Business leaders bemoan them, but people always read them. So hats off to our annual power list. The 2015 list of Virginia’s 50 most influential business leaders shines a light on the men and women who are shaping policy, deals, companies and real estate in Virginia.
As power ebbs and flows, some names drop off the list, while new faces move on. Among this year’s newcomers: CEO Gracia Martore, who’s taking media giant Gannett in a new direction; Bill and Pam Royall of Richmond, philanthropic heavyweights in the arts community and founders of a successful college direct-marketing company that recently was sold for $850 million; and Ed Walker of Roanoke, who helped usher in a era of downtown urban activism by renovating some of the city’s most iconic buildings.
For inclusion on our list, editors look for leaders who are making a difference. They aren’t afraid to wield influence, be it political, social, financial or philanthropic, to get things done.
Virginia Business does not consider elected officials or college and university presidents. We tend to stay away from heads of government agencies, although occasionally one may slip in, like this year’s John Reinhart. As CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority, he oversees one of Virginia’s most significant economic assets and has the port turning a profit rather than a loss. Being in the black? Always an attribute of power.