To define power is a tricky thing. To us, power is that elusive combination of elements that allows an individual to get his or her way, no matter the obstacles. It’s an elixir of strength, leadership, vision, wherewithal, means, moxie, and desire. Power is not influence, but the two are related—while not everyone with influence has power, anyone with power certainly has influence. And power is definitely not a popularity contest; many of the people on our list will never be accused of being “all warm and fuzzy.”
This ranking of the 50 most powerful people in the Baltimore area is not a scientific list, but it is based on hard numbers and achievements and records. Power isn’t something you can measure, like an election; it’s rooted in perception and experience and gut reaction. Our 2007 Power 50 list is a snapshot of an extraordinary and unique time in Baltimore (we last tackled the list shortly after Bob Ehrlich took office, in 2003). Annapolis is once again controlled by a single party, and the state is governed by an ex-Baltimore mayor; our interim mayor heads a city (and a government) with both promise and problems; and the Baltimore Old Guard is being gradually replaced by a new power elite. But come September—and the city’s Democratic primary—this list could look considerably different. For now, though, this ranking is the way we see power being put into action in Baltimore.
But we know what you’re really asking: Who’s number one? Look below to find out.
1. William R. Brody
Age: 63 Title: President, Johns Hopkins University 2003 Rank: 15 Nickname: Big Boss Power Play: Hopkins’s East Baltimore urban redevelopment—including biotech labs being built in (and on) adjoining neighborhoods—rolls on without a hitch, thanks to Brody’s (and Hopkins’s) clout. Power Source: Oversees an economic (more than $7 billion of business generated statewide) and scientific juggernaut. Is the head of Hopkins’s power troika (along with Hopkins medical school CEO Ed Miller and Health System prez Ron Peterson) and serves as the living embodiment of Hopkins’s institutions and brand, both locally and across the globe. Hopkins has the nation’s highest-rated hospital and is the largest private employer (some 46,000 people) in the state. A recent endowment-building drive blew past the $2 billion goal a year early; the new mark is $3.2 billion. Bottom Line:Politicians and developers come and go; Hopkins is eternal.
2. John Paterakis
Age: 77 Title: President and CEO, H&S Bakery and H&S Properties Development Corporation 2003 Rank: 2 Nickname: Bread Man Power Play: With private investment in Harbor East now surpassing $1 billion, and state political contributions from Paterakis entities on the rise, Paterakis officially sheds his baker’s hat and becomes a mega developer and fixer. Power Source: Throughout four mayoral administrations, Paterakis has built up the Inner Harbor’s east end into a shiny cluster of high-rise hotels and posh condos, shops and offices. Close ties to other well-placed folks—an expanding partnership with fellow developer Bill Struever (#11), for one—make for some hefty collateral clout. Bottom Line: No other local developer has managed to pull off such downtown development density, or laid such undisputed claim to a coveted corner of the city.
3. Peter G. Angelos
Age: 77 Title: President and Managing Principal, Law Offices of Peter G. Angelos 2003 Rank: 1 Nickname:Greek Tycoon Power Play: His profile has dropped (as has the Orioles’), but he has by far the deepest political pockets in town. Power Source: Since making it rich off asbestos litigation in the 80’s and 90’s, Angelos has been a go-to guy for politicians, a downtown development force, chief target of O’s fan angst, and philanthropist. His political largesse—$2.9 million to national campaigns since 1999—puts him at number 18 (behind George Soros and John Kerry) among the country’s largest donors. Bottom Line: Angelos has the obvious power ingredients: money, ubiquity, pull. What makes him uniquely powerful is his sway across Baltimore’s diverse communities.
4. M.J. “Jay” Brodie
Age: 70 Title: President, Baltimore Development Corporation 2003 Rank: n/a Nickname: Land Baron Power Play: Got the mayor to bless Baltimore’s biggest ever municipally financed public-works project while O’Malley was in the throes of a gubernatorial bid. Power Source: Over the years Brodie has deftly—if not entirely deliberately—molded his role into that of primary driver behind the look and feel of downtown. He’s overhauled BDC, expanded its role as real estate buyer and developer, and won the confidence of four mayors. The culmination of those efforts: last year’s ground-breaking on a $305 million convention center hotel—built and paid for by the city. Bottom Line: When all is said and done, Brodie will have left a lasting mark on Baltimore, one way or another.
5. Robert C. Embry Jr.
Age: 69 Title: President, The Abell Foundation 2003 Rank: 36 Nickname: Wise Man Power Play: Embry has woven himself into the tapestry of Baltimore’s power elite by leveraging his brains, his connections, his wisdom, and his influence into a role as a kingmaker. Power Source: During his two-decade-plus tenure as head of the powerful Abell Foundation (with assets of more than $203 million), Embry has spoken plainly about the city’s ills—and used those millions to try to correct them. Bottom Line: If you want anything done in this town, you’d better have a sit-down with Bob Embry.
6. Eddie C. Brown
Age: 66 Title: President and CEO, Brown Capital Management Inc. 2003 Rank: 18 Nickname: Mr. Generosity Power Play: Being Eddie Brown. Power Source: Built a respected asset management firm, amassed a vast personal fortune, and scored a spot on some of Baltimore’s most prestigious boards. But it’s in his use of that personal fortune that Brown’s real power lays. He and his wife are stand-out philanthropists with a passion for education and the arts; their generosity ranks them among the nation’s top African-American charitable donors. But given their low profile—and that’s how they like it—most wouldn’t know it. Bottom Line: He’s sharp, rich, and every corporation or institution’s dream board member.
7. Barbara Mikulski
Age: 70 Title: U.S. Senator 2003 Rank: 7 Nickname: Pint-sized Powerhouse Power Play: Has a senior membership on the powerful Senate Appropriations committee. Teaming with Governor O’Malley to make Maryland a homeland security hub—plus, there’s the national BRAC (Base Realignment And Closure) which stands to bring tens of thousands of military jobs to Baltimore. (Babs also sits on the Homeland Security and Defense subcommittees.) Power Source: With a Democratic majority in Congress (including a certain hometown girl who is Speaker of the House) and a Democratic governor in office, the chair of Maryland’s Congressional delegation is uniquely poised to steer federal funds into the Old Line State. Bottom Line: The longtime senator couldn’t have picked a better time to become Maryland’s highest-ranking statesperson.
8. Raymond “Chip” Mason
Age: 70 Title: CEO, Legg Mason 2003 Rank: 4 Nickname: Mr. Baltimore Power Play: Successfully set up his company—one of Baltimore’s most venerable—for a future without him, while hanging on to fabulous wealth and the most prestigious chairmanship in town. Power Source: Mason built Legg Mason into one of the world’s largest money management firms over 40-plus years before ceding the president’s title last April, just weeks after Forbes ranked him number 88 among the country’s 500 highest-paid CEOs. Bottom Line: As Legg chairman, vice-chair of the Downtown Partnership, and chair of the Board of Trustees of Johns Hopkins University, Mason remains one of the biggest wheels in town even as he begins to step back from the table.
9. George L. Russell Jr.
Age: 77 Title: Of Counsel, Law Offices of Peter G. Angelos 2003 Rank: n/a Nickname: The Judge Power Play: Got both his son and daughter-in-law on court benches in the same year. Power Source: In February 2006, Russell’s daughter-in-law, Devy Russell, was appointed to the District Court of Maryland for Baltimore City. When George L. Russell III landed on the Baltimore City Circuit Court 11 months later, any doubts about the lingering power of Maryland’s first African-American Circuit Court judge and Baltimore’s first black city solicitor were dashed. Reginald F. Lewis Museum chair and member of two prominent commissions under Ehrlich, “Judge Russell” still commands deference and wields clout—see his behind-the-scenes counselor role this past election. Bottom Line:When it comes to say-so, there’s no substitute for experience and achievement.
10. Ed Hale Sr.
Age: 60 Title: Chairman and CEO, 1st Mariner Bancorp 2003 Rank: 31 Nickname: Blue-Collar Banker Power Play: Despite—or because of—his working-class Highlandtown roots, he’s challenged Maryland’s blue-blood financial circles with his success in banking and been a driving force in the remaking of Canton. Power Source: His small but fast-growing 1st Mariner Bank now has about $1.3 billion in assets, though it’s taken a beating in recent months from bad mortgage loans. Hale Properties has invested heavily in Canton redevelopment and land ventures across the U.S., he’s owner of the Baltimore Blast soccer team, and he’s the chairman of the Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Association. He also plays a Donald Trump-esque role in Towson University’s Associate program. Bottom Line: Hale got in on the ground floor of Baltimore’s resurgence with his vast Canton holdings.
11. C. William “Bill” Struever
Age: 55 Title: CEO and President, Struever Bros. Eccles & Rouse 2003 Rank: 12 Nickname: Re-Animator Power Play: From Brewer’s Hill to Tide Point to Harbor East, SBER has been one of the major movers in Baltimore’s recent Renaissance. Power Source: As Baltimore City began to show signs of life, Struever was ready to rehab and renovate old properties into hip, popular offices and residences. SBER is now a regional name in urban rehabs; the Struever brand-name is synonymous with community-conscious development. Bottom Line:Though some wonks feel SBER is a bit overextended, Struever’s name and rep are still money.
12. Martin O’Malley
Age: 44 Title: Governor 2003 Rank: 5 Nickname: Chosen One Power Play: Despite concerns that he would use thegovernor’s seat as a temporary resting spot (en route to a presidential bid), he still won tight race against a popular incumbent. Has already raised $1.7 million since becoming governor, this after the nearly $15 million he raised during the campaign. Forced PSC chair to resign, effectively gaining control of the utility regulation in Maryland. Brings praised cost-monitoring program StateStat with him to Annapolis. Homeland security mayor now able to put federal muscle and money behind that agenda. Power Source: A Democratic governor leads a Democratic General Assembly and works alongside a Democrat majority Congress—we don’t see much resistance to his agenda. Bottom Line:Former golden boy has regained his luster.
13. David Cordish
Age: 67 Title: Chairman, Cordish Company 2003 Rank:3 Nickname: Master of Ceremonies Power Play: Cordish (the man) makes deals happen; with cities (like Atlantic City, where the Walk project is that city’s hottest new destination) and with people (like Rev. Frank Reid, #28, with whose church Cordish partnered for the Pier Six rehab). Power Source: Cordish (the company) has made a name locally and nationally as a builder of entertainment centers (like downtown’s Power Plant Live). Bottom Line: Despite the risks of urban commercial redevelopment (and icky dueling lawsuits with the Florida Seminole tribe over a Hard Rock project), Cordish remains plugged in, canny, and successful.
14. James Shea
Age: 54 Title: Chair, Venable LLP 2003 Rank: 24 Nickname: PAC Man Power Play:The big hand in O’Malley’s gubernatorial fundraising, with some serious muscle in national politics too. Power Source: Since 1994, Shea has run Venable LLP; first as managing partner, then as firm-wide chair when he inherited the top post last spring. He now counts celebrity lawyers and former politicos among his employees, and the Venable political action committee (Ven-PAC), among his power tools. Shea was also O’Malley’s fundraising chief for the 2006 election and gets credit for his well-financed sprint to the finish line. Bottom Line: With his Washington ties and fundraising prowess, Shea is a key O’Malley ally. It isn’t difficult to imagine what the two might collaborate on next. . . .
15. Sheila Dixon
Age: 53 Title: Mayor, Baltimore City 2003 Rank: n/aNickname: The Understudy Power Play: Scored city’s most powerful political post without having to run for it. Power Source: O’Malley’s sights reached well beyond City Hall when he jumped into the mayor’s race in 1999, and nobody knew it better than City Council president candidate Dixon. She won her race, waited patiently as heir apparent for seven years and landed the top job when O’Malley became governor this year. But because she’s serving out his term, the true test of her clout comes September 11, when Democratic primary voters decide if she’s worthy of the mayoral nomination. Bottom Line: Dixon gets credit for being Baltimore’s first female mayor. We’ll see whether that translates into getting electedto the post this fall.
16. Ronald Lipscomb
Age: 60 Title: President, Doracon Contracting Inc. 2003 Rank: n/a Nickname: The Independent Contractor Power Play: His profile as a developer and politico have catapulted Lipscomb into the big leagues. Power Source: Lipscomb’s been growing his company and getting a toe in, or bid on, some of downtown’s biggest projects. A minority equity position in Harbor East and his partnership with a New York investor to buy and develop the old News American site have solidified that his status. As a trustee and major fundraiser for the state Democratic Party, he was one of Maryland’s African-American business and political elite to endorse Michael Steele in 2006 for U.S. Senate—a nose-thumbing gesture to Dems for not taking the black vote more seriously. Bottom Line: Look for Lipscomb to have a hand in more broadly distributing Maryland’s traditionally white political and economic wealth.
17. Richard O. Berndt
Age: 64 Title: Managing partner, Gallagher Evelius & Jones 2003 Rank: 14 Nickname: Political Pope of Baltimore Power Play: Rallying support for O’Malley among business and community leaders from the very start of his political career. Power Source: Strong Baltimore Catholic roots mean Berndt has been a close legal advisor to Cardinal William Keeler (#39) and the Archdiocese of Baltimore. But he’s flexed his muscle publicly by being a longtime supporter and advisor to O’Malley, as well as other Democratic Party luminaries (Sarbanes, Mikulski, Cardin, et al). He’s been the legal mind behind major development in town, including the projects of John Paterakis. Bottom Line: If you want to know what makes Maryland’s political machine tick, this legal eagle is one place to start.
18. Elijah E. Cummings
Age: 56 Title: U.S. Representative, 7th District 2003 Rank: 11 Nickname: The Negotiator Power Play: Outspoken critic of President Bush and the Iraq war recently tapped to sit on the powerful House Armed Services Committee. Power Source: Seven term congressman has a lot of accumulated power, both at home and in the Capitol; the Maryland-connected Dems now running the House will help Cummings maintain stature and pull. Bottom Line: He takes care of his district and Maryland; the resurgence of Democratic power can only help his causes.
19. Patricia C. Jessamy
Age: 58 Title: Baltimore City State’s Attorney 2003 Rank: 43 Nickname: The Survivor Power Play: Her six-year tiff with former mayor O’Malley and recent re-election to a fourth term has a lot of folks eyeing a mayoral run for her. Power Source: While a recent 58 percent holiday pay hike from her political nemesis (O’Malley) made her Baltimore’s highest paid city official, it’s Jessamy’s proven ability to undercut the police department on crime reduction that gives her such political muscle. It has also engendered widespread disdain, as Baltimore’s crime figures—especially its homicide rate—remain stubbornly high. Bottom Line: With O’Malley now out of the picture, she could move past the crime rate flak—or become its primary target.
20. Cal Ripken Jr.
Age: 46 Title: President and CEO, Ripken Baseball Group 2003 Rank: 17 Nickname: Living Legend Power Play: Making headlines again, thanks to Hall of Fame election and Cooperstown induction in July. Recently made bid to buy a Double-A team (his group already owns and operates two Single-A squads). Name repeatedly comes up as potential buyer/savior of the Orioles. Power Source: Rock solid citizen, ubiquitous pitchman (Comcast, Esskay, Chevy, etc.), Sun youth sports advice columnist, and one of the most beloved, trusted, and recognizable figures in America. “You’d die to have him on your board!” confirms one insider. Bottom Line: Cal frenzy is at a fevered pitch. But will he step up to the plate and take full advantage of his clout?
21. Joseph Haskins Jr.
Age: 58 Title: President, Chairman, and CEO, Harbor Bank of Maryland 2003 Rank: n/a Nickname: Smart Money Power Play: While the bank has grown slowly but steadily, his political and development profile has risen more precipitously—most recently with a lead role on O’Malley’s transition team. Power Source: His bank—with its modest 1.3 percent share of the city’s market—and his role on the President’s Roundtable have made Haskins a household name. More recently, as chair of East Baltimore Development Inc., the engine behind the Hopkins biotech park; a member of the team developing the “Cityscape” block at Calvert and Lombard streets; and Business and Economic Development co-chair for the O’Malley-Brown transition team, Haskins has become a player. Bottom Line: Don’t look for a Harbor Bank Arena yet, but Haskins is broadening his reach.
22. Ben Cardin
Age: 63 Title: Senator 2003 Rank: 22 Nickname: The Mensch Power Play: Winning the 2006 election to succeed Paul S. Sarbanes in the U.S. Senate. Power Source: An effective legislator, willing to cross party and issue lines to make things happen. Grasp of critical but dense issues (healthcare, pension reform, taxes and trade policy) and his refusal to engage in partisan bickering set him apart from—and above—his colleagues. With a new but fragile Democratic majority in both chambers, growing disenchantment with the current administration, and a presidential race a year away, his focus on principle and policy could be more important than ever. Bottom Line: Cardin’s poised to lead like never before.
23. Michael S. Beatty
Age: 41 Title: President, H&S Properties Development Corp. 2003 Rank: n/a Nickname: Dough Boy Power Play: As John Paterakis’s longtime real estate and development guy, he’s the one responsible for executing—and pulling off thus far—H&S’s huge Harbor East explosion. Power Source: The money behind Harbor East may not be Beatty’s (though he’s doing fine, given his $1.7 million Ruxton address and his six-figure contributions—atop three tuitions—to Gilman School). But the development effort and public face of all things Harbor East is his, and that makes Beatty a very big deal. Bottom Line: He’s young and sitting high atop what is arguably Baltimore’s most successful development of the last decade.
24. James T. Smith Jr.
Age: 65 Title: Baltimore County Executive 2003 Rank: n/a Nickname: Late Bloomer Power Play: Publicly aligned himself with O’Malley in the 2006 governor’s race, despite Ehrlich’s popularity in Baltimore County (Ehrlich won the county by some 8,000 votes). Power Source: The one-time judge has begun to find his political footing; the new, more dynamic Jim Smith is being noticed by power players across the state. Leads one of Maryland’s most prosperous and populous counties. Bottom Line: Residents and developers love the county; the governor owes him a favor; he won his own re-election in a landslide.
25. Michael E. Busch
Age: 60 Title: Speaker of the House of Delegates 2003 Rank: n/a Nickname: The Loud Speaker Power Play: Annapolis’s most powerful player during the Ehrlich years, as consensus builder (think BGE rate hikes and slots) and thorn in Ehrlich’s side. Power Source: As a Democrat he battled a Republican governor on the big issues. But as he enters his 21st year in the House of Delegates and fifth year as its speaker, he’ll likely remain a force. He’s a big-picture, issue-driven politician, and in a town that loves to hate Baltimore, he has consistently taken positions that have benefited our city and region. Bottom Line: As O’Malley settles into his new gig and works to solidify statewide support, Busch may be the surer bet to look out for Baltimore’s interests.
26. David J. Ramsay
Age: 67 Title: President, University of Maryland, Baltimore 2003 Rank: 26 Nickname: Dean of the West Side Power Play: As Hopkins rules East Baltimore, Ramsay’s UM graduate schools and medical center dominate the resurgent West Side. Power Source: With a medical school, law school, and dental school among seven grad programs, UMB consists of some 58 buildings (many brand-new, like the $142-million dental school) and gives its neighborhood a wealthy, city-committed cornerstone. The Oxford-educated Ramsay leaves a lot of decision-making to the school’s deans. Bottom Line: Ramsay oversees the city’s other major academic powerhouse—and has kept up nicely with the Joneses.
27. Mayo A. Shattuck III
Age: 52 Title: Chairman of the Board, President, CEO, Constellation Energy Group 2003 Rank: 6 Nickname:Power Broker Power Play: Trying to merge Constellation with FPL of Florida; both companies underestimated the negative public and political reaction. The merger was abandoned last fall. Power Source: In five years, the former Alex. Brown IPO wonder boy—who comes from a privileged New England family that included a number of Harvard-educated investment bankers (his idea of rebelling was going to Williams College)—turned the once-struggling energy firm into the country’s largest competitive supplier of electricity to large commercial and industrial customers and the nation’s largest wholesale power seller. Bottom Line: How will Shattuck react to one of the first setbacks in an otherwise glittering career?
28. Frank M. Reid III
Age: 55 Title: Senior Pastor, Bethel A.M.E. Church 2003 Rank: 23 Nickname: Power Preacher Power Play: A major force in the 1999 mayoral contest, he’ll again carry weight this year, with two leading mayoral contenders amid his congregation. Power Source: It’s shaping up to be a banner year at Bethel A.M.E.: the church’s membership continues to grow, it’s breaking ground on a building in Baltimore County and it has negotiated a cut of the Cordish Co.’s Pier Six profits. It will likely draw additional attention in the months ahead as the home parish of both Comptroller Joan Pratt and interim Mayor Sheila Dixon. Bottom Line: Given the weight his pick carried in 1999 when he endorsed O’Malley for mayor, political observers are watching Reid closely.
29. Freeman Hrabowski
Age: 56 Title: President, UMBC 2003 Rank: 16 Nickname: Mega Nerd Power Play: Oversees unusually powerful independent UM-system school, with particularly strong ties to Baltimore’s business and philanthropic community. Leader of task force on higher education in O’Malley’s transition team. Over $300 million in new construction in the last decade alone. In May ’06, UMBC was cited by The New York Times as one of America’s leading universities for science, particularly with respect to minority students. Power Source:Hrabowski sits on several corporate and civic boards, including the Constellation Energy Group, McCormick & Company Inc., and Mercantile Bankshares. Bottom Line: Nationally recognized educational innovator is feather in the cap of the University of Maryland system—and Baltimore.
30. Charles W. Newhall III
Age: 62 Title: Co-Founder and General Partner, New Enterprise Associates 2003 Rank: 45 Nickname: Adventure Capitalist Power Play:Harvard-educated financial power and decorated Vietnam vet co-founded New Enterprise Associates in 1978 with legendary Frank Bonsal. Power Source: NEA is one of the largest U.S. venture capital firms; over $8.5 billion is invested in tech and healthcare companies worldwide. Has served on numerous big boards. Bottom Line: Newhall’s’s NEA is a venture cap force with which to be reckoned.
31. Joan M. Pratt
Age: 55 Title: Baltimore City Comptroller 2003 Rank: n/a Nickname: The Spoiler Power Play: Of the Board of Estimates’ five members, she’s the only one who isn’t decidedly in Mayor Dixon’s camp; her voice of opposition could resonate loudly this election year—whether she decides to challenge Dixon for her job or not. Power Source: Pratt’s lone vote is hardly enough to mess with the mayor’s lock on a majority, but she’s in a strong and public position to pick fights with the mayor, all the while claiming she’s acting in the best fiscal interests of the city. Bottom Line: Quiet till now, look for Pratt to turn spunky in the months ahead.
32. Otis Rolley III
Age: 32 Title: Chief of Staff, Mayor Sheila Dixon 2003 Rank: n/a Nickname: Rising Star Power Play: It’s pretty simple: he’s young, a leader, and on the rise. Power Source: He was a deputy housing commissioner before 30, city planning director soon thereafter, and now he’s chief of staff to the mayor. Nothing short of a meteoric rise for Rolley, whose name has been on people’s lips as the one to watch in this season of political transition. He’s someone whose opinion even Baltimore’s old-timers value. Bottom Line: Rolley didn’t follow fellow O’Malley wunderkinds to Annapolis. But don’t think it’s because he plans on staying in local government—he’s got much bigger plans.
33. Atwood “Woody” Collins III
Age: 60 Title: Executive Vice President, M&T Bank Corporation; President and COO of M&T Bank’s Mid-Atlantic Division 2003 Rank: n/a Nickname: Instant Insider Power Play: Used stadium naming rights and high profile board memberships to dramatically raise profile of the bank (and himself) since arriving in Baltimore in 2002—but the bank has increasingly lost market share to Bank of America. Power Source: Co-chair of Mayor Sheila Dixon’s transition team; serves as vice chair of the Greater Baltimore Committee; also serves on the boards of the BDC, UM Medical System, Kennedy Krieger Institute, et al. Bottom Line: With only five years in Baltimore, he’s already rubbing shoulders with this town’s power elite.
34. Jayne Miller
Age: 52 Title: WBAL-TV I-Team Chief Investigative Reporter 2003 Rank: n/a Nickname: Baltimore’s Mike Wallace Power Play: Last year, combed through hospital records to expose padded violent crime reduction statistics put out by the O’Malley administration—even going so far as to track down former police commissioner Kevin Clark in New York to get his take on the inflated stats. Power Source: Reputation as a tenacious, tireless reporter. “She’s one phone call you don’t want to receive,” notes one former political candidate. “She will go after you,” adds another source. Bottom Line: If you’ve got something to hide, don’t keep a high profile on Miller’s watch.
35. Thomas V. “Mike” Miller
Age: 64 Title: President, Maryland Senate 2003 Rank: n/a Nickname: The Insider’s Insider Power Play: With retirement on the horizon, Miller’s pull in Annapolis is as strong as ever—especially as the jockeying to succeed him sets in. Power Source: He’s led the Senate for so long—20 years—the Senate building bears his name. But Miller’s passion and pragmatism can be at odds—Exhibit A: slot machines—and he hasn’t racked up such success without bullying and bluster. Now, he has no re-election worries, zero compunction about disparaging his colleagues, Republican or Democrat (he was on O’Malley’s case before he was even inaugurated), and a legacy to finish crafting. Bottom Line: Look to Miller to keep things lively in Annapolis, despite the Democratic love-in.
36. Edward St. John
Age: 68 Title: President and CEO, St. John Properties. 2003 Rank: 20 Nickname: Prince of Property Power Play: His industrial parks have transformed the landscape all over the metro area, especially in Baltimore County and around BWI. Power Source: St. John Properties owns, manages, or has developed nearly 12 million square feet of commercial real estate throughout the country. Sits on numerous boards, including Harbor Bank and the Maryland Science Center (he donated the Dinosaur Hall and the Imax theater). Bottom Line: Real estate heavy hitter gets name out there with philanthropy (more than $40 million).
37. Maggie L. McIntosh
Age: 59 Title: State Delegate, 43rd District, Baltimore City 2003 Rank: n/a Nickname: The Operator Power Play: Worked to deliver lots of votes for O’Malley in 2006. Power Source: Fifteen years in Annapolis have earned her plenty of power; takes care of her constituents; produces good, solid, legislation. Her aid to O’Malley gained her a seat at his table in Annapolis, and she’s had a voice in his administration’s creation. Bottom Line: Dyed-in-the-wool Democrat who helped O’Malley get to Annapolis should have a bright 2007—and beyond.
38. Keiffer Mitchell Jr.
Age: 39 Title: Baltimore City Councilman 2003 Rank: n/a Nickname: The Challenger Power Play: Took on the city-state partnership running Baltimore’s schools and the city-financed convention center hotel; now he’s taking on his former City Council boss to become Baltimore’s next mayor. Power Source: With a prominent civil-rights legacy as his foundation, Mitchell has built a reputation for being generally independent without being anti-establishment—somewhat tricky, since the downtown and business communities are his constituents. It has made him an effective member of a largely ineffective body. Bottom Line:Mitchell’s independence could quickly catapult him up this list—if he can convince voters he’s truly hungry for the mayor’s job.
39. William H. Cardinal Keeler
Age: 76 Title: Archbishop of Baltimore 2003 Rank: 32Nickname: The Peacemaker Power Play: Renovated Basilica draws praise; demolished Rochambeau apartments despite public outcry to build a prayer garden; remains untarnished by sexual abuse scandals. Power Source: The nation’s first Catholic diocese remains one of the most devoted and wealthy. Keeler is masterful at building relationships across ideological gaps and insulating himself from criticism—and always getting his way. Bottom Line: Having a Governor O’Malley won’t hurt the state’s chief Catholic.
40. Nathaniel McFadden
Age: 60 Title: President Pro Tem, Maryland State Senate 2003 Rank: n/a Nickname: All Pro Power Play: The state’s highest ranking elected black legislator ever, he represents an important shift away from business-as-usual within the state’s majority-white political leadership. Power Source: Successfully led an emotionally charged blitz in the session’s final days to save 11 of the city’s failing schools from state takeover, and spotlighted the stateside politics that have long driven Baltimore City education reform in the process. His colleagues, in turn, unanimously elected him to the Senate’s number two slot, behind Senate President Mike Miller. Bottom Line: The state is nearly one-third black. McFadden’s appointment, and that of numerous other African Americans in the legislature and administration, underscores a true move toward more representative government.
41. Fred Lazarus IV
Age: 65 Title: President, Maryland Institute College of Art 2003 Rank: n/a Nickname: The Old Master Power Play: Lazarus has doubled MICA’s student body, got Eddie Brown (#6) to help build one of Baltimore’s great new buildings, and is transforming North Avenue into a vibrant arts district. Power Source: He’s helmed one of the world’s great art schools for nearly three decades; The Gateway project (at the corner of Mount Royal and North avenues) is going to give the Brown Center a run for its money as the city’s most exciting new architecture. Bottom Line: Lazarus is fascinating, bright, diplomatic, and committed to making MICA and Baltimore better.
42. Nancy S. Grasmick
Age: 67 Title: State Superintendent of Schools 2003 Rank: 10 Nickname: Head Mistress Power Play: She may not have bent Baltimore’s last mayor to her will, but she made him, and other city officials, grimace and sweat. Power Source: It’s never been clear who’s officially in charge since the city-state partnership was formed to run Baltimore’s schools, but Grasmick, as enforcer of Maryland’s compliance with federal education requirements, has been wielding the stick. While O’Malley and city legislators stood up to her—averting the takeover of 11 city schools last spring—in Baltimore, she remains something of a feared elder. Bottom Line: Grasmick isn’t likely to go anywhere soon: She answers to the State Board of Education, and only four of its 12 Ehrlich appointees have terms expiring this year.
43. Robert L. Bogomolny
Age: 68 Title: President, University of Baltimore 2003 Rank: n/a Nickname: Head of the Class Power Play: As city ethics chair, he exonerated Sheila Dixon of ethical wrongdoing days before becoming mayor. Power Source: Since 2002, the former corporate litigator has toiled to raise the profile of UB, with bold new architecture and expanded academics, anchored by UB’s conversion to a four-year school this fall. While his predecessors amassed property, he’s all about developing it into an institutional cash cow. Hopes to create momentum for a broad revival of the Midtown area. Bottom Line: He’s transforming UB, he may help transform downtown’s northern end, and he may have already had a hand in determining Baltimore’s next mayor. Conventional wisdom says Dixon owes him big time.
44. Kweisi Mfume
Age: 58 Title: Baltimore’s Dream Mayor 2003 Rank: 9 Nickname: The X Factor Power Play: He may have lost his U.S. Senate bid, but as of mid-winter he still had Baltimore’s mayoral election on hold. Power Source: Mere mention of Mfume and Baltimore’s mayoralty in the same breath generates unparalleled buzz. Baltimore’s former congressman dominated the 2007 mayoral election into February—without so much as suggesting he wanted to run. Bottom Line: Mfume’s grip on this town is in many ways intangible—he hasn’t represented Baltimore politically in years—but the city’s affection for him is enduring across constituencies.
45. William C. Baker
Age: 53 Title: President, Chesapeake Bay Foundation 2003 Rank: n/a Nickname: Baywatcher Power Play: As the environment becomes more of a front-burner issue, he has built enormous public and private support for his cause. Power Source: While garnering “green” support can be tricky—it’s deemed a mite lefty by most—saving the Bay is a cause most can comfortably espouse (check out those “Bay” license plates). Baker sits alongside the region’s powerbrokers on prestigious boards: Johns Hopkins Medicine (he’s vice chair), Baltimore Community Foundation, Living Classrooms Foundation, Brown Advisory. Bottom Line: We can’t turn a blind eye to the abysmal state of our water and air—Baker’s organization gave Bay health a “D” last year—and nobody’s better poised to elevate environmental issues now than he.
46. Andrew Frank
Age: 40 Title: Deputy Mayor for Neighborhood and Economic Development 2003 Rank: n/a Nickname: The Deputy Power Play: He traded in the #2 spot at BDC for a more prestigious #2 gig: helping Sheila Dixon run city government. Power Source: Frank has toiled in Baltimore’s housing and development public sector since the early 1980’s, and now he’s running the show. Fresh off 10 years as executive VP at the “quasi-public” BDC where he, among other tasks, oversaw Inner Harbor activity and development, he’s one of two Dixon deputies tasked with aligning all government agencies with the city’s neighborhood and economic-development priorities. Bottom Line: Frank’s broader authority as deputy mayor paves the way for his continued upward climb.
47. Stephen J. Bisciotti
Age: 46 Title: Founder, Allegis Group 2003 Rank: n/a Nickname: The Stealthy Supermogul Power Play: Buying the Ravens—then letting the professionals run the day-to-day operations. Power Source: At age 23, Bisciotti co-founded a business in his basement, which became the nation’s third largest worldwide technical staffing firm. Despite being ranked among the Forbes 500 at about $1 billion in personal worth, the reclusive Bisciotti successfully stayed out of the local limelight—that is, until he bought a minority stake in the Ravens in 2000, then the rest of it four years later. Bottom Line: He’s a private and very rich man; and he’s now a public figure by virtue of owning a very public football franchise.
48. Stephen A. Geppi
Age: 57 Title: Founder and president, Diamond Comic Distributors; publisher, Baltimore magazine 2003 Rank: 42 Nickname: Captain Comic Power Play: Opened an eponymous downtown museum; waiting in the wings to form ownership group (possibly with Cal Ripken Jr.) to purchase Orioles, when Angelos is ready to sell. Power Source: $300-million-plus a year comic distribution business lets him do things like open a pop culture museum at Camden Station. Down to earth tycoon sits on several local boards. Bottom Line: Baltimore’s hometown hero has fun with his fortune.
49. Shale D. Stiller
Age: 72 Title: Chairman and CEO of the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation 2003 Rank: n/a Nickname:Block Captain Power Play: Determining the pace of the West Side redevelopment project. Power Source: Tax and real estate law expert Shiller remains counsel to the mega law firm DLA Piper USA and is a Johns Hopkins Hospital and University trustee. But his greatest influence comes via the Weinberg Foundation, which owns much of the property the city wants to develop on the West Side’s superblock. Fought city efforts for condemnation in order to leave Weinberg the option to develop its land itself, and is working with the Cordish Co. to do just that. Bottom Line: Unless the city can make peace with Stiller’s foundation, the much touted redevelopment of the West Side could languish for years. But an agreement between the two may be very close.
50. Ray Lewis
Age: 31 Title: Linebacker, The Baltimore Ravens 2003 Rank: n/a Nickname: Ray Ray Power Play: Dubbed “God’s Linebacker” by Sports Illustrated; preaches to packed pews when he freelances as guest preacher at the potent Empowerment Temple. Through star power and on behalf of events sponsored by the Ray Lewis Foundation, brings A-list sports and entertainment luminaries (Patti LaBelle, Tracy McGrady, Carmelo Anthony, et al) to town to raise money for disadvantaged youth. Power Source: Overwhelming popularity and name recognition in town helps trump any lingering taint of 2000 murder arrest—pitchman for K Bank, Eastern Motors, Madden Football, and more. Bottom Line: Lewis remains one of the most powerful and popular sports figures this town has ever seen—and his ambitions run well beyond the gridiron.