High-wattage personalities

Most Influential Virginians are bent on getting things done

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Print this page by Paula C. Squires
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Neil and PC Amin of Shamin Hotels.
Photo by Ash Daniel

What defines power? In this day and age, we “power up” our computers and mobile phones. We see politicians rise to power and frequently see those same people brought low by power struggles.

In physics, power is energy produced in a given amount of time. That might come closest to describing our 2016 list of Virginia’s Most Influential Virginians.  They are high wattage and bent on getting things done.  

These leaders are building companies, banks, health-care systems and law firms. They’re shaping public institutions through the benevolence of philanthropy, and bringing innovative ideas to Virginia.

This year’s list has more than a dozen new faces. Among them are PC and Neil Amin, a father-and-son team whose story provides a look into a first- and second-generation immigrant family from India and how they built Shamin Hotels into one of Central Virginia’s largest hotel operators. In commercial development, there’s Steve Johnson, a former Virginia Tech and NFL football player, whose shopping center, The Pinnacle, is transforming retail in Southwest Virginia.  In another success story, Bob Sasser proved to be one of the industry’s biggest dealmakers last year, by guiding Dollar Tree Inc., a Fortune 500 company, through its $9.1 billion acquisition of Family Dollar.

The other people new to the list are:  G. William “Billy” Beale, president and CEO, Union Bankshares Corp., Richmond; Chris French, chairman, president and CEO, Shenandoah Telecommunications Co., Edinburg; Michael Friedlander, executive director, Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, Roanoke; Mike Lawrie, chairman, president and CEO, CSC Corp., Falls Church; Tom Monahan, chairman and CEO, CEB, Arlington; Anthony J. Moraco, CEO, SAIC, McLean; Jon Peterson, chairman of the executive committee of the Peterson Cos., Fairfax; James A. Squires, chairman, CEO and president, Norfolk Southern Corp., Norfolk; and philanthropists Macon and Joan Brock,  Virginia Beach.

There is a new twist to the 2016 list.  Since Virginia Business is celebrating our 30th anniversary of publication this month, we asked people, “What were you doing 30 years ago?” You might be surprised at some of their answers sprinkled throughout our narrative profiles.



50 Most Influential Virginians, including Power Couples and People on the Move


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