Virginia leaders

List of most influential people includes entrepreneurs and visionaries

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Print this page by Paula C. Squires

This is the sixth year that Virginia Business has published a list of the state’s Most Influential Virginians.  We keep the list to 50 people, with new faces coming on each year and other people rotating off.

What do we look for? Entrepreneurs. Visionaries. People who build structures and communities. Our focus is on business leaders who reside in Virginia. Virginia Business does not consider elected officials or college and university presidents.  

In many cases, these leaders serve on state and community boards, putting their expertise — and sometimes their money — to work far beyond the boardroom. 

One of the new faces this year is Buddy Rizer, a man known as the dean of data centers in Virginia. Over the past decade, Rizer has helped position Northern Virginia as the No. 1 data center in the U.S., bringing jobs and new tax revenue to Loudoun County. 

Lynne Doughtie also makes her debut. She’s the chairman and CEO of KPMG U.S. — one of the world’s leading professional services firms.  Doughtie graduated from Virginia Tech where she remains active on several advisory boards.  In spite of a heavy travel schedule, she continues to reside in the Richmond area with her family. 

From the Southwest part of the state is Steven C. Smith, president and CEO of  Food City Stores Inc., based in Abingdon. Smith’s father started the company in 1955 with a single store in Grundy, and it has grown to a chain of 132 stores.

Altogether, there are nine new leaders on this year’s list along with some familiar names. We hope you enjoy reading about the playmakers who are driving change in many sectors including economic development, banking, hospitality, health care and real estate, to name a few.


The 50 Most Influential Virginians

View the entire list of the 50 Most Influential Virginians

On the move: Leaders having an impact on a wide range of fields 

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