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Movers and shakers

Virginia’s most influential businesspeople get things done

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Print this page by Jessica Sabbath

They employ thousands, build the commonwealth’s most iconic buildings and reshape its cities and towns.

These decisionmakers sit on the boards of Virginia’s major charities, universities and governmental organizations. They donate millions of dollars to causes. In short, these powerful men and women make a big impact on Virginia’s economy and its communities.

This is the seventh year Virginia Business has compiled its annual list of the 50 Most Influential Virginians.

So, how do we come up with the list?

The editors at Virginia Business deliberate for several months over who we keep, drop or add. We look for fast-growing, innovative companies. We want leaders who share their wisdom and dollars with corporate or charitable boards.

Basically, these Virginians are making a difference.

We exclude elected officials and university presidents, focusing instead on business leaders.

This year, we added 10 new faces to our list.

They include:

  • Stephen Moret, the president and CEO of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP). In fall 2016, Virginia’s oversight agency panned the VEDP as ineffective and poorly managed. Since taking the helm at VEDP at the start of 2017, Moret has turned it around and was instrumental in landing the “deal of a century,” Amazon’s HQ2.
  • Kathy Warden, who became president and CEO of Northrop Grumman Corp. following the retirement of longtime leader Wes Bush. In addition to leading one of the country’s largest defense contractors, Warden chairs the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond’s board of directors.
  • Tad Deriso, the president and CEO of Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities Corp. in South Boston. Deriso developed the business plan to create the MBC, which has built an advanced fiber-optic network designed to boost Southern Virginia’s economy.
  • Matt Calkins, who is moving his software application company, Appian, from Reston into the former Gannett headquarters in Tysons. The fast-growing company allows companies to write their own software without coding.
  • Jennifer Boykin, president of Newport News Shipbuilding, which employs 24,000 workers.

So, read on to discover why we chose these business leaders. You’ll also find some interesting gems, including one person who recently wrote a children’s book and another who regularly competes in the World Boardgaming Championships.


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