The power list

Influential Virginians help drive change and growth

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Print this page by Paula C. Squires
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Bob Archer, the president and CEO of Blue Ridge
Beverage Co. in Salem. Photo by Don Petersen

What do powerful business leaders have in common? Our 2017 list of the state’s Most Influential Virginians shows a flair for boldness, innovation and service. And it shows the diversity of the state’s business community.

This year’s list includes people leading major companies and entrepreneurs who have grown their companies into industry leaders. We like to think of it as a slice of business Americana, Old Dominion style. So pass the Virginia peanuts and Smithfield ham and enjoy our look at Who’s Who.

Among newcomers is Bob Kettler from Northern Virginia. His company, Kettler Inc., has grown into the 16th-largest multifamily development company in the country. Started 40 years ago, the company is one of the largest multifamily players in metro Washington, D.C., with several massive projects underway, including the former SAIC campus at Tysons.

Also from Northern Virginia is Roger Krone, chairman and CEO of Leidos, now a $10-billion-a-year government IT contractor that employs more than 33,000 people.

Hailing from Southwest Virginia is Bob Archer, president and CEO of Salem-based Blue Ridge Beverage Co. Inc., one of Virginia’s largest beer distributors. His family business has continued to grow with the arrival of new craft beers. Blue Ridge carries them along with well-established brands.

Another Roanoke-area executive making her first appearance on the list is Susan Still, CEO and president of HomeTown Bank, the largest bank based in the Roanoke Valley.  Still also serves as a member of the board of directors for the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.  

In Richmond, Justin Knight stood out. He’s president and CEO of Apple Hospitality REIT Inc. Since Knight took the helm of the company in 2014 from its founder, his father, Glade Knight, Apple Hospitality has continued on an upward trajectory, growing into one of the largest lodging REITs (real estate investment trusts) in the country.

A familiar name makes his return to the list. Wick Moorman, the longtime CEO and chairman of Norfolk Southern Corp., stepped down from the transportation company after 40 years in 2015. He didn’t stay retired for long. Less than a year later, he became the CEO of Amtrak and today uses his expertise to move people, instead of freight.

Altogether, there are nine new people (shown in boxes)  along with other movers and shakers. These Virginians are driving change across multiple spheres ranging from business development to health care and  philanthropy. Virginia Business does not consider elected officials or college or university presidents,  keeping its focus on leaders in  business.





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