The 2021 list of business leaders shaping Virginia
Just as Zoom conferences and cloud computing have transformed our pandemic-era work lives, so too is technology changing the nature of influence.
That evolution is perhaps best evidenced by the addition of Reston-based MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor to Virginia Business’ 2021 list of the 50 most influential Virginians. Saylor may not spend his time huddled in cigar smoke-filled country club lounges with wealthy business leaders and politicians, but, along with Elon Musk, he has been one of Twitter’s leading cryptocurrency evangelists, influencing nearly half a million followers.
This year’s list also includes entrants reflecting the importance of diverse leadership, as well as the continuing and growing significance of Northern Virginia’s government contracting community to the commonwealth’s overall economic health.
Read on to learn how each of these leaders is contributing to business and leaving their imprint on Virginia.
Nancy Howell Agee, president and CEO, Carilion Clinic Inc., Roanoke
Why she is influential: Agee oversees the Roanoke Valley’s largest employer, with 13,000-plus personnel. Carilion Clinic has a $1 billion expansion and renovation plan in the works, including a $500 million overhaul of Roanoke Memorial that would make it one of Virginia’s largest hospitals. A former chair of the American Hospital Association, Agee is also a member of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Revenue Estimates.
Recent developments: Although the COVID-19 pandemic paused Carilion’s expansion plans last spring, the health system has been hard at work on other forms of growth. In July 2020, Carilion completed the purchase of Lexington’s Stonewall Jackson Hospital from the SJH Community Health Foundation. And in October 2020, Carilion received a $1 million U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) grant to fund virtual care centers, teleneurology service access and portable telehealth video devices.
John C. Asbury, president and CEO, Atlantic Union Bankshares, Richmond
Why he is influential: Following a career working for large financial institutions, Asbury built Atlantic Union into the largest regional bank headquartered in Virginia following mergers in 2018 and 2019. Asbury was elected chairman of the Virginia Bankers Association board of directors last June and he also serves as vice chairman and chairman-elect of the Mid-Size Bank Coalition of America.
Recent developments: Through both initial rounds of federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) relief loans, Atlantic Union Bank helped more than 11,400 small businesses obtain more than $1.7 billion in funding. Atlantic Union also made undisclosed donations supporting inclusion and equity in 2020, which the bank said represented its largest-ever philanthropic gifts. The bank reported net income of $152.6 million for 2020, with $19.6 billion in assets.
G. Robert Aston Jr., executive chairman, TowneBank, Portsmouth
Why he is influential: A former president of Commerce Bank, Aston co-founded TowneBank in 1999 and helped it grow to become the largest regional bank in Hampton Roads and one of the biggest banks in the state. With 42 offices throughout Virginia and North Carolina, TowneBank had $14.63 billion in total assets at the close of 2020.
Recent developments: In June 2020, TowneBank and Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters jointly purchased the 22-story Norfolk Southern Tower in downtown Norfolk from the Fortune 500 railroad corporation, which is in the process of migrating its corporate headquarters to Atlanta. TowneBank also made the Forbes 100 Best Banks in America list for the third consecutive year, ranking No. 16 position on the 2021 list. The bank assisted 6,500 businesses in securing more than $1.1 billion in PPP relief loans during the pandemic and added a branch in Chesterfield County. It has two Charlotte, North Carolina, locations slated to open this year.
Thomas I. Barkin, president and CEO, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, Richmond
Why he is influential: Barkin, who has led the Richmond Fed since early 2018, oversees monetary policy and regulation and payment services for the bank as well as the Fed’s information technology organization. This year, he became a voting member of the Federal Open Market Committee, the bank’s chief monetary policy body. Previously, Barkin was a senior partner and CFO at the management consulting firm of McKinsey & Co. and served on the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
Recent developments: Barkin’s primary concern about the pandemic is the impact it’s had on the labor market. Fiscal policy, he says, should prioritize people who are “close to the edge.” Although he expects more bumpy months ahead, Barkin calls the rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations “the light at the end of the tunnel.” Until clearing that tunnel, though, he expects the Fed will spend about $120 billion per month in bond purchases and maintain interest rates near zero through 2023.
Gilbert T. Bland, chairman, The Giljoy Group, Virginia Beach
Why he is influential: In 1985, Bland founded a fast food franchise business that owns and operates more than 70 Burger King and Pizza Hut restaurants, employing as many as 2,000 people. He’s also been a major voice in Virginia through board memberships. In 2018, he became president and chairman of the Urban League of Hampton Roads, which supports social and economic equality for African Americans and other minorities to the larger community. He serves on the Randolph-Macon College Board of Trustees and the boards of Sentara Healthcare and the Hampton Roads Community Foundation.
Recent developments: Bland’s community volunteer duties expanded to include an appointment as chairman of the new Virginia African American Advisory Board in 2019 in the wake of Gov. Ralph Northam’s blackface scandal. The 26-member board advises the governor on issues of importance to Black Virginians, including health, education and business. In October 2020, the board issued its first annual report, focusing on the impact of COVID-19 on Black communities, businesses and public health.
Jennifer Boykin, president, Newport News Shipbuilding, and executive vice president, Huntington Ingalls Industries, Newport News
Why she is influential: Boykin became the first woman president of the Newport News shipyard in 2017, coming from a marine engineering background. Part of Huntington Ingalls Industries, Newport News Shipbuilding is the leading industrial employer in Virginia. With about 23,000 employees, it is currently working on the U.S. Navy’s largest-ever shipbuilding contract — $22.2 billion, shared with General Dynamics Electric Boat — to build nine Virginia-class Block V attack submarines.
Recent developments: As a large employer, the shipyard saw dramatic changes in its work schedules last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, moving from three shifts to two shifts in May 2020. Meanwhile, NNS continued work on its large backlog of projects that include the submarine contract. Boykin also was named to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy’s new Board of Visitors last year; she is a 1986 graduate.
Victor Branch, Richmond market president, Bank of America Corp., Richmond
Why he is influential: Branch, who joined Bank of America in 1984, has served as its Richmond market president since 2015, responsible for 25 branch offices, a technology and operations center and 2,000 employees. A William & Mary alum, he has an extremely active civic life. He serves on the university’s board of visitors and also sits on the boards of the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges, ChamberRVA, Venture Richmond and Virginia’s Gateway Region.
Recent developments: In December 2020, Branch was honored as one of the Richmond Times-Dispatch’s People of the Year. Two months later, he penned a guest column for Virginia Business, calling on the business community to continue the momentum of last year’s racial justice discussions and make long-term commitments to increase equity and diversity and end discrimination.
Teresa Carlson, vice president, worldwide sector and industries, Amazon Web Services, Herndon
Why she is influential: As the founder of AWS’s public sector business, Carlson helped establish the company as the world’s most ubiquitous cloud platform. After the CIA moved to AWS cloud services in 2013, many organizations followed suit; today, AWS works with more than 7,500 government agencies, 14,000 academic institutions and 35,000 nonprofit organizations around the world. AWS recently expanded Carlson’s purview, giving her responsibility for its largest regulated industry customers, including financial services, energy services and telecommunications. She also oversees AWS training and certification programs, including global inclusion and diversity initiatives, and advises Amazon’s policy wing on global issues.
Recent developments: Following the February news that AWS CEO Andy Jassy would succeed Jeff Bezos as Amazon’s second CEO, speculation broke out as to whether Carlson might rise to AWS’s top spot. (Others rumored to be in the running include AWS vice presidents Peter DeSantis and Matt Garman.) Carlson could have an edge, having led the 2020 launch of a new business segment dedicated to accelerating innovation in the aerospace and satellite industry, sectors of particular interest to Bezos.
C. Daniel Clemente, founder, chairman and CEO, Clemente Development Co. Inc., Tysons
Why he is influential: This seasoned Northern Virginia real estate developer has played a major role in making Tysons a Northern Virginia edge city. He founded his firm in 1986 after careers in banking and law. A former George Mason University rector and board of trustees chair, Clemente currently serves on the Virginia Economic Development Partnership’s board.
Recent developments: In February 2020, Clemente Development secured the remaining land for its $1.3 billion, 3 million square-foot, proposed mixed-use development, The View at Tysons. However, the ambitious project has been put on hold as the company waits to see if demand for office space revives following the pandemic. Located near the Spring Hill Metro Station, the project includes a proposal to build the 600-foot-tall Iconic Tower, which would be the tallest building in Virginia and the Washington, D.C., region, as well as 1,400 apartments priced as affordable workforce housing.
Benjamin J. Davenport Jr., chairman, First Piedmont Corp. and Davenport Energy Inc., Chatham
Why he is influential: Davenport joined his family’s namesake energy company in 1964 after graduating from Virginia Tech. He has overseen its expansion from a small family-owned company to a major provider of propane, fuel oil and retail gasoline equipment to more than 30,000 commercial and residential customers in Virginia and North Carolina. Davenport established First Piedmont Corp., a full-service waste-management company, in 1969. A loyal Hokie, he has served on Tech’s board of visitors and on the boards of the Tech Foundation and Carilion School of Medicine.
Recent developments: Last April, Davenport received the 2020 Sorensen Institute Leadership Award in recognition of his efforts to revitalize the Southern Virginia economy and for his championship of Danville’s Institute for Advanced Learning and Research, created in partnership with Virginia Tech.
William B. “Bill” Downey, CEO, Riverside Health System, Newport News
Why he is influential: For nearly a decade, Downey has overseen the massive Eastern Virginia health care system that employs more than 9,500 people and includes almost 700 providers and seven hospitals, plus nursing homes and continuing care retirement communities. During his tenure, Riverside has undertaken a number of ambitious building projects, including a $90 million expansion of the Riverside Regional Medical Center in Newport News and a $50 million renovation and expansion of Riverside Walter Reed Hospital in Gloucester.
Recent developments: Downey lends a prodigious amount of time to civic organizations and has served on the boards of many, including the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, the Virginia Symphony, the Hampton Roads Economic Development Authority and the Virginia Chamber of Commerce. Last year, the Hampton Roads Community Action Program presented him its 2020 Community Builders award in recognition of his positive impact on the region.
Barry DuVal, president and CEO, Virginia Chamber of Commerce, Richmond
Why he is influential: In the 11 years that DuVal has served as president and CEO of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, he’s grown its membership from 847 in 2010 to more than 27,000, including an additional thousand this past year. A former state secretary of commerce and trade, he is also a past mayor of Newport News and was president and CEO of Kaufman & Canoles Consulting LLC.
Recent developments: Last year, DuVal and the chamber released its pandemic best practices report, “Blueprint for Getting Virginians Back to Work,” supported relief for small businesses and lobbied for businesses to be protected from pandemic-related lawsuits. DuVal also continues to be a vocal advocate against the repeal of the state’s right-to-work laws. This year, the chamber is developing a statewide economic development strategic plan, Blueprint Virginia 2030.
James W. Dyke Jr., senior advisor, State Government Relations, McGuireWoods Consulting LLC, Tysons
Why he is influential: A former secretary of education under
Gov. L. Douglas Wilder, Dyke wields significant influence in state politics as a lobbyist for three universities: George Washington, Marymount and the foundation at George Mason University. He also serves on the board of GO Virginia, a state-funded economic initiative promoting regional collaboration and private-sector investment in economic development.
Recent developments: Dyke served as one of three co-chairs of the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation’s Back to Work Virginia task force created last year. In December, the group recommended that the state make child care available to all Virginians by 2030, regardless of income. “For Virginia to recover and prosper, we cannot go back to business as usual with a child care system that fails to provide equitable access to affordable, quality care for working families. Virginia can do better and we will do it together,” said Dyke, who is also an advocate for topics ranging from yearlong public education to racial equity and bipartisanship.
Richard Fairbank, founder, chairman, CEO and president, Capital One Financial Corp., Tysons
Why he is influential: Fairbank co-founded McLean-based Capital One in 1994, growing it from a startup into a Fortune 100 company that’s one of the 10 largest banks in America, with $421.9 billion in assets. A billionaire who has served as Capital One’s CEO since 1994, Fairbank hasn’t taken a base salary since 1997. He previously served as chairman of MasterCard’s U.S. board of directors.
Recent developments: Early in the pandemic, Capital One caught heat from business customers for its slow rollout of PPP loans, processing just 196 loan approvals during the federal relief program’s April 2020 first round. The pandemic also accelerated the bank’s trend of closing branches in favor of digital transactions, with Capital One filing more than 50 branch closure applications in the last half of 2020. In October 2020, the bank announced a five-year, $200 million commitment to advance economic growth and socioeconomic mobility in underserved communities. Capital One started 2021 on a bad note, however, being hit with a $390 million federal civil penalty for willfully violating anti-money-laundering requirements between 2008 and 2014.
Thomas F. Farrell II, executive chairman, Dominion Energy Inc., Richmond
Why he is influential: Farrell has led the state’s largest utility since 2006, transitioning from its CEO to executive chairman in October 2020. Dominion is a major player in state politics and Farrell is one of Richmond’s best-known and most powerful executives, though not even his influence could save his proposed $1.5 billion Navy Hill downtown development plan, which Richmond City Council killed in early 2020.
Recent developments: As one of the state’s most powerful leaders, Farrell chairs the state GO Virginia board, which allocates funding for economic development projects across Virginia. In April 2020, he also was appointed as Altria Group Inc.’s chairman of the board, a non-executive position. Last summer, Dominion pulled the plug on its $8 billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline and sold its gas transmission and storage business to Berkshire Hathaway Inc. for almost $10 billion. As part of a state initiative to shift to carbon-free energy production by 2050, Dominion last year completed the pilot phase of its proposed $7.8 billion, 2,640-megawatt wind farm off the coast of Virginia Beach. Scheduled for completion in 2026, it will be the nation’s largest offshore wind farm.
Heywood Fralin, chairman, Medical Facilities of America Inc., Roanoke
Why he is influential: A former University of Virginia rector who was also a longtime member of the U.Va. and Virginia Tech board of visitors, Fralin chairs the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia and is a director of the Virginia Western Community College Educational Foundation Board. Fralin and his wife, Cynthia, are noted philanthropists who donated $50 million in 2018 to Virginia Tech’s Fralin Biomedical Research Institute in Roanoke. U.Va.’s art museum is also named for the couple, who donated their collection of American art to the university in 2012. As a businessman, Fralin oversees 40 nursing home facilities in Virginia and North Carolina and is co-chairman of Retirement Unlimited Inc., which has six assisted-living facilities in the commonwealth.
Recent developments: In December 2020, Fralin and his wife pledged $5 million to endow U.Va.’s head football coaching position, which is now officially known as the Fralin Family Head Football Coach. Matching funds will create a permanent endowment of $7.5 million.
William F. “Billy” Gifford, CEO, Altria, Richmond
Why he is influential: In April 2020, following the retirement of former CEO and Chairman Howard Willard, Gifford took the helm of the tobacco giant, which reported net revenues of $26.2 billion in 2020, a 4.2% increase from 2019. The Henrico County-based Fortune 500 parent company of cigarette manufacturer Philip Morris USA (where Gifford was president and CEO) holds a 35% stake in San Francisco- based e-cigarette producer Juul Labs Inc., having invested $12.8 billion in the company in 2018. Gifford also serves on the board of directors for Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV, in which Altria holds an equity stake.
Recent developments: In November 2020, Altria converted its nonvoting shares of Juul to voting shares but said it didn’t plan to take a more active role on the board until a federal antitrust complaint was resolved. A month later, Altria announced its third-generation IQOS tobacco heating system device, which is being marketed as less harmful for one’s health than traditional cigarettes, had been approved for sale by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Amy Gilliland, president, General Dynamics Information Technology Inc., Falls Church
Why she is influential: Gilliland was named president of GDIT in 2017 and a year later, the General Dynamics Corp. subsidiary doubled in size with the largest acquisition in company history: the $9.6 billion purchase of Falls Church-based IT services company CSRA Inc. Gilliland now is a high-profile leader overseeing an organization of nearly 30,000 employees, including 8,250 in Virginia, that delivers critical mission capabilities for the civilian government, defense and intelligence communities. A third-generation military veteran, she served in the U.S. Navy and worked as a public affairs officer at the Pentagon before joining General Dynamics in 2005.
Recent developments: In government contracting circles, one of the biggest stories of 2020 was the fact that GDIT retained the $4.4 billion, 10-year Defense Enterprise Office Solutions (DEOS) contract, which had previously been awarded to CSRA. Under the contract, GDIT will support the largest deployment of Microsoft Office 365, and the first in a classified environment. GDIT also secured a $695 million IT contract for the U.S. Army’s Europe headquarters, in addition to being selected as a prime contractor on a $3.3 billion global support contract for the State Department.
Robert Gray, chief, Pamunkey Indian Tribe, King William
Why he is influential: Chief of the Pamunkey Tribe since 2015, Gray has partnered with Tennessee billionaire investor Jon Yarbrough on two casino projects: one in Norfolk that is moving ahead after a local referendum passed last November, and a proposed resort in Richmond.
Recent developments: The city of Richmond began accepting proposals for casino projects in late 2020, with an operator and site expected to be selected this summer. Local voters will weigh in with a November ballot referendum. The tribe has purchased land in the Manchester neighborhood on Richmond’s South Side. Meanwhile, work starts soon on the tribe’s $500 million casino in Norfolk, with about 1,500 jobs and $185 million in annual revenue expected. Gray says the project will lead to increased prosperity for members of his tribe and the community where it will be operating the casino.
Jonathan P. Harmon, chairman, McGuireWoods LLP, Richmond
Why he is influential: A Gulf War veteran who graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Harmon has led Virginia’s largest law firm since 2017. McGuireWoods has 24 offices across the U.S., Europe and Asia, employs close to 900 attorneys and made $853.5 million in total revenue in 2020. A respected trial attorney, Harmon represents several Fortune 500 companies and previously led the firm’s business and securities litigation department.
Recent developments: Last summer, Harmon participated in a one-on-one discussion with Ibram X. Kendi, best-selling author of “How to Be an Antiracist,” for a webcast, and the firm received Bank of America’s Law Firm Diversity & Inclusion Award. Amid widespread racial equity protests, Harmon penned a June 2020 column in The Wall Street Journal about grappling with racism and discrimination. In a December 2020 interview with Virginia Business, Harmon acknowledged how hard last year was for many people: “If there had been just one of the events — pandemic, social unrest, political divisiveness — any one of those things would have been enough. You find out a lot about who you are as a leader when you go through challenging times.”
Victor Hoskins, president and CEO, Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, Fairfax
Why he is influential: Since landing Amazon.com Inc.’s $2.5 billion HQ2 East Coast headquarters deal for Arlington County in 2018, Hoskins has been laser-focused on bringing economic prosperity not only to Fairfax County, where he moved in August 2019, but to the entire Northern Virginia region. In 2019, he started working with 10 Northern Virginia jurisdictions to establish the Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance, which will help the region compete for large projects and promote economic development cooperation.
Recent developments: In 2019, Hoskins took his magic touch to Fairfax County, which, since his arrival, has snagged major deals from Microsoft Corp., Google LLC, Facebook Inc., Amazon Web Services and Volkswagen Group of America. A $64 million Microsoft investment will establish a new software development and R&D regional hub at Fairfax County’s Reston Town Center, creating 1,500 jobs, and Volkswagen Group of America Inc. signed a 20-year lease agreement in Reston Town Center, where it will be the anchor tenant in Boston Properties’ under-construction 1.1 million square-foot development. [See interview, Page 24.]
Dr. J. Stephen Jones, president and CEO, Inova Health System, Falls Church
Why he is influential: Jones oversees the operation of five not-for-profit hospitals and several other health care assets, all located in Northern Virginia. Inova, which has 18,000 employees and serves 2 million patients annually, is the highest-rated large health system in the nation, according to the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Jones isn’t just an administrator. A professor of urology at the University of Virginia, he consistently ranks among the top 1% of the nation’s cancer physicians and urologists.
Recent developments: In December 2020, Inova announced plans to build a $1 billion medical campus on the 52-acre site of the vacant Landmark Mall in Alexandria, eventually replacing Inova’s existing hospital there. The new hospital will be one of only three Level II trauma centers in Northern Virginia. The 4-million-square-foot site will include a medical office building and residential, retail, commercial and entertainment developments.
Nazzic S. Keene, CEO, Science Applications International Corp., Reston
Why she is influential: Keene leads SAIC, a major government contractor with 2020 revenues of about $7.1 billion and 25,500 employees worldwide. She joined SAIC in 2012 and rose through a series of leadership roles before becoming CEO in mid-2019. Barely six months into leading SAIC, she oversaw the company’s $1.2 billion acquisition of Unisys Corp.’s federal business unit. Keene sits on the Inova Health System Board of Trustees and is a member of ADP’s board of directors. She’s also a familiar face in local philanthropy, previously serving on boards of nonprofits such as Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, Capital Partners for Education, Year Up National Capital Region and the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors.
Recent developments: Keene was one of a handful of CEOs of federal contracting firms who publicly called for unity following the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. In February, SAIC won an $830 million contract to provide engineering services for the U.S. Army’s Combat Capabilities Development Command, Aviation & Missile Center.
Howard P. Kern, president and CEO, Sentara Healthcare, Norfolk
Why he is influential: Leading Sentara since 2016, Kern oversees one of Virginia’s largest health systems, with 12 hospitals in Virginia and North Carolina and about 30,000 employees. Sentara also became majority owner of the Virginia Premier health plan after striking a deal with VCU Health System in spring 2020.
Recent developments: In August 2020, Sentara announced its intention to merge with Greensboro, North Carolina-based Cone Health, which will produce a health system with $11.5 billion in combined revenues. Kern will oversee the larger company, which will remain headquartered in Norfolk. And in January, Kern announced Sentara’s $10 million investment and partnership with Old Dominion University, Norfolk State University and Eastern Virginia Medical School to start a School of Public Health and support other public health initiatives in the Hampton Roads and Peninsula areas.
Justin G. Knight, president and CEO, Apple Hospitality REIT Inc., Richmond
Why he is influential: As CEO of Apple Hospitality REIT, Knight oversees 235 hotels, mainly Marriotts and Hiltons, in 34 states. He is vice chair of the board of the American Hotel and Lodging Association and additionally serves on the boards of Richmond’s Valentine Museum and Venture Richmond, which supports the state capital’s downtown businesses.
Recent developments: In December 2020, Apple Hospitality received a 2019 Hilton Legacy Award for being a top performer for the Hilton Garden Inn brand. That honor, however, preceded the arrival of the pandemic, which brought Apple Hospitality a 55% revenue drop in 2020. In response to the crisis, Knight consolidated operations, postponed nonessential projects, reduced operational costs and renegotiated service contracts. With the vaccine rollout beginning, however, Apple’s business-traveler-oriented hotels have begun to rebound, and stock advisers at The Motley Fool picked the REIT as one of their top 10 investments for 2021.
Roger A. Krone, chairman and CEO, Leidos Holdings Inc., Reston
Why he is influential: Since 2014, Krone has served as the top executive at Leidos, a Fortune 500 government contractor that reported $11.1 billion in 2019 revenue and employs 37,000 people. The pilot and aerospace engineer also has 22 years under his belt with The Boeing Co. and 14 years with General Dynamics Corp. His time with Leidos has seen both major acquisitions and contract awards, including the 2016 purchase of Lockheed Martin’s Information Systems & Global Solutions business for $4.6 billion.
Recent developments: In February, Krone became the first eight-time winner of Executive Mosaic’s prestigious Wash100 Award, which recognizes the most influential leaders in government contracting. Just a month before, Leidos completed its $215 million, all-cash acquisition of Reston-based information technology services company 1901 Group. That’s not to mention roughly $4 billion in major federal contracts Leidos landed in late 2020 and early 2021.
John R. Lawson II, executive chairman, W.M. Jordan Co., Newport News
Why he is influential: For 32 years, Lawson served as president and CEO of the construction company his late father co-founded, rising to executive chairman in 2018. During his tenure, the company has grown its annual revenue from $25 million to more than $500 million, but his power is even more evident in the greater Hampton Roads community. The 2018 Virginia Business Person of the Year leads a company that works on projects including the Ferguson campus at Newport News City Center, Liebherr USA’s expansion in Newport News and the Measurement Systems Lab at NASA Langley Research Center. In November 2020, he joined the National Academy of Construction.
Recent developments: W.M. Jordan is constructing a 14-story mental health care facility in Norfolk, set to open in 2022, for the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters. The company in late 2020 started construction on the new Embassy Suites Hotel, the final piece of the Cavalier Oceanfront Resort in Virginia Beach. The company also provided construction management services for the $125 million, 305-room Marriott Virginia Beach Oceanfront, which opened last June and is also part of the Cavalier renovations.
Vincent J. Mastracco Jr., partner, co-chair, Real Estate Strategies Group, Kaufman & Canoles PC, Norfolk
Why he is influential: Considered one of the top securities and corporate finance attorneys in the Tidewater region, Mastracco has been practicing law for more than 55 years as a member of the equally venerable firm of Kaufman & Canoles. He also has been involved in many significant commercial developments in downtown Norfolk. As the former chair for the Virginia Economic Development Partnership’s board of directors, he was on a team that helped bring Amazon’s HQ2 to Northern Virginia. Mastracco is a trustee of both the Sentara Foundation, which responds to the health care needs of the Hampton Roads area, and the Eastern Virginia Medical School Foundation. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia, and law degrees from the University of Richmond and New York University.
Recent developments: Mastracco continues his community service as a board member of the Hampton Roads Business Roundtable, the Community Leadership Partners and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership.
Terri McClements, senior partner and partner candidate development leader, COVID-19 executive project management officer, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, McLean
Why she is influential: McClements has spent more than three decades serving in various leadership roles at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC), from overseeing high-performing markets to developing its human capital and talent program. In 2017, McClements was named to lead the Big Four accounting firm’s mid-Atlantic practice, which encompasses more than 4,000 employees in Virginia, Washington, D.C., Maryland, Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey.
Recent developments: Last September, McClements left her role as market managing partner to lead two initiatives. As head of PwC’s Partner Candidate Development program, she’s responsible for developing the firm’s future leaders in a three-year pipeline program. McClements was also assigned to lead PwC’s COVID-19 response, which included the development of products and technology to assist the company’s clients with contact tracing, risk management and other aspects of guiding a business through the pandemic.
Mary McDuffie, president and CEO, Navy Federal Credit Union, Vienna
Why she is influential: McDuffie leads the world’s largest credit union, with more than 9 million members, $135.7 billion in assets, 22,100 employees and 344 branches. She has been with the credit union for more than two decades and became president and CEO in January 2019. During her time with the organization, she oversaw the launch of the credit union’s first mobile app — just one example of the credit union’s “digital first” mindset. In 2020, Navy Federal was ranked as one of the best places to work in IT.
Recent developments: In July 2020, Big Four accounting firm KPMG ranked Navy Federal No. 4 on its annual list of top 10 U.S. brands for customer experience excellence — a fitting accolade as McDuffie has made improving customer service one of her top priorities. Expansion has also been a priority for Duffie, who’s overseen the openings of 20 additional branches in the last couple years.
Jim McGlothlin, chairman and CEO, The United Co., Bristol
Why he is influential: A Southwest Virginia native, McGlothlin was known for 40 years as a coal mining magnate, but today he’s forged a second act as a co-developer of Bristol’s forthcoming $400 million casino resort, in partnership with Hard Rock International and fellow former coal executive and developer Clyde Stacy. McGlothlin and his wife, Frances Gibson McGlothlin, have also been major donors to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and to McGlothlin’s alma mater, William & Mary.
Recent developments: Voters in Bristol overwhelmingly approved a November 2020 referendum allowing the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino to move forward, along with three other resorts across Virginia. The casino is expected to produce 2,000 jobs and generate $130 million in annual revenue. McGlothlin and Stacy, who began pursuing the idea of a casino in 2018, are credited with bringing about a change in the state’s commercial gambling laws in 2020 that opened Virginia’s doors to casinos.
John G. Milliken, chairman, Virginia Port Authority Board of Commissioners, Arlington
Why he is influential: Milliken has chaired the Virginia Port Authority’s Board of Commissioners under five Virginia governors. He previously led the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, served as Virginia secretary of transportation and was an Arlington County supervisor from 1981 to 1990. Since he rejoined the port authority in 2014, it has leveraged nearly $1.5 billion to modernize and expand the port through infrastructure projects that will extend through 2024, including dredging to make it the deepest port on the East Coast, able to handle the largest cargo ships.
Recent developments: Milliken shepherded the VPA through a pivotal transition year in 2020, overseeing the process of choosing Stephen A. Edwards as the successor to VPA President and CEO John F. Reinhart, who retired in January after seven years. A longtime maritime executive, Edwards is the former president and CEO of TraPac LLC, which operates port terminals in California and Florida.
Stephen Moret, president and CEO, Virginia Economic Development Partnership, Richmond
Why he is influential: Moret played a key role in landing Amazon.com Inc.’s $2.5 billion HQ2 East Coast headquarters in 2018, described as the largest single economic development deal in U.S. history. Named by Virginia Business magazine as its 2019 Virginia Business Person of the Year, Moret is a tireless promoter of Virginia as a great location for business, helping to reclaim Virginia’s status as CNBC’s top state for business in 2019.
Recent developments: Essentially the state’s point person on economic recovery, Moret and his VEDP staff have been working with the Virginia Chamber of Commerce to update Blueprint Virginia 2030, a comprehensive long-range plan for Virginia businesses that’s expected to be presented in 2022. Business Facilities ranked Virginia third for workforce development last August, citing VEDP’s two-year-old Virginia Talent Accelerator Program for workforce training.
Christopher J. Nassetta, president and CEO, Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc., Tysons
Why he is influential: Nassetta, a 37-year industry veteran who also chairs the World Travel & Tourism Council, has been a prominent voice in business media during the last year, discussing the hotel industry’s prospects for economic recovery from the devastating losses it suffered during the pandemic. He’s also talked about how the industry may change as a result, evolving to host more high-quality “hybrid” conferences that will have in-person attendees while also broadcasting virtually to larger remote audiences. Nassetta is in charge of a portfolio of more than 17 hotel brands, encompassing 6,100 properties in 119 countries and territories. The company had 173,000 employees prior to the pandemic.
Recent developments: Last June, as the pandemic settled in, Hilton laid off 2,100 of its 9,600 corporate employees. For third quarter 2020, it posted a 61% loss in revenue compared with the previous year. Nassetta doesn’t expect his company to recover to 2019 levels for two or three years, but, he adds, “We’re not crying in our milk. We’ve got a business to run. This too shall pass.”
Phebe Novakovic, chairman and CEO, General Dynamics Corp., Falls Church
Why she is influential: Last year, Forbes ranked Novakovic the 27th most powerful woman in the world in recognition of her position as head of the Fairfax County-based aerospace and defense company, a behemoth with more than 100,000 employees and annual revenues nearing $38 billion. Novakovic is a member of the executive chairman’s circle of Ford’s Theatre and chairs the board of the Association of the U.S. Army.
Recent developments: In December 2020, Virginia Business chose Novakovic as its 2020 Business Person of the Year. That same month, she was tapped to serve on the board of JPMorgan Chase & Co. General Dynamics landed several major contracts in late 2020, including being named as one of three prime contractors for the State Department’s Global Support Strategy contract vehicle, which has an estimated value of as much as $3.3 billion over the next decade, as well as a $695 million contract to provide IT services to the U.S. Army.
Edward A. Pesicka, president and CEO, Owens & Minor Inc., Richmond
Why he is influential: Owens & Minor was already a longtime Fortune 500 company when the COVID-19 pandemic and accompanying demand for personal protective equipment elevated it to more national prominence. Pesicka, who joined the company as president and CEO in 2019, rose in profile as Owens & Minor accelerated and expanded production of N95 respirators, surgical and procedure masks, face shields and isolation gowns. Pesicka joined other executives in the medical and pharmaceutical industries in a task force with President Donald Trump and federal officials about how to speed the PPE supply chain. Standing next to Trump, Pesicka addressed the press during a March 2020 Rose Garden task force briefing about the emerging pandemic.
Recent developments: Like many other companies, Owens & Minor moved to telework during the pandemic, ultimately deciding in November to pull stakes on its call center at Richmond’s Riverfront Plaza and sublet the space instead. Owens & Minor continues to pursue public-private relationships: In January, the day after the new president’s inauguration, the company sent a news release in which Pesicka thanked President Joe Biden for expanding and encouraging the use of face masks.
Mike Petters, president and CEO, Huntington Ingalls Industries, Newport News
Why he is influential: Petters leads America’s largest military ship-building company. HII employs more than 42,000 people, and reported $9.4 billion in 2020 revenue. Petters previously was president of what was formerly Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding and has worked in the Newport News shipbuilding industry since 1987. He is a member of many boards, including the Aerospace Industries Association, the U.S. Naval Academy Foundation, the National Association of Manufacturers and others.
Recent developments: Huntington Ingalls carried on despite the pandemic, keeping pace with its 2019 performance. For 2020, it had built a backlog of $46 billion in contracts to fulfill, a decrease of less than $1 billion from the year before. Additionally, in January, HII completed the first phase of construction on its $47 million Unmanned Systems Center of Excellence campus, a manufacturing and research facility to develop underwater drones.
Horacio D. Rozanski, CEO, Booz Allen Hamilton Inc., McLean
Why he is influential: Rozanski, who started out as an intern in Booz Allen Hamilton’s Buenos Aires office in 1991, has played an important part in Booz Allen’s growth into a global technology and consulting powerhouse. He guided Booz Allen through the separation of its government and commercial sides into two companies, its initial public offering in 2010, and a strategic transformation that redirected Booz Allen’s portfolio toward mission-critical, high-margin solutions. Booz Allen has cultivated a diverse workforce, adding members of underrepresented groups to its board and leadership teams at more than twice the rate of its competitors. A dedicated philanthropist, Rozanski chairs the board of directors for Children’s National Medical Center and is a board member for CARE USA. He also serves on the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Committee on Conscience and the Kennedy Center Corporate Fund Board.
Recent developments: In April 2020, Rozanski was awarded the prestigious Horatio Alger Award, recognizing Americans who have succeeded despite adversity.
Buddy Rizer, executive director, economic development, Loudoun County
Why he is influential: Loudoun’s economic development leader is also the self-styled “Godfather of Data Center Alley,” reflecting the fact that the county has the world’s largest concentration of data centers. More than 70% of all internet traffic passes through the county’s Ashburn area and companies such as Amazon Web Services, Google LLC and Microsoft Corp. are continually building more there. Rizer sits on the boards of the Northern Virginia Technology Council and the Northern Virginia Community College Foundation.
Recent developments: The increased demand for cloud services and streaming video from remote workers during the pandemic caused some data center development projects to get fast-tracked in 2020, Rizer has said. The coronavirus crisis also had Rizer focused on aiding the county’s small businesses. Loudoun doled out millions in relief funds via its COVID-19 Business Interruption Fund and allocated $250,000 in federal CARES Act money to help local restaurants offset costs for switching to outdoor dining service.
Mike Salvino, president and CEO, DXC Technology, Tysons
Why he is influential: Founded in April 2017 as a result of the merger of Computer Science Corp. and the Enterprise Services business of Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co., DXC employs 138,000 people worldwide and reported 2020 revenues of more than $19 billion. A former CEO of Accenture Operations who has written regularly about leadership for Chief Executive magazine, Salvino joined DXC in May 2019. During his seven-year tenure at Accenture, he went from a bad first year to growing revenues by 20% and he says he’s taking DXC on a similar “transformation journey.”
Recent developments: DXC divested its state and local health business to private equity firm Veritas Capital in March 2020 for $5 billion in cash. In January, DXC received an unsolicited $10 billion bid for all DXC shares from Paris-based IT company Atos SE, but Salvino and DXC’s board declined, saying the offer was too low and they think DXC has far more potential.
Michael J. Saylor, chairman, president and CEO, MicroStrategy Inc., Tysons
Why he is influential: With more than 460,000 Twitter followers, software CEO Saylor is one of the top proponents of bitcoin as a safe-haven investment, and he’s preached that gospel in interviews on CNBC and Bloomberg Television. An inventor, author and philanthropist, Saylor has said, “The destiny of money is to be encrypted.”
Recent developments: Saylor puts his money where his tweets are: His software company spent $675 million purchasing more than 70,000 bitcoins last year, making it one of the first public companies to convert cash holdings into cryptocurrency. By mid-February, the company’s bitcoins had increased in value to roughly $3.6 billion. And the company announced plans in February to purchase $900 million more in bitcoin to add to its treasury reserve.
Steven C. Smith, CEO, Food City, Abingdon
Why he is influential: Smith’s father started out with a single Piggly Wiggly store in Grundy in 1955. In 2001, his son took over the family business, which became known as Food City, and expanded its portfolio to include more than 120 stores and 17,000 employees. Food City has posted $2.6 billion in annual revenues and operates in Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Georgia under the names Food City and Super Dollar Supermarkets. Smith plans to open the company’s first store in Alabama in April 2021. Food City is known in Southwest Virginia for its annual sponsorship of two NASCAR races at Bristol Motor Speedway, the Food City 500 and the Food City 300.
Recent developments: Food City was named employer of the year for 2020 by the Council for Exceptional Children’s Division on Career Development and Transition for its commitment to providing opportunities to students with disabilities. Its pharmacies are partnering with the government to offer free COVID-19 vaccinations as they become available.
Clyde Stacy, CEO, Par Ventures LLC, Bristol
Why he is influential: A former coal mining executive who headed Rapoca Energy Co., Stacy is a prominent developer and investor in Bristol, his hometown. He purchased the vacant Bristol Mall for $2.6 million in 2018, and it’s there where he and longtime friend Jim McGlothlin, CEO of The United Co., will be building the $400 million Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, which was approved by Bristol voters in November 2020.
Recent developments: Along with the casino (one of four approved last year in local referendums across Virginia), Stacy also is an investor in Dharma Pharmaceuticals, a CBD processing facility currently housed at Bristol Mall. In October 2020, the company was the first in Virginia to dispense medical marijuana after the General Assembly loosened cannabis laws. Dharma plans to relocate to Washington County this year to make way for the casino.
Warren Thompson, president and chairman, Thompson Hospitality Corp., Reston
Why he is influential: Thompson is the founder of the nation’s largest minority- owned food and facilities management company, which he started in 1992 after working for Marriott Corp. and buying 31 Bob’s Big Boy restaurants from the company. A University of Virginia Darden School of Business alumnus, Thompson has served on U.Va.’s board of visitors and other influential boards. In December 2020, he was named to Richmond-based Performance Food Group Co.’s board of directors.
Recent developments: Last year was difficult for the food service and hospitality industries, Thompson Hospitality included, which was forced to lay off about 75% of its workforce last spring. Staffing levels are back up, but are still at about half of 2019’s peak employment, Thompson said in January. But 2020 did have a few bright spots, including the company’s November acquisition of Reston-based Matchbox Food Group for $11.6 million. Thompson also served on Gov. Ralph Northam’s COVID-19 Business Task Force, advising the governor on strategies for assisting businesses harmed by the pandemic.
Tamika L. Tremaglio, greater Washington managing principal, Deloitte, McLean
Why she is influential: Since 2017, Tremaglio has managed 12,000 employees in the greater Washington area for Deloitte. An active public speaker and fashion trendsetter who is highly visible in the D.C. region, she joined the Big Four accounting firm in 2010. She serves on the boards of Tuskegee University, United Way of the National Capital Area and is a past board member for The Economic Club of Washington, D.C. Washingtonian magazine has named her one of the region’s most powerful women.
Recent developments: In 2019, Tremaglio was named to the advisory board of the WNBA’s players union, alongside former Georgia U.S. Rep. Stacey Abrams and Vanderbilt University men’s basketball head coach Jerry Stackhouse. Among other initiatives, board members advised the union during negotiations for a collective bargaining agreement in January 2020 that tripled players’ salaries. The WNBA and its union have become more powerful since, with its support of U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock’s campaign against Atlanta team owner Kelly Loeffler, the former Republican senator of Georgia, cited as a turning point in the Democrat’s runoff win in January 2021.
Jim VandeHei, co-founder and CEO, Axios Media Inc., Arlington
Why he is influential: VandeHei began his career as a journalist writing for The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. In 2006, he co-founded Politico, disrupting media coverage of national politics. VandeHei reprised the act in 2016 by co-launching Axios. It began with a focus on short, punchy news items delivered via email newsletters — currently read by 1.4 million subscribers — but has since expanded to podcasts and an HBO cable television series.
Recent developments: In 2020, Axios earned more than $60 million in revenue. HBO expanded its Axios series from short blocks of episodes to year-round production of biweekly shows. Axios expanded into local news with branches in Charlotte, Denver, Des Moines, Tampa Bay and Minnesota’s Twin Cities. In early 2021, it launched AxiosHQ, a communications platform designed for businesses to adapt the Axios house style for internal communications.
Kathy Warden, chairman, CEO and president, Northrop Grumman Corp., Falls Church
Why she is influential: Having previously held leadership roles at General Dynamics Corp. and Veridian Corp., Warden joined Northrop Grumman in 2008; she has served as CEO and president since January 2019. A past chair of the board of directors at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, she serves on the board of visitors at her alma mater, James Madison University. She also chairs the Aerospace Industries Association board and serves on the boards of Merck & Co. and the global nonprofit Catalyst Inc., which works to advance women in corporate leadership and advocates for equity and inclusion.
Recent developments: Despite the challenges of 2020, Northrop closed its fourth quarter with a 17% revenue gain over the previous year. During 2020, the company increased sales by 9% to $36.8 billion and had net awards of $52.9 billion, outpacing analysts’ projections. In December 2020, the company sold its federal IT and mission support services business to Herndon-based Peraton for $3.4 billion in cash. Since November 2020, the company has won two major Air Force contracts potentially worth a combined $8.4 billion over the next decade.
Ardine Williams, vice president of HQ2 workforce development, Amazon.com Inc., Arlington
Why she is influential: After Williams’ first career in tech came to an end in 2014, Amazon lured her out of retirement from Intel Corp. to lead its effort to hire 23,000 workers for cloud computing subsidiary Amazon Web Services. Building on that success, Amazon placed her in charge of workforce development for its $2.5 billion HQ2 East Coast headquarters in Arlington, where it’s committed to hiring 25,000 workers by 2030. Williams has become one of Amazon’s most familiar faces in Virginia, traveling around the state to speak with businesses and hopeful job seekers.
Recent developments: While other companies have used the pandemic to enact a permanent move to telework, Amazon expressed a commitment to retaining physical offices for its corporate workers. In a year when Amazon grew its global workforce to 1.3 million, creating more than 400,000 jobs in the U.S. alone last year, Williams is helping the company scale its upskilling programs, including Amazon’s latest commitment to provide free training in cloud computing skills to 29 million workers globally.
Pharrell Williams, Grammy-winning recording artist and performer, developer and founder of the Something in the Water festival, Virginia Beach
Why he is influential: After rising to international prominence for his music hits (“Happy,” “Blurred Lines,” “Get Lucky”) Williams, a Virginia Beach native, has become increasingly known for his business ventures in the commonwealth. In 2019, he launched Something in the Water, a three-day music festival in Virginia Beach. Williams is also involved in developing the $325 million Atlantic Park surf park and entertainment venue at the Oceanfront.
Recent developments: Though the 2020 Something in the Water festival was canceled because of the pandemic, Williams has stayed busy. His surf park is expected to break ground in 2021, he’s working on a proposal to redevelop Norfolk’s Military Circle area and he spoke at Gov. Ralph Northam’s news conference last year announcing that Juneteenth would become a state holiday. In December, William launched Black Ambition, a nonprofit initiative to provide support for minority entrepreneurs launching startups.