Linked by 50 miles of concrete known as Interstate 75, the cities of Cincinnati and Dayton are continuing to grow into one of the nation’s largest metroplexes. The 19-county region of Southwest Ohio, Northern Kentucky and Southeast Indiana comprise about 3 million people, making it the 13th largest U.S. population center and one of only four regions with two top-100 commercial airports.

The region’s diverse economy is home to a growing number of high-tech firms and leading Fortune 500 companies such as Kroger Co., Procter & Gamble Co. and AK Steel. Key industries include advanced manufacturing, transportation and logistics, consumer marketing and aerospace technology. Dayton’s Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is one of Ohio’s largest employers and the focal point for Air Force logistics and procurement.

The process of knitting Dayton and Cincinnati together continued over the last year with several notable developments.

Among them:

• Evendale-based GE Aviation’s new $53 million electrical power research and development center on the University of Dayton campus, which is expected to employ up to 200.

• Liberty Town Center, a $400 million residential, commercial and retail center in Liberty Township, is slated to break ground this year.

• And the growth of the I-75 health-care highway continues with expansion plans by Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center’s Liberty campus, West Chester Hospital and Butler Tech’s health technology campus at Cincinnati–Dayton Road.

Go to cincymagazine.com for more information and ticket purchase.

All honorees are listed first by category, then by alphabetical order according to name.

Arts & Entertainment

1 Katie Brown Blackburn, Executive Vice President, Cincinnati Bengals, recognized by the Fritz Pollard Alliance to promote diversity and equality of job opportunity in the coaching, front office and scouting staffs of National Football League.

2 Martine Collier, President & CEO, Culture Works, the nonprofit that’s a unifying voice for Dayton culture organizations and is marking its 40th anniversary.

3 Jack Dominic, retired Executive Vice President and station manager of WCET-TV, the new executive director of The National Voice of America Museum of Broadcasting in West Chester.

4 Mark Hecquet, Executive Director, Butler County Visitors Bureau, named president of the Ohio Association of Convention & Visitor Bureaus in November.

5 Brady Kress, President & CEO, Dayton History, the nonprofit charged with preserving Montgomery County’s past including Carillon Historical Park, the Archive Center, Hawthorn Hill, Patterson Homestead, Old Court House and Memorial Hall.

6 La Comedia Dinner Theater in Springboro, the region’s only dinner theater marking its 40th anniversary in 2015.

7 Douglass McDonald, President & CEO, Cincinnati Museum Center, advocate for the museum complex housed in Cincinnati’s Union Terminal, an architectural jewel with the largest free-standing half-dome in the Western Hemisphere.

8 Robert Murphy, President, Dayton Dragons, has led the Midwest League affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds’ to the longest consecutive home sell-out streak in North American sports: 983 games and counting going into the 2014 season.

9 Don Oeters, businessman and model train fan, who developed a unique family-friendly entertainment center at EnterTRAINment Junction, which holds the world’s biggest model train layout in West Chester.

10 Phil Smith, President & CEO, Warren County Convention & Visitors Bureau, spent more than 20 years in senior management of the Western & Southern Tennis Open and is a member of the Cincinnati Tennis Hall of Fame.

11 Tom West, General Manager, Heatherwoode Golf Course, a championship public golf course in Springboro.

12 The late Harry Wilks, who passed away March 11. He was a Hamilton philanthropist and creator of the Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park and Museum, overlooking the Great Miami River.

Business Advocacy Organizations

13 Brian Carley, took over March 1 as President & CEO of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, the nation’s fifth largest chamber.

14 Clay Mathile, Founder & Chairman, Aileron Foundation, Tipp City-based nonprofit created to develop professional management skills for privately held businesses.

15 Phil Parker, President & CEO, Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce, representing nearly 3,000 businesses in the Miami Valley.

Business

16 Michael Carrel, President & CEO, AtriCure Inc., leading atrial fibrillation device maker based in West Chester.

17 Carl Coburn, President, Clark Schaefer Hackett, Dayton’s largest accounting firm.

18 Nathan Estruth, President & CEO, iMFLUX Inc., new Hamilton-based subsidiary of Procter & Gamble Co., developing new plastic processing technology that’s expected to save P&G millions of dollars annually while creating 200 jobs in Hamilton.

19 Fabian Schmahl, President & CEO of ThyssenKrupp Bilstein of America Inc., in Hamilton, the automotive shock manufacturer.

20 Scott Fisher, President & CEO, SentriLock in West Chester, owned by the National Association of Realtors and the largest supplier of electronic lockboxes to the real estate industry.

21 Tim Fogarty, CEO, West Chester Holdings, Monroe, gloves and protective wear since 1978.

22 Filip Geeraert, President & CEO, Deceuninck North America, the Belgium-based producer of vinyl window and door systems and composite applications for the building industry recently expanded capacity at its Monroe plant.

23 Marty Grunder, President & CEO, Grunder Lanscaping Co. in Miamisburg, started by Marty and his brother in 1984 to earn money for college.

24 Steve Hightower, President, Hightowers Petroleum Co., in Middletown, recognized by Black Enterprise Magazine as leading black-owned industrial services company.

25 Kevin Kidd and Terry KiddManaging Partners and Account Executives, FastAPPZ LLC, brothers who run a custom mobile app developer located in West Chester Township.

26 Randall Kuvin, Managing Partner, Flagel Huber Flagel, Dayton-Cincinnati accounting firm which marked its 80th anniversary in 2013.

27 John Larson, President & CEO, ESCORT Inc., West Chester, leading radar and laser detector maker.

28 Liberty Center, Steiner & Associates’ $400 million retail, residential and commercial development overlooking I-75 in Liberty Township. The first phase is to open in 2015.

29 Sukanya R. Madlinger, President, Kroger Co.’s Cincinnati/Dayton Division, consisting of 110 stores and more than 20,000 employees.

30 Ryan McCurley, President, Peoples First Savings Bank, Mason and Morrow, marking its 105th anniversary believed to be Mason’s oldest company.

31 Joe Morgan, Owner, Joe Morgan Honda, Monroe. The Hall of Famer and former Cincinnati Reds player opened the dealership in 2010.

32 Pamela Morris, President & CEO, Dayton’s CareSource, pioneered Ohio’s first mandatory Medicaid managed care program when she launched CareSource in 1989.

33 Larry Mulligan Jr., Butler-Warren Market President, First Financial Bank.

34 Bill O’Gara, President & CEO, O’Gara Group Inc., a pioneer and leader in designing, engineering and manufacturing armored vehicles, acquired BAE Systems operations in West Chester.

35 Steven Petitjean, Fifth Third Bank senior vice president and market manager.

36 John Planes, CEO, Planes Companies in West Chester, now doing business in Hong Kong and recipient of United Van Lines Lifetime Achievement Award.

37 Carl Satterwhite and Scott Robertson, Founders and Owners of RCF Group, West Chester, 10-year-old office furniture and facilities firm. The firm also assists in creating architectural interiors.

38 Jim Simms, President & General Manager, Miami Valley Gaming & Racing LLC, the $175 million gaming and harness track that opened in December in Monroe.

39 John N. Simons Jr., President & CEO, AdvancePierre Foods Inc., the West Chester-based sandwich maker is the region’s largest privately owned company with sales of $1.6 billion.

40 John Spoltman, manager of Honda of America Manufacturing’s Anna engine plant, who on April 1 became president of Honda Engineering North America Inc.

41 Randy Terry and Todd Terry, developers, Carriage Hill, Liberty Township’s most prestigious new home development and host of Homearama in 2013 and again this year.

42 Julia Wallace, Market Vice President, Cox Media Group Ohio, Dayton’s largest news organization. Includes the Dayton Daily News.

43 Alex Watson, Executive Vice President for Operations, LexisNexis in Dayton, a digital pioneer in legal and business information and one of Dayton’s largest employers.

44 Mark Welch, Owner/Director of Operations, Bajon Salon & Spa in West Chester, voted best in Cincinnati and a Best of the North winner.

45 Keith Wren, Owner, The Cone, West Chester ice cream stand. The family’s been supplying soft-serve ice cream for more than 40 years.

Health Care

46 Deborah A. Feldman, President & CEO, Dayton Children’s Hospital.

47 Dr. Kevin Joseph, President & CEO, West Chester Hospital, embarking on a $135 million expansion, increasing to 300 beds.

48 Char Mason, Vice President, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center Liberty Township campus, which is undergoing a $162 million expansion.

49 David Polunas, President & CEO, Beckett Springs, privately-owned inpatient mental health treatment facility opened in 2013 at Union Centre Boulevard and Shepherd Farm Drive.

50 Mark Smith, President & CEO, Ft. Hamilton Hospital, part of the Kettering Health Network.

51 Carol J. Turner, President & CEO, Atrium Medical Center Middletown, unit of Premier Health.

Government, Nonprofit

52 Patti Alderson, Chairperson, the West Chester/Liberty Community Foundation.

53 Col. Cassie Barlow, Wright-Patterson Air Force base commander.

54 Judy Budi, Vice President of Residential Care, Graceworks Lutheran Services, one of Dayton’s oldest retirement care providers.

55 Mark Donaghy, Executive Director, Dayton Regional Transit Authority.

56 Jim Downton, Executive Director, Sharonville Convention Center.

57 Jonathan Granville, Executive Director, MetroParks of Butler County.

58 Barbara Hayde, President, The Entrepreneurs Center, Dayton.

59 Rick Jones, Butler County Sheriff.

60 Mike Juengling, West Chester Township Community Development Director.

61 Stan Kappers, Executive Director, Mt. Pleasant Retirement Village, Monroe.

62 George Lang, President of West Chester Township trustees.

63 Candace McGraw, CEO, Cincinnati /Northern Kentucky International Airport.

64 Karen Mueller, Chairperson of the Butler County United Way and Executive Vice President at Horan Associates.

65 Michael M. Parks, President, The Dayton Foundation, a community foundation helping people in the Dayton area since 1921.

66 Jonathan Sams, Attorney and Turtlecreek Township Trustee.

67 John Schaller, CEO, Lakota Family YMCA in Liberty Township, which is planning a new $12 million branch near Union Centre Boulevard and Beckett Road in downtown West Chester.

68 Terrence Slaybaugh, Director of Aviation, Dayton International Airport.

69 Lindsay Wiseman, President, West Chester Liberty Community Foundation, organizer of annual Shamrock Shuffle, a fund-raising race.

Education

70 Andy Barczak, Principal, Bishop Fenwick High School in Franklin.

71 Maggie Hess, Superintendent, Warren County Career Center, Lebanon.

72 Bill Miller, Butler Tech Superintendent, Hamilton, which is developing a major health technology campus at Cincinnati-Dayton Road and I-75.

73 Dr. O’dell Owens, President, Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, which opened a downtown Middletown campus.

74 Jay Scheurle, Headmaster, Miami Valley School, an independent college preparatory school in Dayton.

75 Darren Wilkins, Principal, Spring Valley Academy, pre-K through 12 Seventh Day Adventist college preparatory school in Centerville.