The 2020 list of Virginia business leaders who get things done
With 21 companies listed on the Fortune 500, Virginia is home to many powerful and influential business leaders but naturally some are more involved in their communities and exert more pull in the state than others.
This year’s list of Virginia’s most influential businesspeople ranges from defense contractors, bankers and health system CEOs to a hotelier, a grocery chain operator, high-ranking tech executives and one global pop music superstar.
Some of the new additions to this year’s list include:
- Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond President and CEO Thomas Barkin
- Perspecta Inc. President and CEO Mac Curtis
- Amazon.com Inc. Vice President of HQ2 Workforce Development Ardine Williams
- Platinum-selling recording artist Pharrell Williams
Read on to find out how each of these leaders is contributing to business and leaving their imprint on the commonwealth.
Nancy Howell Agee, president and CEO, Carilion Clinic Inc., Roanoke
Why she is influential: Agee, the former chair of the American Hospital Association, leads Carilion, which serves one million people and in fiscal 2018 employed 13,317 and drew revenue of $1.8 billion. Carilion has a significant effect not only on the Roanoke and New River valleys and 21 counties in the region, but also on Virginia. The health system has an economic impact on the state of $3.2 billion and 23,719 jobs, according to a January study by the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service.
Recent developments: This spring, Carilion is set to begin a $300 million, multiyear expansion of its flagship Roanoke Memorial Hospital. It’s the beginning of a $1 billion capital improvements initiative announced last year. Also in 2019, Modern Healthcare named Agee one of its Top 25 Women Leaders and she ranked No. 9 on its list of Most Influential Clinical Executives.
Neil Amin, CEO, Shamin Hotels, Chester
Why he is influential: Shamin Hotels, founded by Amin’s father and based in Chesterfield County, is the Richmond region’s largest hotel operator. In January, the company purchased its 60th hotel, the Hyatt Place Richmond Chester. An alum of Goldman Sachs & Co., Amin sits on several Virginia nonprofit boards, including Richmond Region Tourism and the Virginia Council on Economic Education.
Recent developments: In January Shamin purchased the Richmond Times-Dispatch building in downtown Richmond, which the company will use as its new headquarters, while leasing space to the newspaper and other tenants. In Chesterfield, the company is building an upscale, 200-room hotel and conference center in the Stonebridge development. Construction started last fall on Shamin’s long-awaited Moxy Hotels by Marriott project in downtown Richmond, purchased in 2016. And Shamin is collaborating with local developer The Rebkee Co. to build a hotel next to a Henrico County-owned indoor sports arena scheduled to open in 2022 at Virginia Center Commons mall.
John C. Asbury, president and CEO, Atlantic Union Bankshares, Richmond
Why he is influential: Asbury transitioned from a career with large financial institutions to help build a regional Virginia bank. The plan coalesced with the acquisition of Reston-based Access National Bank, a $500 million deal that closed in February 2019. Asbury serves on boards such as the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, Chamber RVA and the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges.
Recent developments: The bank’s parent company announced a rebrand of Union Bank & Trust to Atlantic Union Bank in May 2019 and reported net income of $193.5 million last year. Headquartered in Richmond, the bank is expanding into additional office space in Henrico County to accommodate recent growth. In a January earnings call, Asbury said he hopes to “take advantage of the disruption caused by” the merger of SunTrust and BB&T into Truist Financial Corp. The governor appointed Asbury to the Virginia Port Authority Board of Commissioners last year, and in June he becomes chairman of the Virginia Bankers Association.
G. Robert Aston Jr., executive chairman, TowneBank, Portsmouth
Why he is influential: An industry veteran, Aston’s first banking job, in high school, paid $1.15 an hour. In April 1999, he co-founded TowneBank — now one of the biggest banks in the state and the largest regional bank in Hampton Roads, with 42 banking offices throughout Virginia and North Carolina, and $11.95 billion in total assets at the close of 2019.
Recent developments: It’s been a year since TowneBank saw a huge leap in earnings — a 52.62% increase from 2018 to 2019 that Aston attributed to strong performance and a merger with Paragon Commercial Corp. Though less dramatic, the bank’s growth continued last year, with a 3.73% increase in earnings to $138.78 million. The bank opened its first Greensboro, North Carolina, office, with further expansion on tap into the Tar Heel State.
Thomas Barkin, president and CEO, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, Richmond
Why he is influential: Taking over leadership of the Richmond Fed in January 2018, Barkin is responsible for the bank’s monetary policy, bank supervision and regulation and oversees information technology for the Federal Reserve System. He also serves as an alternate member on the Federal Open Market Committee, the Fed’s chief monetary policy body that sets interest rates. Before coming to the Fed, Barkin worked for 30 years for McKinsey & Co., the nation’s biggest management consulting firm, where he was a senior partner, recently serving stints as McKinsey’s chief financial officer and chief risk officer.
Recent developments: Barkin has used his clout to bring attention to the economic disparities in rural areas within his purview in the Fed’s Fifth District, which includes Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia and the Carolinas. In October, the Richmond Fed hosted its first Investing in Rural America conference, focusing on issues such as economic development, education, workforce development, broadband and labor force participation. In particular, he lamented the closures of rural banks, hospitals and colleges, which he said have contributed to economic gaps and community isolation.
Gilbert T. Bland, chairman, The GilJoy Group, Virginia Beach
Why he is influential: Bland has owned a portfolio of more than 70 Burger King and Pizza Hut franchises for 35 years. He also serves on a variety of boards, including the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Randolph-Macon College, the Virginia Chamber of Commerce and Sentara Healthcare. For the last year and a half, he’s been president and CEO of the Urban League of Hampton Roads Inc.
Recent developments: In the wake of Gov. Ralph Northam’s blackface controversy last year, Bland served on a community advisory group to investigate the matter for Eastern Virginia Medical School. Since then, Northam tapped Bland for a new Virginia African American Advisory Board. In that role, he is one of 21 citizen members advising the governor on strengthening “economic, professional, cultural, educational and governmental links” between state government and the African American community.
Jennifer Boykin, president, Newport News Shipbuilding, and executive vice president, Huntington Ingalls Industries, Newport News
Why she is influential: A marine engineer, Boykin is the first woman to serve as president of Newport News Shipbuilding, the largest industrial employer in Virginia. The division of Huntington Ingalls Industries grew to $4.72 billion in annual revenue in 2018. Boykin also maintains a strong presence in the business community and works to empower women and girls.
Recent developments: Newport News Shipbuilding landed a huge piece of business from General Dynamics when the defense contractor won a $22.2 billion contract from the Navy — the largest-ever awarded — in late 2019. Under the contract, Boykin will continue to ramp up the shipyard’s workforce to help build five high-tech, fast-attack submarines. Also in the last year, Boykin has stepped in to serve as chair of the United Way of the Virginia Peninsula’s annual drive.
Teresa Carlson, vice president, worldwide public sector, Amazon Web Services, Herndon
Why she is influential: The ever-expanding Amazon has shored up its presence in Northern Virginia with its HQ2 East Coast headquarters in Arlington. But Carlson, who spoke at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit in October, has been a formidable presence for a decade. She founded the public-sector unit of Amazon Cloud Services. Its customer count, she said in an October interview with Computer Weekly, includes more than 5,000 government agencies, 10,000 educational institutions and 28,000 nonprofits.
Recent developments: While it grows across the globe, AWS is helping shepherd a state workforce development program in cloud computing announced by the governor in September. It offers educational programs for some K-12 school divisions, the Virginia Community College System and six four-year universities. That includes the launch of a cloud computing degree at Northern Virginia Community College and George Mason University.
Steve Case, chairman and CEO, Revolution LLC, Washington, D.C.
Why he is influential: Case is why everyone over a certain age knows “You’ve got mail!” The co-founder of America Online, Case now helms Revolution, an investment firm that backs startup businesses. He also is chairman of the Case Foundation and joined The Giving Pledge, affirming that he and wife Jean would give away the majority of their wealth to philanthropic causes.
Recent developments: For the ninth time, Case is launching his Rise of the Rest road trip this April, awarding a startup company $100,000 at each of five stops in Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri. Since 2014, Case has toured 43 cities. Also, in October, Rise of the Rest closed its second $150 million fund with investors such as Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Google’s Eric Schmidt and Spanx’s Sara Blakely.
C. Daniel Clemente, chairman and CEO, Clemente Development Co. Inc., Tysons
Why he is influential: A Northern Virginia developer since 1965, Dan Clemente has been an instrumental participant in the shaping of Tysons into its present-day status as perhaps the nation’s premiere experiment in urban placemaking. A former rector of George Mason University and chair of its board of trustees, Clemente serves on the board of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership.
Recent developments: The capstone of Clemente’s development career is close to fruition as Fairfax granted key approvals late last year for The View at Tysons, his $1.3 billion, 3 million-square-foot mixed-use, live-work-play development. Its plans include the appropriately named Iconic Tower, which, at 600 feet tall, will rise higher than the Washington Monument and will be the tallest building in Virginia.
Mac Curtis, president and CEO, Perspecta Inc., Chantilly
Why he is influential: A Virginia Military Institute alum and member of the Military Bowl’s board of directors, Curtis was named Executive of the Year in the greater than $300 million category at the Greater Washington Government Contractor Awards in November. Based in western Fairfax, Perspecta has more than 14,000 employees and won several big federal contracts last year, including an $824 million, five-year deal with the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency and a $657 million extension on its Next Generation Enterprise Services (NGEN) contract to continue IT services for the U.S. Department of the Navy. The company also completed its first acquisition last July, purchasing Knight Point Systems, a cloud and cyber-focused IT company. In October, Amazon Data Services Inc. bought Perspecta’s 57-acre campus near Route 28, including its headquarters, which once was home to Ross Perot’s Electronic Data Systems Corp.
Recent developments: In February, Perspecta lost the NGEN contract to Reston-based Leidos, which was awarded an eight-year, $7.7 billion deal with team members IBM, Unisys and Verizon, beginning in 2022. The contract makes up more than 15% of Perspecta’s annual revenue.
Benjamin J. Davenport Jr., chairman, First Piedmont Corp. and Davenport Energy Inc., Chatham
Why he is influential: Davenport chairs two companies based in Southern Virginia: Davenport Energy, a petroleum products manufacturer founded by his father, and First Piedmont Corp., a waste-hauling, disposal and recycling company in Virginia and North Carolina. He also has served on numerous boards, including as former rector of Virginia Tech’s Board of Visitors and currently as vice chairman of the Virginia Growth and Opportunity Board.
Recent developments: In January, Davenport was elected an at-large board member with the Virginia Chamber of Commerce. Also that month, Davenport Energy awarded 60 small grants from the ExxonMobil Educational Alliance to classrooms, teachers and students in its service area, including Pittsylvania County and Danville.
William B. “Bill” Downey, CEO, Riverside Health System, Newport News
Why he is influential: Downey oversees a health system with scores of service locations in eastern Virginia, from pediatric centers to retirement communities. They’re located from Hampton, through Williamsburg, into the Northern Neck and over to the Eastern Shore. Downey seems nearly as present, serving on the boards of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, the Virginia Symphony and the Hampton Roads Economic Development Authority.
Recent developments: In February, Riverside marked the conclusion of a $55 million renovation and expansion to its Riverside Walter Reed Hospital in Gloucester. The health system also was cited by The Washington Post as a positive contrast to the University of Virginia Health System, where an examination found a high number of patients in dire straits because of medical billing. The report lauded a policy by Riverside that forgives bills exceeding annual household income.
Barry DuVal, president and CEO, Virginia Chamber of Commerce, Richmond
Why he is influential: Marking his 10th year as president and CEO of the state chamber, DuVal has raised the chamber’s membership from 847 members in 2010 to more than 26,000. A former state secretary of commerce and trade, he also served as mayor of Newport News and was president and CEO of Kaufman & Canoles Consulting LLC.
Recent developments: As a voice for the state’s businesses, DuVal has been a staunch defender of Virginia’s right-to-work laws, which prohibit required union membership as a condition of employment. Economic development officials cite right-to-work as a key advantage for Virginia in attracting new and expanding business. Earlier this year, DuVal launched “Virginians for Employee Free Choice,” a coalition to support right-to-work. Despite a Democratic majority in both General Assembly houses, an effort to repeal right-to-work failed during the 2020 session, dying in the House Appropriations Committee. In 2017, the chamber began work on Blueprint Virginia 2025, a plan to regain Virginia’s No. 1 ranking on CNBC’s annual Top States for Business list after seeing the commonwealth drop several spots in recent years. Last July, Virginia was No. 1 again.
James W. Dyke Jr., senior advisor, State Government Relations, McGuireWoods Consulting LLC, Tysons
Why he is influential: Dyke’s background in law and politics is wide-ranging. He served as secretary of education under former Gov. L. Douglas Wilder and today, as a lobbyist, counts among his clients three Virginia universities — George Washington, Marymount and the foundation at George Mason.
Recent developments: A lawyer, Dyke is entering the third year of a three-year appointment to the board of visitors at Norfolk State University. Last year, he joined the board of the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation. As a board member of GO Virginia, an influential, state-funded economic development initiative promoting regional collaboration and private-sector investment, Dyke has been advocating for the program’s full funding as included in Gov. Ralph Northam’s biennial budget.
Ric Edelman, chairman, financial education and client experience, Edelman Financial Engines, Fairfax
Why he is influential: Over the air, on paper or in your earbuds, Edelman answers financial-planning questions in a relatable way. Aside from his podcasts, weekly radio show and books, Edelman has been chairman of the nation’s largest Registered Investment Adviser since his company’s 2017 merger with Financial Engines. Today, Edelman Financial Engines manages more than $213 billion in assets for 1.2 million clients across 170 offices.
Recent developments: Edelman Financial recently launched a Workplace Innovation division to help companies offer financial guidance to their employees. Edelman and his wife, Jean, have focused their philanthropy on furthering research to fight Alzheimer’s disease. In December, they pledged $2 million to back a documentary on Alzheimer’s research scheduled for release next year.
Richard Fairbank, chairman and CEO, Capital One Financial Corp., Tysons
Why he is influential: Fairbank co-founded McLean-based Capital One with Nigel Morris in 1994, and it now ranks No. 11 on the list of the nation’s largest banks by assets, and it’s the second-largest auto-financing company in the U.S. He also serves as chairman of MasterCard’s U.S. board of directors and as non-executive director of MasterCard International. A billionaire thanks to stock holdings, Fairbank has received no base salary from Capital One since 1997.
Recent developments: The bank’s revenues broke a record in 2019, reaching $28.2 billion, although that number is 1% lower than anticipated. And if that weren’t enough, last year pop superstar Taylor Swift signed a multiyear deal to become Capital One’s latest celebrity spokesperson.
Thomas F. Farrell II, chairman, CEO and president, Dominion Energy Inc., Richmond
Why he is influential: Farrell has led the state’s largest utility since 2006, but he also has wielded considerable influence on Richmond’s landscape, mostly through public-private partnerships. Last year, Dominion opened its sleek, 20-story headquarters building in downtown Richmond. And Farrell spent much of his local political capital over the last two years spearheading his NH District Corp.’s failed $1.5 billion Navy Hill downtown redevelopment plan, which would have included a replacement for the Richmond Coliseum.
Recent developments: One of the commonwealth’s most powerful business leaders, Farrell became chairman of the GO Virginia board in September. However, he has seen the limits of his influence greatly tested in the last six months. During the fall elections, several state Democrats — now the party in power — declared they would not take donations from Dominion. And in early February, despite promises of more than 9,000 jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in capital investment, Richmond City Council killed Farrell’s Navy Hill proposal. Nonetheless, Dominion and Farrell retain considerable influence, particularly in the state’s push toward carbon-free energy production, of which Dominion’s plans to build the nation’s largest wind farm off the Virginia Beach coast will play a central role.
Heywood Fralin, chairman, Medical Facilities of America Inc., Roanoke
Why he is influential: A former rector at the University of Virginia, Fralin holds sway across a range of disciplines, from the arts to science. His Medical Facilities of America has 42 locations in Virginia and North Carolina offering skilled nursing and rehab services. He’s chairman of the Virginia Business Higher Education Council and serves on the highly influential GO Virginia board. U.Va.’s Fralin Museum of Art is named after him and his wife, Cynthia.
Recent developments: Last year, Virginia Tech awarded Fralin its highest honor, the William H. Ruffner Medal, recognizing his service to the university, which included seven years on its board of visitors. He and his wife also made a $50 million gift to support the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC, part of the Virginia Tech Carilion Health Sciences and Technology Campus in Roanoke.
Todd Haymore, managing director, Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP, Richmond
Why he is influential: Haymore took over in 2018 as lead of the new global economic development, commerce and government relations group of Hunton Andrews Kurth — a law firm that resulted from a merger that year between Hunton & Williams and Andrews Kurth Kenyon. Haymore isn’t an attorney, but he has about 1,000 of them on hand. He’s called on for his considerable insight into Virginia government and policy, having worked in the administrations of three governors. He was commissioner of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services under Gov. Tim Kaine, and he was secretary of agriculture and forestry under governors Bob McDonnell and Terry McAuliffe, who named him secretary of commerce and trade. Haymore also serves on the board of visitors for Virginia Commonwealth University and the boards of the Washington Airports Task Force, the Virginia Chamber of Commerce and Virginia FREE.
Recent developments: When buzz built around McAuliffe’s possible presidential ambitions, Haymore stepped out to defend his former boss’s economic record in a Roanoke Times op-ed last year. Haymore worked publicly against a repeal of the right-to-work law that was under debate during the 2020 General Assembly session. He’s also helping with InvestSWVA, a new public-private initiative to boost workforce and economic development efforts in Southwest Virginia.
Victor Hoskins, president and CEO, Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, Fairfax
Why he is influential: Before moving to Fairfax last August, Hoskins played a key role in securing Amazon.com Inc.’s East Coast headquarters for Arlington County, where he led its economic development authority for close to five years. The $2.5 billion deal, expected to create 25,000 jobs by 2030, is said to be the nation’s largest economic development project, based on the number of jobs. It also caps a period for Hoskins that included bringing Nestlé USA’s and Lidl’s headquarters to Arlington, and retaining the headquarters for the Public Broadcasting System and the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Recent developments: As Hoskins gets his feet wet in Fairfax, he and officials in nine other jurisdictions have formed the Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance, which will help the region compete for large conventions and, overall, promote economic development cooperation. His focus is on workforce development and place-making, a process underway in Tysons, which is turning into a more walkable, urban environment with major multiuse developments. As the former deputy mayor of planning and economic development for Washington, D.C., Hoskins was instrumental in developing places like City Center, the Wharf and Union Market that attract young professionals. He’s likely to do the same in Fairfax.
Steve Johnson, president, Johnson Commercial Development, Bristol
Why he is influential: A significant player on the Southwest Virginia casino scene, Johnson hopes to develop a $200 million casino on 350 acres in Washington County near The Pinnacle, his 1 million-square-foot shopping venue in Bristol, Tennessee. A former Virginia Tech and NFL football player, he’s donated $1 million gifts to his alma mater and the United Way of Bristol in recent years.
Recent developments: There’s been friction between Johnson and the backers of the Hard Rock Bristol Resort and Casino, which has gathered more support among elected officials. In a February interview with the Bristol Herald Courier, Johnson accused Bristol City Manager Randy Eads and developers Jim McGlothlin and Clyde Stacy of “stealing” his idea for a casino in the region, which he said he mentioned to Eads in 2017. Despite numerous likely roadblocks, Johnson still planned to pursue his proposal with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.
Dr. J. Stephen Jones, president and CEO, Inova Health System, Falls Church
Why he is influential: Jones left his position as president at Cleveland Clinic Regional Hospitals and Health Centers to take over at Inova in April 2018. He oversees a system in Northern Virginia and D.C. that includes five hospitals with more than 17,500 employees serving more than 2 million patients each year. “All of the pieces are in place for Inova to be the premier health system on the eastern seaboard,” Jones said upon taking the post. “Key to achieving this will be to build upon the strong research and academic programs already in place that help us attract top physicians.” Inova’s board cited his leadership in medical education and research and noted his national recognition in the fields of prostate and bladder cancer. In June 2018, the University of Virginia School of Medicine named Jones a professor of urology — strengthening ties between U.Va. and Inova’s Fairfax Medical Campus.
Recent developments: The $150 million Inova Schar Cancer Institute, which includes patient-focused cancer care and genomics research, opened in May 2019 as part of the 117-acre Inova Center for Personalized Health campus.
Howard Kern, president and CEO, Sentara Healthcare, Norfolk
Why he is influential: Kern leads a system that includes 12 hospitals with more than 28,000 employees and net annual revenue of $6.3 billion. Sentara’s health care centers primarily are clustered in Hampton Roads but also stretch into Northern Virginia and North Carolina. Sentara’s health plan, Optima, serves more than 500,000 people in Virginia, North Carolina and Ohio. Kern serves on numerous boards, including the Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance and the Virginia Business Higher Education Council.
Recent developments: In April 2019, The CEO Forum Group’s magazine named Kern one of “10 CEOs Transforming Healthcare in America.” In November, Gov. Ralph Northam appointed him to the state Advisory Council on Revenue Estimates. Kern is also an ardent advocate for addressing social determinants of health, such as the conditions in which people live, work and learn. In October, Sentara announced it would donate $50 million towards a partnership with Local Initiatives Support Corp. to address social determinants of health in underserved Virginia communities. The $93.5 million Sentara Cancer Center opens this May.
Robert C. “Bob” Kettler, CEO and owner, Kettler Inc., McLean
Why he is influential: The company that Bob Kettler founded in 1977 has developed more than 46,000 homes in 25 master-plan communities. Its work includes developing eight championship golf courses and 5 million square feet of commercial space as well as managing 20,000 apartments in the Northeast, mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions. The Washington Capitals’ training center bears his name.
Recent developments: Kettler is working with Ross Perot Jr.’s Hillwood Communities on three development projects with a build-out value of $200 million, including a 44-acre, 80-home, 200-plus town house project in Fredericksburg. As part of its expansion strategy, Kettler announced its first project in Florida in November, breaking ground on a 379-unit apartment community scheduled to open by the close of this year.
Justin G. Knight, president and CEO, Apple Hospitality REIT Inc., Richmond
Why he is influential: Knight is in his sixth year at the helm of Apple Hospitality, a REIT with a 233-hotel portfolio (mostly Marriotts and Hiltons) stretching into 34 states. An officer on the board of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, he serves on the boards of Southern Virginia University, the Valentine Museum and Venture Richmond.
Recent developments: Apple bought The Berkeley Hotel in Richmond for approximately $7 million in October, with plans to retain it as an independent hotel. As of the third quarter, Apple had spent $47 million on capital expenses and said it expected to invest $30 million to $40 million more by year’s end to improve properties including the Richmond Marriott. It’s also converting a Renaissance hotel in New York into an independent boutique hotel.
Roger A. Krone, chairman and CEO, Leidos, Reston
Why he is influential: A pilot and aerospace engineer whose career has taken him to General Dynamics, McDonnell Douglas and Boeing, Krone has served as CEO at Leidos since 2014. The defense contractor reported $11.1 billion in revenue for 2019. His board service includes the Georgia Tech Foundation and WETA public television and radio stations, and in January he began a term with the Greater Washington Urban League.
Recent developments: Last year, Leidos marked the 50th anniversary of its founding by the late J. Robert Beyster, a Navy veteran and nuclear physicist. The company has continued to thrive under Krone, who oversaw the $1.65 billion acquisition of Dynetics Inc. in December and the $1 billion acquisition of the Security Detection and Automation businesses of L3Harris Technologies in February. That same month, Leidos landed a $7.7 billion, multiyear IT contract with the Navy.
John R. Lawson II, executive chairman, W.M. Jordan Co., Newport News
Why he is influential: Lawson served as president and CEO of the construction company his late father co-founded. In a leadership transition, Lawson became executive chairman in 2018, the same year he was named by Virginia Business magazine as the Virginia Business Person of the Year. He’s entrenched in community board service and leads a company that, at any given time, has 50 projects in the works, each worth an average of $50 million.
Recent developments: W.M. Jordan is constructing a 14-story mental health care facility in Norfolk for the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters, which broke ground in September. But Lawson has been involved with the cause for years. His company is host to an annual golf tournament fundraiser, and he’s kicked off a capital campaign for the $214 million hospital, set to open in 2022.
Vincent J. Mastracco Jr., partner and co-chair of the Real Estate Strategies Group, Kaufman & Canoles, Norfolk
Why he is influential: Kaufman & Canoles celebrated its 100th anniversary last year and Mastracco has been practicing there for more than half its history. A noted business attorney and Hampton Roads community leader, he’s a member of myriad boards, including the Hampton Roads Community Foundation and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, which he chaired in 2018, the year VEDP played a pivotal role in landing Amazon HQ2.
Recent developments: Mastracco continues service on several boards, including as a trustee for Virginia Wesleyan University. In January, the governor reappointed him to the Virginia Economic Development Partnership board.
Terry McAuliffe, global strategy advisor, Centre for Information Policy Leadership, Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP, Washington, D.C.
Why he is influential: Virginia’s 72nd governor, moderate Democrat McAuliffe built his record on economic development, bringing in more than $20 billion in capital investment, and promoting Virginia on more than 35 trade and marketing missions to five continents. A multimillionaire businessman and prolific political fundraiser, McAuliffe is a former Democratic National Committee chair and a close friend and confidant of Bill and Hillary Clinton.
Recent developments: In April 2019, McAuliffe quashed speculation he would pursue the Democratic presidential nomination, telling The New York Times, “I would have loved to have run for president,” but thought that the field was too crowded and that Joe Biden had the centrist vote. In October, McAuliffe took a job as global strategy advisor for Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP’s international privacy and cybersecurity think tank. But don’t count him out politically — he was a familiar presence campaigning for state Democrats who won control of the General Assembly last fall. And in January, McAuliffe hired away Democratic Party of Virginia Executive Director Chris Bolling to oversee his PAC — a signal, politicos say, that McAuliffe’s seriously mulling a 2021 run for governor.
Terri McClements, market managing partner, mid-Atlantic, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC), McLean
Why she is influential: After a 30-year career with PricewaterhouseCoopers, McClements was tapped to head the accounting firm’s mid-Atlantic practice in 2017, leading more than 4,000 employees in Virginia, Washington, D.C., Maryland, Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey. She serves on the boards of the Wolf Trap Foundation, The Economic Club of Washington, D.C., and the American Cancer Society.
Recent developments: Washingtonian magazine named McClements to its “Most Powerful Women in Washington” list in 2019. PwC also made headlines in December, signing a 15-year lease on four floors of a huge office redevelopment project at Mount Vernon Triangle in D.C. An ambassador of the company’s digital “upskilling” initiative, McClements said it would be an “innovative workspace.” A majority of PwC’s 2,600 employees in the region will relocate there.
Mary McDuffie, president and CEO, Navy Federal Credit Union, Vienna
Why she is influential: With more than 18,000 employees, McDuffie leads the largest credit union in the world. It holds $112.09 billion in assets and serves nearly 9 million members. McDuffie started with Navy Federal as vice president of marketing in 1999, and about 20 years later became COO, before taking her current role as president and CEO in January 2019.
Recent developments: The credit union overhauled its mortgage application process, launching a tool called HomeSquad that gives members the ability to apply for mortgages online. Navy Federal also published a list of career opportunities for veterans transitioning to civilian life, Best Careers After Service, in partnership with Hire Heroes USA. In a New Year’s message, McDuffie touted growth: “We grew by more than 1 million members, and we opened 20 new branches, all while upholding our steadfast commitment to top-notch service to each individual member and the membership as a whole.” With more than 330 branches around the world, McDuffie has pledged to open another 20 branches in 2020 and work to improve the customer experience — a goal that she’s called the cornerstone of her mission.
Jim McGlothlin, chairman and CEO, The United Co., Bristol
Why he is influential: McGlothlin has been in the news lately for his partnership with former high school classmate Clyde Stacy (see Page 58) in the proposed Hard Rock Bristol Resort and Casino on the former Bristol Mall property. But McGlothlin’s background is in coal. In 1970, he and his father, along with five other investors, founded Grundy-based United Coal Co., which McGlothlin sold in 1997 and then repurchased in 2004, before selling it to a Ukrainian business group in 2009. The McGlothlin Foundation, his family’s philanthropic arm, contributed more than $5.2 million last year to organizations that provide food, shelter, clothing, education and health programs in Southwest Virginia.
Recent developments: Like other promoters of casinos in Virginia, McGlothlin has been waiting for the General Assembly to pass legislation legalizing casinos at five locations in the state. His $400 million project — in partnership with Hard Rock International — appears to have favor among legislators, as opposed to a more recently announced casino proposal at The Pinnacle in Washington County, proposed by Bristol developer Steve Johnson (see Page 53) and a North Carolina Cherokee Indian chief.
Stephen Moret, president and CEO, Virginia Economic Development Partnership, Richmond
Why he is influential: If he never sealed another deal, Moret would be influential for his key role in landing Amazon’s $2.5 billion HQ2 East Coast headquarters, which, with 25,000 jobs, has been described as the largest single economic development deal in U.S. history. However, as president and CEO of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, Moret remains a tireless promoter of Virginia as a great location for business. And initiatives such as VEDP’s new Virginia Talent Accelerator Program keep the deal announcements flowing.
Recent developments: Last July, Virginia regained its prestigious CNBC ranking as America’s top state for business, largely due to the state’s successful HQ2 pitch. In December, Virginia Business magazine named Moret its 2019 Virginia Business Person of the Year.
Christopher J. Nassetta, president and CEO, Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc., Tysons
Why he is influential: Hilton’s leader since 2007, Nassetta graduated from the University of Virginia and serves on the McIntire School of Commerce’s advisory board. He’s also a member of CoStar Group Inc.’s board and is chairman of the World Travel & Tourism Council board. Hilton has a portfolio of 17 hotel brands and 6,110 properties worldwide. In 2018, the company announced it would cut its carbon emissions by 61% and halve its water consumption and produced waste by 2030.
Recent developments: Hilton expects to reach 1 million rooms soon, having added close to 470 hotels in 2019, its 100th year, and achieving 6.6% net unit growth. The company also started construction on nearly 87,000 rooms last year and opened more luxury properties than in any previous year.
Phebe Novakovic, chairman and CEO, General Dynamics, Falls Church
Why she is influential: A former CIA operative, Novakovic leads one of the largest aeronautical and defense companies in the world. More than 10% of its employees, about 12,000 of them, live in Virginia. The company posted revenue of $8.4 billion in 2019. Novakovic leads the Ford’s Theatre board and serves on the board of the health care and technology company Abbott Laboratories.
Recent developments: Last year, General Dynamics won a record $22.2 billion Navy contract to build nine, and possibly 10, fast-attack submarines. On the commercial side, Novakovic expects to deliver 150 of its Gulfstream jets in 2020 and will see its new model, the G700, take its first flight. Forbes ranked Novakovic as No. 24 on its list of the World’s Most Powerful Women last year — four spots below Oprah Winfrey.
Mike Petters, president and CEO, Huntington Ingalls Industries, Newport News
Why he is influential: Petters is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy who leads the country’s largest military shipbuilder. Based in Virginia with its Newport News shipbuilding division, Huntington Ingalls employs more than 41,000 people and posted $8.2 billion in revenue in 2018. Petters, a Navy veteran and former reservist, serves on the executive committee of the Aerospace Industries Association board of governors and the board of the National Association of Manufacturers.
Recent developments: Last year, NBC’s “Today” show featured Petters discussing his early childhood education advocacy with his wife, Nancy, a preschool teacher. In February, Petters announced that Huntington Ingalls Shipbuilding has an “unprecedented backlog” of $46.5 billion worth of work to carry out in the next decade. Huntington announced the acquisition of underwater drones manufacturer Hydroid Inc. And it will reap benefits as a subcontractor for General Dynamics’ record $22.2 billion Navy submarine-building contract.
Gary Philbin, president and CEO, Dollar Tree Stores Inc., Chesapeake
Why he is influential: After nearly 15 years with Dollar Tree, Philbin was tapped to lead the newly purchased Family Dollar Stores in 2015. The $9.1 billion acquisition was a turning point and Philbin helped guide the critical transition. In 2017, he ascended to president and CEO of Dollar Tree, which runs more than 5,000 stores in 48 states and five Canadian provinces and reported net sales of $22.82 billion in 2018.
Recent developments: Dollar Tree has been consolidating into new Chesapeake headquarters. Its stock price struggled in early 2020, as tariffs increased expenses. In a November earnings call, Philbin noted a focus on store renovations and workforce growth. The company aimed to bring on 25,000 associates with a national hiring event in October and held another in January focused on store leadership. Dollar Tree said it promoted about 28,000 associates to new positions in 2019.
John F. Reinhart, CEO and executive director, Virginia Port Authority, Norfolk
Why he is influential: The Port of Virginia, which VPA operates, is a major driver of Virginia’s economy and the third-busiest port on the East Coast, holding a 12.9% market share in 2018. A recent study by William & Mary found that the port generated an impact of $92 billion in fiscal year 2018. Reinhart, CEO since 2014, has led a massive effort to widen and deepen the port’s harbors since 2015.
Recent developments: In December, VPA started the $350 million dredging project to create the East Coast’s deepest port, scheduled for completion by 2024. The port also plans to use $15.5 million in federal funds to increase capacity at its Virginia Inland Port in Front Royal.
Buddy Rizer, executive director, economic development, Loudoun County
Why he is influential: The man nicknamed the “Godfather of Data Center Alley” has been Loudoun’s economic development director since 2007. At the time, the county was home to America Online, which set up shop there in 1997, and Loudoun has since built on its existing tech infrastructure. Ashburn is now the top data center market in the world, with about 70% of all internet traffic running through its 70-plus data centers.
Recent developments: In 2019, Google began developing two data centers in Arcola Center and Stonewall Business Park, investing $600 million in the county. This year, Rizer says his department will review the data center cluster’s branding and how to build its visibility. Aside from the tech sector, Loudoun’s agribusinesses are big contributors to the county’s economy; farms, wineries and breweries generated an economic impact of $413.6 million in 2018.
Steven C. Smith, president and CEO, Food City, Abingdon
Why he is influential: Smith leads Food City, a supermarket chain with $2.5 billion in annual revenues, with more than 16,000 employees working at 123 locations across Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Georgia. It operates under the Food City and Super Dollar Supermarkets brands. Smith serves on the boards of GO Virginia, the Food Industry Association and TOPCO Associates LLC.
Recent developments: Over the last year, Food City has been the focus of news reports revealing that a Knoxville, Tennessee, Food City pharmacy purchased one million OxyContin pills in 2008 alone and acquired 8.5 million oxycodone pills within a six-year period. Tennessee’s attorney general is suing the pharmaceutical supplier, alleging RICO violations. Food City, which has not been accused of criminal wrongdoing, has said it’s “proactively working” with drug enforcement and pharmaceutical experts to refine dispensing practices at its 100-plus pharmacies.
Clyde Stacy, CEO, Par Ventures LLC, Bristol
Why he is influential: Stacy is an investor in local businesses and properties around Bristol, most notably the Bristol Mall, which his Par Ventures purchased for $2.6 million in 2018. He and fellow Southwest Virginia native Jim McGlothlin (see Page 56) plan to turn the mall into the Hard Rock Bristol Resort and Casino – pending the expected legalization of casinos by the General Assembly. Before starting Par Ventures, Stacy was head of Rapoca Energy Co., a coal mining company based in Bristol.
Recent developments: Bristol Mall is currently home to CBD processing facility Dharma Pharmaceuticals, in which Par Ventures holds a financial interest. In January, Dharma became the first company licensed by the Board of Pharmacy in Virginia to process CBD oil.
Bruce L. Thompson, CEO, Gold Key | PHR, Virginia Beach
Why he is influential: Thompson started two companies, Professional Hospitality Resources and Gold Key Resorts, in the hotel, ski resort and vacation ownership sectors, beginning in 1986. But most Virginians know Thompson for his remake of Virginia Beach’s oceanfront, which started in 2011 and has led to the newly refurbished Cavalier Hotel and the $125 million Marriott Virginia Beach Oceanfront, opening in March. He’s also been active in civic service, raising more than $5 million for ALS research and securing funding for a fully accessible park at the oceanfront.
Recent developments: The opening of the Marriott property — a 305-room hotel with more than 25,000 square feet of meeting space — and the completion of the 42 Ocean condominium project mark the conclusion of phase two of Thompson’s $350 million master plan for the neighborhood. Next up: another hotel, which will complete the all-in-one resort.
Warren Thompson, founder, president and chairman, Thompson Hospitality, Reston
Why he is influential: Thompson runs the largest minority-owned food and facilities management company in the country, with 5,500 employees and revenue of $760 million. A graduate of Hampden-Sydney College and U.Va.’s Darden School of Business, Thompson founded the company in 1992 with the purchase of 31 Big Boy restaurants. Black Enterprise ranks Thompson on its list of the nation’s largest black-owned companies, noting the company’s contracts with 20 historically black colleges and universities.
Recent developments: Thompson was named to the board of directors for Indianapolis-based Duke Realty Corp. last year. Since acquiring a majority stake in the Matchbox pizza restaurant chain in 2018, Thompson has been working to expand the chain; its first franchise location recently opened in Charlottesville. Thompson also plans to open a Homewood Suites near its headquarters this year, using it to help train Thompson food-service employees.
Jim VandeHei, co-founder and CEO, Axios Media Inc., Arlington
Why he is influential: The former co-founder and CEO of Politico, VandeHei now runs Axios, which, since its 2016 founding, attracts 7 million to 10 million unique visitors a month. Axios’ email newsletters are a must for busy people who rely on its signature “smart brevity” to deliver political, business, media and technology news with a bottom-line focus on “why it matters.” In challenging times for media, Axios generated $25 million in 2018 revenue and reportedly garnered $150,000 weekly newsletter sponsorships in 2019.
Recent developments: At the close of last year, Axios was poised to raise another $20 million in venture capital, upping its valuation to $200 million. And in March, Axios begins airing the third season of its HBO documentary series.
Kathy Warden, president and CEO, Northrop Grumman Corp., Falls Church
Why she is influential: Warden has now been at the helm of the federal defense contractor for more than a year, having started as CEO and president on Jan. 1, 2019. She joined Northrup Grumman in 2008 and previously worked for General Dynamics and the Veridian Corp. She chairs the board of directors at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond and also serves on James Madison University’s board of visitors.
Recent developments: Northrop Grumman, like other big defense contractors, has benefited from a double-digit increase in classified program work last year at the Pentagon. Warden said in January that “restricted” work accounted for more than a quarter of the company’s $33.8 billion in 2019 sales. Outside of the office, Warden has been named to Merck’s board of directors, effective in mid-March.
Howard A. Willard III, chairman and CEO, Altria Group Inc., Richmond
Why he is influential: Willard is in his second year as chairman and CEO of Altria Group, the country’s largest tobacco company and the parent of Philip Morris USA, which he joined in 1992. Altria contributes millions of dollars to the Richmond region in arts, cultural and educational contributions. Beyond cigarettes, the company holds large investments in two closely watched categories: e-cigarettes and cannabis. Revenues in 2019 were down 1% to $25.11 billion.
Recent developments: In November, Willard attended a tense White House meeting with President Trump about vaping. A partial federal crackdown on flavored e-cigarettes took effect in February. Willard expects the category to decline, he said in January, and Altria was hammered for its $12.8 billion investment in Juul, which it now values at $4.2 billion, due to lawsuits and health concerns about teen vaping. Of Altria’s $1.8 billion investment in Cronos Group, a Canadian cannabis company, Willard said, “The U.S. cannabis market, if reasonably regulated and legalized at the federal level, presents a tremendous opportunity.”
Ardine Williams, vice president of HQ2 workforce development, Amazon.com Inc., Arlington County
Why she is influential: Williams is responsible for building the 25,000-person workforce that will be hired during the next decade for Amazon’s HQ2 East Coast headquarters in Arlington. She’s been a highly visible representative for the e-tail Goliath, appearing at events with Gov. Northam, offering advice to thousands of job seekers at Amazon’s outdoor career fair and delivering the November keynote address at George Mason University’s Annual Symposium of the Journal of Law, Economics & Policy. A tech industry veteran who also worked for Hewlett-Packard and Intel Corp., Williams formerly oversaw global talent acquisition for Amazon Web Services.
Recent developments: With three more years to go before Amazon’s two, 22-story HQ2 towers are built, the company had already hired more than 600 employees for HQ2 by mid-February. Many of them are housed in three floors of leased offices that the company has nicknamed “base camp,” decorated with a tongue-in-cheek mural depicting an Amazon delivery truck trekking up a Himalayan-esque peak. HQ2 hires will range from programmers and software developers to employees in consumer affairs, advertising, law, finance and public relations.
Pharrell Williams, Grammy-winning recording artist and performer, developer and founder of the Something in the Water festival, Virginia Beach
Why he is influential: Williams, who is behind some of the biggest hip-hop and pop hits of the past decade — perhaps you’ve heard “Happy”? — has never forgotten his Virginia Beach roots. Last November, the music superstar turned up at a City Council meeting to speak on behalf of the proposed $325 million Atlantic Park development — slated to include a surf park, 3,500-seat entertainment venue and residential and retail space — on which he is partnering with Venture Realty Group. He also debuted the wildly successful Something in the Water music festival last April, which delivered an economic impact of $24.11 million to the region.
Recent developments: Something in the Water comes back to the beach in late April with a three-day concert featuring dozens of superstar artists, among them Post Malone, Foo Fighters, Chance the Rapper and, naturally, Williams. And Williams will narrate TV ads for Virginia Beach’s spring tourism campaign, which will feature his new song, “Virginia.” As for Atlantic Park, Virginia Beach City Council gave it the go-ahead in November, with construction set to start in a couple of years on the former Dome site.
Jaffray Woodriff, co-founder and CEO, Quantitative Investment Management, Charlottesville
Why he is influential: A University of Virginia alumnus, Woodriff co-founded his $3 billion hedge fund, which is run in his hometown of Charlottesville, in 2003. Last January, Woodriff and his wife, Merrill, a fellow Wahoo, pledged $120 million to U.Va. through their nonprofit Quantitative Foundation to launch a new School of Data Science. It is the largest gift of its kind to the university. Woodriff also has supported more than 60 startups (including 40 around Charlottesville) as an angel investor, under his Felton Group LLC family office. Most focus on clean energy, machine learning and scalable technology.
Recent developments: Woodriff’s Center of Developing Entrepreneurs (CODE) building is under construction on the west end of Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall, and startups funded by Woodriff have already claimed five of the building’s nine floors. Completion is scheduled for next summer. Last September, the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) approved the creation of U.Va.’s School of Data Science, which will offer interdisciplinary courses on artificial intelligence, machine learning and ethical responsibility.