WHO'S ON TOP: SELECTING 100 INFLUENTIAL LEADERS IS A THOUGHT-PROVOKING EFFORT FOR WHICH THERE IS NO RIGHT ANSWER.

Author:Mildenberg, David
 
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Producing our annual list of the most influential North Carolinians is among our magazine's most challenging projects. To call it subjective is a big understatement. We know there are hundreds, if not thousands, of other influential business leaders across the state, many of them loyal readers of this magazine.

Like a baseball umpire calling balls and strikes, we know there's inevitably a call or two that we missed. But we just call it our best effort after seeking nominations from all parts of North Carolina, talking with lots of insightful people, and reporting and observing the statewide business community for many years.

Leaders of major companies and institutions are obvious choices because of the power entailed in running huge enterprises or employing lots of people. A newcomer to the list is CEO Darius Adamczyk, whose decision to relocate Honeywell's headquarters to downtown Charlotte sent another signal to the world about North Carolina's emergence as a viable international-headquarters city.

The list also factors in the impact of those who exert considerable influence in their communities or the state, often with limited notice. Lumberton businessman Bo Biggs, who has been a longtime champion of southeastern North Carolina interests, became chairman of the $ 1 billion asset Golden LEAF Foundation last year. The Zimmer family, which runs a large retail jewelry chain, is among the biggest backers of Wilmington's dominant hospital, New Hanover Regional Medical Center.

Fortunately, my talented colleagues again stepped up to the challenge of producing the list and ensuring accuracy of the hundreds of facts included in this edition...

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