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Power 100 Featured

7:00pm EDT November 25, 2009

It’s been a tough year by any estimation for corporate America.

Central Ohio was no different, where even stalwarts like Longaberger Co. and Bricker & Eckler LLP faced substantial layoffs in the worst economic slowdown since the Great Depression. Gov. Ted Strickland had a tough year, too, trying to guide Ohio through the recession without issuing a dreaded tax increase.

But it wasn’t all doom and gloom for this year’s Power 100.

Peter Geier moved into the top 20 on our list as OSU Medical Center expanded its offerings and created new jobs, and Ron Pizzuti moved into the top five based on his efforts to develop Columbus for the 21st century.

In total, 12 people fell off of this year’s list, opening the door for such newcomers as Michelle Abreu of Oxford Consulting Group and Bob Restrepo of State Auto Insurance.

The highest-ranked rookies are Steve Rasmussen and Steve Steinour, who took the reins at Nationwide and Huntington, respectively. One spot that didn’t change was our No. 1, which indisputably continues to be Les Wexner.

So without further ado, here is the 2010 Power 100 list of the most influential business, civic and political leaders as ranked by our editors.

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

His company generated just more than $9 billion in 2008 sales, down from $10 billion in 2007, but he is still the undisputed No. 1 on our list once again. Wexner ranked No. 147 on the Forbes 400 richest Americans in 2008, and with a net worth of $1.7 billion, he is the 430th richest man in the world according to the publication.

2. John Wolfe
publisher, The Columbus Dispatch; chairman and CEO, The Dispatch Printing Co. (2)

The Dispatch laid off 45 employees in April, citing a loss in revenue. The company plans to continue tweaking its Web site in hopes of satisfying its readership and their ever-changing desires. But unlike papers in Seattle and Denver, The Columbus Dispatch doesn’t appear to be going anywhere.

3. Michael Coleman
mayor, city of Columbus (3)

Coleman continued to pilot Columbus through the tough economic times of 2009. He has led a number of initiatives, including the Get Green Columbus initiative aimed at reducing waste, improving conservation and educating residents about environmental topics. Coleman’s office also once again coordinated Stand Down, a program to help homeless veterans in the area get back on their feet.

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

Gee resigned from the board of Massey Energy in May as a response to a citizen campaign critical of Massey’s worker safety and environmental record. But he’s still as active as ever at OSU and serves on the important NCAA Presidential Task Force on the Future of Intercollegiate Athletics. Gee also topped the list of Time magazine’s Ten Best College Presidents, which was just released last month.

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

Pizzuti continues to champion green initiatives in his company’s projects, highlighted by the new Franklin County Courthouse, slated for completion in 2010. He is also chairman of the Ohio Cultural Facilities Commission, a member of the Columbus Downtown Development Corp. and the Columbus Chamber boards.

6. Alex Shumate
managing partner, Squire, Sanders & Dempsey LLP, Columbus office (7)

Shumate was hired by Gov. Ted Strickland to help craft his school funding plan, lending his experience as one of the nation’s finest attorneys to this complex and ongoing effort. Shumate serves on the Ohio State University Board of trustees, Capitol South Redevelopment Corp. and the Wexner Center for the Arts. He is also a director for the John Glenn Institute. In late November, he was named the firm’s global managing partner for regions. Shumate will provide strategic and operational guidance to the firm’s regions and offices in the United States, Asia, Europe and Latin America.

7. Don M. Casto III
partner, Don M. Casto Organization (11)

Casto has more than 3 million square feet of retail in development, including two properties in Virginia totaling about 200,000 square feet. The company will help oversee this land as part of a 2009 partnership with investors advised by J.P. Morgan Asset Management.

8. Jay Schottenstein
chairman, Schottenstein Management, American Eagle Outfitters, Retail Ventures Inc., DSW (10)

Schottenstein drew the admiration of Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James, who nominated Schottenstein for Time’s 2009 Time 100. Sales at both American Eagle and DSW appeared to be edging up as the year progressed.

9. Tanny Crane
president and CEO, Crane Group (9)

Crane continues to serve on a number of boards, including Wendy’s International, Columbus Foundation, Columbus City School Foundation and the Fisher College of Business Advisory Board.

10. Steve Rasmussen
CEO, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. (new)

Rasmussen was named in February to succeed Jerry Jurgensen. Nationwide completed a $2.4 billion deal to acquire the publicly traded shares of Nationwide Financial, which it spun off in 1997. Overall, after Nationwide Financial’s revenue dropped to $226 million in the fourth quarter of 2008, it increased to $1.16 billion for the second quarter of 2009.

11. Steve Steinour
CEO, Huntington Bancshares Inc. (new)

Steinour was elected to replace Thomas Hoaglin in January. Huntington had a challenging year in 2009, reporting a loss of $2.7 billion for the first nine months of the year. But Steinour is confident the board and leadership can position the company to return to profitability soon.

12. David Blom
president and CEO, OhioHealth (17)

Blom was one of four inductees this year into the Central Ohio Business Hall of Fame. In fiscal 2008, OhioHealth provided $120 million in community benefit funding, including $74.4 million in charity care for members of our communities who are uninsured or lack the ability to pay for care. That’s up $7.2 million from the year before.

13. Larry James
partner, Crabbe, Brown & James (12)

There wasn’t a lot to report on with James in 2009. He still serves as the hearing examiner for the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles and is still the president of the Martin Luther King Jr. Arts Complex board of trustees.

14. John Beavers
chairman and counsel for Boards and Executives Group, Bricker & Eckler LLP (13)

Beavers has been an officer and trustee of the Harry C. Moores Foundation since 1991. He is also the founder of the Business First Advisory Board Exchange that finds, trains and places experienced advisers on advisory boards of business organizations. He has been a mainstay on the list of the Best Lawyers in America since 1983 and on the list of Ohio Super Lawyers since 2004.

15. Donna James
managing director, Lardon & Associates LLC (14)

Like her husband, Donna James kept a fairly low profile in 2009. But she’s still plenty busy, serving on the boards of Limited Brands, Coca-Cola, Consceo and the Health Policy Institute of Ohio. She also joined the board of Time Warner Cable Inc.

16. Curt Loveland partner, Porter, Wright, Morris & Arthur LLP (15)

Loveland was included this year in Chambers USA as a leader in the area of corporate law. He is recognized in Law & Politics and Cincinnati Magazine as an Ohio Super Lawyer and was included in the Best Lawyers in America in the area of corporate law. Loveland chairs the firm’s corporate department and is on the board of Rocky Brands Inc.

17. Ty Marsh
president and CEO, Columbus Chamber of Commerce (16)

Marsh is chairman of the state’s 21st Century Transportation Task Force, The RiverSouth Development Authority and the Jobs & Technology Focus segment of Mayor Coleman’s 2012 Bicentennial Commission. He also serves on the board of the Ohio Business Development Coalition and is an honorary trustee of the Columbus Council on World Affairs.

18. Dr. Steve Allen
CEO, Nationwide Children’s Hospital (21)

Allen has been a busy man this year, which has helped him move up a few spots on our list. Nationwide Children’s Hospital has been expanding its network of outpatient centers, opening its first Close to Home Center outside of Central Ohio in Ironton. Meanwhile, the rebuilding and expansion of the main campus continues. The $842 million project, set for 2012 completion, will add a 12-story hospital tower, research space, an energy plant, parking and a 6-acre park.

19. Melissa Ingwersen
CEO, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Central Ohio (22)

JPMorgan Chase announced in June that it will add 1,150 jobs to Central Ohio over the next three years to support its acquisition of Washington Mutual last fall. In the first quarter alone, the company made more than 191,000 new loans and lines of credit totaling approximately $2.5 billion across Ohio.

20. Peter Geier
COO, OSU Medical Center; vice president for health services and CEO, OSU Health System (24)

OSU Medical Center stayed on track to open a new outpatient clinic and surgery center this summer. The addition opened at least 50 new jobs. Geier said revenue projections show the addition will pay for itself in 18 months. The center is also scheduling a new cancer hospital and critical care tower. It posted an operating profit of $115.8 million on revenue of $1.6 billion for the year that ended June 30, up from $108.3 million in fiscal 2008 and the eighth straight year of growth.

21. Bea Wolper
co-founder and partner, Emens & Wolper Law Firm (20)

Wolper founded the law firm of Emens & Wolper in April with J. Richard Emens. The firm will focus on providing legal services for family-owned businesses and closely held firms. Wolper has been elected as a delegate to the White House Conference on Small Business and was named a YMCA Woman of Achievement in Central Ohio. 

22. Matthew G. Kallner
attorney, Law Offices of Matthew G. Kallner (18)

Kallner stayed out of the news for the most part and seems to have had a pretty quiet year in 2009.

23. Michael Fiorile
president and COO, The Dispatch Printing Co. (19)

Fiorile has been working in tandem with John Wolfe to make things work at The Columbus Dispatch. He noted that the dip in the economy has affected Ohio and the Midwest more than other parts of the country but is hopeful the company will find a way to persevere.

24. Jack Kessler
owner, John W. Kessler Co.; chairman, The New Albany Co. (23)

Kessler was appointed to the board of Commercial Vehicle Group Inc. last year, adding it to the list of his other board involvements, including The Ohio State University’s John Glenn School of Public Affairs, the Columbus Regional Airport Authority and Abercrombie & Fitch Co.

25. Thomas Hoaglin
retired president and CEO, Huntington Bancshares Inc. (5)

Hoaglin has retired as Huntington’s chief executive and was replaced by Steve Steinour. He continues to serve as a director on the boards of American Electric Power and Gorman-Rupp.

26. Jerry Jurgensen
retired CEO, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. (8)

Jurgensen stepped down from Nationwide in February and was replaced by Steve Rasmussen. Jurgensen has reached out to Gov. Strickland to offer his support in the efforts to reform public education in Ohio. He is also contemplating a move into teaching.

27. Russell Gertmenian
managing partner, Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP (28)

Gertmenian led his firm through the year without any economy-induced layoffs. Instead, the partners swallowed a 4.5 percent drop in profit to freeze legal fees, but not associate pay, and also offered clients alternatives to hourly billing. The firm was ranked a No. 1 law firm in Ohio on the 2010 Best Lawyers in America list. Gertmenian is still a director of Abercrombie & Fitch Co. and a board member of the Columbus Metropolitan Library Foundation.

28. Ted Strickland
governor, state of Ohio (29)

Strickland has had a turbulent year and the ride shows no signs of easing as we move into 2010 and the end of his first term. General revenue taxes declined by $2.3 billion in fiscal 2009, the worst decline in state revenue in at least 50 years. But instead of increasing taxes, Strickland’s new budget reduces state government spending by an unprecedented $2.5 billion after reducing the state work force by 3,400. Whether or not he gets a second term, Strickland will remain a powerful force in 2010.

29. Curtis Moody
president and CEO, Moody-Nolan Inc. (30)

Moody’s architecture firm has been keeping busy. It is currently the architect-of-record for the Hilton Hotel that will serve as the new convention center headquarters in Columbus. Moody-Nolan was also named to the design shortlist of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C. In June, the firm acquired Indianapolis-based historic preservation firm James T. Kienle & Associates Inc.

30. Linda Heasley
chairman and CEO, The Limited Stores Inc. (31)

Since The Limited Stores sold a majority interest in the Limited Stores division two years ago to Sun Capital Partners, the company has been focusing on profitability. It launched an e-commerce site and began planning store openings. The company is eyeing a new location for its headquarters.

31. Doug Kridler
president and CEO, The Columbus Foundation (38)

The foundation boosted the lag in charitable giving by sounding a “critical need alert” and agreeing to match donations, allowing the foundation to distribute more than $1.5 million to 20 organizations in April. A grant awarded to the foundation in September pushed it past the $1 billion mark.

32. John B. Gerlach Jr.
chairman, president and CEO, Lancaster Colony Corp. (39)

In the past couple of years, Gerlach’s efforts to consolidate Lancaster Colony Corp., focusing on food and exiting automotive and glass manufacturing, paid off when the company’s fiscal 2009 profits doubled from fiscal 2008. Gerlach serves as a member of the board of directors of Huntington Bancshares Inc., The Columbus Foundation, Children’s Hospital, Franklin University, Recreation Unlimited Foundation, The Ohio State University Foundation and the Richard M. Ross Heart Hospital Board.

33. Lewis Smoot Sr.
president and CEO, The Smoot Corp. (34)

Smoot continues to head high-profile projects across the Midwest, undertaking projects for Columbus City Schools, OSU, a renovation of the historic Georgetown University Library in Washington D.C., Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh and the new tower at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

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

Geiger manages the public policy, political, member activism and communication programs in the state. Media outlets regularly turn to him as the voice on issues affecting small businesses.

35. John P. McConnell
chairman and CEO, Worthington Industries Inc. (37)

Worthington ended 2008 by closing three plants, suspending operations at two others and cutting hundreds of employees. It started fiscal 2010 with cost-cutting measures, including a reduction in its quarterly dividend, a one-week shutdown of four plants and compensation cuts for salaried workers. Worthington bought the assets of three companies to fold into its pressure cylinder-making operations. The company also announced plans to buy back debt from investors. This year, McConnell, majority owner of the Columbus Blue Jackets, joined the board of OhioHealth.

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

In April, Columbia Gas of Ohio Inc. sued the city of Columbus. The company is accusing the city and Safford specifically of enforcing building permit fees that the company says are holding up its infrastructure improvement project. The Department’s Historic Preservation Working Group released its final report this summer, recommending changes to implement in the future.

37. Sally Boyer
president and general manager, Tween Brands’ Justice Stores (33)

It’s been a tough year for Boyer. In late 2008, Tween Brands began rolling out its 560-store Limited Too chain into better performing Justice Stores. The rebranding process, paired with the economy, has cost the parent company millions of dollars and more than 200 jobs. As stock prices slid closer to $1, Tween got a warning from the New York Stock Exchange that it had fallen out of compliance. Tween’s acquisition by Dress Barn Inc. is moving forward.

38. Gene Smith
director of athletics, The Ohio State University (55)

Smith had a good year in 2009 as he was named in March to the USA Basketball Finance & Audit Committee. He also was appointed chairman of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Committee for the 2010-11 academic year, a term which begins Sept. 1, 2010. Back at OSU, the athletic department is expected to transfer back to the university more than $29 million in assessments this year, including $14.5 million in grant-in-aid costs.

39. Jeffrey Wadsworth
president and CEO, Battelle (44)

Wadsworth was named president and CEO in January. In September, he was named chairman of a brand-new board that will oversee the OSU Medical Center. Battelle has also announced a $200 million investment in Central Ohio, adding, constructing and renovating manufacturing, office, child care and laboratory facilities, as well as creating 200 new jobs.

40. Jack Ruscilli
CEO, Ruscilli Construction Co. Inc. (40)

This year, Ruscilli Construction Co. has been awarded the Cunz Hall renovation, its fifth project with The Ohio State University, as well as projects for National Church Residences and Northeastern Local Schools in Springfield. The firm was also awarded the Builders Exchange Safety Achievement Award this year.

41. Larry Hilsheimer
executive vice president and CFO, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. (41)

Hilsheimer serves on multiple boards, including Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Battelle for Kids and CompeteColumbus. He is also an Ohio State University Alumni Association board member. He’ll continue to work with his new boss to keep Nationwide moving forward.

42. Michael Gonsiorowski
Central Ohio regional president, National City, now a part of PNC Financial Services Group (new)

Gonsiorowski leads one of the city’s largest financial institutions and the largest bank in the state by deposits. He serves on the boards of the Columbus Partnership and United Way and is active in the community.

43. David Milenthal
CEO, The Milenthal Group

Some of Milenthal’s clients include Limited Brands, American Electric Power and OhioHealth. He’s still active in the fight against tobacco through his work with the Center for Tobacco-Free Kids.

44. M. Valeriana Moeller
president, Columbus State Community College (43)

Moeller plans to retire in June, but it looks like she’ll be going out on top. The college saw a 10.1 percent increase in spring quarter enrollment over last year’s spring quarter, reaching 24,368 students. The college earned perfect scores for financial responsibility from the Ohio Board of Regents and is on track to open a new campus in Delaware County in 2010.

45. Kurt Tunnell
partner, Bricker & Eckler LLP (32)

Bricker & Eckler laid off employees for the first time in the firm’s 65-year history. A total of 28 people were let go, including nine lawyers. Tunnell still chairs the manufacturing and transportation and logistics groups and serves as legislative and legal counsel to the Ohio Alliance for Civil Justice.

46. Curt Steiner
vice president for government affairs, The Ohio State University (45)

Steiner’s office pushed for people to apply for federal stimulus money and was represented on the Ohio Construction Reform Panel studying ways to lower the cost and increase the speed of campus construction projects.

47. Nancy Kramer
founder and CEO, Resource Interactive (51)

Kramer was one of four inductees into the Central Ohio Business Hall of Fame. Her company published its second book, “The Open Brand,” written by the company’s president and its director of thought leadership.

48. Chester R. Jourdan Jr.
executive director, Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (46)

Jourdan continues to work to connect areas of Columbus and the 301 Corridor. He recently launched the Center for Energy & Environment to promote air quality, water quality, energy efficiency and sustainable development.

49. Dwight Smith
founder and CEO, Sophisticated Systems (47)

In January, Smith acquired the majority interest in the Dayton-based marketing, branding and Web development firm Implications International LLC. His company is expected to maintain profitable growth and surpass $21 million in revenue for 2009.

50. Abigail Wexner
founder and chair, Columbus Coalition Against Family Violence (50)

In 2008, the New Albany Classic, which is the sole fund-raiser for the organization, raised more than $1 million, making it one of the most successful fund-raisers in Central Ohio. Wexner also continues to serve as the chair of Nationwide Children’s Hospital and the Center for Child and Family Advocacy.

51. Michael Morris
chairman, president and CEO, AEP (52)

Morris had a strong year in 2008 and his company positioned itself to maintain growth in 2009. Morris took requests for proposals to add 1,000 megawatts of renewable energy resources — part of its goal to add 2,000 megawatts of new wind or other renewable energy by the end of 2011 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

52. Bob Weiler Sr.
chairman, The Robert Weiler Co. (48)

Weiler was named to be the second Leader-In-Residence at Franklin University’s Leadership Center. He’ll look to develop and present leadership development courses offered to businesses, government, nonprofit organizations and educational institutions.

53. Rich Langdale
founder and managing partner, NCT Ventures (27)

DOMedia, the online advertising database Langdale launched under NCT Ventures, hired a new CEO in February and a new chairman to replace Langdale in May. Langdale will remain as counsel, and he’ll continue to be involved in NCT Ventures’ other investments. He also serves on the boards of the Chamber of Commerce, OSU’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Nationwide Children’s Hospital, as well as the Columbus Technology Council.

54. Jordan A. Miller Jr.
president and CEO, Fifth Third Bank, Central Ohio49)

Miller is active on a number of nonprofit boards in the Columbus region, including the Columbus Chamber of Commerce, Columbus Regional Airport Authority, Lincoln Theatre Association, United Way of Central Ohio and Ohio Bar Association. He is also vice-chairman-elect of the Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges and on the board of Precision Resources Inc. 

55. Jane Grote Abell
president and COO, Donatos Pizzeria (56)

Abell added a value line like many other pizza companies to combat the economy as well as rising commodity costs and the minimum wage increase.

56. Craig Marshall
managing partner, Ernst & Young LLP, Columbus office (53)

Marshall was named to the Ohio Cultural Facilities Commission, which oversees capital improvement funds for planning, construction, renovation and expansion projects at Ohio’s theaters, museums, historical sites and publicly owned professional sports venues.

57. Michael Petrecca
managing partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Columbus office (54)

Petrecca continues to serve on the boards of the Ohio Society of CPAs and the Greater Columbus Convention & Visitors Bureau.

58. David Meuse
principal, Stonehenge Financial Holdings, Stonehenge Partners Inc. (5

Meuse has been working to assess the climate for investments as the recession continues to show signs of drawing to a close.

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

Eversole continues to be active on several boards in the Central Ohio region.

60. Elaine Roberts
president and CEO, Port Columbus International Airport (70)

Roberts has kept Port Columbus going through the recession as capacity was down only 4 percent from October 2008 to October 2009 compared to a 15 percent dip at other Ohio airports. She expressed hope late in the year that air traffic would continue to increase.

61. Michelle Abreu
chairman and president,
Oxford Consulting Group Inc. (new)

Abreu was named a finalist for the Outstanding Woman in Technology Award by TechColumbus. She has overseen the growth strategy at Oxford, helping the firm to engage more than 60 Fortune 2000 businesses.

62. Tami Longaberger
chair and CEO, The Longaberger Co. (60)

The basket-maker laid off nearly 300 employees and reduced wages of existing employees, including Longaberger herself, who took a 15 percent pay cut. However, the sales of National Football League and collegiate merchandise in the fall proved strong, and about 50 employees were brought back to work.

63. Dr. Wiley W. Souba Jr.
dean, The Ohio State University College of Medicine (67)

Just take a look at Dr. Souba’s resume on the OSU Web site and you’ll get a sense of the contribution he has made to the medical community. Souba’s opinion and expertise will continue to be valued as the nation’s health care system is put under the microscope.

64. Bill Ingram
CEO, White Castle Systems Inc. (66)

White Castle packaging went green in 2009 by going to brown recycled paper and cardboard. To honor the Ingram family’s contributions to the community over the years, the family received the 2009 American Red Cross Humanitarian of the Year Award.

65. Cheryl Krueger
founder and CEO, KRUEGER+CO. Consulting Inc. (63)

Krueger has started a new strategic business consulting firm and was named to the new board for the OSU Medical Center. She also serves on the board of Bob Evans Farms Inc.

66. Dick Emens
partner, Emens & Wolper Law Firm; chairman and executive director, Conway Family Business Center (64)

Formerly a partner at Chester Wilcox & Saxbe, Emens started a new firm to provide services just for family-owned businesses focusing on matters involving transfer of ownership and corporate law. He was the first president and was a trustee of Friends of the Libraries of The Ohio State University. He has also served as a board member, officer and/or member of many other professional and business organizations.

67. Brian Ellis
president and COO, Nationwide Realty Investors (65)

Ellis developed the mixed-use Arena District in Columbus. He is now working on a project to redevelop Big Bear warehouse in Grandview Heights that will include retail, restaurants, offices and residential components.

68. Denny Griffith
president, Columbus College of Art & Design ew)

Griffith led the 1,300-student college to an overwhelmingly successful capital campaign by driving 5 percent past its $12 million goal. Much of the money will be used to renovate studios on campus and move the college closer to Griffith’s vision of a 24-hour learning village.

69. Joe A. Alutto
executive vice president and provost, The Ohio State University (74)

Alutto is overseeing the restructuring of the arts and sciences department and named a new head of its arts and sciences colleges. Alutto is also looking to expand student housing, he’s exploring a move to semesters and is a leader in helping OSU to contain the flu from spreading among the student population.

70. Ted Ford
president and CEO, Tech Columbus (68)

Ford continues to move closer to his goal of getting 700 members by 2010. The nonprofit organization announced $700,000 in strategic investment funding to help Central Ohio companies to create new jobs and develop new technologies.

71. Robert Schottenstein
chairman, president and CEO, M/I Homes Inc. (69)

Revenue was off for the first half of 2009, but new contracts were up providing hope that the second half of 2009 would be better.

72. Michael Glimcher
chairman and CEO, Glimcher Realty Trust (71)

Glimcher suffered some losses as malls and retail suffered, but the firm still maintained above 90 percent occupancy at its retail properties during the recession. Glimcher also led the way to expand the outdoor elements of Polaris Fashion Place and appears well-positioned to help keep Columbus growing.

73. Sandra W. Harbrecht
president and CEO, Paul Werth Associates (72)

Harbrecht was honored in May as a nominee for The Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business Individual Diversity Award. The firm itself has received multiple awards for its execution and high standards of performance.

74. Gene T. Harris
Columbus City Schools (8)

Harris deferred a raise for the fourth time since becoming superintendent in 2001. The district passed an operating levy last November that will bring the district $77 million a year. The district’s graduation rate dipped slightly this year but has still risen nearly 14 percent since Harris took over. Her next major initiative is improving communication with parents.

75. Robert Trafford
managing partner, Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP (73)

Trafford was named Lawyer of the Year in Columbus by The Best Lawyers in America in the categories of Bet The Company litigation and Business Litigation. He is also director of the Columbus Chamber of Commerce and chairman of the board for the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. (73)

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

Continental has partnered with the Pittsburgh Steelers to build a 5,500-seat, $7 million amphitheater near Heinz Field and is working with Hyatt Hotels to build a $27 million Hyatt Place hotel near PNC Park.

77. Janet Jackson
president and CEO, United Way of Central Ohio (83)

For the first time in its history, the agency is setting long-term goals to address educational and way-of-life issues for people in the region. Its “Bold Goals” are focused on such areas as education, health care, income and quality of life. Clearly, Jackson has an eye on the future and is doing what she can to make it a little brighter.

78. Douglas Morgan
senior counsel, Calfee, Halter & Griswold LLP, Columbus office (7

Morgan is now a senior counsel with the law firm but remains committed to encouraging others at the firm and in Columbus to be more eco-friendly. He has once again been named both a Super Lawyer and one of The Best Lawyers in America.

79. Cameron Mitchell
founder and president, Cameron Mitchell Restaurants LLC (76)

Mitchell has opened or will open several of his Ocean Prime steakhouses this year, including one in Dallas in November. Mitchell also remains committed to the Columbus area with his support of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Foundation.

80. Guy Worley
CEO, Columbus Downtown Development Corp. and Capital South Community Urban Redevelopment Corp. (81)

Worley is playing a key role in the development of Columbus Commons, which will revive nine acres of dead space into a beautiful mix of residential options, retail outlets, office space and entertainment. The project is expected to become a destination point in Columbus, and Worley is doing a lot to make it happen.

81. Lee Fisher
lieutenant governor, state of Ohio

Fisher will remain a key figure in Central Ohio politics, both as a candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2010 and in his current post as lieutenant governor. He’s expected to continue working hard to bring in new jobs to bolster Ohio’s economy.

82. Sheri Tackett
founder and president, Delta Energy LLC (79)

Tackett acquired the business assets of Compass Energy Consulting LLC to bolster its ability to serve clients and their ever-changing needs. Delta also surpassed its goal for its first blood drive.

83. Bob Restrepo
chairman and CEO, State Auto Insurance Cos. (new)

Restrepo has worked hard to improve accountability and efficiency at State Auto. He is active in the region with the Columbus Chamber of Commerce and the Columbus Partnership. He was also presented with a Chairman’s Citation by the Independent Insurance Agents and the Brokers of America.

84. Neil Mortine
chairman and president, Fahlgren Mortine (91)

Mortine was elected chairman of Central Ohio’s largest public relations firm, and in 2010, he will add CEO to his title. The firm captured 39 awards at a regional banquet in May and added four new clients over the summer, including Elmer’s Products and Cardinal Health.

85. Kyle Katz
president, The Katz Interests Inc.

Katz has adjusted to the recession over the past year by shifting focus at his Buggyworks development from residential units to office space. He remains a leader in the evolution of downtown Columbus.

86. James Davidson
president and managing partner, Schottenstein Zox & Dunn (88)

His firm helped get the statewide casino issue on the ballot this fall. Davidson also spoke at the 14th Annual Trial Advocacy Institute in Columbus in September. Davidson remains a key player in the Columbus legal scene.

87. Robert White
chairman, The Daimler Group Inc.

White is working with The Ohio State University to build an expanded breast health center on the former Gowdy Field site.

88. Alan Wasserstrom
89. Rodney Wasserstrom
vice chairmen, Wasserstrom Holdings Inc. (85 and 86)

Rodney named his son, Brad, president of The Wasserstrom Co., the family’s historic restaurant supply business.

90. George Barrett
chairman and CEO, Cardinal Health (94)

Barrett assumed leadership of the medical and surgical supply company as planned last fall. He wants to build stronger relationships with hospitals and pharmacies to continue to provide better care to those who need it.

91. John McEwan
managing partner, Deloitte & Touche LLP’s Columbus office (n

McEwan has personally served as a high-level adviser to Limited Brands, Nationwide Insurance, The Ohio State University, Big Lots, DSW/Schottenstein, M/I Homes, Hexion and State Auto. In his new role leading Deloitte, he should continue to help some of Central Ohio’s biggest businesses.

92. J. Daniel Schmidt
president, Cityspace LLC (92)

Schmidt’s Web site lists this developer as the largest private landholder in downtown Columbus. As the Market Exchange District project continues to grow, Schmidt continues to be active in the growth.

93. Dave Sceva
president, Central Ohio, U.S. Bank (new)

Sceva is an active speaker, participating in functions through the Ohio Young Professionals Club and offering his insight on the current issues affecting the banking industry and the economy.

94. Chris Taylor
CEO, Mission Essential Personnel LLC (new)

Taylor’s company has grown from $6.8 million in 2005 revenue to $178.3 million in 2008.

95. Jack Partridge
president, Columbia Gas of Ohio

This winter, home heating prices are expected to be lower than they’ve been in years. While Partridge likely had very little to do with this development, it does shed his company in a better light than when costs are way up. Columbia is making an effort to keep water bills down, too, by promoting efficient showerheads.

96. Sue Zazon
president and CEO, FirstMerit Bank, Columbus region (97)

In a challenging economic environment, FirstMerit actually reported increased revenue in the second quarter of 2009 from the second quarter of 2008. Deposits remained steady into 2009 and Zazon and company leaders are hopeful that the light at the end of this economic tunnel is near.

97. Debra Penzone
president, Charles Penzone Family of Salons (new)

Penzone sits on numerous nonprofit boards in the area and promotes a spirit of volunteerism in her company. In 2008, she launched Debra Penzone LLC, a company dedicated to providing speaking, training and consulting services with proceeds from speaking engagements donated to charity.

98. Bill Heifner
founder and president, Renier Construction Corp. (new)

Heifner was inducted into the Central Ohio Business Hall of Fame this year. He has a reputation in Columbus for never failing to come through for his customers, a label which keeps new business flowing in.

99. Joel Pizzuti
president and COO, The Pizzuti Cos. (new)

Pizzuti has strong bloodlines, but he’s making a name for himself in Central Ohio with the leadership he’s shown at the $252 million real estate services firm. He makes his debut on our list based on his efforts to help his company continue to evolve, and we’ll look for him to move up in the years to come.

100. Alex Fischer
consultant, Columbus Partnership (95)

Fischer left his senior officer post with Battelle, but after a brief respite, he emerged as the possible heir apparent to lead the Columbus Partnership. With the retirement of Bob Milbourne in September, this move may happen soon. Until then, the plan is for Fischer to work on the CEO organization’s development initiatives.