By Amber Kennedy

Old Dominion University President Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D., is among the commonwealth's most notable leaders included in Virginia Business Magazine's Virginia 500: The 2021 Power List.

The second edition, published Aug. 29, includes executives across industries who are considered by the magazine's editors as "the most powerful and influential leaders" in Virginia. The issue highlights President Hemphill's leadership as the University partners with Norfolk State University and Eastern Virginia Medical School to establish the School of Public Health.

"It's something he definitely knows about," the magazine states, pointing to his health care-related successes while serving as president of Radford University. In 2019, President Hemphill negotiated a merger with Jefferson College of Health Sciences and a partnership with Carilion Clinic to create Radford University Carilion. Under his leadership, Radford also received its largest individual and alumni gifts and $101 million in state funding for the Artis Center for Adaptive Innovation and Creativity.

To assemble the list of 500 "power players," the Virginia Business staff looked at a variety of factors, including annual revenue, newsworthiness, community involvement, diversity, number of employees (in Virginia and worldwide) and how large the organization's presence is in the commonwealth. In his letter from the editor, Richard Foster writes that inclusion on the list "is simply recognition of a person's power, influence and importance within their field."

Several notable ODU donors and alumni were also featured on the Virginia 500 list:

  • Robert Aston Jr., '05 executive chairman of TowneBank and recipient of an honorary doctorate from ODU
  • Stephen B. Ballard, '04, builder of S.B. Ballard Stadium and recipient of an honorary alumni certificate
  • Robert Bowen, '75, executive director of the Norfolk Airport Authority
  • Stephen Brich, '92, commissioner for the Virginia Department of Transportation
  • George Brown, '85, president and CEO of CP&O and vice president, Virginia Maritime Association
  • Margaret F. Hardy, '93, president of Sands Anderson PC
  • Harvey L. Johnson, '06, partner and CEO of PBMares LLP
  • Robert M. "Bob" King, '86, president for retail sales and leasing at Harvey Lindsay Commercial Real Estate; serves on the board of the ODU Educational Foundation
  • Miles Leon, trustee for Old Dominion University Real Estate Foundation
  • Terrie L. Suit, '05, CEO of Virginia Realtors
  • Robert M. "Bob" Tata, '86, managing partner of the Norfolk office of Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP; former member of the ODU Board of Visitors
  • Jason S. Wallace, '95, CEO of ADS Inc.
  • James Xu, '95, chairman of Avail Vapor LLC, Blackbriar Regulatory Services LLC and Blackship Technologies LLC

As part of the list, Virginia Business also published a listing of "Living Legends," including several notable individuals living and working in Hampton Roads:

  • Frank Batten Jr., chairman of Dominion Enterprises in Norfolk
  • George Y. Birdsong, CEO and general counsel of Birdsong Corp. in Suffolk
  • Ramon W. Breeden Jr., president and CEO of The Breeden Co. in Virginia Beach
  • John R. Broderick, president emeritus and Board of Visitors Distinguished Lecturer in the Darden College of Education and Professional Studies at ODU
  • Dorcas T. Helfant-Browning, managing partner and principal broker of Coldwell Banker Now in Virginia Beach
  • Vincent J. Mastracco Jr., partner and co-chair of Real Estate Strategies Group at Kaufman & Canoles PC in Norfolk
  • John Reinhart, former CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority in Norfolk
  • Alan S. Witt, dean of the Luter School of Business at Christopher Newport University in Newport News

See the full list of the Virginia 500 here.

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