THE POWER LISTOur annual ranking of who runs this town.Key to Symbols:
Movement up in ranking.
Movement down in ranking.
Same rank as last year.
New to this list.
1. Eugene Trani
Yes, it's frozen down there. Solid. But don't say we didn't warn you. Our annual ranking of power isn't a popularity contest. It's a measure of resources and who controls them. Of a person's ability, capacity and will to foster change locally.
Success at generating headlines is one way to gauge power in this town, which, if you haven't caught on, has been the sole property lately of one Eugene P. Trani.
Well, someone else is good at generating press, too -- Mayor L. Douglas Wilder, who held our No. 1 spot for two years running. But he's just not making sense anymore. There are too many aimless fights and ridiculous proclamations. (Does the city charter really give him the authority to hire and fire City Council staffers? No. If it did, the Silver Fox should be petitioning the General Assembly to change it so he couldn't. C'mon, the guy teaches university-level government classes.)
Are we punishing Wilder by elevating his only boss? Perhaps. But guess who pays Wilder for teaching the government classes? We all do, actually, but Trani, the unflappable president of Virginia Commonwealth University, cuts the checks.
Trani practically rebuilt West Broad Street, and he's rebuilding Monroe Ward with his business school. The downtown university is a world unto itself, and its current role as an economic driver in the city is all the work of the little guy, Trani, who uses it to leverage all of his pet projects. Like we didn't know that once Trani proposed keeping the Richmond Braves right where they are, next to VCU's multimillion-dollar tennis facility that VCU is building. The proposal that Wilder's trumpeting to move the Richmond Coliseum to the Boulevard? It's Trani's idea.
Power has a strange way of manifesting itself. Sometimes it's derived from money and economic power (think Bill Goodwin, No. 3). Sometimes it's political power (Gov. Tim Kaine, No. 4; Attorney General Bob McDonnell, No. 27). And sometimes power is built through civic and social activism (Pamela Reynolds and the Reynolds family, No. 38; the Rev. Lance Watson, No. 50).
Power comprises so many things. Trani brings them all together.
He has access to the money not to mention a little bit of his own and wields tremendous political clout as head of a public university, General Assembly lobbyist and mayoral confidant.
He has tremendous economic power, essentially running his own little city within the city, moving around student housing to create retail shopping strips, for example, just like a Sims game.
He brings people to the city with his blazing basketball program. Remember the shot over Duke in March? Coach Anthony Grant, the guy who almost replaced Billy Donovan at the University of Florida, which won the last two NCAA championships? It was Trani who hired Grant.
Stop, it hurts. Trani, Trani, Trani. And we know he's a bit of an egoist who hasn't exactly gone out of his way to preserve Richmond history. (Style's architecture critic, Edwin Slipek Jr., swears he'll strap himself to historic West Hospital to stop the bulldozers.)
Trani, one can argue, puts a lot of things above academics. He sat idly by and watched MCV Hospital's legendary heart program fall into the gutter, and then slapped VCU's name on the side of the building. There are some winners, such as the top-ranked arts programs. Rather than build a great academic environment that produces stars, however, Trani would rather recruit a Nobel Prize winner who did all of his best work somewhere else. It's the Dan Snyder, Washington Redskins approach. The Skins miss the playoffs, but they still sell tickets.
Sorry, Wilder. Right now we're buying. Welcome to Tranitown.
2. Mayor L. Douglas Wilder
Forget what we said about Trani. Please, Mr. Wilder, don't hurt us. You're still an awfully big badass in this town.
But we're beginning to worry about you. Your rants are often indiscernable. And you're beating up the school system for bloated overhead while ignoring inefficiencies in your own backyard. Bill Pantele is already printing up campaign placards with your mug and that infamous quote, "I haven't got a clue," blurted when you were confronted with the reality that your administrative expenses have risen by $10 million since you took the throne.
You put the real estate assessors on notice in the midst of appeals season. You sent police cars to employees' homes to notify them that their jobs were in jeopardy. That's not tough love, it's just wrong. And what about that missing $172,000 from your gubernatorial campaign in 1989? Did your son, Larry, really snort that much coke? And you, tight-as-a-tick Doug, didn't realize it was missing?
We're not buying it. And pretty soon, Richmond's going to stop buying it too. Maybe a year from now all the sledge-hammering will make sense, but now it doesn't. You ran off well-respected Chief Administrator William Harrell we're told working for you was the most trying period in his professional life and your new second-in-command, Harry Black (No. 56), may be running the city illegally (he still hasn't been approved by City Council, a requirement).
So who's running the city? We have a clue. It's you, Doug.
3. William H. Goodwin Jr.
You can make a powerful argument that billionaire CCA Industries boss Bill Goodwin should take the No. 1 spot he serves on Wilder's education committee and has given Trani's VCU $75 million, and the expanding Monroe Ward business school is essentially Goodwin's doing. But he hates publicity, enough to insist to a reporter that he isn't really that powerful. That's an important distinction, separating Goodwin from Trani (No. 1) and Wilder (No. 2). Trani enjoys playing the press, and has done so successfully (see: Richmond Coliseum, MCV campus expansion). Good salesmanship and PR are important in asserting power in Richmond this media manipulation thing. Goodwin is more of a behind-the-scenes guy who just so happens to own a gazillion businesses, including an island in South Carolina. If he starts manipulating us, we're all in trouble.
4. Gov. Timothy M. Kaine
Leaden-hoofed Virginia drivers curse him for signing off on tough new fines for speeders. But Gov. Tim Kaine is golden right now, as much for his successes during the recent legislative session as for his winning hearts with his sensitive handling of the Virginia Tech tragedy. A June report of 70 percent approval ratings mirrors those seen for a certain president after the 9/11 terror attacks, and assuming Kaine suppresses any urge to launch preemptive strikes on West Virginia, the Richmonder holds firm in our top five. His $1.3 million PAC war chest entering the fall elections could even buy back a few friends lost to speeding fines.
5. Michael E. Szymanczyk
Under the leadership of Chief Executive Michael Szymanczyk, Philip Morris USA is consolidating manufacturing operations from North Carolina to Richmond bringing a $230 million investment and another 1,900 jobs. Scientists are moving into the $350 million research facility downtown. The best part? Because Philip Morris makes a product that kills hundreds of thousands of people every year, it tends to give away a lot "make-good" money and that's good for Richmond. Szymanczyk is sending public affairs reps to community meetings in Jackson Ward, and Wilder appointed him to the performing arts center board. He's a bit stiff, though, and recently whiffed when asked if he'd pose with a cigarette, adding, sacrilegiously, "I don't smoke."
6. James E. Ukrop
James Ukrop testified against his one-time protégé, former groceryman Johnny Johnson. But it didn't stick, and Johnson won a $16 million verdict against SuperValu Inc., the supplier that he claimed ran him out of business. There was his public feud with Mayor Wilder (No. 2) over the performing arts center, and a recent spat with (No. 58) Richmond Free Press publisher Ray Boone (we hear there was pushing, literally). Now rumors just won't fade that Ukrop's Super Markets would consider a sale to, say, Harris Teeter. (Ukrop says the rumors are false.) Considering the lumps Ukrop has taken over the past two years, no one would blame him if he bagged it and retired. But CenterStage moves on, and Ukrop still wields tremendous influence and respect.
7. Thomas F. Farrell II
It wasn't too many years ago that Thomas F. Farrell was just another high-powered Richmond lawyer. Then came his late-1990s involvement with Virginia Power at a critical time when electric deregulation first gained traction with lawmakers. Farrell's alliance with Dominion Resources Inc. head Tom Capps paid off in spades, and he's since succeeded Capps as chairman, president and chief executive. Farrell is heading up, up, up nationally and locally, too: Among other things, he's a director of the national Institute of Nuclear Power Operations, rector at his alma mater, the University of Virginia, and a Wilder committee appointee.
8. Stanley F. Pauley
Stanley Pauley and his wife, Dorothy, are among Richmond's philanthropic elite, having given millions to VMFA and VCU's Pauley Heart Center. In the past year, their family foundation threw its support behind the Virginia Performing Arts Foundation. The Pauleys pledged $3 million, giving Jim Ukrop (No. 6) much-needed good news to share in December about the beleaguered Richmond CenterStage project that yes, the $65 million complex would happen. Stan Pauley also runs foam and cushioning manufacturer Carpenter Co., which at last count posted $1.5 billion in annual revenue.
9. Michael D. Fraizer
Insiders say he's a bit aloof, but the man behind Genworth Financial is becoming more of a fixture in Richmond. The $10.5 billion insurance company has seen its stock more than double since separating from Jack Welch's General Electric. Michael Fraizer, who more than a year ago helped host an episode of Donald Trump's "Apprentice," encourages volunteerism; two-thirds of Genworth's employees are involved in some sort of community outreach. Among other things, Fraizer and his wife, Elizabeth, recently donated money to start a tennis mentoring program at Virginia Commonwealth University. With a salary and compensation worth $14.5 million in 2006, he has the pockets to do a lot more.
10. The Gottwald Family
JimGilmore's presidential campaign is over despite Bruce C. Gottwald's March fundraiser for the former governor. But as longtime GOP boosters, the Gottwald family still has a deep pack from which to pick their winner. Meanwhile, it's a slow changing of the guard for the family's considerable involvement in Richmond's cultural institutions. The older generation is getting on as the younger Gottwalds begin to take their rightful places within various city cultural institutions. With an estimated combined family wealth of at least $675 million, according to Virginia Business magazine, the Gottwalds have the Gs to keep them on the power list for years to come.
11. Allison P. Weinstein and the Weinstein Family
The treadmills are not paved with gold. But there are little red spiders on dumbbells at the University of Richmond's new $13.5 million, 90,000-square-foot Weinstein Center for Recreation and Wellness. It opened in January thanks to a $6 million donation from the Weinstein family. Patriarch Marcus Weinstein and his wife, Carole, are the alumni of the family. But his daughter, Allison president and COO of the family's 11,000-apartment Weinstein Properties management firm is a UR trustee. She helped end UR's $200 million capital campaign more than 18 months early, too. The family, including Allison's husband, Ivan Jecklin, is active across the city.
12. J. Stewart Bryan III
When they start naming scholarships after you, you're either dead or influential (or both). In this case, J. Stewart Bryan is alive, thank you, despite having given his CEO title at Media General to Marshall Morton (No. 40) two years ago. His name still packs a wallop, and he's still chairman of the company. But he has time to enjoy other pursuits serving as vice chairman of the Virginia Historical Society and helping honor fellow former Marines by serving on the board of the new National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico. As for the scholarship, a student at each of 15 independent colleges in Virginia will receive one in Bryan's name, a tribute to Bryan's work on the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges.
13. E. Claiborne Robins Jr. and Family
Although family patriarch E. Claiborne Robins died 12 years ago, he still managed to draw attention this year, being inducted posthumously into the Greater Richmond Business Hall of Fame. At UR, his family's influence is on the rise at the hands of his son, E. Claiborne Jr. Word has it he helped move along former president Cooper's ouster. And he's just been tapped into the trustees' executive committee, an exclusive group that will advise Ayers (No.18) and help run the show between board meetings. He's also seen his wine-importing business named to the Rising 25 this year and is board chairman of the growing Virginia Historical Society.
14. Patrick Farrell
The hospital systems seem to enjoy a simpatico give-and-take, but Patrick Farrell oversees HCA Richmond Division, the region's largest hospital group and employer. Under Farrell, the company has enjoyed an even-keeled success and steady growth with new procedures and services. Farrell has a reputation for thoroughness and preparation, but hasn't yet whipped up the charisma or community presence that his predecessors Marilyn Tavenner and Margaret Lewis were known for.
15. Virgil R. Hazelett
County managers and dogs don't usually live much past their teens, but after 15 years in his post, Henrico County's top dog shows little sign of slowing. With Virgil Hazelett at the helm, Henrico maintains its primacy as the region's industrial and commercial engine, and its 2007-2008 operating budget is dancing precipitously close to the billion-dollar mark. With the departure of his counterpart in Chesterfield County, Lane Ramsey, Hazelett also becomes the senior partner in regional government activities. One hiccup this year involves troubling allegations surrounding past land deals between the county and local developers that saw Henrico paying a bit above market price.
16. Robert S. Ukrop
His brother, Jim (No. 6), has long been the patriarch of Ukrop's Super Markets, but Bobby is the president and CEO, and gaining ground. He's more involved in community issues, recently getting behind a plan for a new multimillion-dollar pool near The Diamond, and he's president of the Greater Richmond Chamber. Ukrop's, the grocery store, is still the market leader. But it continues to slowly slip in Richmond, ceding market share for the sixth year to rivals such as Food Lion and Wal-Mart. Ukrop's has maxed out in Richmond, and growth elsewhere has been difficult. It's hard to transport a cult, after all.
17. Chief Rodney D. Monroe
After last year's high-profile homicides, Richmond Police Chief Rodney Monroe has seen to it that more people survived this summer than last. The chief is the only city agency head undisturbed by the mayor, and the low murder rate is a good talking point for economic development types. With all the craziness at City Hall, Monroe has become Wilder's most important political card: The dramatic drop in murders, standing at 28 as of July 19, has the city on pace for its lowest murder count in two decades. The numbers overshadow successes in Monroe's community-based social programs, like busting truants, but homicide is down. Period.
18.Edward L. Ayers
Is there such a thing as giddy buzz at a 177-year-old institution? That's the zeitgeist at the University of Richmond, where Edward L. Ayers is beginning his first year as president. After a hard landing for former President William Cooper, a search for a new leader led to Mr. Jefferson's house. Ayers, a Civil War scholar, served as dean of the University of Virginia's school of arts and sciences, which has more than three times the number of students as UR's undergrad population. He has support, opportunity and a blank slate, and must swiftly bring unity and push the school forward. He has a good base: UR has stockpiled an endowment that was valued in June at $1.64 billion.
19. Beverley W. "Booty" Armstrong
It's a little tricky to gauge the year Booty Armstrong has had. The successful business partner of heavy-hitter Bill Goodwin, he co-owns The Jefferson Hotel and is a key investor in MAXjet, the new business-class airline that flies out of London. But he's kept a lower profile since his pet project, the downtown performing arts center, got beaten up and scaled down by Mayor Wilder. A major donor to Virginia Commonwealth University, he has a reputation for ponying up the cash for the projects he supports. He's been at the helm of several of the region's major revitalization groups, including the successful Capital Region Airport Commission.
20. Thomas E. Capps
He's two years gone from his top spot at Dominion Resources and even more in the background after not seeking re-election as chairman. Yes, Tom Capps has gone to ground presumably to recharge his batteries but he retains a low-voltage glow of power. He was the mighty force behind Virginia's race to electric deregulation and favorable terms for re-regulation of the industry. Tight SCC controls on rate hikes? Sure, if a mandated schedule of hikes that require SCC rubber-stamping is "tight control." Doubt Capps' power? You won't when your electric bill rises as predicted by some industry insiders by 70 percent over the next decade.
21. G. Gilmer III and Charlotte Minor
Gil Minor stepped down in 2005 as CEO of his family's Fortune 500 medical supplies company. He remains chairman of the board and a serious political donor to Democrats and moderate Republicans, but this was his wife Charlotte's big year. She just completed her three-year term as president of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts' board, where she oversaw the selection of the new director and closed out the capital campaign.
22. The Markel Family and Alan I. Kirshner
It's a bit absurd: A single share of Markel Corp. stock will cost you about $470. Earlier this year, the stock actually breached $500. The company won't allow a stock split and likes the exclusivity it keeps out fly-by-night investors and who can blame it? Under the leadership of CEO Kirshner and the Markel family, the insurance firm keeps outperforming itself by insuring things that are difficult to insure, such as public parks. The Markels are also very philanthropic. Steve Markel is a big supporter of Virginia Commonwealth University School of Business, to which he and his wife recently gave $10 million. And Kirshner founded the Partnership for the Future mentoring program for inner-city youth.
23. John W. Snow
It used to be getting the boot by the president of the United States was something to bury deep in your résumé. These days it's perhaps an asset. The former secretary of the Treasury, former CSX boss John Snow recently joined the boards of Verizon Communications Inc. and Marathon Oil Corp. He heads Cerberus Capital Management and is the effective top dog of ailing automaker Chrysler (bought in May for $7.4 billion). The new post seems a good fit: His horn-shaped eyebrows are well suited to the head of a corporation named for Hell's three-headed guard dog.
24. Peter J. Bernard
As CEO of Bon Secours Richmond Health System, Peter Bernard oversees the smaller but spunkier hospital group in the region. It's just opened St. Francis, the chain's first venture south of the river, and nabbed cardiac surgeons from the competing Henrico Doctors' Hospital. The group's focus on its image as a positive workplace for women has kept it competitive during a statewide nursing shortage, too. Bernard's known as a risk-taker who's brought his hospitals into the lead for market recognition, if not market share.
25. State Sen. John C. Watkins
The state decided to run Route 288 next to John Watkins' family's mall-to-be, and Chesterfield County footed the bill for rezoning last year. Despite dwelling in the moderate Republican camp voting to raise taxes in 2004 and even making noise about closing the gun-show loophole in past years he's running for his third term unopposed. He's a go-to guy for Richmonders on both sides of the aisle. Committee ranking aside, a Democratic Senate won't give him too much heartburn if backlash back home in the county doesn't hit him too hard.
26. C.T. Hill
The president and CEO of SunTrust Bank's mid-Atlantic headquarters here, C.T. Hill is the town's most influential banker. He's chairman of Richmond Ventures, the recast Richmond Renaissance, and serves on a number of influential committees, including Wilder's performing arts committee. With the retirement and departure of Richmond's other two financial heavyweights, James C. Cherry of Wachovia Bank and Danny Ludeman of the soon-to-be-departed Wachovia Securities, Hill is now the banker the power community turns to. And he's one of the few people who stood up and publicly praised William Harrell, Wilder's frustrated former No. 2, who quit in March.
27. Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell
Since winning office in 2006 by an immaculately coiffed hair, Attorney General Bob McDonnell has built a sturdy record. He worked with the governor to increase indigent defense funding, helped unite House Republicans on transportation and turned run-of-the-mill decisions on guns and gays into red meat for activists on the right and left. McDonnell is eyeing the Executive Mansion, a focus that some say makes him too cautious. Where was he on utility re-regulation? And where will he be if former Govs. George Allen, Mark Warner or even Jim Gilmore stage a return in 2009?
28. Ivor Massey Jr. and Family
He's a Harley-driving, Libertarian-leaning, Planned Parenthood-supporting, independent-candidate-funding, tech-start-up-incubating bearded eccentric who hardly looks like someone who manages his family's investments. But Ivor Massey Jr. (yes, those Masseys) may have mellowed out some this year. Still, Ivor married Maureen Denlea, president of Partnership for the Future and community relations director for the Markel Corp., putting only one degree of separation between two big pots of money.
29. Philip J. Schoonover
The chief executive of Circuit City Stores Philip Schoonover has his hands full. In recent months, he announced the company would lay off 3,600 employees, mostly sales staff, in the midst of yet another tough year. Competitors such as Wal-Mart are killing Circuit City by undercutting prices, especially on high-end TVs, Circuit City's bread and butter. Schoonover, who received $17 million in compensation in 2006, was named chairman and CEO to whip the overweight retailer into shape, which takes time. But given the recent history of the 60-year-old chain, he doesn't get the benefit of the doubt. Did we mention he competes with Wal-Mart?
30. Theodore L. Chandler Jr.
A down real estate market and a $21 million write-off were among the low-lights for LandAmerica Financial Group and CEO Ted Chandler in the past year. The company eliminated 500 positions in the fourth quarter, but the title insurance firm is widely considered to be in good hands with Chandler. In October, the board appointed Eugene Trani (No. 1) as its lead director, and by Jan. 1 Chandler had assumed the role of chairman. Chandler is active in a number of other community organizations, including the Greater Richmond Chamber and the Massey Cancer Center.
31. Richard L. Sharp
In 1993, then-Circuit City Stores CEO Richard Sharp sold his first used car to Rob Ukrop and launched CarMax, which has become his legacy. He stepped down as CarMax board chairman this summer, but he's hardly retiring. He's chairman of Crocs Inc., the company behind the seemingly inexplicable rubber-clog craze. And in the fall, he sampled canapés with President Bush at a private fundraiser at his Goochland home. In the past decade he's given $673,596 to conservative candidates and organizations, nearly a third of that to his long-term pet project: school choice.
32. Delegate M. Kirkland Cox
Chesterfield County Republican Kirk Cox gets credit for keeping Speaker of the House Bill Howell committed to a hard anti-tax line in the General Assembly. Some of his conservative senior allies retired this year, including Henrico County Delegate Jack Reid. Cox may miss their support in the 2008 session when emboldened House Democrats will try to increase spending on social services and tighten gun control. Nevertheless, a January gift of $77,972 and an endorsement from former Speaker Vance Wilkins to be next speaker should keep him in good company.
33. State Sen. Walter A. Stosch
State Senate Majority Leader Walter Stosch held on to his office by 266 votes when an anti-tax candidate challenged him in the June Republican primary. The far right has been out for his scalp since he aligned with Democratic Gov. Mark Warner in a 2004 vote to raise taxes and fix Gilmore's budget gash, but he's still standing. The Senate's only professional accountant remains a respected budget-writer with an eye for detail. And if the Democrats win seats in the Senate this fall, his moderation will make him more comfortable, and powerful, than many of his colleagues.
34. Rep. Eric I. Cantor
Elected in 2001, Eric Cantor, the U.S. House of Representatives' only Jewish Republican, now sits on the powerful Ways and Means Committee and serves as chief deputy minority whip. Dodging scandal in 2006, the Richmonder donated 10,000 Jack Abramoff-tainted dollars to Richmond's William Byrd Community House. He was one of the few big GOP winners in November, but his party lost Congress. These days, constituents don't see much of him back home, something they were more understanding of when the Republican leadership was, um, busier.
35. Thurston Moore
Business is good at Hunton & Williams. With Thurston Moore's move into the vice president spot on the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts board, this well-regarded Richmond lawyer takes on yet another significant role as a leader. He's also chairman of Hunton & Williams' executive committee and a behind-the-scenes mover and shaker.
36. John A. Luke Jr.
You know you've earned your wings into the local power club when the mayor asks you to help run the performing arts center development. John Luke, chairman and chief executive of MeadWestvaco Corp., just got the nod. It's only natural that the head of Richmond's newest Fortune 500 headquarters erecting a nine-story office downtown, no less! will get elbow-rubbing time with the likes of Goodwin (No. 3), Szymanczyk (No. 5), James Ukrop (No. 6) and Fraizer (No. 9). You may be new in town, Luke, but keep this up and your spot in the Top 10 can't be far away.
37. Robert C. Sledd
With the succession of Steven Spinner (No.49 ) as CEO, Performance Food Group's Robert Sledd is relinquishing some corporate power at least officially. But Sledd is still co-founder of the Fortune 500 company and is keeping his chairman's title. Who knows how much time will be freed up, but Sledd's been a longtime advocate for homeless causes in Richmond, serving as chairman of the board of Homeward and serving as a director of the Better Housing Coalition. He's also trustee of VCU's business school foundation. And in May he was inducted into the Greater Richmond Business Hall of Fame.
38. Pamela Reynolds and the Reynolds Family
Other gilded Richmond families throw money and walk away, but Pam Reynolds is the total package. She throws, catches and hits 'em out of the park on behalf of a dozen local cultural institutions and looks the part of a big city socialite (or a fashion-forward Muppet?) while she works her considerable magic. Though deriving her power from family wealth, she's casting an increasingly long shadow in political spheres as well as in her role as the new board president for the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, a term that will overlap the 2009 opening of the museum's expanded facilities.
39. Billy K. Cannaday Jr.
Think of Billy Cannaday as a sort of Mitch Buchanan who's not afraid to use his whistle. Virginia's superintendent of public instruction didn't just stand by as Petersburg Public Schools flailed and failed. He dived in, dragged them to the shallow end and gave them a pair of water wings in the form of a working plan to help try to turn things around. Cannaday put the school district on notice and encouraged changes to instruction and administration to help it meet its obligation to children. We'll see if Richmond's neighbor to the south decides to sink or swim.
40. Marshall N. Morton
It's not easy being a daily paper, what with Wall Street all over your shrinking profit margins and an increasingly complicated media landscape. Marshall Morton's Media General has surrounded its local flagship, the Times-Dispatch, with little sentries to guard its financial borders: the Goochland Gazette, the Mechanicsville Local, the Midlothian Exchange, Powhatan Today and the new youth-driven alternative, Brick. Will it help? Well, the company announced last month it expects lower profits in 2007. Morton, chairman and CEO, is at least preaching the importance of interactive media. Will he make it work? And will inRich.com make money?
41. Tom Folliard
Young and unpretentious, CarMax CEO Tom Folliard, 42, controls one of the biggest companies in Richmond with $6.3 billion in annual revenues. He replaced longtime chief executive Austin Ligon last year. The used-car superstore concept, initially a laggard on Wall Street, has in the past few years become a well-oiled machine with perhaps the brightest future of Richmond's corporate biguns. Folliard, a former basketball star at Florida Tech, practically taught the wholesale used-car business to the company's founder, Richard Sharp (No. 31), the former Circuit City chief who launched CarMax in 1993. Sharp's retirement as board chairman earlier this summer, meanwhile, was seen as a nod to Folliard: CarMax is now in good hands.
42. Jory Berson
It's been a year since Jory Berson took over U.S. credit-card operations for Capital One Financial Corp., making him its highest-ranking local exec and the youngest Power Lister at 36. What's happened since? Any local boards? Any corporate initiatives? A company spokeswoman, asked if there's any news on Berson since the last Power List, says our 2006 bio is up to date. Well, OK. (Dude, there's a world beyond West Creek.) While Berson seems removed from the local spotlight, his company isn't. It announced more layoffs and is trying to cope with recent banking acquisitions. Still, analysts are keen on what COF has in its wallet.
43. John B. Adams and Michael Hughes
Just when it seemed like you couldn't avoid the Martin Agency's talking GEICO gecko, those cavemen got their own sitcom. Then Martin landed the marketing account of that golden chalice of retail might, Wal-Mart. The recent success of local advertising gurus John Adams, the firm's chief executive, and Michael Hughes, president and creative director (the creative engine behind the firm), have further cemented the agency's national reputation. Locally, though, some in the nonprofit and volunteer community are a little disappointed they don't see more of these guys. Maybe they're too busy, you know, restoring Richmond's street cred as the South's Madison Avenue.
43. Dr. Frank Royal
Dr. Frank Royal was the first African-American member of the Commonwealth Club. He sits on some important boards Dominion Resources, CSX Corp., SunTrust Banks and Virginia Union University. Some say his power has mellowed, while others argue that his daughter's success echoes the flex he has left. His daughter, Dr. Pamela Royal, runs a successful dermatology clinic and is chair-elect of the United Way board; her husband, C.N. Jenkins Jr., is a Richmond Circuit Court judge.
45. Richard Cullen
If anyone could use a good lawyer, it's Mayor L. Douglas Wilder. And he thinks Richard Cullen's the man for the job. He has a diverse corporate clientele, and his connections in Republican circles are wide and deep, from Richmond to Capitol Hill. He's more locally grounded these days, replacing Bob Burrus (No. 53) in January as chairman of McGuireWoods, the city's second-largest law firm. Aside from the time he spent as U.S. attorney and fill-in attorney general under former Gov. George Allen, Cullen has been with the Richmond firm for more than 30 years.
46. Gordon F. Rainey Jr.
He's doing what he came to do: raise money. We're not talking about Hunton & Williams if it's one thing a law firm knows how to do, it's bill hours. We're talking about the University of Virginia. About seven months after stepping down as H&W's chairman, becoming chairman emeritus, Rainey helped publicly launch U.Va.'s $3 billion fundraising campaign as its chairman. So far, so good. Rainey also serves on the boards of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, SunTrust MidAtlantic and Bon Secours Richmond Health System.
47. Ralph L. "Bill" Axselle Jr.
On the whole, Richmond's part in the Jamestown 2007 celebrations seems as lost as those other colonists on North Carolina's Roanoke Island. Not a huge win for Bill Axselle, who headed up our efforts to bask in Jamestown's glow. But don't count him out: Axselle's stature as a doer among state lawmakers is undiminished. His heavy involvement in shoring up support for Sen. Walter Stosch during a tough primary is sure to give this otherwise equal-opportunity lobbyist renewed leverage among some Republicans.
48. William J. "Bill" Pantele
City Council President Bill Pantele, once a bit of a glad-hander, is coming into his own. He regularly takes on Mayor Wilder (No. 2) Pantele's own mayoral ambition may be the worst-kept secret in city politics and can pen a mean letter when backed into a corner. He's also a bit, well, intellectually disheveled. Pantele once voiced concern that Richmond was becoming a "bedroom community" for Charlottesville and showed up at a NASCAR rally wearing a Rusty Wallace cap. But he's a smart guy, and Wilder doesn't seem to like scrapping with Wild Bill.
49. Steven L. Spinner
Performance Food Group saw another slip on the Fortune 500 list this year, from No. 349 to 393. But hey, it's still there, and holding strong as a Richmond corporate presence with $5.8 billion in sales last year. There's change afoot, too well, above. In October inside-man Steven Spinner, in his ninth year with PFG, added CEO to his title of president, taking over for Robert Sledd (No.37 ). He's involved with several community groups, but shareholders will be closely watching how he runs the giant food distributor. He's off to a good start. He'll chalk up at least $200 million in new annual revenue, if his estimates are correct, with new deals making PFG the exclusive provider to O'Charley's and Stoney River restaurants, inked this month.
50. The Rev. Lance D. Watson
When a church holds its homecoming at the Richmond Raceway Complex, you know it's big. St. Paul's Baptist Church, which turns 97 years old this year, is one of the biggest, and leading the flock is the Rev. Lance D. Watson. Even if you're one of the thousands of folks who never step foot inside the Creighton Road sanctuary (or its center for arts and music, or its credit union, or its other church on East Belt Boulevard), you may see Watson on television, preaching and encouraging Richmond's spiritual growth. Now that's another kind of power entirely.
51. Anne Holton
Gov. Tim Kaine's wife was a respected Juvenile and Domestic Relations Circuit Court judge until she became first lady, her mother's job when Holton's father, Linwood Holton, was governor in the '70s. For Keeps, Anne Holton's initiative to find permanent homes for older foster children, is growing slowly but steadily. There's also a post-Virginia Tech showdown brewing for mental-health dollars, and advocates are banking on her help in the fight. But she'll likely work behind the scenes to avoid distracting from Kaine's agenda.
52. Eva S. Hardy
Sometimes you have to take one for the team, and most observers agree Eva Hardy did that well for Dominion Resources Inc. as the company's lead lobbyist for the General Assembly in the last session. The company needed someone who could say "mea culpa" for deregulation while ensuring Dominion's broader plans for total global domination. As always, one of Richmond's most powerful women did it all with grace and style. Re-regulation was a black eye, in an "Oops, we were wrong" sense, but Eva gave 'em what they wanted.
53. Robert L. Burrus Jr.
He kept the search he led under wraps and saw his committee's choice of Edward Ayers (No.18 ) as president of University of Richmond receive happy accolades at least for now (he helped pick William Cooper too, lest alumni forget). With that job finished, Burrus loses ground this year, passing the McGuireWoods gavel to Richard Cullen (No. 45) and becoming the law firm's chairman emeritus. He's cut back on his corporate board leadership, but keeps old-school status and serves as a director at Smithfield Foods, S&K Famous Brands Inc. and Amvest Corp. That gives him a little more time to make it to VMFA and Richmond Ballet meetings.
54. Thomas A. Silvestri
Richmond Times-Dispatch Publisher Tom Silvestri was one-half of a power duo on our list last year, linked with his Chosen One, Executive Editor Glenn Proctor. The friction of that appointment heightened newsroom anxiety and sent some employees heading for the door (in some cases, with encouragement), including longtime managing editor Louise Seals. A shakeup wasn't necessarily a bad thing. But despite some design freshening, readers would be hard-pressed to cite any revolutionary changes in reporting or content. Circulation is so-so. But Silvestri is chair-elect of Leadership Metro Richmond, has maintained his town-hall meetings on civic issues, launched the new Brick weekly and overhauled the newspaper's Web site.
55. Darcy S. Oman
More people looking to leave legacies or at least contribute to a cause -- are seeking help. Darcy Oman helps convince them The Community Foundation is the smart way to go. The foundation channels donations to the places they appear to fit best. Those who work with Oman call her a keen executive and saleswoman. She's been with the organization nearly 22 years and is known by her peers nationally. She's finishing her term as chair of the Community Foundations Leadership Team for the national Council on Foundations. As for local numbers, gifts are up, and combined assets are $633 million and counting.
56. Harry Black
It's difficult to know what will become of Harry Black, Mayor Wilder's deputy chief administrative officer. He's not officially the chief administrative officer, the only person who can legally manage the city. Council, which must approve the position, rejected Black this spring. So Wilder gave him the title of "deputy CAO" and dared council to sue him. It did. Recently, Black appears to have broken the law by withholding school funds without adequate explanation. Oh, there's plenty more. But how much is Black's fault? Who knows?. If he's just following orders, he's no less powerful. If he's riding shotgun during Wilder's drive-bys, well, Black's a force to be reckoned with.
57. Robert W. "Robin" Miller
Robin Miller's a big downtown developer with ties to City Hall, which was a good thing last year. The seismic personnel shifts, however, have made his reach less secure. He soaks up historic tax credits for his rehabs and renovations. He also owns a huge chunk of Manchester, but is waiting on some controversial zoning changes before he can rebuild the neighborhood the way he'd like. These days, though, just about every industrial space and closed school is being turned into condos, so Miller has started focusing out of the area on Petersburg and Staunton.
58. Raymond H. Boone
Sure, his wallet still smarts from his one-sided throw-down with Jim Ukrop (No. 6) over problems with the in-store circulation of his Richmond Free Press (note to Ray: Blacks still shop there, but they don't get the Free Press there). But Ray Boone's lighter pocketbook doesn't mean he's lost his heavy influence, according to many familiar with the part he played in Donald McEachin's defeat of State Sen. Benjamin Lambert in the June Democratic primary. Guess it goes to show that you still need to make nicey-nice with guys who buy ink by the barrel.
59. George Braxton
Wilder's long shadow has shortened this year, and from it has emerged a handful of elected leaders charged with standing firm against the mayor's attacks. School Board Chairman George Braxton was a bit slow out of the starting gate it took a not-so-subtle kick or two from Carol Wolf (No. 69) but he's since found a limping sort of stride. Various lawsuits he's filed against the mayor have led nowhere, but sometimes it's the thought that counts.
60. Ellen Robertson
Sixth District Richmond City Councilwoman Ellen Robertson chairs the powerful finance committee and has become one of the mayor's chief critics. The recent change to elected mayor has thrust both council and the mayor's office into an identity crisis as their powers shift. While the, ahem, personalities have distracted some from the details of governance, Robertson has emerged as one of the more vocal council members. She plays a significant role behind the scenes, particularly on housing issues. Robertson has a supportive constituency and has gained many allies as Wilder loses his grip.
61. Viola O. Baskerville
As Virginia's secretary of administration, Viola Baskerville is in a position to take a stand on historic property the state owns in Richmond. But there's been more confusion than leadership in this area, especially the planned demolition of the Murphy Hotel and controversial VCU projects in Oregon Hill. Well, at least she helped the state clarify its new no-smoking rules in state buildings in the last year. But Baskerville has been visible locally as chairwoman of the "Stamp Out Sickle Cell" campaign, and a consensus-builder on The American Civil War Center. She's the only black woman in Gov. Kaine's cabinet and has been mentioned as a possible post-Wilder mayoral candidate.
62. Wallace Stettinius
A trusted adviser to just about every nonprofit board in town, Wallace Stettinius advocates the adoption of better business practices and of strategic planning right-brain business ideas often lacking and overlooked in the left-brain world of arts organizations and charitable giving groups. A former chairman and chief executive of Cadmus Communications Corp., he also teaches business at Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Richmond. Add his inclusion on various corporate boards, and you have one powerful dude.
63. Robert J. Grey Jr.
In 2005, the mayor asked Robert Grey to head up his Performing Arts Committee, charged with deciding how best to handle the sluggish and controversial plan to build a performing arts center downtown. Did we learn anything new? Not really. And critics of the project gloomily noted how Gray's committee held underpublicized meetings, mitigating public input. Oh well. The controversy has abated, and Richmond CenterStage is moving forward at least that's the plan. Grey, a partner at Hunton & Williams, is respected in his field. And he hasn't been counted out as a 2008 contender for Richmond mayor.
64. The Sowers Family
Others say; the Sowers family does. It's thrown its considerable financial weight into City Council races and, perhaps sensing the futility of that situation, is in the process of building its own town in Chesterfield County. Roseland, a 1,400-acre villagelike development of 5,000 or so planned homes, plays the same smart-growth tune as many other area developments, such as Rocketts Landing. But it does so with a full brass-and-wind complement the developer would actually build its own school and does it on property that doesn't smell kinda funny.
65. Jeffrey M. Lacker
As president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, Jeffrey Lacker is one of the12 federal reserve bank presidents who determine the country's monetary policy. Last year he gained national attention for casting dissenting votes on the Fed's all-important Open Market Committee, which sets interest rates. Lacker continued to argue for another interest rate boost, a la Greenspan, to fend off inflation, while the majority voted to end the long run of interest-rate hikes. Lacker also sits on a number of important boards and committees, including the executive committee of Venture Richmond and the advisory council of the E. Claiborne Robins School of Business.
66. James W. Dunn
The workaholic is retiring in a year or two. Jim Dunn becomes somewhat of a lame duck when the business community figures out it must find his replacement after his 16 years on the job. So much for the Power List perhaps. Dunn's legacy as the Greater Richmond Chamber's president and chief executive remains. The quiet diplomat helped refashion the role of the chamber. He also helped form the Greater Richmond Partnership. This year, he helped shift attention to workforce housing and launch a mass transit study for the region. Working to keep the chamber relevant, Dunn saw the development of HYPE to get those "young professionals" in the mix. It may be cliché, but the program's struck a chord, and thousands have signed up.
67. Tina Walls
Like the tobacco products she helps peddle, Tina Walls is a name on a lot of lips. As senior vice president for external affairs at Philip Morris USA, Walls directs public affairs activities, corporate responsibility efforts and community relations activities. She's excelled in the post, boosting Mighty Mo's already high local profile with her participation on a variety of significant local and national boards, social organizations and committees, including Mayor Doug Wilder's Efficiency and Effectiveness Committee, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and the boards of trustees for the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the Science Museum of Virginia.
68. Umesh Dalal
He's gone toe-to-toe against last year's most powerful man and played a key role in why Mayor Doug Wilder has slipped a notch to No. 2. Wilder set City Auditor Umesh Dalal loose on city schools, but his dispassionate exposure of Richmond's governmental waste and largesse didn't stop there much to Wilder's chagrin. It seems the mayor may have a golden gift for fitting the facts to his fancy, but you just can't argue with a man whose TI-89 graphing calculator is running on full charge.
69. Carol A.O. Wolf
It's been a banner year for self-described "Fightin' Quaker" Carol Wolf, who's transformed her nosebleed seat (the traditionally removed Richmond School Board) into a ringside view of The Wilder Show. Indeed, she's taken a few cracks at taming the mighty Wilder, firing broadsides at him over pulling funding of the planned Americans with Disabilities Act repairs to city schools. For proof of her power, just listen to Hizzoner: He cites Wolf frequently in his "Visions" newsletter.
70. The Sauer Family
There's no arguing they have what it takes to spice up any dish, but it's generally agreed that the Sauer family has been a bit vanilla in its activities outside of a broad real estate portfolio and the family's eponymous spice and food distribution business. Mark Sauer is on the board of the Museum of the Confederacy, a tenuous Richmond institution that tends to claim the sky is falling but it made something of a turnaround this past year. Despite all its problems, the museum actually made some money.
71. Charles S. Luck III and Family
We got in trouble last year for bemoaning that the Lucks are, well, kinda boring. Sure they operate the ninth-largest crushed-stone operation in the country and employ some 1,100 people at 18 stone quarries in Virginia and another in North Carolina, so go ahead and get excited. The Lucks are civic-minded the family foundation gives to schools and religious groups, and Charles S. Luck III and son Charles IV are involved in local nonprofits such as the YMCA and VMFA. They're in the throes of a $25 million expansion to company headquarters in Manakin-Sabot, which is becoming the new, exurban West End. If that's not exciting, then, well, read Paul Goldman's entry (No. 75).
72. J. Alfred Broaddus Jr.
He's no longer helping set monetary policy for the country, but last year Al Broaddus proved he could help bring in the green. He led the campaign to raise money for the new American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar, which announced last fall it had broken its $13.6 million goal ahead of schedule. The center, which opened in October, was one of the projects Broaddus got involved with in his retirement, along with some local and corporate boards. But it's been three years since he's held the title of president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
73. Bishop Francis Xavier DiLorenzo
His duties doubled this year with the pope's addition of Commandments 11 through 20 (thou shalt not turn right on red, etc.) and with a recent holy edict reasserting the Catholic Church's claim to being God's best friend. But DiLorenzo hardly needed these added duties or reminders to make him powerful. Being the Holy See's local good shepherd to a flock of 220,000-plus very freethinking sheep is plenty.
74. H. Louis Salomonsky
After an 18-month "vacation" in lockup following a 2004 corruption scandal involving former Councilwoman Gwen Hedgepeth, Lou Salomonsky returned to Richmond looking tanned and trim. Although he lost his architecture license and appointment to the city's Industrial Development Authority, what he hasn't lost is love. He's still tight with big developers, city boosters and Mayor Wilder (No. 2). He keeps a lower profile, but hasn't skipped a beat getting back to business on his region-wide real-estate holdings.
75. Paul Goldman
This is the year Paul Goldman emerged from behind the curtain, revealing that while the Great Oz might continue to breathe fire and yell at everybody, he sure makes a lot less sense without a skilled ventriloquist handler. Seems Goldman really was the man with the plan for fixing Richmond, and he makes the Power List this year for his success in pushing those ideas despite his gruff appearance and wacky e-mail blasts. Just this past month, Goldman received endorsement for one of his ideas -- federal tax credits to fix city schools -- from the National Education Association. U.S. congressmen are championing his cause. SClick here for more Cover Stories Click here for more Cover Stories