Sunday, June 16, 2024

Power List 2024: North Carolina’s most influential leaders


By David Mildenberg

Grab a beverage, turn off your smartphone, and take some time to enjoy Business North Carolina’s annual snapshot of the state’s most influential private-sector leaders.

We view it as our privilege to spotlight power brokers capable of making it rain at their enterprises and in their communities.

The nation’s ninth-most populous state has thousands of talented leaders, making this a small sampling of those with noteworthy power. North Carolina has one of the state’s most dynamic economies, making this project particularly compelling and challenging.

Rapid growth doesn’t happen without great leadership, much of which comes from the 500 people cited in this report.

The Power List is based on talking with sources, undertaking considerable research and relying on years of experience covering North Carolina’s business community from this magazine’s unique statewide perspective. We encourage nominations because we inevitably lack access to various power corridors.

But we view the list as journalism, not advertising or public relations.

We’re sensitive to diversity and geography, but we don’t tilt the list for those reasons. The result is a skew toward white males, reflecting national and statewide business leadership demographics that don’t match our state’s actual diversity. That’s changing, albeit at nowhere near the pace many would prefer.

While a majority remain on the list from previous years, we review everyone and constantly seek new people. Michael Jordan is gone after selling the Charlotte Hornets.

The Power List helps make Business North Carolina more relevant throughout the year because we learn so much about our state as we create this magazine. It’s particularly impressive to see how some leaders work together to attack key issues, including workforce training, affordable housing and innovation.

Readers enjoy learning about the philosophies and personalities of Power List members, so we appreciate those who responded to our questions on various topics. The responses inevitably provide insight and humor.

Our personal favorites:

If the odds are one in a million, just be the one.
— Donta Wilson, Truist Financial

Don’t be afraid to make a mistake; just don’t make the same mistake twice.
— Mark Balling, Skanska USA Building

Know your product, work harder than your competition, and do what you say you will do.
— Andy Andrews, Dominion Realty Partners

Be yourself. Everyone else is taken. 
— Kathie Niven, Biscuitville

Never do again? Won’t let my dog off the leash at the airport.
— Joe Budd, The Budd Group

Even if you’re only responsiblefor 2% of a conflict, you’re 100% responsible for your 2%.
— David Mullen, The Variable

It’s not brain surgery, no one’s going to die.
— Joey Pointer, Fleet Feet

I believe exercise is a great outlet and my favorite is strength.
I do 200 push-ups every day.
— Brian Savoy, Duke Energy

Never take a helicopter over a volcano.
— Igor Jablokov, Pryon

For 40 years, sharing the stories of North Carolina's dynamic business community.

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