Howard Tullman

Calling it 1871 3.0, this serial entrepreneur led the Merchandise Mart–based tech hub in yet another expansion—and to a No. 1 ranking (from a Swedish research firm that studies tech centers) as the nation’s best university-affiliated incubator. Power Quote “Whatever was yesterday’s miracle is tomorrow’s ‘So what?’ ”

Miles White

A mainstay on just about every important board in town (McDonald’s, Lyric), this longtime chief was named by Barron’s one of the world’s 30 best CEOs yet again last year, up there with Warren Buffett and Jamie Dimon. (“His corporate engineering has helped investors realize great value,” the paper explained.) White’s next challenge: integrating the … Read more

Juan Luciano

Timing is everything. And this Argentine exec, formerly ADM’s COO, replaced Patricia Woertz just as big bets on ethanol were turning sour and oil and grain prices were poised to plunge. Since he took over (in January 2015) through January 2016, ADM’s stock fell 32.5 percent. (The S&P fell just 5.8 percent.) Luciano is now … Read more

Sam Toia

Chefs and restaurateurs grab most of the attention, but this politically connected, under-the-radar power broker is the engine driving Chicago’s thriving foodie industry. Last year was a four-star one for Toia: He successfully lobbied to bring back happy hour in Illinois (multiple attempts since the late ’80s had failed); helped restore state funding to Choose … Read more

Frederick Waddell

After 40 years at Chicago’s most storied financial services company, eight of them as its chief, Waddell’s place on this power list is beginning to seem as constant as Earth’s orbit around the sun. The year 2015 was unusually good for the powerful banker: Northern Trust posted a 10 percent return after years in the … Read more

Ilene Gordon

Last April, Gordon was named the first female chairman of the august Economic Club of Chicago—proof, if you needed any, that she has clout with a capital C. Even trends like non-GMO and gluten-free are no match for her: The food ingredient maker she runs now cranks out specialty products that account for a quarter … Read more

Susana Mendoza

Look above: You’re staring at the future of the Democratic Party in Illinois. The daughter of Mexican immigrants, Mendoza was only 28 when she was elected to the statehouse. Last May, she was sworn in for her second term as city clerk. Now she’s stepping up to run statewide in the November special election for … Read more

Jerry Reinsdorf

He ranked a lofty No. 5 on last year’s list. But that was before the Bulls and the White Sox, the cornerstones of Reinsdorf’s estimated $1.2 billion fortune, started to show cracks. The Sox tanked despite a roster of many of the best-paid players in town, and the Bulls—well, you know how that ended. One … Read more

Forrest Claypool

Claypool stars in the political equivalent of that old Mike Rowe show Dirty Jobs: He’s the guy who’s always called on to clean up someone else’s mess. Patronage at the Chicago Park District. The Ventra rollout debacle at the CTA. All manner of trouble on the Fifth Floor as Rahm’s third chief of staff. Claypool’s … Read more

David Reifman

Though hardly a household name, this heavy-hitting zoning guru has repped some of the biggest real estate developers on some of Chicago’s most transformative projects in recent years, including counseling the Cubs on the Wrigley Field rebuild and winning approval for the Ryerson steel redevelopment in Pullman. When the mayor plucked Reifman in September for … Read more