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Well connected

25 people you need to know

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Print this page by Robert Powell and Paula C. Squires

Who do you need to know in Virginia’s business community? Here is a list of 25 of the best-connected people in the state.

Mike Barrett

CEO, The Runnymede Corp., Virginia Beach
Barrett is a leading civic figure in Hampton Roads. He serves on the board of directors for the Hampton Roads Association for Commercial Real Estate and is Virginia Beach’s representative on the Southeastern Public Service Authority. He also serves on the Executive Committee of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce and is treasurer of the Hampton Roads Economic Development Authority.


Al Broaddus

former president, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, Richmond
Broaddus has a national reputation as a thoughtful observer of the economy. He serves on many corporate boards, including Albemarle Corp., Faison Enterprises Inc., Markel Corp., Owens & Minor Inc., and T. Rowe Price Group. He also is a member of the board of visitors of Virginia Commonwealth University.


Bob Chase

president, Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance, McLean
Chase is a strong advocate for transportation improvements in the region. The alliance, which started in 1987, has representatives from a wide variety of area business interests.


Whitt Clement

partner, state government relations, Hunton & Williams, Richmond
Clement, a former member of the House of Delegates, was state transportation secretary from 2002 to 2005, under Gov. Mark R. Warner. He is chairman of the board of directors of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce.


Mike Daniels

chairman emeritus, Science Applications International Corp., McLean
Daniels served as a member of SAIC’s senior management team from 1986 to 2004. He sold his company to SAIC in 1986 when SAIC had revenues of $500 million and then helped build SAIC to the current $8 billion in annual revenues. He is a former chairman of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce and the Northern Virginia Technology Council.


Ben J. Davenport Jr.

chairman of First Piedmont Corp. and Davenport Energy, Chatham
A former rector of Virginia Tech and chairman of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, Davenport was instrumental in the creation of the Future of the Piedmont Foundation, which has spearheaded efforts to transform Southern Virginia.


Joe Dorto, Jerry Bridges

Virginia Port Authority, Norfolk
The Port of Virginia is a key driver in the state’s economy. Dorto is president and CEO of Virginia International Terminals Inc., the Virginia Port Authority’s operating arm. Bridges became the Port of Virginia’s executive director in 2007 and is responsible for marketing, development, finance and promotion of Virginia’s marine terminal facilities.


Gerald (Jerry) Gordon

president and CEO, Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, Tysons Corner
Named 2010 Virginia Business Person of the Year by this magazine, Gordon has been given a great deal of credit for the economic growth of Fairfax County in the past 27 years. Recent coups have included the headquarters of SAIC and Northrop Grumman.


Tom Frantz

CEO of Williams Mullen, Virginia Beach
Frantz heads a law firm with 12 offices, including seven throughout Virginia. He has a corporate practice representing multinational corporations, handling major mergers and acquisitions and advising companies on legal matters.


Dorcas Helfant-Browning

CEO, principal broker, managing partner of Coldwell Banker Professional, Realtors, Virginia Beach
Helfant-Browning was the first woman to serve as president of the 1.4 million-member National Association of Realtors and is a former chairwoman of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce. Her firm has 13 offices from Virginia Beach to Richmond.


Susan Horne

president and CEO, LEAD Virginia, Richmond
Horne has directed LEAD Virginia, a statewide leadership development group, since 2007. She is the former president and CEO of Leadership Fairfax and a former vice mayor of Leesburg.


Hugh Keogh

former president and CEO of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, Richmond
Recently retired after 18 years at the chamber, Keogh also served four governors as director of the state’s economic development agency. His new gig is serving as chairman of Virginians for Reliable Energy.


Bobbie Kilberg

president and CEO, Northern Virginia Technology Council, Herndon
Kilberg has headed the NVTC since September 1998. It is the largest technology council in the nation with about 1,000 member companies employing 200,000 people in the region.


John Lawson

president and CEO, W.M. Jordan Co. Inc., Newport News
Under Lawson’s leadership, W.M. Jordan has become the largest general contractor in Virginia, with annual revenues of more than $483 million.  The Myers-Lawson School of Construction at Virginia Tech is named for Lawson and fellow Hokie Ross Myers. Lawson is a former rector of Tech’s Board of Visitors and serves on many boards in Hampton Roads.


Margaret G. Lewis

president, HCA Capital Division, Reston
The Capital Division includes facilities in northern, central and southwestern Virginia, New Hampshire, Indiana and Kentucky. Lewis began her career with HCA as a student nurse at Chippenham Medical Center in Richmond and later became its CEO.


Luca Paschina

general manager, Barboursville Vineyards, Barboursville
Paschina has become a prominent figure in Virginia’s wine industry. His vineyard and wines have helped put the state on the map as a wine destination. 


Jon Peterson

senior vice president, The Peterson Cos., Fairfax
Peterson is chairman of the Virginia Association for Commercial Real Estate (VACRE), and a past chairman of NAIOP Northern Virginia, a commercial real estate development association; he currently serves on the boards of NAIOP Corporate, Greater Washington Board of Trade, Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce, Youth for Tomorrow and The 2030 Group.  He also is involved in a number of leadership roles at George Mason University.


Tinh duc Phan

chairman and CEO of the PNC Cos. and founder of Virginia Asian Chamber of Commerce, Ashland
A former refugee from Vietnam, Phan developed several companies and then launched the Virginia Asian Chamber of Commerce. The organization has members throughout the state and creates networking opportunities for minorities with major corporations.


S. Buford Scott
chairman of Scott & Stringfellow LLC, Richmond

Buford Scott will mark his 53rd anniversary with Scott & Stringfellow in May. He continues to serve as chairman of the board of directors of the 118-year-old investment firm. His career has included extensive service on state and civic boards.


Paul F. Silver

president and CEO of Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer, Richmond
Silver helped build Thalhimer into the state powerhouse. The company just expanded to a new corporate headquarters, with a co-branding initiative with Cushman Wakefield, and pushed south in North Carolina.


Glen Sink

executive director of The Center for Rural Virginia, Richmond
The center was created to serve as a catalyst to generate economic growth for rural areas of the state. Past chairman of Virginia Agribusiness Council, he formerly worked for Dairymen Inc., a regional marketing coop.


Ray Smoot

COO and secretary/treasurer of the Virginia Tech Foundation Inc., Blacksburg
Smoot manages more than $800 million in assets. Since arriving at Virginia Tech as a freshman in 1965, he’s been away from the campus for only three years. He is chairman of the board of StellarOne Corp. in Charlottesville and is a director for RGC Resources in Roanoke.


Deborah Stearns

senior vice president of Harvey Lindsay Commercial Real Estate, Norfolk
Stearns’ work focuses on brokerage and business development for the company’s brokerage, property management and development operations. She was named Hampton Roads Woman of the Year and received the Volunteer Hampton Roads Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009.


Anne Marie Whittemore

partner in the law firm of McGuireWoods LLP, Richmond
Since 1997, Whittemore, the first woman partner at McGuireWoods, has been named to a number of corporate boards, including Albemarle Corp., Owens & Minor Inc. and T. Rowe Price. She is a former chairwoman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.


Michel Zajur

president and CEO, Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Richmond
Zajur, a native of Mexico City, founded the Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in 2000 as a bridge between the state’s Hispanic community and other Virginia residents. He and his wife also have offered cultural programs to students.


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