26. Bob Milbourne
CEO, The Columbus Partnership (17)
Milbourne is still involving himself in Columbus’ growth, serving on the levy committee for Columbus Schools.
27. Rich Langdale
Founder, NCT Ventures (32)
Langdale’s been busy growing his DoMedia online advertising Web site through acquisitions. He remains actively involved with OSU’s Center for Entrepreneurship, which he founded, and as a board member for the Chamber of Commerce and Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
28. Russell Gertmenian
Managing partner, Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP (28)
Gertmenian resigned from the AirNet Systems board last fall to focus on his firm, recognized as a Go-To Law Firm for Leading Technology Companies in 2008 by American Lawyer Media. He still serves as a director of Abercrombie & Fitch and vice president of the board for Desco.
29. Ted Strickland
Governor, state of Ohio (29)
Rumors circulated about Strickland’s potential as a Democratic vice presidential candidate. His position in the party is strong after speaking at the Democratic National Convention. He continues to move his energy initiatives to create jobs and make Ohio an energy leader.
30. Curtis Moody
President and CEO, MoodyNolan Inc. (31)
Moody’s firm continues to grow throughout Columbus and beyond. Locally, the firm will be renovating the Central Ohio Transit Authority’s operations headquarters. The firm is also growing in its national markets as it plans projects like the Music City Center convention facility in Nashville and the expansion of the fitness facility at Purdue University.
31. Linda Heasley
Chairman and CEO, The Limited Stores Inc. (new)
A healthy split from Limited Brands has boosted Heasley and The Limited Stores. With Sun Capital injecting money, the company was able to shed itself of failing apparel businesses and is back to focusing growth on new product lines.
32. Kurt Tunnell
Partner, Bricker & Eckler LLP (35)
Tunnell chairs the firm’s manufacturing and transportation and logistics groups, but he is also involved in government relations, serving as legislative and legal counsel to the Ohio Alliance for Civil Justice. The firm joined with The Ohio State University this year to create a leadership course.
33. Sally Boyer
President and general manager, Tween Brands’ Justice Stores (new)
Given her position with Justice and the store’s success, Boyer needed to hop on the list. The operation has grown from five stores in 2003 to 260 in 2007, and comparable store sales increased 21 percent in 2007. Watch how she and the stores do this year during tougher economic times.
34. Lewis Smoot Sr.
President and CEO, The Smoot Corp. (34)
Smoot continues to head several high-profile projects across the Midwest, currently working on Lucas Oil Stadium, which will be home to the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts, Pittsburgh Casino and several buildings at OSU. He’s also a member of the Downtown Development Corp.
35. Roger Geiger
Ohio executive director, National Federation of Independent Business (36)
Geiger manages the public policy, political, member activism and communication programs in the state. He also represents NFIB with national policy organizations. Media outlets regularly turn to him as the voice on issues affecting small firms.
36. Boyce Safford III
Director, Columbus Department of Development (27)
Safford tried several routes to raise money for city development in the past year. Despite the passing of bond packages on the November ballot, the financial crunch prompted the department to eliminate city funding for the Columbus Urban Growth Corp.
37. John P. McConnell
Chairman and CEO, Worthington Industries (38)
McConnell had to make the tough decision to cut 300 jobs. Despite having to displace employees, McConnell has found a way to strengthen the company financially and improve profitability.
38. Doug Kridler
President and CEO, The Columbus Foundation (41)
The foundation set new records in 2007: Grants up 53 percent to $110.8 million and gifts passing $119 million. Donors created 136 new funds to support causes.
39. John B. Gerlach Jr.
Chairman, president and CEO, Lancaster Colony Corp. (40)
Gerlach remains involved throughout the community as a member of the board of directors for Huntington Bancshares Inc., The Columbus Foundation, Nationwide Children’s Hospital and the Dean’s Advisory Council for Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University.
40. Jack Ruscilli
CEO, Ruscilli Construction Co. Inc. (39)
Ruscilli’s company continues to leave its imprint with several high-profile projects. Last summer, the company was selected to renovate Nestle’s R&D facility and several schools.
41. Larry Hilsheimer
Executive vice president and CFO, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. (30)
Nationwide reached an agreement last August to purchase the remaining shares of its spin-off, Nationwide Financial Services. But like many companies in the industry, Nationwide has felt the effects of the economic crisis. Hilsheimer still finds time to devote to several boards, including Battelle for Kids.
42. David Milenthal
CEO, The Milenthal Group (42)
Milenthal continues to the lead the company he started with his wife, Bonnie. The marketing, public affairs, public relations and community relations firm’s client list includes Limited Brands and OhioHealth.
43. M. Valeriana Moeller
President, Columbus State Community College (44)
Moeller proposed a scholarship to bring working adults back to school, which was approved by trustees. $3 million of a $14 million surplus was allocated to the Think Again Scholarship and will give $1,000 to 1,000 students, just one of the reasons Moeller moved up the list.
44. Jeffrey Wadsworth
President and CEO, Battelle (new)
Wadsworth wins the award for newest to his power position, as he just took the president and CEO reins at Battelle on Jan. 1, after six years with the organization. He succeeds Carl Kohrt, and the board has confidence that Wadsworth will be able to continue the organization’s global growth while also recruiting new talent.
45. Curt Steiner
Vice president for government affairs, The Ohio State University (37)
Steiner drops on the list after OSU split his former position of senior vice president for university relations. He moved into his current role when a higher-paying position of senior VP of university communications was created. He now focuses on lobbying.
46. Chester R. Jourdan Jr.
Executive director, Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (56)
Jourdan continues to be active in helping the region’s transportation and economic dilemmas. He recently teamed up with Mayor Coleman’s effort to find funding for streetcars in the Mid-Ohio Region. The streetcars would connect three central regions in Columbus — while also offering a green mode of transportation.
47. Dwight Smith
Founder and CEO, Sophisticated Systems (47)
Seeing the value in his employees, Smith has decided to sell 40 percent of his company to his employees through stock options. Looking well into the future, this move will allow Smith to offer 9 percent to the executive that precedes him, leaving Smith with 51 percent.
48. Bob Weiler Sr.
Chairman, The Robert Weiler Co. (48)
His company invested $10 million in OSU student housing, showing continued commitment to the community. Weiler’s company also turned 70 recently, celebrating its longtime local roots.
49. Jordan Miller
President, Fifth Third Bank, Central Ohio (49)
50. Abigail Wexner
Founder and chair, Columbus Coalition Against Family Violence (50)
Wexner continues to lead and be active in the foundation, which over the past 11 years has raised more than $15 million in an effort to break the cycle of violence. She has also done numerous projects for the community.