The SBN 100 Featured

9:46am EDT July 22, 2002

There’s no shortage of speculation regarding the new millennium. Regardless of the turn of the century, however, numerous events will affect the business environment here in the coming year.

Energy deregulation will make its appearance. Companies will continue struggling with the waning work force. And the economy will bear the weight of high expectations fueled by last year’s heavy market action.

While these and other business issues will come and go in the next 12 months, one thing will remain constant: Our business community will continue to be shaped, in large part, through the actions and opinions of certain Central Ohio leaders — and not just the usual suspects, either.

In addition to the Wolfes, Wexners and McFersons you’d expect to wield such influence, a group of lesser-known, yet surprisingly powerful executives is emerging in our corporate community. Some are already strong, behind-the-scenes voices; others are on the verge of making their mark.

Whether they’re familiar faces or new names, these are people you should get acquainted with. Together, the following 100 people will have the most influence on our business community in the year 2000.

Jan Allen & Curt Steiner

president & CEO, respectively

HMS Success

Talk about a power-packed couple. This husband-and-wife team has, between them, more political ties than most business owners could ever hope to amass.

Steiner, a former chief of staff to both Gov. George Voinovich and Ohio House Speaker Jo Ann Davidson, previously worked as a principal media strategist for U.S. Sen. Mike DeWine, Sen. Voinovich and numerous members of the U.S. House of Representatives, Ohio Legislature and Ohio Supreme Court.

Allen, a former deputy chief of staff in Gov. Dick Celeste’s administration, once served on staffs of the lieutenant governor, secretary of state and Ohio House of Representatives. She still maintains an of counsel role with The Success Group Inc., a consulting firm that represents clients before the executive branch of government.

These two clearly know the dynamics of public opinion — and the players who shape it — better than just about anyone else in town.

Sandy Dickinson

executive director

Ohio Foundation for Entrepreneurial Education

Dickinson provides support for local entrepreneurs through her educational programs, but her influence in the business community reaches beyond the start-up level.

Her pull is strong enough to convince established business leaders to donate not only their money but their time and expertise in the classroom. Consider some of her trustees and officers: Robert H. Maynard, partner with Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease; Paul J. Otte, president of Franklin University; and Michael A. Petrecca, partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.

Dwight Smith

president and CEO

Sophisticated Systems Inc.

Everywhere you look, Smith has a hand in the business community. A member of the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce board of directors, as well as its economic development and entrepreneurship committees, he’s already well-known on the local level.

Even in his own business, he’s rubbing elbows with power clients: Nationwide, Honda, The Limited, Bank One and The Huntington National Bank, for instance.

But watch: Smith late last year was named to the Governor’s Small Business Council. He’s also a board member for the Ohio Foundation for Entrepreneurial Education. It won’t be long before his name is recognized statewide.

Patrick J. Fehring Jr.

president and CEO

Fifth Third Bank, Central Ohio

With Bank One moving its headquarters, and rumors swirling around the future of The Huntington National Bank, expect Fifth Third to step up its local presence and Fehring to follow the path of community leadership set by Don Shackelford, chair of Fifth Third Bank, Central Ohio.

Already, Fehring has taken a stand through involvement in the United Way campaign and its connections with Columbus businesses. In addition, the bank has heightened its local influence by purchasing two home-grown financial organizations: State Savings and The Ohio Co.

To become a true local influence, however, Fehring will need to develop more business contacts through his civic work as a trustee for the Children’s Hospital Foundation and COSI, for example. Expect him to start doing that this year.

Pete Klisares

former president/COO

Karrington Health, now Sunrise Assisted Living

Klisares hasn’t been in the forefront as much since he left executive roles at Karrington and Worthington Industries, but the experience he has in management will surely keep him active — and influential — in the business community.

Locally, he serves on the boards at Dominion Homes Inc. and The Huntington National Bank, as well as MPW Industrial Services Group. He also consults for a handful of other companies, primarily in the manufacturing industry. Look for him to continue finding roles in which he can solve problems for area businesses.

Ora E. Smith

president

Science and Technology Campus Corp.

Smith will play a significant role this year in increasing Columbus’ reputation for technological developments. That’s particularly important, given the current trouble high-tech companies are having attracting good recruits to Central Ohio.

The Science and Technology Campus at The Ohio State University is designed to enhance technology business activity in Central Ohio and provide industrial connections for students and faculty. Already the 2-year-old campus has garnered more interest than it has space available.

As Smith continues to develop the research park to house more companies and link them to research and technical expertise, he’ll become highly sought-after and respected for his contacts in the technology and financial industries.

Cleve Ricksecker

project director

Capital South Community Urban Redevelopment Corp.

Ricksecker was the driving force behind the Short North’s revitalization. His next project was supposed to be directing development along the Scioto River downtown, but the disbanding of Riverfront Commons Corp. put the brakes on that mission.

Now Ricksecker has found a welcome home for his urban revitalization skills at Capital South, a project that’s charged with cleaning up not just the physical structures, but the image of High Street in the central business district. With so much attention turning this year to COSI, Nationwide Arena and Miranova, the High Street corridor appears to be the next logical step in downtown redevelopment.

And Ricksecker appears to have the enthusiasm, connections and track record to get it done.

Carol Sheehan

managing partner

Carlile, Patchen & Murphy LLP

Sheehan may be the only female managing partner of a major Columbus law firm, but she doesn’t go around thumping her chest over it. She doesn’t have to; her actions speak for themselves.

She’s a highly sought-after speaker in the business and professional community for her expertise in real estate and tax law. She’s also quite civic-minded and volunteers her time to serve on charitable boards of organizations including the Big Brothers Big Sisters Association of Columbus and Franklin County and the Columbus YWCA.

Although she doesn’t seem concerned with grabbing big headlines, she definitely can hold her own among the city’s corporate elite.

Kurt Tunnell

administrative partner

Bricker & Eckler LLP

With his deep-seated political connections, Tunnell is the attorney of choice for local business leaders looking to push through pro-business legislation at the statehouse.

This former chief legal counsel to Gov. George Voinovich successfully advocated revisions to Ohio’s insurance tax laws, which gave insurers a uniform tax rate nearly 50 percent lower than the previous maximum. Tunnell also was the legal eagle who secured passage of a highly controversial tort-reform package, aimed at curbing frivolous lawsuits and enormously high jury awards. Although that legislation has since been struck down by the Ohio Supreme Court, Tunnell remains committed to the cause — even establishing a statewide CourtWatch program to monitor the issue on behalf of Ohio businesses.

Clearly, this affable Eagle Scout is at home holding audience with the state’s top leaders, and they, in turn, seem to respect — and often act upon — his opinions.

Benjamin Zox, president and CEO, Schottenstein, Zox & Dunn LPA: Zox helped form the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce’s CEO Ambassadors, which, on a CEO-to-CEO level, attracts companies to settle or expand here. In addition, expect Zox to continue his leadership, not only through the clout of his highly regarded law firm, but also by encouraging other attorneys there and throughout the city to follow in his footsteps of community involvement.

Bea Wolper, partner, Chester, Willcox & Saxbe LLP: Wolper continues to distinguish herself as the obvious local leader of women in business, especially considering her roles as founder and president of Women’s Business Board and Women’s Business Beginnings.

John F. Wolfe, publisher and chairman, The Dispatch Printing Co.: When you own no fewer than seven media outlets in a single market, including the city’s only daily newspaper, it’s hard not to wield considerable influence — be it in the business community or elsewhere.

Frank Wobst, chairman and CEO, Huntington Bancshares Inc.: Money is power — and with Wobst heading the largest locally based bank in Columbus now, whatever he does affects the entire business community. Just ask John B. McCoy, who used to share this local influence.

Jeff Wilkins, chairman and CEO, Metatec Corp.: Wilkins started CompuServe when desktop computers were still the exclusive domain of technogeeks. He saw the future of CD-ROM technology years before floppy discs and vinyl records fell out of favor. With visionary capabilities like that, Wilkins will always be someone corporate Columbus watches for new trends and upcoming business opportunities.

Bill Wilkins, president and CEO, OhioHealth: As the health care industry continues to evolve, not just locally but nationally, what Wilkins does at OhioHealth is likely to influence the behavior of other, competing institutions and, thus, the entire Central Ohio community.

Randy Wilcox, president and CEO, SARCOM Inc.: As Wilcox leads his company into the $1 billion range, he continues to increase his presence in the business community. Watch for him to step up his civic involvement and continue making a name for himself in elite business circles, such as Entrepreneur Of The Year.

Les Wexner, chairman and CEO, The Limited Inc. and Intimate Brands Inc.: When the 11th richest man in the world talks, people don’t just listen, they act on what he says.

Bob Weiler Sr., chairman, The Robert Weiler Co.: Anyone who owns as much land as Weiler does in the fast-developing Polaris Centers of Commerce, as well as along Morse and Sunbury roads near Easton and Gender Road in the suddenly booming Canal Winchester area is apt to have the upper hand in shaping business growth throughout Central Ohio.

Audrey Weil, general manager, CompuServe: She’s been at CompuServe’s helm for less than a year, but already everybody knows her name. Don’t expect her roll to stop; she serves on the Columbus chamber’s board and surely will interact with the business community on any technology topics in 2000.

Bob Walter, chairman and CEO, Cardinal Health Inc.: Walter’s experience in leading Cardinal through more than 20 acquisitions will keep him in high demand in the business community. He currently serves on the boards of directors of Bank One Corp., CBS Corp. and Infinity Broadcasting Corp. In addition, he runs the highest revenue-producing company based in Columbus. If that doesn’t carry some clout, what does?

Bob Taft, governor, State of Ohio: His position alone carries a lot of influence, and Taft has chosen to extend that influence into the business community. Already he’s taken big steps toward seeking input through his Small Business Advisory Council and Workforce Policy Board. Now he needs to finish the journey by acting on the recommendations of these business leaders.

Paula Spence, retired vice chair, HMS Partners: She may be retired from HMS, but the long-time PR guru has not taken a back seat. Business and community leaders continue to recognize and respect her for her many contributions.

Robert Snyder, president, Ohio Electric Utility Institute: Considering the onset of deregulation and constant changes in the utility industry, Snyder will have his hands full this year representing the five investor-owned electric companies in Ohio.

Lewis Smoot Sr., president, Smoot Corp.: It’s hard to think of a major construction project in Central Ohio that hasn’t involved Smoot’s business. Clearly, Smoot has developed a name for himself and his company with the powers-that-be in Columbus.

Rosa Smith, superintendent, Columbus Public Schools: Smith’s got her work cut out for her as business owners continue to demand quality graduates to fill the job glut. We expect she’ll continue the dedication she’s already proven by serving, for example, on the chamber’s Workforce Leadership Council — and up her influence in the business community in the process.

Harrison Smith & Ben Hale, law partners, Smith & Hale: Sure, Smith may be past traditional retirement age, but his corporate contacts are as strong as ever. He can still get an easy audience with the likes of Les Wexner and Jack Nicklaus, both of whom he represented in major development deals years ago, and Hale is just as comfortable rubbing elbows with the corporate elite.

Rhonda Slotta, president, TDCI Consulting LLC: Slotta’s name surfaced three times last year in rather impressive company. She was among the finalists for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year awards. She also was honored by the Columbus chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners and received an Excellence in Enterprise award from the Ohio Department of Development’s Women’s Business Resource Program. Expect this up-and-coming influencer to continue raising her visibility by serving as a model for other women business owners.

Alex Shumate, managing partner, Columbus office, Squire, Sanders & Dempsey LLP: Shumate begins his term as board president of the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce this year. Consider that, plus his service on boards including Intimate Brands Inc. and Bank One Corp., and his position in the inner circle of corporate Columbus becomes clear.

Thekla Shackelford, owner, School Selection Consulting: Although hers is not a household name, perhaps it ought to be. She’s one of those quietly influential types who serves aside Dave Thomas on the board at Wendy’s International, as well as Alex Shumate and John B. McCoy on the board at Bank One. In addition, she co-chaired The Ohio State University’s “Affirm Thy Friendship” campaign, which raised more than $1 billion. That’s some pretty good pull.

Don Shackelford, chair, Fifth Third Bank, Central Ohio: Shackelford remains in high demand in the business community, evidenced by his service on powerful corporate boards including The Limited Inc., Intimate Brands Inc., Midland Life Insurance Co. and Worthington Foods Inc.

Tadd Seitz, former chairman, The Scotts Co.: He may have left Scotts after orchestrating its turnaround, but that hasn’t lessened Seitz’s presence in the Central Ohio business community. In fact, he may affect even more businesses now that he’s moved out of the corner office and into the investment community full time.

Irv Schottenstein, chairman and CEO, M/I Schottenstein Homes Inc.: Not only does Schottenstein run the largest home building company in Columbus — giving him an upper hand in the power-packed construction industry — but he continues to circulate among some of the city’s corporate elite.

Bill Schottenstein, owner, Arshot Investment Corp.: This may just be the year that the long-awaited rebirth of the Brewery District hits high gear and Schottenstein’s Brewers Yard project will set the new standard for development in this area.

J. Daniel Schmidt, president, Downtown South Association: Look for Schmidt to take a more prominent role this year as development and renovation of this long-overlooked area of the center city continues and the association’s membership drive, started last fall, gets rolling.

Paula Ryan, marketing director, Kegler, Brown, Hill & Ritter: Don’t let the non-CEO title fool you. Ryan has been quite active in the business community as a member of the Downtown Council. Last year, she took the reins and will surely become an even more familiar face among downtown movers and shakers as the Arena District comes to life this year.

Jack Ruscilli, CEO, Ruscilli Construction Co. Inc.: This guy has more connections than AT&T. His business advisory board is filled with heavy hitters like John Christie and Jeff Keeler, and his company has worked on some of the most impressive projects in town, including the new COSI, the Columbus Zoo’s manatee exhibit and OhioHealth’s Riverside Methodist Hospitals expansion.

Harley E. Rouda Sr., founder, HER Inc., Realtors: Rouda’s long-held prominence in the local real estate industry will keep him at the forefront of building- and financial-related businesses this year.

Jim Robbins, managing partner, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Columbus office: Although he’s not the most boisterous or flashy executive in town, Robbins quietly carries his weight as the leader of Columbus’ largest accounting firm.

Ron Pizzuti, chairman and CEO, The Pizzuti Cos.: Pizzuti has played ball with all the big boys in town — Les Wexner, John Wolfe, Dimon McFerson, John H. McConnell. And although the lengthy delays surrounding Pizzuti’s Miranova project may have pushed this power broker out of the limelight a bit in the past couple years, he still wields quite a bit of influence among decision makers. Look for the completion of Miranova and the Nationwide Arena this year to put Pizzuti’s name back in the headlines.

Paul Otte, president, Franklin University: Otte serves on the Columbus chamber board and, through his company, Otte & Associates, provides managerial assistance to companies and institutions. He makes it his job to stay in front of the business community and determine how its needs can be met through the university’s academic offerings. It’s a role that has earned him the appreciation — and ear — of top executives around town.

Doug Olesen, president and CEO, Battelle: His name may not pop up as often as many others, but as a chamber board member, Olesen still plays a powerful role in the business community, especially considering Battelle’s impact on business research and technology developments.

Roger Morris, president, Columbus/Franklin County News Bureau: After all the fanfare surrounding the launch of the area’s first news bureau, many civic and business leaders were expecting the area to get a big splash in the national press. That hasn’t happened — but Morris should be able to call upon his past corporate and media connections to make it a reality this year.

Curt Moody, president and CEO, Moody/Nolan Ltd.: Moody may have gotten his start here, but his reputation is now known throughout the eastern half of the country. He’s done work on Olympic venues, major league sports stadiums and — closer to home — the new COSI, the Schottenstein Center and the Smith Bros. Hardware building. Clearly it takes skill, respect and clout to land high-profile, complex projects like these over and over again.

Cameron Mitchell, president, Cameron Mitchell Restaurants LLC: He’s done what most thought impossible: getting private investors not just excited, but actually clamoring for a stake in the notoriously high-risk, low-return restaurant business. And he’s done it more than once. With the incredible financial returns his growing restaurant chain has seen, Mitchell’s continually evolving concepts are influencing many others around town to follow his lead.

Ken Mills & Cameron James, president and CEO, respectively, Mills/James Productions Inc.: The connections Mills and James have amassed over the years by working with clients the likes of OhioHealth, Wendy’s, Borden and Worthington Industries have made them familiar faces at the most elite fund-raisers and corporate events.

Karen McVey, CEO, Women in New Growth Stages: McVey has quietly become a force in the business community by helping women advance in their careers. She serves as both a resource and a mentor.

Dimon McFerson, chairman, Nationwide: He may be the newest of the city’s titans, but he’s already vying for the status of most powerful.

John H. McConnell, chairman emeritus and founder, Worthington Industries: McConnell’s influence is obvious in business and the community. His name is often one of the first mentioned among those other local business leaders admire.

Peg Mativi, owner and CEO, Solutions Staffing: More and more, Mativi’s staking a claim to popularity in the business community. She’s been on the chamber’s board, and more recently extended her reach statewide with her appointment to the governor’s Workforce Policy Board.

Farah Majidzadeh, chair and CEO, Resource International Inc.: She’s been a contender in recent years for such prestigious awards as Entrepreneur Of The Year, the Columbus chamber’s Small Business Person of the Year and Excellence in Enterprise, yet Majidzadeh has really come into her own on the local business scene lately. Expect to hear more from her.

Curt Loveland, partner, Porter, Wright, Morris & Arthur LLP: Loveland is one of the city’s most sought-after money men — not only for his ability to help companies get financing from venture capitalists and private investors, but for his business and legal expertise. He’s helped take many local companies public, too, among them Applied Innovation Inc., Rocky Shoes & Boots and CheckFree Corp. [now based in Atlanta].

Tami Longaberger, president and CEO, The Longaberger Co.: As the company begins to broaden the appeal of its products and Longaberger moves into her first full year at the helm, she’ll garner more attention — and more leverage. She’s already begun to do so as Ohio State University trustee.

Katherine LeVeque, CEO, LeVeque Enterprises: Some might think LeVeque’s time in the inner circle has come and gone, but with the renewed focus on downtown development this year, she could still have something big up her sleeve.

David Lauer, president, Bank One, NA - Columbus: With long-time business giant John B. McCoy moving to Chicago, Lauer appears to be slowly stepping up his local influence. Already he’s taken board positions with the United Way, OSU Hospitals, the Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority, the Columbus Municipal Airport Authority, the Greater Columbus Arts Council and, of course, the Columbus chamber.

Cheryl Krueger-Horn, president and CEO, Cheryl&Co.: Krueger-Horn’s influence in the business community comes as a role model, not only for running a successful and growing company but also for supporting her local community. She’s well known and well liked.

Nancy Kramer, founder, president and CEO, Resource Marketing Inc.: Kramer is a dominant force in her industry and she turned many heads last year when her firm landed the lead role in marketing the live Victoria’s Secret online fashion show. Although her company’s early success came primarily from big-name, out-of-town clients like Apple Computers, Kramer is now focusing more on locally based companies like Huntington Banks, The Limited and Drug Emporium. The shift has landed her appointments to high-profile posts including the Mayor’s Technology Leadership Council and the boards of Limited Too and the Columbus chamber.

Brit Kirwan, president, The Ohio State University: Granted, he’s still a relative newcomer to the corporate scene. Yet Kirwan has already earned a board position with Les Wexner’s Intimate Brands Inc., marking an impressively rapid entree into the inner circle. More appointments are sure to follow.

Jack Kessler, chairman, The New Albany Co.: With most of the development in New Albany no longer making big news, Kessler’s name isn’t heard much these days. That doesn’t mean he’s no longer a top dealmaker. He still regularly rubs elbows with the likes of Alex Shumate, Bob Walter and John B. McCoy.

Jeff Keeler, chairman and CEO, The Fishel Co.: Respect for Keeler, who was named to the Junior Achievement Central Ohio Business Hall of Fame last year, will keep him in demand by business owners great and small: Consider his board positions with Bank One, AirNet Systems Inc., Metatec Corp. and Ruscilli Construction Co. Inc., just to name a few.

Kyle Katz, president, The Katz Interests Inc. and New World Restaurants Inc.: So he sold his interest in Mekka and his Sweet Pea restaurant concept flopped. That doesn’t mean Katz is no longer a player. He still has an eye for upcoming trends and he’s king at creating good buzz.

Brad Kastan, senior vice president, PaineWebber: Kastan has made quite a name for himself in the local investment community and he even has a seasonal menu item — roasted red pepper soup — named after him at the tony Strada World Cuisine.

Frank Kass, CEO, Continental Real Estate Cos.: Kass has long been a force in Central Ohio’s development community and he’s likely to stay there as long as his company continues taking on high-profile projects like the wildly successful Lennox Town Center and Easton Market.

Bob Juniper, president, Three-C Body Shops Inc.: Even if you don’t like his advertising campaign, you can’t deny the impact it’s had on the insurance industry — or on Three-C’s competitors, for that matter. Juniper is quite the pro at making big waves.

C. Lee Johnson, director, Ohio Department of Development: Johnson’s private sector business experience with Limited Distribution Services, Beatrice Cos. and Warner Lambert Co. will serve him well in his second year as the department’s director. He can’t help but have an effect on the local as well as statewide business community, especially considering changes here, such as development at Port Columbus International Airport and Rickenbacker, which could impact all of Ohio.

Ed Jennings, interim CEO, Mount Carmel-OSU Health Care Alliance: When Jennings stepped down as president of The Ohio State University in 1991, he didn’t step out of the business community. He’s been quietly effective as chairman of Mount Carmel’s board of trustees, and as a member of the Lancaster Colony Corp. and Borden Chemicals & Plastics LP boards. Now he’s temporarily at the helm of a power-packed nonprofit. Don’t think for a minute this will be his last stop.

George Jenkins, partner, Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP: Jenkins is firmly entrenched in the city’s private investment community, serving as an adviser as well as financier for numerous promising companies. When he sees potential in a firm, other business leaders often follow his lead.

Sally Jackson, president and CEO, Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce: When Jackson sets an agenda for the business community, she’s got all the tools she needs to pursue it. She can get an audience with the mayor just about any time she wants and has direct access to well-connected, high-profile executives like Dimon McFerson and Alex Shumate, who serve on her board of directors.

Artie Isaac, president, Young Isaac Inc.: Isaac frequently shares his advertising expertise with business leaders through speaking engagements, but he’s not all talk. His words take action through his service on boards including Angie’s List, Columbus College of Art & Design, Jewish Family Services and Ohio Foundation for Entrepreneurial Education.

Paula Inniss, president, Ohio Full Court Press: In business just four years, Inniss’ impact has become clear. She’s even offered her services to help fellow business owners through Women in New Growth Stages, the Columbus Regional Minority Supplier Development Council and Consortium 2000. She’ll also gain a stronger hold as her own business grows and continues to be recognized through various awards programs.

Ed Hines, vice president-manufacturing, Lucent Technologies: Hines stepped up to the plate to chair the chamber’s Workforce Leadership Council; expect him to continue leading local workforce development efforts.

Larry Hilsheimer, managing partner, Deloitte & Touche LLP, Columbus office: Hilsheimer’s expertise in tax issues will keep him in demand; he lends his service on the chamber board, Young President’s Organization and various community groups.

Sandy Harbrecht, president, Paul Werth Associates Inc.: As head of one of the longest-established, best-known public relations firms in town, Harbrecht is arguably one of the more powerful women in Central Ohio. She is on the Dean’s Advisory Council for the Fisher College of Business at OSU, serves as vice chair for the Council for Ethics in Economics and is a trustee for the Columbus chamber, Columbus Museum of Art and the Ingram/White Castle Fund of The Columbus Foundation.

Bill Habig, executive director, Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission: Here we’re stating the obvious. Habig continues his influential role in transportation issues — one of Central Ohio’s most aggravating, yet important, ongoing concerns. A catalyst: The October 1999 launch of the Central Ohio Regional Transportation Management Center, a cooperative effort by the city of Columbus, COTA, Franklin County Engineer’s Office and Emergency Management Agency, as well as state and federal officials to solve transportation and traffic safety problems.

Lisa Griffin, president, Griffin Communications: Griffin may have stepped back from politics, but don’t expect her to leave the limelight. She still has some serious pull among highbrow civic and corporate leaders — even if she’s playing a more supporting role these days.

Sam Gresham Jr., president and CEO, Columbus Urban League: With a background in urban planning, Gresham will continue to be a powerful force in making sure the playing field is as level as possible for the local business community, particularly in the area of work force development.

Herb Glimcher, chairman, president and CEO, Glimcher Realty Trust: Last fall’s brouhaha surrounding Glimcher’s proposed Polaris Fashion Place showed not only the power, but the class, of this civic-minded developer. He refused to sling mud at rival mall owner Dick Jacobs and even offered to buy the ailing Northland Mall in an effort to bury the hatchet. Many business leaders — and voters — respected his above-board approach.

Gary Glaser, chairman, National City Bank: The banking community in Columbus will likely continue changing industrywide this year. As a result, look for Glaser to establish more of a foothold as both a business and community leader.

Bob Gerbig, chairman and CEO, Gerbig, Snell/Weisheimer & Associates Inc.: Under Gerbig’s leadership, his health care marketing firm has grown markedly, expanding even overseas late last year. As his company continues to grow, so will his sphere of influence, already evidenced by his service on boards for the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute, Cardinal Health Inc. and the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts.

Roger Geiger, state director, National Federation of Independent Business - Ohio: He may not be a businessman, per se, but he sure knows what matters to those who are. And when he sees legislation emerging at the statehouse that could make life difficult for the employers his organization represents, he’s quite effective in rallying the troops.

Terry Foegler, president, Campus Partners for Community Urban Redevelopment Inc.: Expect Foegler to rally the Columbus business community behind him as he proceeds on the campus gateway project. He’ll need the support, considering that although he’s garnered some praise for his efforts, he’s also ruffled a few feathers.

Dick Emens, partner, Chester, Willcox & Saxbe LLP: Emens’ leadership continues to be evident in the family-owned business community. He chairs the advisory board of the Family Business Center of Central Ohio, entering its second year in efforts to foster education, networking and recognition of family businesses. Watch for him to push the recognition of the center and to promote his own expertise on the subject.

Pat Dugan, partner, Squires, Sanders & Dempsey LLP: Dugan is much more than a top-notch attorney. He’s a private investor and business consultant, too. His expertise has benefited numerous local firms, including Bank One, The Pizzuti Cos., Glimcher Realty Trust and Lancaster Colony Corp.

Tanny Crane, president, Crane Plastics Holding Co.: Even amidst the reorganization of her own company into six divisions, Crane has been gathering the business community to support this year’s United Way campaign as its chair. Look for her influence to broaden in 2000.

Maury Cox, president, The Ohio Partners LLC: When John F. Wolfe decided to formalize his investment role in the high-tech arena five years ago, Cox was hand-selected to lead Wolfe’s new Ohio Partners venture. That, alone, tells you what kind of clout this former CompuServe CEO carries among the powers that be.

James Conrad, administrator and CEO, Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation: Our area has enough problems finding a quality work force; Conrad aims to make it safe, too. The business community is responding as he strives to make this once-loathed governmental bureau more customer friendly.

Frankie Coleman, executive director, Private Industry Council of Columbus and Franklin County Inc.: Her husband, Mike, may be mayor-elect, but she’s got the upper hand in the business community right now. Her role in linking available workers and labor-starved employers will continue to make her one of the more powerful forces in dealing with the local job glut.

John Christie, president, JMAC Inc.: Christie is one of those people who seems to know — and be liked by — just about everyone who is anyone in this town. He’s buddies with John H. McConnell. He’s been an adviser to Jack Ruscilli. And he appears comfortable rubbing elbows with the most powerful of Central Ohio titans.

Walter Cates Sr., president, Main Street Business Association: Cates continues to stand as a respected advocate for minority business owners and those in the Main Street community.

Don M. Casto III, president, Don M. Casto Organization: It was Casto who got the mayor excited last year about routing the proposed Morse-Bethel extension through the parking lot of Graceland Shopping Center. Whether that plan ever materializes is less important than the fact that Casto had the wherewithal to negotiate such a proposal in the first place. In addition, he successfully cut a blockbuster deal last year to gain the commercial holdings of long-time development giants Jack Chester and Dick Solove, making Casto’s property empire among the most impressive in Central Ohio.

Kelly Borth, president, Greencrest: A finalist for the Ernst & Young Supporter of Entrepreneurship Award, Borth has distinguished herself as a mentor through her work in organizations including the chamber, National Association of Women Business Owners, Women’s Network for Entrepreneurial Training and WINGS. She’s also taken the initiative to found programs to help business owners, such as an Advertising Techniques School at Franklin University.

Chris Boring, president, Boulevard Strategies: Boring will continue to be looked upon as the resident authority in measuring the health of the retail community here. And with the continuing rate of business expansion and rehabilitation, not to mention last year’s mall brouhaha, his name recognition will only increase further in 2000.

Friedl Bohm, chairman, NBBJ: This guy runs the fifth largest architectural firm in the world, yet he’s chosen to keep it headquartered right here in Columbus. His corporate, as well as civic, influence runs deep.

Roger Blackwell, president, Blackwell Associates Inc.: Aside from the obvious consulting role Blackwell plays, he also serves on numerous local boards, including AirNet Systems Inc., Max & Erma’s Restaurants Inc. and Intimate Brands Inc. He’s the go-to guy for business leaders with marketing and management concerns.

Bob Bender, chairman, president and CEO, Lord, Sullivan & Yoder: Bender’s been around the advertising business long enough, and earned enough awards, that he — as well as his firm — carries some serious clout in this city.

Nick Bandy & Doug McIntyre, partners, Zero Base Advertising Inc.: After their barely 10-year-old firm beat out heavy favorite HMS Partners for the lucrative and high-profile Columbus Blue Jackets’ advertising contract last year, these two erased any doubt that they had arrived.

Joseph A. Alutto, dean, The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business : With development of the college’s new $120 million campus and expanded executive education offerings, Alutto has the perfect opportunity to tap the local business community both for its expertise and potential students. His sphere of influence will broaden accordingly.

Joan Slattery Wall (jwall@sbnnet.com) is associate editor of SBN Columbus. Nancy Byron (nbyron@sbnnet.com) is editor.