2012 Central Ohio Power 100 Featured

7:01pm EDT January 31, 2012

You’ll see quite a few familiar faces on this year’s Power 100, and that might lead you to decide the list is a bit stale. Skeptics would say these so-called influential leaders of Central Ohio are content with the positions they have achieved and aren’t doing anything to make the region better. When you look at what they’ve achieved, however, you learn nothing could be further from the truth.

Steve Steinour helped Huntington Bank make more than $800 million in loans to about 1,300 small and commercial businesses, putting the bank well ahead of its goal in this effort.

Under the leadership of Dr. Steve Allen, Nationwide Children’s Hospital is building a new hospital to allow it to provide state-of-the-art medical care to even more youngsters who need it. The Ohio State University is poised to add more than 10,000 jobs in Central Ohio with the construction of a new cancer hospital thanks to the leadership of people like Dr. Steven G. Gabbe and Peter Geier.

Michael Dalby, a newcomer to this year’s list, is working on Hire1000, an initiative to help Columbus’s homeless residents get back to work. Emil Brolick is leading Columbus’s favorite redhead back to the city as Wendy’s Co. returns its headquarters to Columbus. Mayor Michael Coleman and Gov. John Kasich, whether you agree with their plans and decisions or not, aren’t just standing pat.

Many of the other leaders are also busy creating jobs, expanding their businesses and finding other ways to make positive contributions to the Columbus business scene. So yes, there are a number of faces on this year’s list who were there last year and the year before and will probably be back in 2013. But they are not standing still.

They know that there are plenty of young up-and-comers in the region who are looking to make their own mark on what happens in Central Ohio. So enjoy this look at the most influential business, civic and political leaders for 2012, as ranked by our editors.

1) Les Wexner — chairman and CEO, Limited Brands Inc. (1)

It was an up-and-down year in 2011 for Wexner. The 1959 graduate of The Ohio State University donated $100 million to his alma mater in February, reported to be the largest philanthropic gift in OSU history. The donation will be spread out over a nine-year period with $65 million coming from Wexner and his wife, Abigail, and the remaining $35 million coming to the school as a gift from the Limited Brands Foundation, according to OSU’s student newspaper, The Lantern. Wexner also shared the spotlight on OSU for a not-so-good story, the tattoo scandal that cost Jim Tressel his job as football coach and forced Terrelle Pryor to skip his senior year. As chairman of OSU’s board of trustees, Wexner was in the line of fire along with other university leaders about the need for more scrutiny of the university’s athletic programs.

2) Michael Coleman — mayor, Columbus (2)

Coleman has watched Republicans take over much of the leadership in Columbus at the state level, but the Democrat remains firmly in control of the city. With his election victory in November, Coleman is poised to become the longest continuously serving mayor in Columbus history, if he completes his fourth term. He has been working hard to create jobs in Central Ohio and has also been part of the effort to keep the Blue Jackets hockey team in Columbus. Coleman is a member of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition and continues to be among the most influential people in Central Ohio.

3) John F. Wolfe — publisher, Columbus Dispatch Dispatch Printing Co. (3)

The company bought a group of independent newspapers this fall in a move that Wolfe says brings great opportunity to readers by expanding the depth and breadth of its news organization. Not everyone agrees that this is a good thing, but it will grow the Dispatch’s influence on the delivery of news. And delivering the news is something the Dispatch does quite well, evidenced by the 26 awards the company’s signature newspaper won in the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists’ contest in October. That is the most among the state’s large-circulation newspapers.

4) Steve Rasmussen — CEO, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. (7)

There was a lot of nasty weather in 2011 and that made for a challenging year for insurance companies, but Rasmussen and his company came through for their customers. In August, the company reported more than $1.5 billion in weather-related claims to help customers begin to rebuild their lives. Rasmussen pointed to disciplined financial management as a key to Nationwide’s ability to deal with these problems with relative ease. Standard & Poor’s affirmed the company’s A+ rating and upgraded its outlook to stable, based on the company’s strength and diversification.

5) John Kasich, governor, Ohio (10)

Kasich took a very visible role in pushing the passage of Senate Bill 5, which would have made dramatic changes to collective bargaining rights for public workers in Ohio. With the successful voter referendum in November that repealed the bill, Kasich’s perceived influence has been dealt a blow. But he’s still the governor for three more years, and it seems unlikely that he’ll fade into the shadows of political discourse in Ohio, especially with a presidential election on the horizon in 2012.

6) Ron Pizzuti — chairman and CEO, The Pizzuti Cos. (5)

Pizzuti was honored with the 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Central Florida Chapter of the National Association of Industrial and Office Parks. His firm remains busy working on a number of projects, many of which are in Central Florida. Exploration Park is a high-tech research and office park on the grounds of Kennedy Space Center. Pizzuti is also working on The Sevens, a high-rise office building in Orlando and Dunedin Gateway, a mixed-use development in Dunedin, Fla. Closer to home, Pizzuti has been working on a 700,000 square-foot factory distribution center in Marion for Whirlpool.

7) E. Gordon Gee — president, The Ohio State University (4)

Gee stuck his foot in his mouth once again when he joked, in the midst of the tattoo scandal that ended up costing football coach Jim Tressel his job, that he was worried Jim Tressel might decide to fire him. Despite the controversy at Ohio State, Gee didn’t shy away from the public and he remains the highest paid public university president in the United States at $1.3 million for 2010, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education. Gee continues to speak his mind about the importance of higher education and the great things Ohio State students are doing in research.

8)Don Casto III — partner, Casto (6)

Casto commenced demolition on the northeast quadrant of I-270 and Sawmill Road to clear the way for the redevelopment of Columbus’s New Market, which will include a family fitness center, two sit-down national restaurant chains and a new hotel, as well as 40,000 square feet of retail space.

9) Tanny Crane — president and CEO, Crane Group (8)

Crane continues to serve on the Huntington Bancshares board of directors, a group that shares her values on community support and investment. Crane and her company are well-known for their philanthropy to Central Ohio communities including the Columbus Foundation, the Columbus Partnership, the Columbus City Schools Education Foundation, I Know I Can, the Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University, United Way of Central Ohio and Action for Children.

10) Alex Shumate — managing partner, Squire, Sanders & Dempsey LLP, Columbus (9)

The law firm was selected as a go-to law firm for 2011 by in-house law departments at Fortune 500 companies. Shumate received the 2011 United Way of Central Ohio’s Key Club Community Leadership Award. He is also a fellow of the Ohio State Bar Association and is a life member of the Sixth Circuit Judicial Conference.

11) Steve Steinour — chairman, president and CEO, Huntington Bancshares Inc. (11)

Steinour was honored by the Columbus Jewish Federation along with Huntington Bank for the important part both have played in strengthening the Jewish community in Columbus. In November, Huntington announced the launch of its new iPad application, which allows customers to find bank and ATM locations and do their banking from their iPad. The bank also announced it has made more than $800 million in loans to about 1,300 small and commercial businesses through the first seven months of a four-year program, putting Huntington almost two years ahead of schedule.

12) Larry James — partner, Crabbe, Brown & James LLP (14)

James was in the news for his representation of deposed OSU quarterback Terrelle Pryor, who ultimately left the school, entered the NFL supplemental draft and was taken by the Oakland Raiders. James also represented other OSU football players who remained at school but were suspended for at least part of the 2011 season.

13) David Blom — president and CEO, OhioHealth (12)

OhioHealth was named a best place to work in IT by International Data Group’s Computerworld. The designation is given to companies that challenge their IT staff while at the same time, provide great benefits and compensation. The company’s IT division is a team of more than 350 associates who support five hospitals and numerous ambulatory care sites, as well as home care, hospice and physician practices. The company is touted as one that promotes diverse career paths, the integration of new technology and better patient care within the health care industry.

14) Donna James — managing director, Lardon & Associates LLC (16)

James was picked to give the address at Ohio State’s winter commencement ceremonies last March. She was also named to the board of Marathon Petroleum Corp.

15) John Beavers — partner, Bricker & Eckler (15)

Beavers was honored by one of the country’s largest insurance associations for his contributions to the property/casualty insurance industry. The National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies recognized Beavers with its NAMIC Service Award during its annual meeting in September.

16) Jay Schottenstein — chairman, Schottenstein Management, American Eagle, Retail entures, DSW (13)

Schottenstein bought 1 million shares of American Eagle in September. Sales at American Eagle were down a bit through six months, while sales at DSW were up. There was talk of an IPO for Schottenstein Realty Trust, but it doesn’t appear to have happened.

17) Dr. Steve Allen — CEO, Nationwide Childrens Hospital (18)

Allen oversees a hospital that sees over a million young patients every year. The high volume led to the construction of a new 12-story, 750,000 square-foot hospital as well as a new research facility. Nationwide Children’s Hospital also ranks in all 10 specialties in a list of America’s Best Children’s Hospitals by U.S. News & World Report.

18) Curtis Loveland — partner, Porter Wright (17)

Loveland chairs the firm’s corporate department and continues to serve on the board of directors for Rocky Brands Inc. He is consistently recognized as one of the top lawyers in the nation.

19) Ty Marsh — chairman, Columbus Bicentennial 2012 (20)Marsh has been actively involved in planning the celebration of Columbus’s 200th birthday in 2012

20) Curtis Moody — president and CEO, Moody-Nolan Inc. (25)

Moody’s company, Moody-Nolan, is the nation’s largest African-American owned and operated architecture firm. The firm recently opened an office in Dallas (which necessitated closing one in Kansas City), and specializes in educational, health care, fitness and recreation, and cultural projects. It sees a huge opportunity not only in Texas but throughout the Southwest. The new office also means a new partnership. Moody-Nolan has partnered with VAI Architects Inc., a Hispanic-owned firm founded in 1985.

21) Michael Fiorile president and COO, The Dispatch Printing Co. (22)

The biggest news of the year is the purchase of American Community Newspapers’ Columbus operations, including the magazines Columbus Monthly and Columbus CEO, the Other Paper alternative weekly and the 22-unit Suburban News chain. Some critics have blasted what appears to be a stifling of alternative viewpoints, but it will be up to the Dispatch leaders such as Fiorile to steer the course. The Dispatch already owns the suburban news chain ThisWeek.

22) Dr. Steven G. Gabbe CEO, OSU Medical Center (24)

Gabbe gave an emotional speech in September when work began on the $1.1 billion cancer hospital and critical care center called new Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute. The largest construction project in OSU history has accounted for 10,000 jobs, with 6,000 permanent jobs at the medical center and 4,000 other positions that can indirectly be attributed to the project. It will position OSU to become a top 20 academic medical center in research, education and patient care.

23) Melissa Ingwersen, Central Ohio District President, Key Bank (19)

Ingwersen told Columbus Monthly that improving the school district, developing a better mass transit system and making Columbus’s downtown retail options more vibrant are tops among her goals to make Columbus a better city.

24) Peter Geier, CEO, OSU Health System; COO, OSU Medical Center (26)

Geier sang the praises of the OSU Medical Center continuing to lead the national dialogue around P4 Medicine ? predictive, preventive, personalized and participatory medicine. University Hospital East was the first in the area to provide the MAKOplasty knee procedure, which was also the focus of the Medical Center’s first live surgery on Twitter in June.

25) Rob Portman, U.S. senator, Ohio (28)

One of the 12 members of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, also known as the super committee, Sen. Portman spent the later months of the year inundated by requests from advocacy groups on what not to cut and by citizens on what to cut. The panel held massive power in that its proposal was required to go straight to Congress for a vote ? without any amendments. Unfortunately, they couldn’t reach any consensus, resulting in automatic spending cuts in 2012.

26) Matthew Kallner, attorney, Law Offices of Matthew G. Kallner (23)

Kallner is on the board of trustees of the Center for Healthy Families, which offers services to pregnant and parenting teens and their children. In the area of economic development, Kallner has been involved with the efforts of CODA Automotive and the relocation of the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. headquarters.

27) Linda Heasley, president and CEO, The Limited (29) During her time with The Limited, Heasley has revamped the stores’ product lines; introduced new brand positioning for a new customer; reorganized processes and people at headquarters and in the field; launched an e-commerce site; commissioned new store design; introduced a new plus-size brand eloquii by The Limited in 2011; inaugurated a new national advertising campaign and returned The Limited to profitability for the first time in 17 years.

28) Jeffrey Wadsworth, president and CEO, Battelle Memorial Institute (33)

Battelle and employees donated more than $4.7 million to charity to live up to one of the company’s founding purposes, Wadsworth proudly stated in November. Meanwhile, Wadsworth earned the ASM International 2011 Medal for the Advancement of Research for following a “simultaneous excellence” philosophy in his professional life. Several Central Ohio facilities received investments in 2011, having a total economic impact estimated at $472.9 million.

29) John P. McConnell, chairman and CEO, Worthington Industries Inc.; majority owner, Columbus Blue Jackets (32)

With Nationwide cementing a deal to sell Nationwide Arena to the Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority, the future of the Blue Jackets, owned by McConnell, looks a little brighter. McConnell considered moving the struggling hockey team if a better deal on the venue wasn’t reached ? hopefully adding up to a financially successful Arena District. Meanwhile, things at Worthington Industries, where he is chairman and CEO, are busy as the company announced a joint venture in China for the light gauge steel-framed construction industry in the booming provinces.

30) Russell Gertmenian, managing partner, Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP (27)

Gertmenian, specializing in corporate compliance law and corporate governance law, was named to the 2012 The Best Lawyers in America List. He was also appointed to the board of the Ohio State University Hospital in 2011. He is a board member and treasurer of the Columbus Metropolitan Library Foundation and a member of the Ohio Business Roundtable.

31) Jack Kessler, owner, John W. Kessler Co.; chairman, The New Albany Co. (30)

Kessler is one of central Ohio’s most accomplished real estate developers and influential civic leaders. The developer of numerous residential communities across the country, Kessler’s commitment to the evolution of New Albany was both professional and very personal. Along with his co-founder, Les Wexner, Kessler was among its first residents. Kessler is a board director of Abercrombie & Fitch and Commercial Vehicle Group.

32) Doug Kridler, president and CEO, The Columbus Foundation (31)

Kridler leads the 10th-largest community foundation in the United States. The foundation’s first 24-hour, community wide giving event, The Big Give, was held in November to give an economic boost to a wide range of local nonprofit organizations that serve the region. A record $1 million in matching funds from donors of the foundation will expand the size of all donations and reward participants.

33) Maureen O’Connor, chief justice, Ohio Supreme Court (new)

The state’s first female chief justice broke new ground once again with a video supporting Issue 1, the ballot measure that would raise the mandatory retirement age for judges from 70 to 76. The clip raised both eyebrows and questions about whether a video posted on the state-funded Ohio Supreme Court website went over the line of acceptable political campaigning. O’Connor has continued to call for reforms in the judicial system, such as favoring nonpartisan judicial appointment panels to examine candidates for open seats and giving the Senate power to OK the governor’s nominees for Supreme Court seats. She also created a panel to study how Ohio’s death penalty was being applied.

34) John B. Gerlach Jr., chairman, president and CEO, Lancaster Colony Corp. (35)

Net sales for fiscal 2011, which closed at the end of June at Lancaster, again topped $1.09 billion (the second highest in company history) and grew 3 percent over fiscal 2010. Gerlach pointed the introduction of several new retail nonfrozen food products as helping to support top-line growth. He was able to implement higher pricing to mitigate materials cost inflation encountered by its operating segments.

35) Roger Geiger,  Ohio executive director, National Federation of Independent Business (34)

Geiger exerted a lot of effort to generate support for Senate Bill 5, the state’s collective bargaining bill. Active in supporting pro-business concerns, Geiger also saw efforts to reform business regulatory structures in the state come to fruition when Gov. John Kasich signed Senate Bill 2 into law in March. The NFIB joined other business organizations to launch their “Town Hall” series with the 2012 presidential candidates.

36) Boyce Safford III, director, Columbus Department of Development (36)

Safford chose houses in the Reeb-Hosack and Hungarian Village neighborhoods on the South Side to receive $1.2 million in federal neighborhood stabilization money after seeing how much blight there was in the area. New houses would be built on vacant lots or on lots cleared after abandoned houses were razed.

Safford says he sees a proposed $5 million health center in the area as the cornerstone for other developments.

37) Michael Gonsiorowski, Central Ohio regional president, PNC Financial Services Group Inc. (41)

In September 2010 and again in summer 2011, PNC gave $500,000 to 13 local Central Ohio arts organizations, 26 in total. The grants are the first and second round of three grant years of financial support for Central Ohio arts programming through the PNC Arts Alive Initiative, a $1.5 million effort to expand the reach and economic impact of arts in the region. The initiative also provided central Ohio residents with free admission to the Columbus Museum of Art for the months of July and August. Gonsiorowski remains the chair of the board of trustees for United Way of Central Ohio. As for PNC itself, net income for the first nine months of 2011 remained constant year over year.

38) Michael Dalby, president of Columbus Chamber of Commerce (new)

He previously served for five years as CEO of One Southern Indiana, a business development organization in New Albany, Ind. As president he helped create the Hire1000 Initiative to identify Columbus companies that have openings and are hiring right now. The goal of the initiative is to help 1,000 jobless Columbus residents get back to work without delay.

39) Larry Hilsheimer, president and COO, Nationwide Direct & Customer Solutions (38)

Hilsheimer is focused on Internet strategy and operations, affinity, strategic alliances and Nationwide’s call center-based sales units. In addition, he oversees Nationwide Bank, Nationwide Better Health, Veterinary Pet Insurance and Nationwide’s Customer Services organization. He also sits on the Dean’s Advisory Council at the OSU Fisher College of Business and is a board member of The Ohio State University Alumni Association.

40) Jack Ruscilli, chairman, Ruscilli Construction Co. Inc. (39)

Ruscilli continues to serve as chairman and work with the fourth generation of Ruscilli’s to lead the construction firm. The Ruscilli Construction and M+A Architects Design/Build team have been selected to design and construct the expansion and renovation of St. Vincent Family Center. St. Vincent provides behavioral health prevention, intervention and treatment services to underprivileged children and families in Ohio. Construction was expected to start in the winter.

41) Gene Smith, Associate vice president and director of athletics, The Ohio State University (37)

In addition to dealing with the ongoing controversy in the OSU football program and with the general state of athletics at OSU, Smith was chairman of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Committee for the 2010-11 academic year. He ended up having to defend a controversial men’s tournament bracket, citing different factors for why one team was in and then some of those very same factors for why other teams were out. But despite losing to Michigan for the first time since 2003, he closed the year with a bang with the hire of Urban Meyer as the new head football coach.

42) Lewis Smoot Sr., chairman and CEO, Smoot Construction Co. (40)

Smoot has stepped down from his role as president at Smoot Construction Co., but he continues to serve as chairman and CEO. The company is building the Hollywood Casino Columbus, set to open later this year, as well as projects at Ohio State University and in downtown Columbus.

43) David Milenthal, Co-chairman, Milenthal-DelGrosso LLC (42)

Milenthal, his wife, Bonnie, and his son, Jon, joined with Ozone Studios to form a new communications and production firm. Milenthal says the goal is “to create a very new kind of convergent marketing firm that combines the creative strengths of traditional advertising with the speed and spontaneity and community engagement of social marketing.”

44) Abigail Wexner, chair, KidsOhio.org, Family Violence Coalition at Nationwide Children’s (44)

In 2011, the Center for Child and Family Advocacy (CCFA) merged with the Columbus Coalition Against Family Violence (CCAFV). The combined new organization brings together the strengths of two well-established programs, both combating the impact of family violence. Wexner still serves as chair of the new organization, which will work to develop an entity that can take the work of both organizations to the next level and create the ideal violence-free community.

45) Kurt Tunnell, managing partner, Bricker & Eckler LLP (43)

Tunnell remains a respected voice in the Columbus region and is being looked to for guidance at Bricker & Eckler. In 2011, he was listed as one of the Best Lawyers in America 2011-2012. He was also the recipient of the National Diversity Council’s Champion of Diversity Legal Award 2011. He serves on the board of trustees for Marburn Academy.

46) James Malz, president of Columbus market, JPMorgan Chase & Co. (new)

Chase retooled its top-level management across the state. Malz is now Chase’s top officer for Ohio. He’ll also lead commercial lending in the state for middle-market businesses, those in the $10 million to $500 million annual revenue range. Chase announced additions of between 500 and 1,000 mortgage-servicing jobs to its Central Ohio work force and is already the region’s largest private employer with 17,000 Columbus-area workers.

47) Gene Harris, superintendent and CEO, Columbus City Schools (50)

Harris continues to strive to achieve challenging and demanding expectations for Columbus City School students. Harris has been working to deliver on levy promises and has continued to stretch levy dollars by reducing operating budgets by $130 million. Her next major goal is a 90 percent graduation rate in 2012. The graduation rate for the 2009-10 school year was 73 percent. The Columbus City School district serves 55,246 urban students.

48) Elaine Roberts, president and CEO, Port Columbus International Airport, Columbus Regional Airport Authority (51)

On the heels of a five-year agreement to offer sharing of 75 percent of net airport revenue to airlines that operate out of Port Columbus, Roberts is now overseeing airport improvements, such as the replacement of the south runway at Port Columbus. The replacement runway will help maximize the use of airport property and will allow for simultaneous arrivals and departures. The new location also sets the stage for a second passenger terminal. Port Columbus International Airport, Rickenbacker Airport and Bolton Field combine to generate $2.7 billion a year in economic activity.

49) Nancy Kramer, founder, chairman and chief culture officer, Resource Interactive (47)

In late 2010, Kramer handed the CEO post over to business partner Kelly Mooney. Now serving as chief culture officer, Kramer’s new duties are focused on RI:University, a continuing education program for agency employees to keep them up to date on technology and strategy. Starting in 2011, all employees must earn continuing education credits to be eligible for bonuses.

50) Chester R. Jourdan Jr., executive director, Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (48)

The Association of Metroplitan Planning Organizations’ (AMPO) board of directors appointed Jourdan as a member of the Policy Committee in 2010. AMPO is a nonprofit, membership organization established to serve the needs and interests of metropolitan planning organizations nationwide. Jourdan was also a recipient of a 2010 TechColumbus Innovation Award for innovation in nonprofit service delivery. He continues to serve on the American Highway Users Alliance Board. His term runs through 2013.

51) Dwight Smith, founder and CEO, Sophisticated Systems Ltd. (49)

In September 2011, Dwight Smith stood nearly 20,000 feet atop Mount Kilimanjaro. His trip to the top of Africa’s highest mountain and to Tanzania was in support of the Thanks Be To God Foundation, which aids children across the globe, as well as entrepreneurship. His expedition and the foundation’s cause helped raise more than $30,000. Half of the money went to charities in the Central Ohio area and the other half to projects in Africa.

52) Jane Grote Abell, chair, Donatos Pizzeria LLC (55)

Abell has kept the popular pizza chain going in the right direction over the past year and is planning a number of new initiatives in years to come. The company is still transitioning from company-owned restaurants to franchise-owned units. The pizza chain plans to double its size over the next 10 years with commitments to open 250 franchise locations in that time.

53) Robert Weiler Sr., chairman, The Robert Weiler Co. (52)

Weiler remains active in the Columbus community, continuing to serve on the board for Ohio Capital Corp. for Housing, which seeks to provide affordable housing in Ohio. Weiler has previously served as president of the Columbus Board of Education and has been a board member, trustee or director for many organizations including: Capital University, Center of Science and Industry, the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, Pilot Dogs Inc. and Columbus Metropolitan YMCA.

54) Beatrice Wolper, co-founder and partner, Emens & Wolper Law Firm LPA (21)

Wolper and her husband, Dick Emens, left the world of large firms to found their own firm two years ago, specializing in providing legal services for family-owned businesses and closely held firms. In addition, she teaches courses on entrepreneurship and succession planning at Ohio Dominican University and for the Ohio State Bar Association. She is on the board of the Conway Family Business Center, which she co-founded with her husband.

55) Jordan Miller Jr., president and CEO, Fifth Third Bank, Central Ohio (54)

Miller was honored with the 2011 Whitney M. Young Jr. Service Award, which recognizes outstanding service and involvement in the development and implementation of scouting opportunities for youth from rural or low-income urban backgrounds. He continues to serve on a multitude of other civic boards, including the Columbus Partnership, United Way of Central Ohio and the Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges.

56) Mary Taylor, lieutenant governor, state of Ohio (60)

Over the past year, Taylor and Gov. John Kasich have been busy and faced with great pressure to turn around Ohio’s economy and create new jobs. Taylor has been working to improve job creation in Ohio through her role leading CSI Ohio — the “Common Sense Initiative” to reform Ohio’s regulatory policies, as well as serving as director of the Ohio Department of Insurance. The hope is that these two assignments provide an effective launching pad to make Ohio a friendly state for creating job jobs and new business.

57) Michelle Kerr, Co-founder, chair and president, Oxford Consulting Group Inc. (61)

Kerr continues as a steady presence at the top of Oxford Consulting Group, continuing to grow and expand her company in the Columbus market. In May 2011, she was appointed by Key4Women to serve on its national advisory board. Key4Women is a KeyBank program that supports female business leaders.

58) Bill Ingram, CEO, White Castle Systems Inc. (63)

The Ingram family continues to be active in the Columbus community. In January 2011, the Marci and Bill Ingram Fund for Autism Spectrum Disorders was created. As part of the fund’s creation, White Castle pledged a $10 million donation for collaborative autism research to The Ohio State University Medical Center and Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

59) Craig Marshall, Risk Advisory Partner/Columbus Office Managing Partner, Ernst & Young LLP (56)

Marshall is a member of the Board of Directors for the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Ohio and the United Way of Central Ohio. He is also a member of the Fisher College of Business Accounting Advisory Board, the Ohio Society of Certified Public Accountants, the University of Dayton Accounting Advisory Board, the Ohio Cultural Facilities Commission, The Women of Economic and Leadership Development, the American Institute of Certified Public Accounts, the Ohio Society of Certified Public Accounts and the Leadership Circle of United Way of Central Ohio.

60) Michael Petrecca, managing partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Columbus office (57)

Petrecca continues to serve on the boards of the Greater Columbus Convention & Visitors Bureau, also known as Experience Columbus and TechColumbus. He is no longer on the board for the Ohio Society of CPAs.

61) David Meuse, principal, Stonehenge Partners Inc. (58)

Meuse currently serves as chairman of the board of The Columbus Foundation. He serves on several other boards including ORIX USA, State Auto Insurance Cos., The Columbus Partnership and Kenyon College. He is past chairman of the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts.

62) Robert M. Eversole, principal, Stonehenge Partners Inc. (59)

Eversole continues to serve as a board member of Advanced Drainage Systems, as well as Nationwide Children’s Hospital Foundation, Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce, the Dean’s Advisory Council for The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business and the Catholic Foundation.

63) J. Richard Emens, partner, Emens & Wolper Law Firm LPA; chairman and executive director, Conway Center for Family Business. (65)

Emens continues to work with his team at Conway Center for Family Business to build programs that help family-run businesses succeed. The organization includes more than 100 family-owned businesses in central Ohio, ranging in size from three employees to more than 10,000.

64) Alex Fischer, president and CEO, Columbus Partnership (90)

As a leader of the Columbus 2020 economic development initiative, Fischer has already helped the organization exceed its five-year $30 million fundraising goal to have $30.2 million pledged. The money will be used to fund economic development efforts and comes from Partnership members and 125 new investors.

65) Emil Brolick, president and CEO, Wendy’s Co. (new)

As the catchphrase asks, “Where’s the beef?” Well, the beef is back in Columbus. Wendy’s Co. is back in Columbus after a three-year stay in Atlanta when it merged with Arby’s. And new at the helm is Emil J. Brolick, president and CEO, who served with Wendy’s from 1988 to 2000 before he went to Yum! Brands Inc. He was one of the primary architects of Wendy’s strategy then, which produced 16 consecutive years of same-store sales growth, and he hopes to drive profits once again with new products and a re-engineered core menu.

66) Denny Griffith, president, Columbus College of Art & Design (67)

With Griffith leading, the college has attained an enrollment of more than 1,300 students from 40 states and 35 foreign countries, and a 12-to-1 student to faculty ratio. Tuition is just more than $26,000 for the 2011-12 school year.

67) Brian Ellis, president and COO, Nationwide Realty Investors Ltd. (66)

In September, Nationwide announced it will build a new office building near Nationwide Arena, which will house 1,000 employees that the company plans to relocate downtown.

68) Sandra Harbrecht, president and CEO, Paul Werth Associates (70)

Harbrecht continues to add to her extensive community involvement resume, which includes a position on the dean’s advisory council for the Fisher College of Business at Ohio State.

69) Joe Alutto, executive vice president and provost, The Ohio State University (68)

Alutto continues to lead Ohio State toward its transition from a quarter-based academic year to semesters, which will take place at the start of the 2012-13 academic year.

70) David Harrison, president, Columbus State Community College (71)

In his second year on the list, Harrison continues to seek new ways to connect his school with the Columbus community, which he is doing through various initiatives, as well as increasing the community’s accessibility to the school. A recent lease moved the college foundation’s office to street-level space near the campus.

71) Michael Morris, executive chairman of the board, AEP (45)

Morris announced his retirement after more than seven years at AEP effective this past November. The company elected Nicholas Akins as the new CEO. Despite Morris’ retirement announcement at the end of the year, he was awarded the Edison Electric Institute’s Distinguished Leadership Award by his industry peers for his 23 years of exemplary service as an electric utility chief executive. He also received the 2011 American Red Cross Humanitarian of the Year award. Morris still serves as nonexecutive chairman of the board at AEP.

72) Michael Glimcher, chairman and CEO, Glimcher Realty Trust (74)

Through the first three quarters of 2011, Glimcher’s company improved over its comparable 2010 numbers, with just less than $67 million through the end of September 2011, up from just less than $63 million over the same period in 2010. Total mall occupancy stood at 94.3 percent at the end of third quarter 2011, up 110 basis points from a year prior.

73) Cameron Mitchell, founder and president, Cameron Mitchell Restaurants LLC (77)

Mitchell continues to grow his portfolio of restaurants, which includes nine in the Columbus area, along with locations in Georgia, Florida, Indiana, Michigan, Texas and Arizona. In June, M in downtown Columbus celebrated its 10th anniversary.

74) Neil Mortine, president and CEO, Fahlgren Mortine (79)

Mortine’s efforts to grow and diversify his agency are gaining national attention. In September, Fahlgren Mortine won a gold “small agency of the year” award from Bulldog Reporter.

75) Janet Jackson, president and CEO, United Way of Central Ohio (76)

Under Jackson’s leadership, the United Way of Central Ohio continues to promote community causes in the region. In August, the agency announced the launch of the Champion of Children Education Journal, a one-stop source for what is happening in education throughout the community. In September, the agency celebrated the 20th anniversary of Community Care Day, the largest single volunteering effort in central Ohio.

76) Robert Schottenstein, chairman, president and CEO, M/I Homes Inc. (72)

Schottenstein’s company continues to battle the effects of the recession, posting $379 million in housing revenue for the first three quarters of 2011, down from $440 million for the same period in 2010. However, new contracts increased 20 percent and homes delivered increased 13 percent during the third quarter of 2011.

77) Joel Pizzuti, president, The Pizzuti Cos. (78)

In April, The Pizzuti Cos. named James Russell its new COO. On the philanthropy front, the Pizzuti family donated public artwork to the new Frankin County Courthouse in July.

78) Chris Taylor, CEO, Mission Essential Personnel LLC (73)

Taylor made a significant addition to Mission Essential’s board of advisers in September, hiring former Victoria’s Secret COO Peter Horvath to serve on the board.

79) Guy Worley, president and CEO, Columbus Downtown Development Corp. and Capital South Community Urban Redevelopment Corp. (80)

Columbus Commons opened in May, adding some much-needed greenspace to downtown Columbus. Through the formation of partnerships that will help produce programming for the Commons, the regions residents will see a variety of community activities presented in the space.

80) Frank Kass, chairman, Continental Real Estate Cos. (75)

Along with RockBridge Capital, Kass’s company helped develop Pittsburgh’s Hyatt Place Hotel, which opened in February 2011 on Pittsburgh’s North Shore.

81) Sheri Tackett, founder and president, Delta Energy LLC (82)

In 2011, Tackett played a key role in helping the company form a strategic alliance with energy companies in Norway and Brazil to expand its reach and create the world’s first global energy management alliance. The member companies of the international alliance, Energy Experts, combine for more than 285 associates and 1,200 clients with facilities in North America, Europe and South America. The company also recently completed its new headquarters in Dublin.

82) George Barrett, chairman and CEO, Cardinal Health Inc. (87)

Cardinal Health exceeded financial goals in 2011. While the company dropped two spots on Fortune 500 in 2011, it completed two strategic acquisitions last year. Barrett was elected to the board of directors for Eaton Corp. and is currently a member of the board of directors of Nationwide Children’s Hospital and the President’s Leadership Council of Brown University. He serves on the board of trustees of the Healthcare Leadership Council and The Conference Board and is a member of the Ohio Business Roundtable.

83) Doug Morgan, attorney, bicycling advocate (81)

Morgan was named one of the Best Lawyers in America for 2012 and was specifically named the top mergers and acquisition lawyer in Columbus. As the board president for Consider Biking, Morgan is leading a bold “2 by 2012” initiative adopted by the city of Columbus and local companies and nonprofits, which aims for every central Ohio citizen to use a bike or other alternate transportation at least twice a month by the City’s bicentennial. He also serves on the boards of the Columbus Chamber of Commerce, where he chairs the Green Council, the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Foundation and the Columbus Club.

84) Barbara Kunz, president, Health and Life Sciences Global Business, Battelle Memorial Institute (88)

Kunz chairs The Ohio State University’s Medical Center Board and remains a trustee of OSU’s James Cancer Hospital, the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Research Institute Board as well as chair of the technology commercialization subcommittee and chairwoman of the board for BioOhio and chairs that group’s finance and audit subcommittee. In September, Battelle announced the opening of the centerpiece of its nearly $200 million investment in Central Ohio, a new Center for Life Sciences Research (CLSR). The 220,000-square-foot research facility will create an additional 150 high-tech jobs for scientists and technicians.

85) Kenny McDonald, senior vice president and chief economic officer, Columbus Partnership (new)

McDonald, CEcD, serves as the primary leader of all economic development and business attraction efforts, including the Columbus2020! initiative.

86) Robert C. White, co-founder and chairman, The Daimler Group Inc. (87)

White was formally inducted into Junior Achievement of Central Ohio’s 2011 Business Hall of Fame in November. Daimler also began construction on a 106,500-square-foot building in the Water’s Edge section of New Albany Business Park.

87) Robert Trafford, managing partner, Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP (83)

Trafford’s law firm had 93 partners recognized as The Best Lawyers in America, with Trafford as one of them. It was also again named best in the nation by Chambers USA. Trafford is a member of the Ohio Business Roundtable, a director with the executive committee of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra and an honorary trustee with the Columbus Council on World Affairs.

88) David Bianconi, founder and CEO, Progressive Medical Inc., (84)

Bianconi’s company was acquired by Progressive Enterprises in 2011. Bianconi remains chairman with a large stake in the company. He serves on the advisory board of TechColumbus, the Westerville Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Trustees and Kids Chance of Ohio.

89) Bruce Hagen, regional executive and president, Dublin Methodist Hospital and Grady Memorial Hospital (new)

Hagen is taking his strong leadership skills from OhioHealth’s flagship hospital, Riverside Methodist, to oversee operations at two hospitals that are located in the northern part of Columbus. Riverside received a number of awards under Hagen’s reign and OhioHealth hopes for more of the same with his new responsibilities at Dublin Methodist and Grady Memorial.

90) Deborah Pryce, senior public policy adviser, SZD Whiteboard (92)

Gov. John Kasich appointed Pryce to chair Ohio’s Liquor Control Commission. She was also named vice chair of the board for CureSearch for Children’s Cancer, a leading pediatric oncology research foundation. As a former House Conference Chair, she is the highest-ranking woman in the history of the U.S. House of Representatives.

91) John McEwan, managing partner, Deloitte LLP’s Central Ohio practice, (91)

Deloitte helped the Drexel Theatre, a Bexley institution stay in business, by providing pro bono analysis for the organization and helping it run as a nonprofit. The firm’s newly renovated offices on East Broad landed a LEED Gold rating, which was the first Gold-certified project in Columbus — and sixth in Ohio — since the Green Building Council unveiled its tougher LEED standards.

92) Tom Krouse, CEO, Donatos Pizza (94)

Krouse continues to step up the company’s expansion through franchising. Under his leadership, it has revamped the website to add new features and grown franchising in several states. He serves on the board of directors for Junior Achievement of Central Ohio.

93) Thomas M. Zaino, managing member, Columbus, McDonald Hopkins LLC (99)

Zaino was named one of the Best Lawyers in America in 2012. He’s served on the Ohio Chamber of Commerce as a member of the Board of Directors since 2005, on the State Racing Commission since 2004 and is the treasurer for the board of directors for Prevent Blindness Ohio. As head of the law firm’s Columbus office, he has become a nationally recognized expert on multistate tax issues.

94) John (Jack) Partridge, chairman and president, Columbia Gas of Ohio (new)

As a member of the 2011 class of Columbus Smart Leader honorees, Partridge continues to be involved in his local community. Aside from his role as president of Columbia Gas of Ohio, he is the chairman of Columbus Chamber of Commerce and serves as treasurer on the board of directors for Columbus2020.

95) Jon Milenthal, CEO, Milenthal-DelGrosso LLC (new) Milenthal acts as the firm’s overall visionary and is also responsible for the operational management of Milenthal-DelGrosso. He has led numerous award-winning projects on behalf of his clients, including awards for General Motors Acceptance Corp, Red Cross, Mid-Ohio Foodbank and Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

96) Debra Penzone, president, Charles Penzone Family of Salons (96)

Penzone recently authored a journal-style book, “Debbie’s Club: Discovering MyTrueBeauty for Girls.” She was also the recipient of the Community Engagement Award by The Conway Center for Family Business. She is also a member of the W.P.O. (Women Presidents’ Organization Chapter II) and the board of the American Cancer Society.

97) Philip R. Smith II, office managing partner, KPMG (97)

Smith is a member of the United Way Tocqueville Society and has been an integral member of KPMG Columbus’s United Way campaign that has raised more than $128,000 during each of the past three years.

98) Sue Zazon, president and CEO, FirstMerit Bank, Columbus region (95)

The bank is continuing to expand in Columbus, significant investment in the community and local economy. Zazon is the treasurer of YMCA central Ohio region.

99) Jeff Hastings, market president, Central Ohio, US Bank (new)

Hastings manages a team of commercial relationship managers who provide banking services to middle-market companies with revenues ranging from $20 million to $500 million. He’s on a number of boards in the region, including Children’s Hunger Alliance, The Arthritis Foundation, United Way for Central Ohio and Columbus 2020.

100) Joel Guth, senior vice president and family wealth director, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, Columbus (new)

Guth joins the list in recognition of his active participation in the Columbus business community. He’s been named to Barron’s Top 1000 Advisor list the last three years. He is a frequent speaker at many internal and external engagements focusing on exit-planning strategies for closely held business owners and the wealth management needs that coincide.