Power. It's as an elusive force as it is absolute. Those who have it know they have it. The rest of us are left to feel its impact.

Power commands respect while it confers credibility. It opens doors to some, while shutting them on others. Power shapes the Tristate's future, for better or worse.

Power is earned, but just as often it can be bought, inherited or even thrust upon an individual. Once obtained, it's a force that can come down like a fist -- or a velvet hammer.

In Cincy Business Magazine's first-ever Power 100 survey, our editors list the region's 100 most influential leaders -- the CEOs, entrepreneurs and government leaders who step to the plate every day and deserve recognition.

1. BILL BUTLER
CEO | Corporex
Owner | Sunday Challenger

The fact that Butler runs one of Northern Kentucky's largest companies does nothing to fully convey his influence in politics and the community on the "south side of Cincinnati." He and his wife Sue handed a million dollars to the United Way of Greater Cincinnati last October, just one indication of his dedication to the region. And with the launch of the Sunday Challenger weekly last year, he became the region's newest newspaper baron. After the purchase of the Community Press weeklies by Gannett Co. this year, his publication is just about the only mainstream newspaper in the region that's not controlled somehow by Gannett.

2. A.G. LAFLEY
Chairman & Chief Executive
Procter & Gamble

Anybody who had begun to even question that P&G swings a big stick had only to pick up the newspapers in January and read of the company's purchase of the Gillette Co., a $57 billion deal that would marry two of the giants in the consumer products industry. Lafley spearheaded P&G's largest acquisition ever; the combined company would boast more than 140,000 employees and annual sales of over $60 billion. Closer to home, he chairs the Cincinnati Center City Development Corp. (3CDC).

3. NANCY ZIMPHER
President
University of Cincinnati

As the CEO of the region's largest employer, Zimpher has spent her two years reaching out beyond the realm of the campus, becoming the first UC president to join the Cincinnati Business Committee, that rarified group of two dozen CEOs, as well as sitting on the boards of the Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Cincinnati Convention & Visitors Bureau, 3CDC and the United Way. Avoiding the ivory tower, Zimpher has made it clear that economic development is as critical as education - that there's little sense in preparing students for jobs that don't exist.

4. TERRY LUNDGREN
President, Chief Executive & Chairman
Federated Department Stores

Lundgren joins P&G's Lafley as the dealmaker of the year, overseeing the purchase in March of May Department Stores Co. (including Marshall Fields and Lord & Taylor stores) for $17 billion. Together, May and Federated account for $30 billion in annual revenues and have 243,000 employees. Lundgren's vision has been realized: His new company is truly national and can compete with advertising and merchandising campaigns that stretch from coast to coast.

5. KENNETH W. LOWE
President & CEO
E.W. Scripps Company
2005 Chairman | Fine Arts Fund

Lowe, the brains behind HGTV, the Food Network, DIY and other Scripps success stories, has embraced Cincinnati as his new home since taking the helm of the corporation. By taking on the incredibly time-consuming job of chair of the Fine Arts Fund, and delegating two of his lieutenants to executive committee roles, he's become a key part of the community's cultural and charitable life as well as a corporate player.

6. JAMES M. ANDERSON
CEO & President
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

Anderson drives one of the city's largest economic juggernauts (one study pegs Children's as second only to the international airport in terms of economic impact in the region, some $1.3 billion). Beyond that, he's a key player in civic affairs, having served as mayor of the Village of Indian Hill, president of the Eastern Central Region of the Boy Scouts of America and as a member of the Hamilton County Airport Authority.

7. CARL LINDNER
Majority Owner
Cincinnati Reds
Chairman | American Financial Group

You'd think that as one of the city's wealthiest businessmen, Lindner would be a no-brainer for the Top 20. But it's his role as majority owner of the Cincinnati Reds that lands him here. The Reds are up for sale: Three minority owners are selling their shares that, combined, total 51.5 percent. But the 85-year-old Lindner remains in control for life, thanks to how the ownership is structured, keeping the hometown team in hometown hands - at least for the moment.

8 & 9. DICK & LOIS ROSENTHAL
Philanthropists

Few could argue that the Rosenthals, who formerly owned F&W Publications, haven't changed the face of Cincinnati in the past few years. From underwriting a permanent free admission to the Cincinnati Art Museum to funding the new Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art, the duo have changed the city's cultural underpinnings as well as its architectural appearance.

10. DAVID A. DABERKO
Chairman & CEO
National City Corporation

The only outsider on our list, Cleveland's Daberko will now weigh considerable clout in this region with his company's acquisition of Provident Bank. Provident has always been a major player in the life of the city, and Daberko will be key in charting whatever new changes lie ahead

11. GEORGE SCHAEFER
President & CEO
Fifth Third Bancorp.

Running one of the nation's largest banks is the least of it: Schaefer volunteers on dozens of civic boards, including the United Way, the Dan Beard Council of the Boy Scouts of America, the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, the Cincinnati Business Committee and more. Cincinnati City Manager Valerie Lemmie even tapped the banker to lead the city's Economic Development Task Force.

12. JAMES E. ROGERS
Chairman, President & CEO
Cinergy Corp.

Whom would be more likely to have power than the chairman of the power company? As Cinergy continues to enter new markets, such as using existing power lines to deliver cable TV and telephone service, Rogers is assuring that the electric utility has a promising future beyond just fueling light bulbs.

13. KEVIN CANAFAX
Midwest General Manager
Fidelity Investments

Canafax is the newly named Midwest general manager for Fidelity Investments in Covington, the largest brokerage firm in the region. Canafax has been a player for years in the city's charitable and community service circles. He was recently appointed by Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher to the Council on Postsecondary Education and is a member of the boards of the Metropolitan Club, Ensemble Theatre, Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, WCET Action Auction and the American Heart Association.

14. JOE HALE
President
Cinergy Foundation

Along with his wife, Linda, Hale was honored at an April gala at the Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art for his community service, which includes sitting on boards for the Ohio Arts Council and Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park as well as chairing the $10 million campaign for the Carl Lindner YMCA downtown.

15. PHIL HEIMLICH
President
Hamilton County Commissioners

With the departure of longtime county administrator David Krings, Heimlich, president, Hamilton County Commissioners, is now the go-to guy in terms of getting things done in county government. He and former City Council colleague Pat DeWine are of a like mind on downsizing government and privatizing the county workforce, meaning they've got the majority vote on a commission with three members. Heimlich's entrance into the state political ring can only enhance his power base. Heimlich is also the designated candidate for lieutenant governor on attorney general Jim Petro's GOP ticket.

16. VALERIE LEMMIE
City Manager
City of Cincinnati

Lemmie is essentially the CEO of Cincinnati. While she works for the mayor and other eight City Council members, the buck for managing the 20 different city departments generally stops at her desk. And the bucks: Lemmie basically controls the city's $1 billion governmental budget, one of the largest in Ohio.

17. ED RIGAUD
President
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

The former P&G executive raised more than $60 million in corporate funding to open the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center last summer, convincing the CEOs of everyone from Convergys and Cinergy to Federated and Fifth Third to hand over $1 million of company money each. If that's not power, what is?

18. RT. REV. DANIEL PILARCZYK
Archbishop
Archdiocese of Cincinnati

In a city where the Catholic Church is one of the largest employers, dominating everything from parochial education to life in the pews, Pilarczyk is an honest-to-God powerbroker.

19. CHARLOTTE R. OTTO
Global External Relations Manager
Procter & Gamble

Otto is the global external relations manager, Procter & Gamble; chair of the executive committee, Downtown Cincinnati Inc.; and vice chair of the Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce. Arguably one of the consumer product company's most influential executives, she oversees media relations, product publicity, government relations and community relations - in short, everything that contributes to the public face of the company in Cincinnati and to the world.

20. JIM BORGMAN
Editorial Cartoonist
Cincinnati Enquirer

There was a day when it was easy to identify the most powerful wielder of influence at the morning daily: Metro columnist Laura Pulfer. Those days are gone, and while no one is currently shaking agendas or endearing themselves to public causes as in the Pulfer days, Borgman comes closest. Politicians and the prominent quake in the wake of his skewering pen.

Rank
Name
Position
Company
21 Fernando Aguirre president and CEO Chiquita Brands International
22 John Allen chief executive Cincinnati Reds
23 John Barrett CEO Western & Southern Financial Group
24 Katie Brown Blackburn executive vice president Cincinnati Bengals
25 Doug Bolton publisher Cincinnati Business Courier
26 Kim Borcherding CEO Borcherding Enterprises
27 Arn Bortz partner Towne Properties
28 Neil Bortz partner Towne Properties
29 Mike Brown owner Cincinnati Bengals
30 Ronald D. Brown chairman and CEO Milacron Inc.
31 Margaret Buchanan publisher Cincinnati Enquirer
32 Jerry Carroll owner Kentucky Speedway
33 Jack Cassidy president and CEO Cincinnati Bell
34 Robert Castellini chairman Castellini Group
35 Thomas G. Cody vice chairman Federated Department Stores
36 Phillip R. Cox president and CEO Cox Financial Corp.
37 Pat DeWine vice president Hamilton County Commissioners
38 David Dillon president Kroger Co.
39 Ralph Drees chief executive Drees Co.
40 Richard J. Dyer general manager Channel 5 WLWT
41 Rich Eiswerth president and general manager WGUC
42 Scott Farmer president and CEO Cintas Corp.
43 Michael Fisher president Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce
44 James C. Garland president Miami University
45 David Ginsburg president Downtown Cincinnati Inc.
46 Pete Gomsak chairman Tall Stacks Commission
47 Michael J. Graham president Xavier University
48 Thomas D. Heekin managing partner Taft, Stettinius & Hollister
49 Sandra Heiman key Carl Lindner aide American Financial Group
50 Paul Hemmer Jr. president Hemmer
51 Joseph A. Hinson president West Chester Chamber Alliance
52 Donald Hoffman president and CEO Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati
53 Richard Homan general manager Turner Construction
54 Susan Howarth president and CEO CET public television, member of the PBS Nat. Board
55 Jim Huff CEO Huff Realty
56 Donna Jones-Stanley president Urban League of Greater Cincinnati
57 Eric Kearney co-owner Cincinnati Herald
58 Marvin Lewis head coach Cincinnati Bengals
59 Carl Lindner III co-president American Financial Group
60 S. Craig Lindner co-president American Financial Group
61 Laura Long executive director Cincinnati Business Committee
62 Ross Love chairman of the board of directors United Way of Greater Cincinnati
63 Charles Luken mayor city of Cincinnati
64 John Martie vice president Anthem
65 Mary McCullough-Hudson president Fine Arts Fund.
66 Douglass W. McDonald president and CEO Cincinnati Museum Center
67 Kathryn Merchant president and CEO The Greater Cincinnati Foundation
68 Steven Monder president Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
69 Paul Muething managing partner Muething & Klekamp
70 James O'Brien president and CEO Ashland Corp.
71 James Orr CEO Convergys
72 John Pepper retired chairman Procter & Gamble
73 Joseph Pichler committee chair | chairman Cincinnati Center City Development Corp. | Kroger
74 Rob Portman U.S. Trade Representative & former Congressman representing the east side
75 Bill Price chairman and CEO Empower Media Marketing
76 Michael Price CEO National City Bank of Greater Cincinnati/Northern KY
77 Alicia Reece vice mayor city of Cincinnati
78 Virgil Reed president Time Warner Cable
79 Robert C. Reifsnyder president United Way of Greater Cincinnati
80 William T. Robinson III member-in-charge | board chairman Greenebaum Doll & McDonald | Kenton County Airport Board
81 Craig Ross executive vice president and GM Paramount's Kings Island
82 Jack Rouse board chairman & CEO | CEO Port Authority of Cincinnati | Rouse Associates
83 Jeff Ruby restaurateur
84 Bill Rumpke Sr. president and CEO Rumpke Consolidated
85 John Schiff Jr. president Cincinnati Financial Corp.
86 Mark Serrianne CEO Northlich
87 John Taylor regional president PNC Bank
88 Donald Then publisher Sunday Challenger
89 Rt. Rev. Herbert Thompson Jr. bishop Episcopal Diocese of Southern Ohio
90 Ronald Tysoe vice chairman Federated Department Stores
91 Nicholas J. Vehr vice president for economic development Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce
92 Charlene Ventura president and CEO YWCA
93 Mahendra Vora CEO Intelliseek
94 James Votruba president Northern Kentucky University
95 Dick Weiland Statehouse lobbyist
96 Alan H. Welch president and CEO Greater Cincinnati Convention and Visitors Bureau
97 Chad Wick president and CEO KnowledgeWorks Foundation
98 Robin Wright president and CEO Great Oaks Institute of Technology
99 Ron Wright president Cincinnati State Technical College
100 Jack Wyant managing director Blue Chip Venture Co.