The 2023 Pennsylvania Power 100
It’s been a year of changes for the state’s political power structure, from local to state and federal. A record number of candidates are on the ballot for Philadelphia City Council, which will see a new leader after current Council President Darrell Clarke announced he wouldn’t be running for reelection this year. It’s Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald’s last year in office, the GOP members of the state’s congressional delegation are back in the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, while the Democrats are in charge of the state House for the first time in a dozen years. A new governor, a new junior senator, historic roles for women – and that’s just for starters.
Read on to find out about the most influential politicians elected to new offices, members of the administration, veteran lawmakers, influential lobbyists, labor leaders and other notable players throughout the commonwealth. This list has been researched and written by City & State staff and freelance journalist Hilary Danailova.
1. Josh Shapiro
Josh Shapiro rode into the governor’s mansion in January on a wave of national attention and Democratic enthusiasm, having trounced GOP opponent Doug Mastriano by 15 points. The popular former state attorney general had won plaudits for investigating a Catholic Church sex abuse scandal and championing voting rights. As governor, he has abolished the college degree requirement for many state jobs and prioritized easing the state’s teacher shortage, calling for $1 billion in new education funding and recruitment incentives.
2. Bob Casey
Even before confirming he will run for a fourth term next year, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey has been busy. The state’s senior U.S. senator, a Democrat, recently co-sponsored bills that would expand Medicaid and Medicare coverage, support students with disabilities and create a $750 million fund to upgrade the nation’s fire and EMS facilities. Back voting in the Senate following prostate cancer surgery, Casey has also been a vocal supporter of his recently hospitalized junior counterpart, Sen. John Fetterman, with whom he co-sponsored rail safety legislation.
3. Brian Roberts
Over three decades at the helm of Comcast, CEO Brian Roberts has grown this Philadelphia-based telecommunications empire through a strategy of high-profile acquisitions – including AT&T Broadband, NBC Universal, DreamWorks Animation and, most recently, Sky, the European TV conglomerate. Under Roberts’ leadership, the firm his father founded reached $116 billion in annual revenue as the world’s second-largest cable company. Roberts is also a force in state and national politics, throwing significant support to Democratic candidates in particular.
4. Kim Ward
The first female majority leader in the Pennsylvania Legislature, state Sen. Kim Ward was also the first woman elected to represent her Westmoreland County district in 2008. Ward, a Republican, is now the first woman to serve as the Senate’s president pro tempore. The former respiratory therapist took a leadership role in Senate legislation related to the COVID-19 pandemic and has since championed policy around hospital reform and, as a survivor herself, co-sponsored a recent bill on breast cancer screening.
5. Joanna McClinton
In a career that had already shattered numerous glass ceilings, Joanna McClinton this year became the first woman to serve as speaker of Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives in its nearly-250-year history. McClinton, a former assistant public defender from Philadelphia, was previously the first woman and person of color to lead either House caucus and, later, the first woman elected Democratic minority leader. With her party newly in charge, McClinton is unquestionably one of the state’s most powerful people, regardless of gender.
6. John Fetterman
Depending on how you look at it, U.S. Sen. John Fetterman is either an inspiring example of persevering through health challenges or a cautionary tale – or he is both. The former lieutenant governor and onetime mayor of Braddock, recently spent 44 days of his Senate tenure working from Walter Reed Army Medical Center while he recovered from depression and other lingering effects of the stroke he suffered as a candidate. Fetterman's early successes include co-sponsoring a bipartisan rail safety bill in the wake of February’s East Palestine, Ohio train derailment.
7. Leslie C. Davis
One hundred thousand: That’s how many people Leslie Davis oversees as CEO of UPMC, the regional health system that is Pennsylvania’s largest nongovernmental employer. Davis is charged with ensuring that UPMC keeps up with demand, serving as the region’s largest medical insurer – with some 4 million members – and unveiling the state’s first tele-emergency department during the pandemic. Under Davis’ leadership, UPMC recently debuted a million-square-foot flagship hospital and a cancer clinic, and will open its Vision and Rehabilitation Hospital later this year.
8. Neal Bisno
As international executive vice president for SEIU, Neal Bisno leads strategies in Pennsylvania and other key battleground states to advance the union’s fight for racial and economic justice. He oversaw SEIU’s successful 2022 midterm campaigns to elect Gov. Josh Shapiro and a pro-worker majority in the state House of Representatives. Bisno, who previously served as president of SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, was the architect of Pennsylvania’s landmark law banning forced overtime for health care workers and helped lead the fight to expand Medicaid statewide.
9. Luke Bernstein
While many fans were picking their March Madness brackets, Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry chief Luke Bernstein held an alternative contest: “Coolest Thing Made in PA,” which pitted iconic products against each other – think Harley-Davidson vs. Utz. Bernstein has been among the state’s loudest economic cheerleaders, championing corporate tax reform to make the commonwealth more attractive to businesses. Before assuming leadership of the 10,000-member chamber last year, Bernstein was a state GOP director and deputy chief of staff for then-Gov. Tom Corbett.
Editor’s Note: Luke Bernstein is a member of City & State PA’s Advisory Board.
10. Debra Todd
Last fall, Ellwood City native Debra Todd became the first female chief justice in the 300-year history of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Todd, a Democrat, was first elected to the court in 2007 and is its longest continuously serving justice – as well as a role model for female attorneys. She began her career as a litigation attorney with U.S. Steel and, prior to her election to the Supreme Court, spent nearly a decade serving on the Pennsylvania Superior Court.
11. Brian Fitzpatrick
Elected to represent parts of Southeastern Pennsylvania in 2016, U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick has served on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the Ways and Means Committee and the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. He previously worked as an FBI special agent and federal prosecutor, fighting political corruption and supporting global counterterrorism efforts – including with U.S. Special Forces during Operation Iraqi Freedom. In addition to being an attorney, Fitzpatrick is also licensed as a certified public accountant and an emergency medical technician.
12. Brendan Boyle
Brendan Boyle, a four-term congressman from Northeast Philadelphia, is the ranking member on the House Budget Committee and also sits on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee. His recent legislative initiatives reflect progressive priorities, including proposals for an ultra-millionaire tax, a repeal of the debt ceiling and a federal holiday to commemorate Harriet Tubman, as well as House Democrats’ successful 2021 campaign to pass historic labor legislation. Boyle previously served as a state representative, a job now held by his brother, Kevin.
13. Joe Pittman
First-term state Sen. Joe Pittman also serves as that chamber’s majority leader, setting the agenda for the Senate Republican Caucus. Pittman, who represents Western Pennsylvania, also chairs the Senate’s Rules and Executive Nominations committee. The lifelong Indiana County resident’s political career started with an appointment to his local school board at age 18. After earning a political science degree from Penn State, Pittman served as chief of staff to state Sen. Donald White before succeeding White in the seat.
14. Matthew Bradford
Montgomery County Democrat Matthew Bradford currently serves as majority leader in the state House of Representatives, where he has held a seat since 2009. Bradford, a Villanova University-trained attorney, also chairs the House Rules Committee, which updated legislative process rules earlier this year to reflect the change in party leadership. Bradford, a previous minority chair of the chamber’s Appropriations Committee, began his career as a Philadelphia litigator and got into politics when then-Gov. Ed Rendell appointed him municipal administrator and CEO of Norristown Borough.
15. Neeli Bendapudi
She’s a marketing scholar with expertise in parsing data – so it’s no surprise that Penn State President Neeli Bendapudi recently announced an initiative to measure outcomes at the commonwealth’s premier public university, which has an annual research budget of $1 billion. Her plan involves quantifying and publicizing data around diversity, post-graduate employment, research impact and other key metrics. Bendapudi has also set a goal of net-zero campus carbon emissions and initiated a merger of Penn State’s two law schools.
16. Liz Magill
As she closes in on her first year at the helm of the University of Pennsylvania, President Liz Magill has defined key priorities for the Philadelphia institution. Tops on the list are making the university carbon-neutral, strengthening ties with the surrounding West Philadelphia community and coalescing stakeholders around a strategic plan for Penn’s next century. Magill, a former Stanford Law School dean who most recently was executive vice president and provost at the University of Virginia, is also supervising a number of capital projects on campus.
17. John Fry
As president of Drexel University, John Fry has steered a series of ambitious acquisitions and partnerships – especially in research and life sciences – with fundraising to match. Under Fry’s leadership, Drexel recently unveiled a 460,000-square-foot health sciences building, launched Drexel Applied Innovation, an initiative to commercialize university research, and announced the acquisition of the Atwater Kent Museum, a municipal history treasure trove. Fry has also guided Drexel’s collaboration on the $3.5 billion Schuylkill Yards development and its partnership with the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia.
18. Austin Davis
Long before he became the state’s youngest-ever lieutenant governor this year – and the first Black Pennsylvanian to serve in the role – Austin Davis chaired the McKeesport Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council while still in high school. After working for Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, Davis was just 28 when, in 2018, he was the first Black person elected to represent his district in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Working alongside Gov. Josh Shapiro, Davis currently chairs the Allegheny County House Democratic Delegation.
19. David Taylor
For a quarter-century, David Taylor has helmed the Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association, representing the interests of a $92 billion industry statewide through advocacy that recently yielded an important manufacturing tax credit. Taylor also keeps manufacturing issues front and center through energetic media outreach, including as host of the television show, “PMA Perspective,” on the Pennsylvania Cable Network and the radio program, “Capitol Watch,” on channels across the commonwealth. He also chairs the Pennsylvania Leadership Council and is active on myriad industry and nonprofit boards.
20. Rich Askey
As president of the state’s education association, former Harrisburg music teacher Rich Askey now harmonizes some 178,000 educator-members and orchestrates the organization’s state-level advocacy. He has guided his membership through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and has lobbied for higher wages to address the school staffing crisis. A board member of the Pennsylvania ACLU, Askey has also prioritized PSEA’s diversity, equity and inclusion policies. He previously led the Harrisburg Education Association and held leadership roles with the PSEA and the National Education Association.
21. Vincent Hughes & Scott Martin
The state Senate’s bean-counters-in-chief are Scott Martin and Vincent Hughes, respectively chair and minority chair of the Appropriations Committee. Martin, first elected to represent Lancaster County in 2016, previously earned a reputation for cutting waste and reducing debt as a Lancaster County commissioner. Hughes, better known in some parts as the husband of “Abbott Elementary” star Sheryl Lee Ralph, is closing in on 30 years in the Senate, where he has championed investment in small businesses, affordable housing and public education.
22. William Demchak
When William Demchak speaks, Congress listens. As head of PNC Financial Services Group, Demchak has a clear sense of the opportunities and headwinds facing major institutions like his own – America’s fifth-largest commercial bank, with $21 billion in 2022 revenue. He previously served as PNC’s CFO and held leadership roles at JP Morgan Chase, but Demchak remains close to his Western Pennsylvania roots – chairing the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance and serving on the board of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development and the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.
23. Guy Reschenthaler
Third-term U.S. Rep. Guy Reschenthaler is currently the House chief deputy whip and also serves on the powerful House Appropriations and Rules committees. Reschenthaler, a Pittsburgh native who previously represented his region in the state Senate, is also an attorney who served in Iraq with the U.S. Navy JAG Corps and was later recognized by the Federal Bar Association for his work as a Navy lawyer stateside – experiences that prompted his ongoing advocacy for veterans’ affairs and criminal justice reform.
24. Glenn Thompson
The commonwealth’s mighty agricultural industry currently falls under the purview of U.S. Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson, who was recently tapped to lead the House Agriculture Committee. Thompson, a Centre County Republican elected to his eighth term last year, comes from a farming family and has long played an outsized role in Pennsylvania agricultural policy; he helped shape the 2018 Farm Bill and will lead this year’s updated legislation on the topic. Thompson also sits on the House Education and Labor committees.
25. Ryan Boyer
Under the leadership of Philadelphia Building and Construction Trades Council chief Ryan Boyer, city builders set records for construction activity in 2022. Boyer, the council’s business manager, has been a vocal proponent of opportunities that will benefit his 50 constituent unions – including the proposed $1.3 billion 76 Place Market East Arena project, which he estimates will create 10,000 union jobs. The labor chief has also championed “Everybody Builds,” a Philadelphia construction workforce diversity initiative, and inked an apprenticeship collaboration with Bucks County Community College.
26. Kevin Mahoney
When Kevin Mahoney recently announced Penn Medicine’s administrative reorganization – eliminating some jobs to save $40 million – stakeholders trusted his judgment. After all, Mahoney has steered the University of Pennsylvania Health System through major capital projects, digital innovation and new departments for emergency medicine and cancer treatment. Mahoney, who has been with Penn Medicine since 1996, is also expanding the system’s community engagement, recently announcing partnerships with Independence Blue Cross and the Philadelphia 76ers.
27. Timothy L. DeFoor
After becoming the first Republican in a generation to be elected state auditor general, Timothy DeFoor took aim at Pennsylvania school districts for raising taxes while squirreling away funds. DeFoor has long been a fraudster’s nightmare, having saved or recovered more than $1 million as Dauphin County controller and scrutinized finances at Pennsylvania’s Offices of the Attorney General and the Inspector General. Going into the 2024 election, DeFoor himself will be under scrutiny from at least one challenger – Democratic state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, who also wants the job.
28. Gregory Deavens
Gregory Deavens is the longtime CEO of the Independence Health Group, a Philadelphia-based insurance organization. Under his guidance, Independence Blue Cross recently collaborated with Penn Medicine and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to establish the Advanced Network for Gene-Based Therapeutics. Deavens, who recently served on Gov. Josh Shapiro’s transition team, currently sits on the boards of the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and the African American Museum in Philadelphia, among others.
29. J. David Henderson
Labor leader David Henderson has been a supportive presence in Harrisburg lately, serving on the personnel committee for Gov. Josh Shapiro’s transition team and cheering the new governor’s investments in workforce development. Henderson, a third-generation AFSCME member, heads the union’s Council 13 in Harrisburg, where he represents 65,000 workers at public and private nonprofit organizations in the state. Henderson began his union career working at the Pennsylvania Department of Welfare and has held his current role since 2021, lobbying for worker retention and training.
30. Scott Perry
After facing scrutiny for his role supporting former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election, U.S. Rep. Scott Perry is beginning his second decade in Congress representing Harrisburg and central Pennsylvania. As spending commences on the Biden administration’s recent infrastructure package, Perry sits on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and chairs its subcommittee on economic development and emergency management. A U.S. Army veteran who served in Iraq, Perry also currently serves on the powerful House Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees.
31. Madeleine Dean
In her third term representing Southeastern Pennsylvania in Congress, Glenside Democrat Madeleine Dean sits on the House Judiciary and Foreign Affairs committees. She has earned a reputation as a crusader against gun violence, co-founding the PA-SAFE Caucus, a public safety coalition, and serving on the Congressional Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. The former English professor, who previously represented Montgomery County in the General Assembly, was also appointed by then-Gov. Tom Wolf to the Pennsylvania Commission for Women.
32. Paul A. Tufano
As head of AmeriHealth Caritas, Paul Tufano has grown both the business and the social impact of one of the nation’s leading Medicaid managed care providers. Most recently, Tufano announced the rollout of the In Reach Network, a national media initiative and digital platform to serve the 48 million Americans living in poverty. Tufano, an attorney who previously served as Pennsylvania’s general counsel, is currently steering the ongoing East Coast expansion for AmeriHealth Caritas, which also provides pharmacy benefits and behavioral health programs.
33. Ray Zaborney
As the co-founder of One+ Strategies, a top-ranked lobbying firm, as well as Red Maverick Media, Harrisburg-based Ray Zaborney has served up essential advice for decades to political and corporate leaders across Pennsylvania and beyond. Most recently, Zaborney helped state Sen. Frank Farry secure a decisive 2022 win for a contested Bucks County seat, protecting the GOP's majority in the chamber. He also serves on the board of trustees of Commonwealth University, one of the state system’s recently consolidated institutions.
Editor’s Note: Ray Zaborney is a member of City & State PA’s Advisory Board.
34. Michael Long
Lobbyist and political consultant Mike Long has made a deep imprint on the Pennsylvania political landscape as a founding partner at Long Nyquist & Associates. In this role, he has handled government relations for influential nonprofits as well as for companies like Independence Blue Cross and Comcast. He has also consulted for numerous Republicans in the state Senate and its congressional delegation. Long previously honed his political skills over 25 years as chief of staff at the state Senate.
35. Steven Crawford
For decades, Steven Crawford and the firm he heads, Wojdak Government Relations, have been at the center of Harrisburg goings-on. Crawford, who served in the administrations of former Govs. Bob Casey and Ed Rendell, is a confidant of Gov. Josh Shapiro, having recently helped in the selection of cabinet nominees as a member of Shapiro’s transition personnel committee. He has brought major public support to economic development projects across the state, including universities, hospitals, sports teams and cultural centers.
36. Roy Wells
Roy Wells tried academia and banking before finding his niche as one of Harrrisburg’s best-known lobbyists. He leads Triad Strategies, a government relations outfit that brought in $20 million in 2021 for clients spanning the public, private and nonprofit sectors. Wells’ deep knowledge of state government comes from years of serving as a deputy state treasurer and in various positions in the General Assembly.
37. Lloyd Smucker
Recently elected to his fourth term representing the Lancaster area, U.S. Rep. Lloyd Smucker is a Republican who serves on the Ways and Means and Budget committees. He entered politics while serving as president of his family commercial construction business, serving in the Pennsylvania Senate before his 2016 election to Congress. Throughout his tenure, Smucker has championed legislation that promotes conservative priorities, including limiting government and taxes, opposing abortion and strengthening national security.
38. Stephen A. Cozen & Mark L. Alderman
Philadelphia-based Stephen Cozen chairs Cozen O’Connor, the global law firm he founded a half-century ago. Under his leadership, Cozen O’Connor grew from a handful of Philadelphia employees to a full-service law firm with nearly 800 attorneys throughout the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada. Along the way, Cozen and his team have racked up myriad wins and seen the firm’s name become synonymous with power.
Few Pennsylvanians have their fingers as firmly on the pulse of state and national politics as Mark Alderman. As the founder and current chair of Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies, Alderman built and steers the government relations division within the eponymous international law firm, with powerful clients on both sides of the political aisle in Harrisburg and Washington, D.C. A Democratic Party power player, Alderman served on the 57th Electoral College and is a onetime Pennsylvania chair of the Democratic National Committee’s national finance committee.
39. William Sproule
Pennsylvania carpenters are busier than ever – and as executive secretary-treasurer of the Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters, William Sproule makes sure union workers benefit. Sproule oversees operations for local carpenter unions with a collective membership of 42,000 workers throughout the mid-Atlantic, including some 14,000 in the Delaware Valley. He also serves on the board of the New Jersey Building Authority and is a vice president at the New Jersey State Building & Construction Trades Council.
40. Mike Kelly
As a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly currently chairs the Subcommittee on Tax – and recently co-sponsored bipartisan legislation to extend the New Markets Tax Credit, encouraging investment in underserved neighborhoods. Kelly, who represents northwestern Pennsylvania, also co-sponsored the recent congressional parents’ bill of rights. Back in Pittsburgh, the stalwart Republican is known for his family’s car dealerships and his House speeches posted on YouTube.
41. David Holmberg
David Holmberg recently led Highmark Health to record annual revenues of $26 billion last year, up from $22 billion in 2021. Over a decade as CEO of the Pittsburgh-based nonprofit – one of the nation’s largest Blue Cross Blue Shield health insurers – Holmberg has grown Highmark to include 14 hospitals and nearly 40,000 employees, with more to come as Highmark Blue Shield expands into the Philadelphia market. Holmberg also scored high marks with his financial turnaround of the Allegheny Health Network following its 2013 acquisition by Highmark.
42. Madeline Bell
Madeline Bell started as a nurse at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and is now its CEO. Under her leadership, the $3.8 billion health system has become arguably the nation’s top pediatric authority while expanding its physical presence across eastern Pennsylvania. Bell has overseen major capital projects like the Middleman Family Pavilion, an inpatient hospital in King of Prussia, and the Center for Advanced Behavioral Healthcare, a Philadelphia facility responding to the skyrocketing need for pediatric behavioral health services.
43. Stacy Garrity
When she’s not supervising the commonwealth’s investments – rising steadily along with interest rates – Pennsylvania Treasurer Stacy Garrity is weighing in on such matters as mail-in ballots (she’s a fan) and TikTok, the controversial Chinese social media app that she banned from State Treasury Department devices. Garrity, a decorated U.S. Army veteran elected in 2020, is also involved in a proposal to modernize how the state treasury handles unclaimed property. The fiscal and political conservative previously was a vice president at Global Tungsten & Powders Corp.
44. Leslie Gromis Baker
Conservative strategist and fundraiser Leslie Gromis Baker has a record of effective GOP advocacy going back to a White House job with then-President George H.W. Bush. Baker currently serves as chair and managing director for state and federal government affairs at Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney and is a senior principal for government relations at the firm. Her experience also includes stints as mid-Atlantic chair for George W. Bush’s presidential campaigns and service in the administrations of former Govs. Tom Ridge and Tom Corbett.
45. Sharif Street
During this year’s Ramadan holiday, state Sen. Sharif Street organized a meal distribution initiative to combat food insecurity – one of the many community involvements that define the Philadelphia Democrat, who was elected in 2016. Street is the rare senator to chair two committees simultaneously – he is the minority chair of both the Banking and Insurance Committee and the State Government Committee. He is also a co-chair of the bicameral Crime Prevention Caucus and a member of the Pennsylvania Sentencing Commission.
46. Dwight Evans
Dwight Evans is one of the best-known figures in Philadelphia politics, logging nearly 40 years in the state legislature before his 2016 election to Congress. While he’s in Washington more than ever, Evans remains rooted in Philly, endorsing Cherelle Parker – his longtime ally from the Northwest Coalition, a local political group, as well as the legislature – in the city’s ever-hotter mayoral race. Evans also recently co-sponsored legislation to modernize the federal earned income tax credit and has championed measures to address Philadelphia’s gun violence.
47. Dan Meuser
Frustrated about airport crowds? So is U.S. Rep. Dan Meuser, who just introduced legislation to reduce airport congestion and expand rural air travel, along with a bipartisan bill to bolster rural teaching hospitals. Meuser, an East-Central Pennsylvania Republican first elected in 2018, sits on the Financial Services and Small Business committees. His legislative priorities are shaped in part by his background as president of Pride USA, a mobility products company; Meuser also served as secretary of revenue under then-Gov. Tom Corbett.
48. Chrissy Houlahan
Inspired as a child by the pioneering astronaut Sally Ride, U.S. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan later joined the U.S. Air Force and is currently flying high as a third-term Member of Congress from Southeastern Pennsylvania. Houlahan brings her military savvy to the House Armed Services Committee, as well as the chamber’s Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. The onetime businesswoman is also a leader of the House Bipartisan Working Group on Paid Family Leave, which she co-founded, and is a member and former whip of the centrist New Democrat Coalition.
49. Mary Gay Scanlon
No longer the upstart Democratic victor whose 2018 special election win helped upend Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation gender imbalance, Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon is now an established progressive representing Greater Philadelphia. Scanlon, an attorney who once led Ballard Spahr’s national pro bono program, serves on the House Judiciary and Rules Committees. She also chairs the Access to Legal Aid and Youth Mentoring caucuses.
50. Gerard Sweeney
With Philadelphia construction on a post-pandemic upswing, Gerard Sweeney is at the center of activity – as usual. Sweeney heads Brandywine Realty Trust, the company he founded in the 1990s and has since built into a $5 billion REIT with 24 million square feet of development, including the Schuylkill Yards development transforming University City, and Discovery Point, a forthcoming mixed-use development adjacent to the University of Maryland’s College Park campus. He currently chairs the boards of the Schuylkill River Development Corporation and the Center City District Foundation.
51. John Joyce
After a career as a dermatologist, Altoona Republican John Joyce took his public health priorities to Congress in 2019, championing legislation around health care and other rural issues like high-speed internet access. Joyce currently serves on the health subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee, as well as the congressional Health Futures task force. A high-profile Catholic and a vocal abortion opponent, Joyce has recently sponsored legislation affecting Medicare drug coverage, community and public health, and biomedical research.
52. Susan Wild
High prices for essentials like insulin and eggs just aren’t ethical, according to U.S. Rep. Susan Wild. And she should know: The former Allentown City Solicitor is a ranking member of the House Ethics Committee, which she chaired until January, and also sits on the powerful Foreign Affairs, Education and Labor committees, among others. When she’s not crusading for lower costs for commodities and prescription drugs, Wild, a Lehigh Valley Democrat, also serves as vice chair of the Labor Caucus.
53. Patricia Mackavage
Patty Mackavage continually tops lists of politically influential Pennsylvanians, and it’s no secret why. Having worked for former Govs. Tom Ridge, Mark Schweiker and Ed Rendell, Mackavage has a wealth of insight into Harrisburg’s power structures, which she leverages as executive director of Duane Morris Government Strategies. In addition to guiding operations at the firm’s Harrisburg office, Mackavage is a widely sought-after lobbyist and consultant on the state budget process, economic development and health care.
54. Wendell Young IV
Four decades after labor boss Wendell Young IV started his career at Acme Markets, he stood alongside unionized Acme employees last year when Kroger bought that supermarket chain, affecting 4,500 workers at UFCW Local 1776 Keystone State. It was a role the Philadelphia native has played many times since 2005, when he assumed leadership of the powerful 35,000-member union. Young is the immediate past president of the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans and has held leadership roles with the UFCW International Union.
55. Matthew Cartwright
Known for effective bipartisanship, Rep. Matt Cartwright has a significant role in determining federal spending as a senior member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, where he is the ranking member of the Commerce, Justice and Science Subcommittee. Cartwright, who has represented Northeast Pennsylvania since his 2012 election, is also dean of the Pennsylvania House Democratic Delegation and helps make committee assignments as a member of the Democratic Steering & Policy Committee.
56. Dan Greenstein
Chancellor Dan Greenstein has masterminded a major reorganization of the State System of Higher Education since assuming the post in 2018. Tasked with stabilizing the system’s finances amid a years-long enrollment decline and COVID-19 pandemic stresses, Greenstein consolidated six universities into two – and saw first-year student enrollment rise 7% last year. After securing a historic $75 million increase in state funding for the system, the chancellor is lobbying for further subsidies to freeze tuition and expand workforce education.
57. Ray Roundtree
Earlier this year, Comcast veteran Ray Roundtree was named senior vice president for the firm’s Keystone region. In this role, he supervises Comcast’s operations, finances and strategy for much of Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and Maryland. Roundtree, a Penn State MBA now based in Pittsburgh, joined Comcast in 2000 as director of business operations for Chester and Lancaster counties and most recently served as vice president of finance for the company’s Beltway region.
58. Summer Lee
Summer Lee shook up Pennsylvania’s political establishment last year when she ousted a Republican incumbent to become the state’s first Black Member of Congress. She’s been shaking it up again more recently, with positions that buck the mainstream like supporting TikTok and urging President Joe Biden to reevaluate Israel policy. Lee, an attorney and former labor organizer from Pittsburgh, volunteered for the 2016 presidential campaigns of Sen. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton before her own 2018 election to the Pennsylvania state House, when she first defeated an incumbent.
59. Leslie S. Richards
While hitting the stop button on SEPTA’s controversial King of Prussia rail extension, CEO Leslie Richards is moving forward with upgrades aimed at enhancing accessibility and efficiency for the massive transit system. She recently announced a $5.8 million investment in ADA accessibility at three stations, as well as the purchase of 130 ADA-compliant trolleys. Under Richards’ leadership, SEPTA will also invest $17 million in electric fuel cell buses – a big step toward a zero-emission fleet.
60. Daniel J. Hilferty
Fresh off leading Philadelphia’s successful effort to co-host the 2026 World Cup, Daniel Hilferty has plenty more high-profile sports events to organize. He was recently named CEO of Comcast Spectacor, the sports and entertainment subsidiary of the Philadelphia-based global telecommunications corporation, where he will oversee a portfolio that includes the National Hockey League’s Philadelphia Flyers, a burgeoning esports division and more. Hilferty previously served a decade as president and CEO at Independence Blue Cross.
61. Jim Kenney
He may be on his way out the door – and eagerly so, to judge by some of his own comments – but Mayor Jim Kenney still has the job seemingly half of Philadelphia wants. While critics have lambasted his tenure, Kenney reassured Philadelphians by drinking water on camera after the recent Delaware River chemical spill and is championing police recruitment to bolster public safety. He’ll leave a city with numerous accomplishments, like vastly larger tax revenues and universal pre-kindergarten – along with numerous flashpoints, like unresolved violence and opioid crises.
62. Larry Krasner
Philadelphia’s embattled district attorney, Larry Krasner, has emerged from the shadow of impeachment, with the state Senate voting in January to postpone the effort indefinitely. But the controversy around Krasner’s approach to crime – the impetus for the impeachment effort – persists in a city where homicides, while down in 2022, remain at disconcertingly high levels. Still, Krasner retains considerable support among progressives nationally as well as locally, where they cheer declines in incarceration rates and his public-health approach to drug use.
63. Ed Gainey
As the excitement of his historic election wears off, Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey is grappling with downtown violence and labor shortages, and digging into priorities like economic development. The city’s first Black mayor recently made waves when he challenged the tax-exempt status of 26 properties at institutions like UPMC, Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh – potentially adding $3.5 million in revenue. Throughout his tenure, Gainey, a former state representative and a native son, has garnered plaudits for his responsive, hands-on style.
64. Michael McGee
With rising mortgage rates shaking up the real estate market, Michael McGee is a steadying force at the helm of the state’s industry group, the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors. McGee, a veteran association leader who previously led the Riverfront Alliance of Delaware County and the Pennsylvania Developers’ Council, now advocates in Harrisburg and locally on behalf of nearly 40,000 members. Under his leadership, the association provides education, legal resources and support for real estate professionals.
65. Stephen Fera
At Independence Blue Cross, Stephen Fera represents the policy and business interests of the Philadelphia-based health insurer in Harrisburg and beyond. Fera is the company’s executive vice president of public affairs and government markets, leading advocacy and guiding public-private partnerships aimed at promoting community health and well-being. He guided more than $70 million in public health grantmaking in 2022 with the Independence Blue Cross Foundation and also oversaw its substance abuse public awareness campaign and podcast, “Someone You Know.”
66. Chris Deluzio
Democrat Chris Deluzio brings fresh progressive energy to Congress, having surprised many in Allegheny and Beaver counties by handily winning Conor Lamb’s old seat last November. Deluzio, a U.S. Naval Academy graduate and Iraq veteran, is the vice-ranking member on the House Veterans Affairs Committee and also serves on the Armed Services Committee. The Georgetown-trained attorney previously organized a faculty union at the University of Pittsburgh, where he is the policy director for the school’s Institute for Cyber Law, Policy and Security.
67. Lawrence Tabas
Election law expert Lawrence Tabas’ prowess was on display in 2016, when he successfully defended Donald Trump against a Keystone State recount, helping Trump secure the presidency. Three years later, Tabas was elected chair of the Pennsylvania GOP, where he leads fundraising and brings his legal authority to myriad election matters, from campaign finance to ballot access. The Philadelphia-based attorney was previously his state party’s longtime general counsel, representing its candidates at the local, state and federal levels over the years.
68. Rich Fitzgerald
Allegheny County’s top elected official, Rich Fitzgerald, is in the last year of his third and final term as county executive. A champion of economic development, Fitzgerald has presided over the county’s first population growth in 60 years, including a 20% increase in the 25-34 age group – twice the national average. His tenure has also seen the creation of a sustainability department that has invested in alternative-fuel vehicles, planted 8,000 trees, enacted a clean construction ordinance and promoted renewable energy sources, including a hydropower facility.
69. Mary Isenhour
A 30-year government relations veteran, Mary Isenhour is a partner in the Rooney Novak Isenhour Group and the first woman to serve on the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board. Last year, Isenhour was part of the government operations advisory group for Gov. Josh Shapiro’s transition team. She has previously served as executive director of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, state director for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, a senior adviser to then-Gov. Ed Rendell and secretary of government affairs and chief of staff to then-Gov. Tom Wolf.
70. Mike Innocenzo
As the new board chair for the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia, Michael Innocenzo brings an awareness of issues that are paramount for PECO, the electric and natural gas utility he leads: diversity, sustainability and “re-skilling” workers to reduce economic inequity. Innocenzo is the longtime CEO of PECO, a $3.7 billion Exelon subsidiary with more than 2 million customers. He is currently overseeing the modernization of PECO’s electric grid and guiding plans for net-zero emissions by 2050.
71. Jay Costa
For 13 years and counting, State Sen. Jay Costa has shaped the Democrats’ agenda as Senate minority leader, working to advance party priorities like health care access, education, workforce development, judicial reform and public safety. Costa, an attorney, has represented the Pittsburgh area since 1996 and is currently minority chair of the Senate Rules and Executive Nominations Committee, as well as serving on the Appropriations Committee. Most recently, Costa has sponsored a number of bills safeguarding insurance coverage – a major issue as pandemic-era health expansions are expiring.
72. Bryan Cutler
Following his party’s midterm election losses, Bryan Cutler is now the Republican minority leader in the House of Representatives, where he previously served as speaker. In his ninth term, the Lancaster County politician serves as the Republican chair of the Rules Committee and also sits on the Committee on Committees. Whatever his title, Cutler is likely to continue to tussle with Democrats over special elections, voting procedures and other matters.
73. Jordan Harris
With Democrats having retaken Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives for the first time in a dozen years, Philadelphia Rep. Jordan Harris now wields greater power as majority chair of the House Appropriations Committee. Harris, a 10-year veteran of the General Assembly and the former Democratic whip, is part of an increasingly influential Southeastern Pennsylvania contingent and also serves on the House Rules Committee. This year, he is championing legislation around neighborhood infrastructure as well as criminal justice reform, his longtime priority.
74. Malcolm Kenyatta
In 2018, state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta became the first openly LGBTQ person of color to serve in Pennsylvania’s General Assembly. Last year, he broke another barrier as the first-ever LGBTQ person of color to run for the U.S. Senate – and this year, he announced a run for state auditor general. The third-generation North Philadelphia native’s evident ambition led Al Roker to feature Kenyatta in a documentary, “Kenyatta: Do Not Wait Your Turn.”
75. Michelle A. Henry
Earlier this year, Gov. Josh Shapiro appointed Michelle Henry to his old job as attorney general of the commonwealth. Henry had previously served as first deputy attorney general, where she oversaw legal matters that included victims’ rights, civil suits and consumer protection cases. Prior to that, Henry spent two decades at the Bucks County district attorney’s office, taking the initiative on child abuse and helping found the county’s children’s advocacy center.
76. Dave Reed
He used to be the Pennsylvania House majority leader – but lately, former state Rep. Dave Reed is exercising another kind of leadership as Pennsylvania state president for First Commonwealth Bank. Reed, an Indiana County Republican, left politics for finance in 2018 and currently oversees First Commonwealth’s newly created capital region division, comprising nine locations from Harrisburg and Lancaster to suburban Philadelphia. Earlier this year, he helped steer First Commonwealth’s acquisition of Centric Bank, a Lower Paxton Township-based institution.
Editor’s Note: Dave Reed is a member of City & State PA’s Advisory Board.
77. Joseph G. Cacchione
Since September 2022, Jefferson Health and Thomas Jefferson University have been led by cardiologist and health executive Joseph Cacchione. He came to Philadelphia from St. Louis-based Ascension, a $28 billion nonprofit health system where, as an executive vice president, he streamlined operations and led a financial turnaround at the Michigan division. Now, Cacchione aims to work similar magic at Jefferson, a system with $7.9 billion in annual revenue and, following a series of recent mergers, 18 hospitals.
78. John Bear
Veteran political consultant John Bear is the senior managing director at GSL Public Strategies Group, which he co-founded to specialize in public affairs and strategic communication. Prior to joining its parent outfit, The Stevens & Lee Companies, Bear served in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and consulted with BearingPoint and KPMG. A Republican State Committeeman, Bear also chairs the Manheim Township Republican Committee, serves on the Manheim Township Board of Commissioners and is executive director of the Lititz Regional Community Development Corporation.
79. Bruce Van Saun
Over a decade at the helm of Citizens Financial Group, Bruce Van Saun steered the bank through a successful 2014 IPO and a subsequent expansion across the Northeast, mid-Atlantic and upper Midwest. Van Saun, a veteran of Bank of New York and Deutsche Bank, oversaw Citizens’ $3.5 billion acquisition of Investors Bancorp in 2021. With last year’s acquisition of 80 branches of HSBC, he added more than 200 locations to Citizens’ expanding regional network.
80. Natalie Ahwesh
Lion tamers are a rarer sight nowadays thanks to Natalie Ahwesh, who recently led Humane Action Pittsburgh’s efforts to pass laws protecting circus animals. Ahwesh, who co-founded and now directs the nonprofit, recently presented at the inaugural Animals & Vegan Advocacy Summit in Washington, D.C., and is a founding member of The Humane League’s Animal Policy Alliance. As director of state affairs for Animal Wellness Action, Ahwesh helped pass federal legislation last year eliminating an FDA mandate for animal drug testing.
81. Christine Toretti
As Pennsylvania Republicans regroup after a disappointing midterm election, ace fundraiser and political operative Christine Toretti is laying the groundwork for success in 2024. Toretti, the state GOP’s national committeeperson, is also the founder of Women Lead PAC, which supports Republican women candidates at the national level. She previously served as CEO of S.W. Jack Drilling Co., chaired Pennsylvania Women for Trump in 2016 and has also co-chaired the finance committee for the Republican National Committee.
82. Rochelle “Chellie” Cameron
Attracting businesses, talent and entrepreneurial energy to the Philadelphia region, Chellie Cameron is the recently installed CEO of the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia. Cameron is tasked with continuing post-pandemic momentum, including legislative advocacy, for businesses across the 11-county region. The U.S. Air Force veteran had previously spent nearly a quarter-century guiding operations at some of the mid-Atlantic’s busiest regional flight hubs – the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority and, more recently, the Philadelphia International Airport.
83. Darrell Clarke
City Council President Darrell Clarke is practically synonymous with Philadelphia, having worked in City Hall for four decades. So his impending retirement dramatically widens the municipal power vacuum already left by numerous former City Council colleagues who’ve resigned to run for mayor. Clarke’s 11-year tenure at the helm largely avoided public controversy, but attracted criticism for his style of behind-the-scenes negotiations – a strategy that subtly but notably expanded the power of both the council and its president.
84. Geoff Brandon
With 35 years in the banking industry, Geoff Brandon serves as TD Bank’s commercial market president for Pennsylvania. In this role, he leads regional management teams, cultivating lending and deposit relationships with stakeholders across the construction landscape as well as other industries, nonprofits and municipalities. Under Brandon’s guidance, TD Bank holds the No. 1 ranking for deposit share in the Philadelphia market and was ranked No. 9 on the Forbes list of Best Employers for Diversity 2022.
85. Jaewon Ryu
Geisinger CEO Jaewon Ryu is a renaissance executive – an emergency medicine physician and onetime corporate health care attorney who has held leadership roles at Kaiser Permanente, Humana, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the Department of Veterans Affairs. At Geisinger, Ryu has steered three of the $7 billion system’s hospitals to first-in-the-nation Comprehensive Heart Attack Center Certification from the Joint Commission and the American Heart Association. He also serves on the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission.
86. Kevin Greenberg & A. Michael Pratt
Kevin Greenberg and A. Michael Pratt are pillars of the Philadelphia office of Greenberg Traurig, the global law firm.
Greenberg, a former government attorney, won recognition for handling Pennsylvania legal efforts around the 2020 election. He leads a government law and policy practice and is heavily involved with the Democratic Party, having served as co-general counsel for the state party and former Gov. Tom Wolf’s transition team.
Pratt, a commercial litigator, is known for handling complex liability disputes in state and federal courts. His experience includes heading the litigation team for a Fortune 100 company and serving as chief deputy city solicitor overseeing commercial litigation for the City of Philadelphia Law Department.
87. Tim NeCastro
A year into the COVID-19 pandemic, Erie Insurance CEO Tim NeCastro dedicated the company’s $147 million, 346,000-square-foot Thomas B. Hagen Building. Now NeCastro is watching the campus centerpiece fill with 3,000 returning-to-work employees at Erie County’s only Fortune 500 company. The investment is an ongoing testament to NeCastro’s hometown commitment, which also includes roles as founding board president of the Erie Downtown Development Corporation and Erie Insurance’s investments of nearly $70 million in downtown revitalization during his seven-year tenure.
88. Mortimer Buckley
As chair and CEO of The Vanguard Group, Mortimer Buckley heads one of the nation’s largest private investment firms, with 17,000 employees managing assets estimated to be around $8 trillion globally. Buckley joined Vanguard three decades ago and, from its Malvern headquarters, has helped guide its steady growth into an asset manager exceeded in volume only by BlackRock. As CEO since 2018, Buckley also serves on the board of trustees of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
89. William Sasso
After 50-plus years at Stradley Ronon – half of those as chair – Chair Emeritus William Sasso remains as involved as ever. Tapped last November to chair the board of Gov. Josh Shapiro’s transition team, Sasso also currently chairs SELECT Greater Philadelphia, the economic development marketing arm of the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia. He has worked pro bono on projects involving the development of a former Sunoco refinery site, Philadelphia’s International and Northeast airports and the Port of Philadelphia.
90. Patrick Gallagher
As he prepares to hand over leadership of the University of Pittsburgh to his successor, Joan T.A. Gabel, Chancellor Patrick Gallagher is shepherding ongoing capital projects such as the Center for Recreation and Wellness, set to open in 2024. Gallagher’s tenure elevated university research with initiatives like Pitt Bioforge, a cell and gene therapy startup, and tackled tuition affordability with the Pitt Success Pell Match program. Later this year, Gallagher will become a professor in Pitt’s physics department, where he earned his doctorate.
91. Chris Gheysens
Wawa locations keep sprouting like dandelions under the leadership of President Chris Gheysens, who has guided the privately owned convenience chain for a quarter-century. He currently oversees some 1,000 retail locations across the East Coast and is masterminding a growth strategy that will double that figure by 2030, bolstering revenue in part via drive-thrus and expanded alcohol sales. What’s less quantifiable, though, is the way Gheysens has turned a 60-year-old coffee-and-gasoline chain into a phenomenon, inspiring TikTok and YouTube tributes from grateful customers.
92. Travis Sheetz
Travis Sheetz, who heads his family’s eponymous business, has worked in various capacities at the convenience store chain since 1995. Before becoming COO and then CEO, he previously headed Sheetz’s real estate, sales and operations and served as real estate site selector in the Pittsburgh and Cleveland markets. Sheetz also currently serves on the boards of directors for Sheetz as well as Sheetz For the Kidz, an employee-driven charity benefiting children in Sheetz communities.
93. Kim Pizzingrilli
This year, versatile political strategist Kim Pizzingrilli helped assemble a team of lobbyists, policy and government experts and communication specialists to launch the public affairs firm One+Strategies, which now counts over 100 clients. Pizzingrilli comes to the venture with insights honed over 25-plus years in state government, including positions at the Treasury Department, the Independent Regulatory Review Commission, the Department of State and the Public Utility Commission. She has also chaired the Pennsylvania government relations practice at a law firm.
94. Matt Smith
As the new chief growth officer for the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, Matt Smith leads efforts to attract and retain business investment and talent to develop the regional economy, as well as guiding the organization’s local, state and federal policy strategy. Previously, as head of the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce, Smith helped get legislation passed to reduce the state’s corporate net income tax and promote the robotics and autonomous vehicle sectors. He also chaired the Shapiro transition team’s economic development committee.
95. Chris Stief
Employers turn to Chris Stief for advice on nondisclosure agreements, arbitration and trade secrets. As the Philadelphia managing partner in the national employment law firm of Fisher Phillips, Stief co-founded the employee defection and trade secrets practice group and is a core member of its international employment and financial services industry groups. Widely recognized for his representation of management, Stief spearheaded the Fisher Phillips Financial Services Recruitment Litigation Conference and serves on the board of the nonprofit International Employers Forum.
96. Joseph Haddock
Last year, Joseph Haddock became Eastern Pennsylvania segment president at Highmark, the nonprofit Medicaid managed care provider with $26 billion in annual revenue. Haddock, who is based in Camp Hill, has responsibility for Highmark’s Blue Cross Blue Shield plans in the Northeast and Central Pennsylvania markets. He previously served as executive vice president and chief revenue officer at Homestead Smart Health Plans in Philadelphia and, prior to that, spent nearly a quarter-century overseeing sales for Geisinger Health Plan.
97. Les Neri
As national second vice president of the Fraternal Order of Police and president of the FOP Pennsylvania State Lodge, Les Neri is arguably the commonwealth’s most forceful advocate for law enforcement. His lobbying recently secured $135 million in state grants through the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency to recruit and retain officers, upgrade equipment and implement public safety programs. Neri, who had a four-decade career in law enforcement, also oversees contract negotiations and arbitrations, and advocates for important employee benefits.
98. Glenn Todd
Keystone State tax authority Glenn Todd is a principal with KPMG’s state and local tax practice for power and utilities. Based in Pittsburgh, where he is in charge of local markets, Todd supervises the global accounting company’s national power and utility endeavors as well as local and state tax matters for KPMG’s Pennsylvania Business Unit. An attorney and an accountant, Todd is also a co-author of the "Pennsylvania Tax Handbook" and previously worked in KPMG’s Washington national tax state and local practice.
99. Ellen Cooper
Last year, Ellen Cooper assumed leadership of Lincoln Financial Group, a $300 billion company that provides 17 million Americans with services including annuities, life insurance and retirement plans. Cooper joined Lincoln in 2012, serving in roles like executive vice president and chief investment officer, and supervising the corporation’s hedge program. She previously was a managing director and global head of insurance strategy for Goldman Sachs Asset Management and, prior to that, was a principal at Ernst & Young.
100. John Elicker
Since 2012, John Elicker has grown the Philadelphia profile of Accenture, where he currently serves as managing director for the global consulting company’s Philadelphia Life Sciences practice. In this role, he provides direction for the firm’s activity in Philadelphia’s burgeoning biopharmaceutical research and development sector. Elicker previously worked for 10 years as a strategy and consulting senior manager at Accenture, and prior to that, he served as a research associate at the University of Pennsylvania.
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