SBN's Power 100

CEOs come and go. Leaders endure.

That’s a lesson Central Ohio has learned in the past couple years as a handful of revered executives — Paula Spence, John H. McConnell, Dimon McFerson and David Lauer, to name a few — have stepped down, but not out of the business community. Their influence remains strong.

And they continue to hold a spot among those who make things happen in corporate Columbus.

Joining them on SBN‘s Power 100 list this year are a select group of executives who fit into at least one of the following categories: they personally affect government policies, legislation or regulation changes that impact business; they have or know how to get money invested in local businesses; they control or know how to get media coverage; they actively advise, mentor or serve on the boards of area businesses; they are outspoken in their industry and/or the local business community.

Many of the names you’d expect, such as Les Wexner, John Wolfe, Frank Wobst and the Schottensteins, are on this list, but they’re not all ranked in the top 10 — or even the top 50, for that matter. We’ve also found for you numerous lesser-known but surprisingly influential executives like Curt Loveland, Karen McVey, Kyle Katz, John Rosenberger and Olin Jones.

These are people you should know. They are the executives whose actions and opinions are heeded most in this city. They’re committed. They’re connected. They are the real leaders of Central Ohio’s business community.

1. Les Wexner

chairman and CEO

The Limited Inc. and Intimate Brands Inc.

2. John F. Wolfe

chairman, publisher and CEO

The Dispatch Printing Co.

3. Alex Shumate

managing partner, Columbus office

Squire, Sanders & Dempsey LLP

Shumate’s high rank within the inner circle of corporate Columbus is becoming increasingly clear. Not only is he chairman of the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce, but he’s a trustee of the Capitol South Community Urban Redevelopment Corp. and a director of The Limited Inc.

In addition, Shumate monitors legislative proposals on behalf of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce and regularly represents developers and real estate clients before local as well as county zoning and tax abatement agencies.

4. Ron Pizzuti

chairman and CEO

The Pizzuti Cos.

5. Roger Geiger

state director

National Federation of Independent Business — Ohio

6. Sally Jackson

president and CEO

Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce

7. Bea Wolper


Chester, Willcox & Saxbe LLP

8. Mark Barbash


Columbus Department of Trade and Development

At the rate this city is growing, Barbash can’t help but have an impact on the business community. Consider just two of his departments: The Downtown Development Office, which is working with businesses toward improvements, and the Business Development Office, which assists business expansion and central city revitalization in areas including I-670, North and South Linden, the airport and the south and west sides of the city.

Enforcement of Columbus’ building and zoning codes also falls under his jurisdiction. Outside the office, he is a founding board member of the Columbus Urban Growth Corp. and a board member of the Ohio Foundation for Entrepreneurial Education.

9. Bob Taft


State of Ohio

10. Richard Sensenbrenner


Columbus City Council Development Committee

Columbus City Council Appropriations Committee

11. Mike Coleman


City of Columbus

12. George Jenkins


Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP

Jenkins is firmly entrenched in the city’s private investment community, serving as an adviser and financier for numerous promising companies in Central Ohio. Last year, he helped round up $3 million in financing for Ultryx Corp., including funds from John Wolfe’s investment company, The Ohio Partners — marking Wolfe’s first investment in a Central Ohio business.

Jenkins also worked with former Scotts Co. chairman Tadd Seitz in the Ultryx deal, as well as former Ultimate Software Group managing partner Tariq Farwana. Jenkins, Seitz and Farwana also invested together in EC Next, a local e-publishing company lead by former Trade Point USA director Randy Smith. Clearly, when Jenkins sees potential in a firm, other business leaders pay attention.

13. Tadd Seitz


Bridlespur Partners

14. Rich Langdale


NCT Ventures

Langdale was relatively unknown in the business community until a couple years ago, despite the fact that he’d already built his first company, Digital Storage Inc., into one of the largest distributors of computer storage products in the world. What caught the corporate community’s eye in 1999 was Langdale’s ability to raise $75 million in venture capital for his start-up online fulfillment business,

Equally impressive was the group of Silicon Valley investors that funded his venture; former Netscape president Jim Barksdale was among them. Clearly, Langdale has the right connections.

Today he is founder and CEO of NCT Ventures, an investment and operating company which includes in its portfolio such familiar names as Retail Planning Associates and

15. Jack Kessler


The New Albany Co.

16. Curt Loveland


Porter, Wright, Morris & Arthur LLP

17. Karen McVey


Women in New Growth Stages

18. Friedl Bohm



19. & 20. Jan Allen & Curt Steiner

president & CEO, respectively

HMS Success

21. & 22. Paul Tipps & Neil Clark


State Street Consultants

Super-lobbyists Tipps and Clark come from opposite ends of the political spectrum, but that’s exactly what makes them such great business partners. Together, Tipps, a former chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party, and Clark, a former chief operating officer of the Ohio Senate Republican Caucus, have virtually cornered the market on high-powered political persuasion.

No wonder their firm, State Street Consultants, has represented high-profile clients including The Limited, Bank One, AT&T and Riverside and Grant hospitals in various capacities. Not only do these guys have access to the state’s top politicians, but they can deftly weave their way through the most complex bureaucratic maze, helping their clients win state contracts as well as legislative fights.

23. Linda Hondros


Hondros College

In the past couple of years, Hondros has taken the lead in small business development in Central Ohio. She’s become very active in the Greater Columbus and Ohio chambers initiatives along that line. And she’s even bent Bob Taft’s ear as a member of the Governor’s Small Business Advisory Council and co-chair of its work force development committee.

24. Kurt Tunnell

administrative partner

Bricker & Eckler LLP

25. Roger Blackwell


Blackwell Associates Inc.

26. Don M. Casto III


Don M. Casto Organization

27. Sandy Dickinson

executive director

Ohio Foundation for Entrepreneurial Education

28. Curt Moody

president and CEO

Moody/Nolan Ltd.

29. Jeff Keeler

chairman and CEO

The Fishel Co.

30. Bob Walter

chairman and CEO

Cardinal Health Inc.

31. Dimon McFerson

retired chairman


32. Nancy Kramer

founder, president and CEO

Resource Marketing Inc.

33. Brad Beasecker


Helston Capital Group

If you want to talk investments, this is the guy to know.

Beasecker is not only the co-founder and president of Helston Capital Group, a private investment banking firm, he’s also the chief executive of, a growing Web site dedicated to hooking up private investors with promising entrepreneurs. In addition, he’s vice president of, a company whose niche is providing research on small- and mid-cap stocks that can be good investments, yet are typically overlooked by Wall Street analysts.

As if that’s not enough involvement in the financial arena, Beasecker recently ended his stint as chairman of the Columbus Investment Interest Group (since renamed the Columbus Venture Network), but remains active in the chamber-affiliated organization of private investors.

34. Brit Kirwan


The Ohio State University

35. Frank Wobst

chairman and CEO

Huntington Bancshares Inc.

36. Mike Mizesko


Look for Mizesko to make his mark in the state’s investment and entrepreneur communities as his Web site passes the launch stage. In less than one year, the site he founded has grown to 100,000 hits per month.

Mizesko’s assembled a high-powered advisory group, including former CompuServe CEO Bob Massey, who is now chairman of CallTech Communications Inc., and Rich Langdale, founder of and NCT Ventures. Mizesko also is active in Columbus Venture Network, the former Columbus Investment Interest Group of the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce, and is part of the planning group for Innovest, an annual venture capital conference that’s been making waves in Ohio.

37. Terry Foegler


Campus Partners for Community Urban Redevelopment Inc.

38. James Conrad

administrator and CEO

Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation

39. Pete Klisares


MIGG Capital

As we predicted last year, Klisares has remained active — and influential — in the business community even though he’s not in the limelight as much since he left executive posts at Karrington Health (now Sunrise Assisted Living) and Worthington Industries. He continues to serve on the boards of Huntington Bancshares, Dominion Homes, Sunrise and MPW as well as two out-of-state companies. In addition, he’s been a consultant and private investor in a few other firms, including one being started by former Karrington CEO Richard Slager.

40. Lewis Smoot Sr.


Smoot Corp.

41. Tanny Crane


Crane Plastics Holding Co.

42. Dwight Smith

president and CEO

Sophisticated Systems Inc.

43. Jack Ruscilli


Ruscilli Construction Co. Inc.

44. John Christie



45. Kyle Katz


The Katz Interests Inc. and New World Restaurants Inc.

46. Frank Kass


Continental Real Estate Cos.

47. Maury Cox


The Ohio Partners LLC

48. Cheryl Krueger-Horn

president and CEO


49. Dick Emens


Chester, Willcox & Saxbe LLP

50. Bill Lhota

executive vice president


51. Jeff Wilkins

chairman and CEO

Metatec Corp.

52. Herb Glimcher

chairman, president and CEO

Glimcher Realty Trust

53. Bob Weiler Sr.


The Robert Weiler Co.

54. John H. McConnell

chairman emeritus and founder

Worthington Industries

55. Benjamin Zox

president and CEO

Schottenstein, Zox & Dunn LPA

56. George Skestos


Homewood Corp.

Although he’s officially retired from Homewood, Skestos is still highly sought after for the business knowledge he brings to the table. That’s obvious from the boards upon which he serves. They include Huntington Bancshares, Central Benefits, Midland Financial, The Ohio State University, CAPA and the Columbus Museum of Art.

57. Don Shackelford


Fifth Third Bank, Central Ohio

58. David Lauer

retired president

Bank One, Columbus, NA

59. Pat Dugan


Squires, Sanders & Dempsey LLP

60. John Rosenberger

executive director

Capitol South Community Urban Redevelopment Corp.

Rosenberger’s organization is involved in redevelopment activities in the city’s central business district, bordered by I-670 on the north, I-71 on the east, I-70 on the south and the railroad behind COSI on the west. Under Capital South’s auspices is the Capital Crossroads Special Improvement District of Columbus, focusing on a 25-square-block area in the heart of downtown.

Capitol South also holds a membership in The Downtown South Association, working to rejuvenate the area connecting Downtown and German Village. In the game of business development in Columbus’ center city, Rosenberger is a key player.

61. Sam Gresham Jr.

president and CEO

Columbus Urban League

62. Paula Spence

retired vice chair

HMS Partners

63. Sandy Harbrecht


Paul Werth Associates Inc.

64. Timothy O’Dell

president and CEO

Fifth Third Bank, Central Ohio

Late last year, 19-year Fifth Third veteran O’Dell was named president and CEO of the company’s Central Ohio bank operations. As the banking landscape continues to change in Columbus, look for O’Dell to make an impression in the business realm and the community.

Already he serves on the development board of trustees of Columbus State Community College and is a trustee of the Columbus Council on World Affairs and Life Care Alliance.

65. Robert Schottenstein


M/I Schottenstein Homes Inc.

66. Larry Hilsheimer

managing partner, Columbus office

Deloitte & Touche LLP

67. David Milenthal


HMS Partners

68. Bill Wilkins

president and CEO


69. Gary Glaser


National City Bank

70. Bill Habig

executive director

Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission

71. Artie Isaac


Young Isaac Inc.

72. Bill Schottenstein


Arshot Investment Corp.

73. Blane Walter

chairman and CEO

Gerbig, Snell/Weisheimer & Associates

Fast growth at GSW means a widening sphere of influence for Walter, who in the past four years has led the company’s expansion from 50 to more than 400 employees and to estimated capitalized billings of more than $500 million. Already he serves on the boards of directors for The Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital Foundation and the Columbus Foundation, and he’s a member of the Young President’s Organization. Walter’s specific knowledge of business development, having grown GSW to top spots in his industry — both statewide and internationally — should be in high demand.

74. Jerry Jurgensen



Watch Jurgensen’s moves as he steps into the traditionally high-profile slot as head of Nationwide. Don’t expect him to step into retired CEO Dimon McFerson’s shoes; he’ll forge a path all his own. If his history in Chicago, where he was executive vice president of Bank One Corp., is any indication, he won’t shy away from the local community.

In Columbus, he was appointed to the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce board of directors soon after he walked through the doors at Nationwide; watch for more participation in other areas.

75. Bob Maynard


Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease

76. Carol Sheehan

managing partner

Carlile, Patchen & Murphy LLP

77. Paula Inniss


Ohio Full Court Press

78. Cameron Mitchell


Cameron Mitchell Restaurants LLC

79. John P. McConnell

chairman and CEO

Worthington Industries

80. Sue Doody


Lindey’s Grant Avenue Investments

81. J. Daniel Schmidt


Downtown South Association

As revitalization and development spreads from the Arena to the Brewery District, Schmidt will have his hands full improving and promoting the Downtown South area as a link between Downtown Columbus and German Village.

82. Peg Mativi

owner and CEO

Solutions Staffing

83. Jim Robbins

managing partner, Columbus office


84. & 85. Ken Mills & Cameron James

president and CEO, respectively

Mills/James Productions Inc.

86. Al Dietzel

vice president of public affairs

The Limited Inc.

87. Kelly Borth



88. Audrey Weil

general manager


89. & 90. Nick Bandy & Doug McIntyre


Zero Base Advertising Inc.

91. Tami Longaberger

president and CEO

The Longaberger Co.

92. Rosa Smith


Columbus Public Schools

Smith continues to increase her role in the business community in an effort to provide high quality graduates to fill the abundance of jobs in our city. Already a member of the chamber’s Workforce Leadership Council, Smith teamed up with chamber executives this past year to refocus the Adopt-A-School program, which was renamed Partners in Education. Expect more initiatives of this nature from Smith in the coming year.

93. Paul Otte


Franklin University

94. Melinda Carter


Equal Business Opportunity Commission

City of Columbus

95. Hal Miksch


Main Street Connection LLC

96. Frank Henson

executive director

Industry & Technology Council of Central Ohio

97. Bob Bender

chairman, president and CEO

Lord, Sullivan & Yoder

98. Patrick Grabill


King Thompson, Realtors

99. Olin Jones


Capitol Square Ltd.

When Arshot Investments sold its interest in the Brewers Yard development to Capitol Square Ltd. at the close of last year, it left Jones in full control. Not only will Capitol Square, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Dispatch Printing Co., build the apartment units it had originally planned for the area, but it will now oversee the commercial and retail development of the 27-acre site adjacent to the Brewery District. This is already shaping up to be one high-profile project.

100. Bill Patterson


Reputation Management Associates

A sampling from Patterson’s client list leaves no question about his connections in the business community: AEP, Bob Evans Restaurants, the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce, Dominion Homes, Executive Jet, Nationwide Insurance, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Techneglas. Nancy Byron ([email protected]) is editor of SBN Magazine in Columbus. Joan Slattery Wall ([email protected]) is associate editor.