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Editorial: Powerful figures affect midstate business climate

For several years, the Central Penn Business Journal has compiled this special Powerbook issue — a look at the midstate's “movers and shakers.” In fact, the edition used to be called just that. But as we delved more into what makes someone stand out, we saw it wasn't just about getting things done — it was how.

Depending on your definition, power is the ability to influence behavior, to act or exercise authority effectively, or — our favorite, drawn from the world of science — the rate at which energy is consumed and transferred, resulting in change.

The key word is effective.

You can be in a position of authority and not be effective. You can throw your weight around and not effect change. Your job title might say you are the person in charge, yet you may not be in control.

These 10 people are achievers. They represent a range of professions, accomplishments and personal histories. Yet we think it's no accident that they share certain qualities: a strong work ethic, love of a challenge, the courage to take risks, the willingness to go against the flow if necessary.

Many, but not all, talk about the need to bring others to the table, to forge partnerships and build bridges.

And they don't rest on their laurels — they are tireless in identifying new tasks, new goals.

These 10 by no means represent the only powerful figures in the midstate. Because of its location, history and role in state government, Central Pennsylvania harbors a wealth of leaders, from educators and elected officials to business owners, innovators and entrepreneurs.

A number of considerations factored into this year's selection. Among them are the current issues facing the business community, the impact brought to bear by these individuals and what others say about them.

Given the circumstances of 2012 — cities in financial crisis, a highly divisive political climate, financial uncertainty on a variety of fronts — a number of those on this year's list are not businesspeople. That might seem odd at first. But, for better or worse, the business environment and our quality of life are being affected by the decisions and actions of these 10.

The Business Journal's Powerbook selections are not endorsements — they are simply acknowledgments that these are people whose thoughts, words and actions have powerful effects on our ability to build a stronger economy.

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