Cullen chairs the law firm McGuireWoods and Frank Atkinson, former counselor and policy director to Gov. George Allen, heads its lobby shop. As a pair with deep political contacts, they've guided a uniquely powerful firm and have consolidated its national reputation.
28. Thurston R. Moore
As chairman of one of the city's top two law firms, Hunton & Williams, Thurston Moore scores points for guiding the firm through recent economic turmoil — which included laying off nearly 100, including 23 lawyers, across the country this spring. He's also a trustee of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and chairs the museum's fiscal oversight committee.
29. Thomas J. Folliard Jr.
The economy has ravaged the car business, and CarMax saw sales drop 15 percent in the last year, from $8.2 billion to $6.7 billion. But Tom Folliard built the company's sophisticated inventory system, and is probably the smartest chief executive in Richmond, which, come to think of it, isn't a high bar to exceed.
30. G. Gilmer III and Charlotte Minor
If there's a recession buster left in Richmond, it might just be Owens & Minor, the medical-supplies distributor, which raked in $7.24 billion last year, with $93 million in net profit, up nearly 30 percent. The Minors are big supporters of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and Gil recently made a rare political appearance on Mayor Jones' transition committee.
31. Pamela Reynolds and the Reynolds Family
It takes a lot of juice to be $20 million over budget and a year behind schedule and still not catch too much flak. But that's how Pam Reynolds rolls. The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, whose board the local fashion icon chairs, will be one of the top 10 largest nationally when VMFA's $130 million renovation is complete next spring.
32. Darcy S. Oman
As chief executive of the venerable Community Foundation, Oman has seen her assets shrink 23 percent from last year, but that means she still sits on $510 million and helped distribute $50 million in grants last year to charities and nonprofits, many of which have few other places to look to for funding.
33. John B. Adams Jr. and Michael Hughes
The Martin Agency's national profile continues to rise on the strength of its Geico ads (cave man, talking lizard), its massive Wal-Mart account and countless other campaigns. In a town without much identity these days, the agency — run by its chief executive, John Adams, and its creative director, Mike Hughes, manages to project the illusion that Richmond is a creative center.
34. Robert F. McDonnell
In the wake of President Obama's historic win of our red-red state and nationally rising blue waters, McDonnell represents the strongest gubernatorial candidate the Republicans have had in years. With only one other large-scale political contest for the national party to throw money toward, all eyes will be on the former attorney general.
35. State Sen. John C. Watkins
Dress Barn! Dollar Tree! Cigarettes Plus! Cici's Pizza! Watkins' big plan to put Chesterfield County on the map and compete with Short Pump Town Center by sacrificing the family nursery for an upscale mall turned into, um, Payless ShoeSource. Watkins is still the go-to county guy in the statehouse. But c'mon, no one's crossing the river for Great Clips.
36. Michael N. Herring
With the economy down, crime will go up. And Richmond's baby-faced, laser-eyed commonwealth's attorney will be there. It's unclear whether everyone at City Hall has this crime-fighter's back — Mayor Jones (No. 12) trimmed 20 percent from Herring's proposed budget, which City Council mostly restored — but Herring's stock remains high as a city politician to watch.
37. Ivor Massey Jr. and Family
It was so adorable the way Harley aficionado Ivor Massey Jr. supported Jim Gilmore for president and for the U.S. Senate. Massey controls the family money, worth around $100 million earned from Massey Energy. Massey is on every fundraiser's wish list, and he was reportedly behind the group that attempted to bring baseball to the Bottom. If you're keeping score, that's 0-3.
38. J. Stewart Bryan III
The Virginia Press Association honored him in March with a lifetime achievement award, but Media General Chairman Stewart Bryan's acceptance was like spilled coffee in the lap for his gathered newspaper colleagues. That cup of coffee, Bryan noted, would have cost more than a share of his company's stock.
39. Marshall N. Morton
Strap in, investors, the USS Media General steams full speed ahead. With President and Chief Executive Marshall Morton at the helm, stock value recently zoomed from $1.72 in mid-July to the dizzying $4 range. Consider five years ago when the stock was near $70 and you wonder when “Flash Morton” will deploy his golden parachute.
40. Suzette Denslow and David Hicks
These days armchair analysts like to guess which of Mayor Dwight Jones' top staffers really runs Richmond. Is it his widely beloved chief of staff, Suzette Denslow, the methodical and efficient former legislative director and policy adviser for Warner and Kaine (No. 5)? Or is it David Hicks, senior policy analyst and former commonwealth's attorney, a bedeviling figure with a creative and catholic mind?
41. State Sen. Walter A. Stosch
The Henrico County Republican narrowly won a bruising primary. Then his party lost the chamber. He lost his seat as chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, and was pushed out as Senate party leader. Insiders say his new title as Republican leader emeritus is more than just fluff — his experience and technical knowledge remain valuable.
42. Raymond H. Boone
It's a been a good year for Ray Boone, publisher of the Richmond Free Press, which seemed to grow in prominence every week as Obama marched into the White House. Just imagine the Free Press headlines after Boone's two most hated rivals — Ukrop's and the Times Dispatch — become extinct. Tread lightly, boys.
43. The Rev. Lance D. Watson
The Rev. Watson oversees one of the largest congregations in the region at the two-campus St. Paul's Baptist Church, celebrating its 100th anniversary. No celeb was too small in the fall when President Obama and Sen. Mark Warner sent campaign-related guests to the Henrico County church, which owns 320 acres of land in the immediate area valued at more than $17 million.
44. Gov. L. Douglas Wilder
We know what you're thinking: What? Yes, the former governor and mayor destroyed our hopes and dreams for a better city, and deserves to join Trani in the Power Basement, but he can still hurt us. He was snickering and angling for that ambassadorship just last week, dissing Creigh Deeds. And McDonnell (No. 34) was bringing back from the dead one of Wilder's old ideas: privatizing state liquor stores.
45. Thomas A. Silvestri
Spit shining Richmond's silver lining is a tough job, and maintaining all the positive talk during the tedium of Public Square meetings must wear on a soul (though the series is commendable). Then there's the whole “newspapers are dead” thing. Which may explain the unbridled aggression the Richmond Times-Dispatch publisher unleashed on the newsroom in a recent company-wide e-mail. Silvestri's missive blamed reporters for their layoffs. Genius! (Sound of bow ties twirling.) Will it work with shareholders?
46. John M. Lewis Jr.
Operating under the radar until this year, John Lewis has burst onto the scene at the center of two major land deals and proven himself a savvy wrangler of federal funds — all in the name of a traditionally marginalized constituency: bus riders. We'll see what he can get through now that he's lost some of his cover.
47. Umesh Dalal
Richmond officials could be better about implementing some of the waste-busting suggestions City Auditor Umesh Dalal provides in his no-feelings-spared audits, but his words still pack a punch. His new investigative duties have already made waves — and work for prosecutors. Schools officials tremble and city leaders nervously debate who should control him.
48. Rachel Flynn
Well, they haven't fired her yet. The brilliant and brassy city planning director has inspired equally committed friends and enemies. At press time, her master plan has taken two years to get through, but whether or not she stays, her deputized minions will be more engaged, planning-principal-spouting residents going forward.
49. Michael Paul Williams
He remains the voice of righteous outrage and of well-reasoned change. Times-Dispatch columnist Michael Paul Williams diagnoses Richmond's ills and prescribes remedies often carefully considered by decision makers. As the daily paper lays off experienced reporters and sinks further financially, Williams frequently accounts for far more than the sum of the Times-Dispatch's many parts.
50. Charlie Agee
Charlie Agee, director of corporate contributions at Altria Group, is the rainmaker at the tobacco giant, controlling the company's charitable contributions. The parent of Philip Morris USA tends to cut make-good checks every year worth millions. If you're going to profit from killing people, why not give some of the proceeds to the Red Cross?