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Hotlist 05: they're bold, innovative, powerful--and all under 40.

OVER THE YEARS, BLACK ENTERPRISE HAS DEVELOPED A REPUTATION FOR IDENTIFYING BUSINESS SUPERSTARS IN INDUSTRIES RANGING FROM FINANCE AND TECHNOLOGY TO MEDIA AND ENTERTAINMENT. We have placed a spotlight on many of them before they have achieved full-blown marquee status. Once again, we unveil the best and the brightest, our Hot List, a roster of extraordinary professionals and entrepreneurs under the age of 40 who have transformed American business using innovative products and practices.

This is the second time we have compiled our list--the inaugural register debuted in 2003--and our team of editors and researchers spent several months looking for peak performers whose contributions have been so powerful that they would be considered impressive at any age. This year's list runs the gamut from BE 100s CEOs and financiers to innovative scientists and hip-hopreneurs.

How did we spot these supernovas? In an exhaustive search, our editorial team contacted business leaders, top-ranked corporate professionals, industry insiders, and national organizations such as the National Society of Black Engineers, the National Association of Investment Companies, The Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyers Association, "the National Association of Securities Professionals, and the Executive Leadership Council. As a result, we found people who have influenced global markets and produced billions of dollars in revenues with their talent and business prowess.

Over the following 16 pages, we reveal these young, powerful African Americans. And while they are making groundbreaking contributions today, their impact will undoubtedly be felt tomorrow.

SHAWN D. BALDWIN

CEO

AGE: 39

CAPITAL MANAGEMENT GROUP SECURITIES

Why he's hot: With more than 10 years of experience in commercial banking, investment banking, and research and securities brokerage, Shawn Baldwin has been on a steady rise to be one of Wall Street's masters of the universe. His brokerage and asset management firm's track record in initial public offerings has elevated his status: 59 transactions totaling more than $40 billion in value. In the last two years alone, his firm participated in several IPOs, including GE spin-off Genworth Financial and this year's celebrated Goggle IPO. The Genworth deal added about $2 million to the firm's coffers while Goggle netted between $1.2 million and $1.4 million to date. The Antioch University graduate said he outpaced other BE 100s firms associated with the Goggle IPO. He's keeping his company small-he has only nine employees in his Chicago office-and diverse. "Seventy-five percent of the people in my shoo are African American, 85% are minorities, and 45% are women," he says.

D.STEVE BOLAND

President & Managing Director

AGE: 37

LANDSAFE INC., COUNTRYWIDE FINANCIAL CORP.

Why he's hot: D Steve Boland is the youngest member to appear on BE's list of the 75 Most Powerful Blacks in Corporate America. As president of LandSafe, he oversees the provider of real estate information and closing services, which generated $223 million and employs 1,300 workers nationwide. He presides over a holding company made up of four subsidiaries associated with originating a mortgage, including a credit reporting agency, an appraisal management company, a flood determination company, and a title company. Today, Boland seeks to use technology to automate the process for closing loans.

+Tyra Banks

Supermodel, Producer

AGE: 32

BANKABLE PRODUCTIONS

Why she's hot: Tyra Banks, the first African-American woman to grace the covers of GQ, Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue, and the Victoria's Secret catalogue, has turned her beauty into a hot commodity. Through her film and television production company, Bankable Productions, she has created vehicles that are, well, bankable. Established in 2003, her company has developed the prime-time hit America's Next fop Model. As the reality show's creator, executive producer, and star, Banks has not only paved the way for aspiring models but she's given the UPN network a fresh franchise. Recently, she launched the hit syndicated program The Tyra Banks Show. The talk show, designed for women ages 18 to 34, has averaged 1.7 million viewers since its debut in early October. Also, XM Satellite Radio picked up the show and will include its audio broadcast on fake 5, a new talk and lifestyle channel targeting women. Bankable Productions' other projects in development: a sitcom, a one-hour drama, and a made-for-television movie.

HALLE BERRY

Actress, Producer, Spokeswoman

AGE: 39

Why she's hot: With a focus on producing high-quality films, Halle Berry continues to be a powerhouse in Hollywood. She recently received two Emmy nominations, one for her role in the ABC movie Their Eyes Were Watching God, and another as an executive producer of HBO's critically acclaimed movie Lackawanna Blues. The Academy Award winning actress and Revlon spokeswoman is also producing upcoming films Foxy Brown and Nappily EverAfter. Next year, she will reprise her role as Storm in the third installment of the X-Men film franchise, which grossed more than $700 million at the box office worldwide.

SHAWN "JAY-Z" CARTER

President & CEO

AGE: 36

DEF JAM RECORDINGS

Why he's hot: As one of the biggest crossover artists of the rap industry, Jay-Z brings street credibility to Def Jam, which has reported revenues of $1 billion. As co-founder of Roc-A-Fella Records, Jay-Z grew the company into a multimillion dollar business with hitmakers like Kanye West and Young Gunz. From there, Roc-A-Fella spun off other ventures, including Roc-A-Wear apparel, Roc-A-Fella films, and the 40/40 nightclub. The mogul owns a stake in the NBA's New Jersey Nets and was responsible for $100 million in sales for the fastest-selling sneaker in Reebok's history. To commemorate his 10th anniversary in the music industry, Jay-Z designed a limited-edition timepiece with watchmaker Audemars Piguet worth upwards of $70,000.

SUSAN CHAPMAN

Global Head of Operations

AGE: 37

CITIGROUP REALTY SERVICES

Why she's hot: Susan Chapman holds the No. 2 spot in her business unit. Chapman manages day-to-day operations for 85 million square feet of space in 96 countries. To put these numbers into context, the No. 1 real estate investment trust in the country has 117 million square feet in the U.S. Essentially, her division manages all of the real estate that supports Citigroup's businesses worldwide. "[Operating real estate involves] handling everything from policies and procedures to branch rollout to relationship management strategy," she says. "If I didn't have this job, I'd be bored, so I do the best I can, and give 100% on everything I do."

+Cory Booker

Mayoral Candidate Newark, NJ

AGE: 36

Why he's hot: Cory Booker made national headlines with his tough, but failed attempt to unseat four-term Newark, New Jersey, Mayor Sharpe James in 2002. Today with endorsements as far reaching as R&B artist Alicia Keys and O magazine exec Gayle King, Booker is running for mayor again in 2006-and pundits believe he has a good shot at taking City Hall. The city councilman continues to make news with his brand of grassroots politics, and stays close to his constituents by living in a tenement in one of the most impoverished communities. The Rhodes Scholar has also built a successful law firm, which has grown from seven equity partners four years ago to 24 attorneys today.

TOURE CLAIBORNE

Director of Specialty Marketing

AGE: 33

SEARS, ROEBUCK AND CO.

Why he's hot: As the director of specialty marketing at Sears, Roebuck and Co., Toure Claiborne is reinventing the Sears brand. In 2005, Claiborne extended the retailer's relationship with NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and led the marketing efforts between Sears, Ty Pennington, and Extreme Makeover Home. Edition on ABC. Since joining Sears in 2001, Claiborne has been promoted twice and is now responsible for six departments and approximately $660 million in financial responsibilities. A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Claiborne came to Sears from DDB Worldwide advertising agency and currently serves on NASCAR's Diversity Council. He is also the chairman of the Philadelphia-based Urban Youth Racing School.

SEAN "DIDDY" COMBS

Chairman & CEO

AGE: 36

BAD BOY ENTERTAINMENT

Why he's hot: Sean "Diddy" Combs, the penultimate marketing machine, continues to bring hip-hop to the mainstream, deftly growing his empire that includes music, clothing, and television. Last year, his Bad Boy Record label entered into a multiyear joint venture with Warner Music Group, a transaction valued at roughly $30 million. Sean John, his apparel company, sold about $400 million in clothing-a figure that translates into $125 million to $150 million in wholesale revenues. And this year MTV announced a first-look production agreement with Bad Boy Entertainment, which produced the high-rated Making the Band reality series.

+ Nicole E. Brown

Project Engineer

AGE: 28

MALCOLM PIRNIE INC.

Why she's hot: Considered one of the world's youngest and brightest environmental engineers, Nicole Brown is charged with managing New York City's groundwater system. In her position, she's been responsible for projects ranging from revamping the Big Apple's water supply during the 2002 drought emergency to designing a system to pump water out of the ground and treat it for residential use. With a vast understanding of water treatment processes and design, Brown works with municipalities around the country to properly develop environmentally friendly systems. "The main thrust of my work for New York has been to evaluate existing conditions and design improvements of the city's groundwater system," she explains. A graduate of Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta with a degree in civil engineering, Brown has been employed with Malcolm Pirnie, a century-old environmental consulting firm, for seven years. As a project manager, her team has won major awards, including one from the New York Association of Civil Engineers.

KENNETH H. FEARN JR.

Founder & Managing Partner

AGE: 39

INTEGRATED CAPITAL L.L.C.

Why he's hot, Kenneth Fearn is making his mark on the real estate front by raising capital from institutions and individual investors to acquire hotels. In 2004, his firm, Integrated Capital L.L.C., purchased two California Doubletree Hotels for a combined price of $40 million. Los Angeles-based Integrated Capital expanded its reach in 2005 by buying a third hotel, a Marriott Residence Inn in Columbia, Maryland, for an undisclosed amount. The Doubletree hotels have 520 guestrooms in total and the Marriott Residence Inn Hotels have 238 guestrooms. Fearn says Integrated has purchased $100 million in assets since its inception and is in the process of raising $200 million in equity commitments. Prior to founding Integrated Capital, Fearn was a managing director and CFO at Maritz, Wolff and Co., a private equity real estate firm.

NJEMA FRAZIER

Physicist

AGE: 35

NATIONAL NUCLEAR SECURITY ADMINISTRATION

Why she's hot: Brought to our attention by the National Society of Black Engineers, Njema Frazier manages the code and model development for nuclear weapons simulations. Serving as a federal manager within the Office of Advanced Simulation and Computing, she has purview over the Integrated Codes and Physics and Engineering Models program. She oversees a budget of $200 million and ranks among senior-level management reporting quarterly to the deputy administrator for defense programs in NNSA. What's next? Plenty, but it's top-secret, for now.

ANTOINE FUQUA

Film Director, Producer

AGE: 39

FUQUA FILMS

Why he's hot: One of the few African Americans to direct a motion picture with a $100 million budget, the Training Day film director is setting up his Fuqua Films banner at 20th Century Fox. The studio, which pursues few exclusive pacts with directors, has given him an exclusive one-year production deal and a one-year option to renew. He sealed the deal with his solid contributions to the drama pilot Murder Book for Fox Broadcasting and the reputation he built over the last several years as director of The Replacement Killers, starring Chow Yun Fat; Tears of the Sun with Bruce Willis; and the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced King Arthur. Next up: the action-packed thriller By Any Means Necessary.

RICHARD C. GAY

Senior VP, Strategy & Business Operations

AGE: 37

VH1 AND CMT COUNTRY MUSIC TV

Why he's hot: Millions of people view Richard Gav's work daily. He's the business strategist behind VH1 and CMT: Country Music Television, reaching 86 million and 77 million viewers, respectively. He also oversees VH1 Classic, VH1 Soul, and VHUno digital channels. "I deal with budgets, long-range planning initiatives and opportunities, as well as day-today operations," says Gay, a former partner at the consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton. He recently orchestrated a deal with Wal-Mart to market and promote country music singer Toby Keith and brokered a cross-promotion arrangement between VH1 and Starbucks, which owns a nascent record label.

+ Nick Cannon

Actor & Producer

AGE: 25

Why he's hot: Renaissance men are getting younger and younger. Take Nick Cannon, for instance. He has six film projects in the works; a production and film company called Mr. Renaissance Entertainment, a new show on MTV, Nick Cannon Presents, Wild "N Out; and he recently released "Can I Live?" a controversial single about abortion that appears on his new CD.

But Cannon's not new to the small screen-or the big one for that matter. He's spent his entire adult life entertaining. He set out for Hollywood at 16 and landed standup gigs at famed comedy clubs the Improv, the Laugh Factory, and the Comedy Store. He became a regular on the Nickelodeon cable television channel, hosting, co-hosting, and guest starring in a number of shows. He hit the big time in 2002 with the starring role in the movie Drumline, in which he plays a gifted but rebellious drummer from Harlem.

Cannon's last three films--Love Don't Cost a Thing, Shall We Dance, and Underclassman--grossed more than $100 million. And he not only starred in Underclassman, he also wrote and executive produced it.

Cannon recently turned his attention to creating big-screen opportunities for other African American actors and actresses, and is currently executive producing two other films.

+ Lisa Ellis

General Manager, Acting President

AGE: 35

SONY URBAN MUSIC

Why she's hot: Lisa Ellis, general manager and acting president of Sony Urban Music, is on a short list of black executives at major labels. Ellis oversees the division's day-to-day operations in a role that encompasses A&R, publicity, marketing, promotion, and online content. She also works with the company's U.S. labels on matters relating to urban music. Sony BMG Music Entertainment, with close to $4 billion in annual revenues, is the No. 2 recording company in the world.

Ellis previously served as vice president of strategic marketing and music licensing at Sony Music, where she created licensing campaigns for various artists, including Destiny's Child. Now one of the most powerful African American women in the industry, Ellis joined the Columbia Records family in 1995 as a local promotion manager after bolstering her career in the marketing departments of Pepsi-Cola, CBS Radio, and Reebok International.

Entrenched in the business for a solid decade now. Ellis has been credited with turning the once-unknown Fugees and R&B singer Maxwell into household names. More recently, the power broker has put her stamp on rising stars like neo-soul singer John Legend and R&B artist Amerie. Ellis notes that finding quality artists who can sing, write, and perform live is a constant challenge. "It is easy to find singers," she says. "It is harder to find stars."

RALPH V. GILLES

AGE: 35

Product Design Director, Truck Studio

DAIMLERCHRYSLER CORP.

Why he's hot: Ralph Gilles is the hotshot who spearheaded the well-executed design of the Chrysler 300, clearly the most influential American car today. The alluring sedan propelled auto sales to record heights and captured more than 30 awards. In July, Gilles was made the director of interior and exterior product design for DaimlerChrysler's truck studio. Rolling out in 2006 are sleeker versions of the Dodge Ram 1500, Jeep Grand Cherokee, and Dodge Magnum. Gilles is now in the driver's seat of the next generation of minivans, a market segment Dodge leads with a 20% share in the U.S.

GREGG A. GONSALVES

Partner &Managing Director Industrial & Natural Resources Group

AGE: 37

GOLDMAN SACHS

Why he's hot: Gregg Gonsalves, who appeared on our 2003 Hot List, knows the art of the deal extremely well. In 2004, his prowess earned him a promotion to partner of the Wall Street powerhouse Goldman Sachs. He continues to structure billion-dollar transactions in his arena of choice: the aerospace, defense, and chemical sectors. Holding a degree in mechanical engineering from Columbia University's School of Engineering and Applied Science and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, Gonsalves has been involved in mergers and acquisitions activity related to some of the largest companies, in industries ranging from automobile manufacturing to paper and forest products.

+ Damon Evans

Director of Athletics

AGE: 36

UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA

Why he's hot: Age is no indicator of experience or performance. The 14-year career and track record of UGA director of athletics Damon Evans can attest to that. The youngest athletics director in the Southeastern Conference, Evans was responsible for securing $81 million in tax-exempt financing for the construction of UGA athletic facilities. He also grew UGA's athletic association reserve fund from $1 million to $9.5 million over a five-year period--the largest jump in the history of the organization.

Evans became the director of athletics at UGA, a Division 1-A school, in the summer of last year. Prior to that, he served for four years as senior associate athletics director. He oversees a $60 million capital campaign--the largest in athletic association history--and negotiated a deal to outsource the marketing rights of UGA's licensed apparel to multimedia sports marketing company International Sports Properties. That deal guarantees UGA $14 million over the next five years.

Evans is always thinking of ways to increase UGA's brand awareness: "In order to run a successful business, it is important to have a well-established brand identity. The success of our organization will depend upon having the right people in the right positions and empowering them to do their jobs."

F. GARY GRAY

Film Director, Producer

AGE: 36

Why he's hot: F. Gary Gray is one of the few African American directors whom studios call on to helm big-budget action films. Even though his latest movie, Be Cool, the Get Shorty sequel, opened earlier this year to lackluster reviews, it grossed a respectable $55.6 million at the box office and generated impressive DVD sales. Gray has no formal training in film, yet the former video auteur has made a string of hits over the last decade: Friday, Set It Off, The Negotiator, A Man Apart, and The Italian Job--the 2003 film that earned him a spot among Hollywood's elite after it grossed $105 million in box office receipts. His next assignment will be shooting the sequel, The Brazilian Job.

JASON HALL

Senior VP/Interactive Entertainment Whiz Kid

AGE: 34

WARNER BROS.

Why he's hot: Jason Hall is the wizard behind movie-based video games like the Matrix Online and Harry Potter. A hot commodity in the gaming industry, he was tapped by Warner Bros. execs in 2004 to lead the company's interactive entertainment group. Hall is managing more than 150 developers and heading up more than 20 projects, including the Friends 10th Anniversary Trivia Game and a video game inspired by Dirty Harry. A garner and a technology buff himself, Hall started Monolith Productions at the age of 24. His company, which became wildly successful after it worked on a video game for Alien vs. Predator 2, was acquired last year by Warner Bros.

COREY HARWELL

Neuroscience PH.D. Student, MIT

AGE: 27

DEPT. OF BRAIN & COGNITIVE SCIENCE AND THE PICOWER INSTITUTE FOR LEARNING AND MEMORY

Why he's hot: Corey Harwell is conducting groundbreaking research that characterizes the function of a gene, cpg15 (Candidate Plasticity Gene), which can be used to support stem cell survival, "Our hope is that in the future, cpg15 could be used as a potential therapeutic target ... to treat many diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's," says Harwell. Through his research, published in Nature Nueroscience and the Journal of Nuerouerobiology, Harwell conducts basic science research, so all of the lab work has been done on animal models. "But the hope with all basic research is that the principals that we learn ... can be applied to humans;" he says.

MELLODY HOBSON

President

AGE: 36

ARIEL CAPITAL MANAGEMENT L.L.C.

Why she's hot: Mellody Hobson manages the day-to-day operations of the largest black-owned mutual fund company in the country. No. 1 on the BE ASSET MANAGERS list, Ariel has more than $20 billion in assets under management. Hobson is in the process of turning company employees into specialists. "We've spent a lot of time making individuals in the firm more and more focused on specific responsibilities," she says. And Hobson is positioning the 23-year-old company for the future: "I've been doing a big project on how our company is structured and making sure that we're well-positioned for the next 30 or 40 years, making sure we can get through all kinds of business and economic cycles."

DR. KEVIN HOLCOMB

Director of Gynecologic Oncology

AGE: 38

BETH ISRAEL MEDICAL CENTER, NY

Why he's hot: Kevin Holcomb is one of about 12 black male physicians in the country dedicated to gynecologic oncology medicine. His special interest is the laparoscopic management of GYN malignancies, and he's among the first physicians in his field trained in the use of robotic surgery. Holcomb performs about 200 surgeries a year in addition to being an assistant clinical professor in obstetrics and gynecology at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. He's also very involved in physician awareness and community outreach programs, particularly as they relate to educating women in the Harlem community about the benefits of cancer screening and early detection.

+ Harold Ford, Jr.

U.S. Representative (D-Tenn.), Candidate for U.S. Senate

AGE: 35

Why he's hot: Well into his fifth term in office, Ford continues to gain political momentum. Last year, he was appointed by the Joint Forces Command to serve on the Transformation Advisory Group. He also sits on the powerful House Budget Committee and House Committee on Financial Services. Today, after nearly 10 years in the House, Ford has decided to run for the U.S. Senate seat of outgoing Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist in 2006.

Why vacate a safe seat in the House for an uphill battle in the Senate? Ford has explained to his constituents that the biggest issues facing the country over the next decade or so will be answered in the U.S. Senate. Win or lose in the upcoming senatorial race, Ford will always be a role model for today's young Americans, having been the youngest person ever elected to Congress. The eldest son of former U.S.

Rep. Harold E. Ford Sr., also from Tennessee Ford Jr. earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1992 and his law degree from the University of Michigan Law School in 1996 the year he was first sworn to represent the Ninth District of Tennessee. He was 26.

+ Beyonce Knowles

Singer, Actress

AGE: 24

Why she's hot: Even before she inspired Tommy Hilfiger's fragrance line, True Star, Beyonce Knowles was well on her way to becoming one. The former frontwoman of R&B group Destiny's Child went solo in 2003, and her debut CD, Dangerously in Love, sold 1.4 million copies, and won five Grammy awards.

A budding actress, Knowles played the title role in the television production Carmen: A Hip-Hopera. She made her silver-screen debut as Foxxy Cleopatra in Austin Powers: Goldmember and had a starring role in The Fighting Temptations. Next year, she will appear in The Pink Panther, co-starring Steve Martin, and she recently inked a multimillion-dollar deal to play the coveted role of one of the title characters in Dreamgirls, the movie adapted from the hit Broadway play.

Knowles has millions in endorsement deals, including a five-year, $4.7 million contract with L'Oreal and a $3 million contract with Hilfiger's Star fragrance line.

And did we mention she had style to spare? Knowles and her mother, Tina, collaborated to develop a women's clothing line called The House of Dereon, named after Knowles' grandmother. The line consists of urban and couture styles that retail for between $100 and $300. Earlier this year, Knowles and her mother signed a licensing agreement with G-III Apparel Group Ltd. to distribute The House of Dereon fashions.

PHIL IVEY

Professional Poker Player

AGE: 29

Why he's hot: Phil Ivey has captured the country's attention with extraordinary wins at some high-stakes tables. This year, Ivey won his fifth career bracelet at the World Series of Poker tournament in Las Vegas, earning a little more than $630,000. When he won his first World Series of Poker bracelet in 2000 at the age of 23, he was one of the youngest winners in the history of the tournament. Two years later, he tied a World Series of Poker record by winning three events in a single year. In all, Ivey has cashed in at nearly 50 tournaments, reached six finals tables, and amassed more than $1.25 million.

CURTIS "50 CENT" JACKSON

Rapper, Entrepreneur

AGE: 30

G-UNIT

Why he's hot: A seven-figure recording contract with Eminem in 2002 propelled 50 Cent's career. Today, he is an established hip-hop superstar building an empire worth millions. In 2003, he joined Marc Ecko and launched the G-Unit Clothing Co. It raked in $110 million in retail sales in its inaugural year. He also boasts his own line of Reebok sneakers, the G-Unit Collection. The following year he teamed up with Glaceau, the maker of Vitamin Water, to launch a grape-flavored drink, Formula 50. He is starring in Get Rich or Die Tryin' and recently published his autobiography, From Pieces to Weight.

DR. DAVID C. JOHNSON

Orthopedic Surgeon

AGE: 36

MOUNT VERNON ORTHOPEDICS AND SPORTS MEDICINE

Why he's hot: With arthroscopic surgery for the elbow, knee, and shoulder as his specialty, David C. Johnson has used his services to maintain the A-game of a number of professional athletes. The Long Island, New York, native practices his craft at Mount Vernon Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Alexandria, Virginia, one of the top 10 hospitals in the nation for orthopedic care. His skills have earned him fellowships at the famed Steadman Hawkins Clinic in Vail, Colorado, where many professional athletes undergo treatment. He's creating a state-of-the-art facility to benefit athletes of every playing level.

PAUL JUDGE, PH.D.

Chief Technology Officer

AGE: 27

CIPHERTRUST

Why he's hot: You've got mail! But is it secure? Leave it up to Paul Judge to find the answer. Under his direction, CipherTrust, a $37 million e-mail security company, is at the forefront of research and development. "E-mail has become the most critical form of communication," says Judge. "So, protecting those systems is a top priority." Judge joined CipherTrust in 2000, its inaugural year, bringing with him experience from IBM and NASA. Named to MIT's list of top 100 innovators in the world, he holds 11 patents on technologies in computer security. He has a Ph.D. and M.S. in network security from Georgia Tech and a B.S. from Morehouse College.

CHARLES KING

Vice President, Agent

AGE: 38

WILLIAM MORRIS AGENCY L.L.C.

Why he's hot: One of the few senior executives of color at a top talent agency, Charles King cuts deals for rising stars and megastars alike. As a vice president in the motion picture department, King was instrumental in bringing actor, playwright, and producer Tyler Perry from the stage to the big screen by packaging the feature film Diary of a Mad Black Woman. The film grossed more than $50 million at the box office and sold more than 4 million DVDs. King's client roster includes a number of young filmmakers, musicians, and actors, including Tim Story (Barbershop, Fantastic Four); director Craig Brewer, whose feature film debut, Hustle and Flow, won the 2005 Audience Award at Sundance; Outkast's Andre Benjamin; and actor Michael Ealy.

+ Kevin Liles

Executive VP

AGE: 37

WARNER MUSIC GROUP

Why he's hot: Liles is considered the highest-ranking African American in the music world. He is on the executive team at Warner Music Group (a $3.29 billion giant) and owns a percentage of the company. He presides over a collection of the world's best-known record labels, including Atlantic and Warner Bros., as well as the group's distribution, marketing, and music publishing companies. Liles' path to the top of the industry started in 1991 when he accepted an unpaid internship at Def Jam Recordings. In 1994, he replaced his boss as mid-Atlantic manager, and that same year he became general manager of promotions for the West Coast. In 1996, he was promoted to general manager and vice president of promotions. He became Def Jam Music Group's first president in 1998 at the age of 30 and helped increase revenues from less than $100 million to more than $400 million. In 2002, he became the executive vice president of Island Def Jam Music Group. "We can no longer just have big dreams, we have to work hard and have big dreams. I was able to go from intern to president in seven years of my career because I simply worked harder than anybody else and I truly believe in that theory." Liles recently published a book with Samantha Marshall called Hake it Happen: The Hip Hop Generation Guide to Success(Atria Books; $24).

+ Elliott J. Lyons

Director, Severe Service Product

Center & Global Defense and Export

AGE: 39

INTERNATIONAL TRUCK AND ENGINE CORP.

Why he's hot: Elliott Lyons is in the business of severe service trucks. What's a severe service truck, you ask? "They're heavy-duty trucks like the dump trucks and water tankers sent to New Orleans to help in the hurricane recovery cleanup," Lyons explains. A director at International Truck and Engine Corp., Lyons says his role is to "develop creative solutions to solve any kind of problem." And he and his team have been building a long list of happy clients. Over the last three years, company revenues have increased by 225%--from $550 million to $1.4 billion. He's especially proud of one of his latest inventions--the CXT monster pickup truck with the tagline: The ultimate truck for extreme work and extreme play. The seven-ton, 21-foot-long consumer vehicle sits on wheels almost three feet high and sells for $120,000 to $150,000. Lyons says his success "hinges on showing the company that I can add value and deliver better than anybody." His formula for success begins with valuing and empowering his team. "I give them the latitude to do what they do best and come to me when they need my assistance," says Lyons. "I have become a very good listener, and I challenge the status quo. I truly believe that if you do these things, you'll be successful."

DALE LEFEBVRE

CEO, CEO & Chairman

AGE: 34

PHAROS CAPITAL; CONVERGE GLOBAL TRADING

Why he's hot: Dale LeFebvre is not just CEO of one BE 100s company. He's driving the strategy for two mammoth entities. As managing partner/CEO of Pharos Capital Group (No. 2 on the BE PRIVATE EQUITY list), he oversees three funds worth over $450 million. He's also chairman and CEO of Converge Global Trading (No. 7 on the BE INDUSTRIAL/SERVICE 100 list with $390 million in revenues), one of the largest distributors of semiconductors and computer products. LeFebvre began his career as a researcher at Bell Laboratories and has held positions in the mergers and acquisition and private equity groups for Morgan Stanley, Blue Capital, and First Union Private Equity Group.

DEREK R. LEWIS

Vice President of Retail Sales,

Great West Business Unit

AGE: 38

THE PEPSI BOTTLING GROUP INC.

Why he's hot: As vice president of retail sales for the largest of seven sectors within Pepsi Bottling Group, Derek Lewis is no stranger to attaining success. Lewis joined the No.1 manufacturer, distributor, and seller of Pepsi-Cola beverages in 1988 as a campus hire, and today manages one of the largest units within PBG in terms of volumes sold and revenue. The unit generates more than $1 billion in annual sales. Lewis' daily tasks involve broadening strategies to help the group achieve volume, revenue, and margin objectives. His overall responsibility is to set the functional agenda for the unit's entire retail sales organization.

SUZANNE

MALVEAUX

White House

Correspondent

AGE: 39

CNN

Why she's hot: Suzanne Malveaux has been giving cable junkies the lowdown on President George W. Bush since 2002. She recently traveled with him to Belgium, Germany, and Slovakia and is a regular in Crawford, Texas, home to the president's ranch. "It's just three turns and 30 minutes between my hotel in Waco and the Crawford elementary school, where I file my reports on President Bush's whereabouts," she said. An Emmy Award winning journalist, Malveaux made a name for herself as a general assignment correspondent for NBC in Chicago and Washington, D.C. She covered President Bill Clinton's impeachment, the 2000 presidential election, and the Elian Gonzalez custody battle.

JAMES MASON &

WENDELL MCCAIN

Managing

Partners

AGE: 36 & 35

PARISH CAPITAL

Why they're hot: In just two years, James Mason and Wendell McCain have raised $420 million and closed the first private equity fund at Parish Capital, their Durham, North Carolina-based firm. "Our partners are a combination of endowments, pension funds, institutions, and a super high net worth family office," says Mason. The largest portion of Parish Capital's portfolio represents investments in other private equity and venture capital funds such as Ascend Ventures, which has about $120 million in capital under management. About 15% of Parish's investments are made directly to companies around the world. The dynamic duo is currently seeking opportunities in Europe.

ANNA-MARIA

MCGOWAN

Aerospace

Engineer

AGE: 36

NASA LANGLEY RESEARCH CENTER

Why she's hot: At 12, Anna-Maria McGowan was intrigued with airplanes. Today, the aerospace engineer designs and tests cutting-edge technologies for aircrafts. McGowan, a project manager in the aeronautics program at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, directs a $10 million-plus project, part of NASA's strategy for the future of flight. She works with diverse groups, including the Department of Defense and major universities. Her team works on futuristic technologies, like wings that change shape on command, and is a leader on smart, biometric applications for aerospace vehicles. "It's not a far stretch to say we're working on Buck-Rogers-like technologies."

+ Aaron McGruder

Comic Strip Creator

AGE: 31

Why he's hot: After years of peddling The Boondocks to network executives, Aaron McGruder is finally the top dog of an animated television series. The syndicated comic strip, which appears in more than 300 newspapers, made its television debut in November on Cartoon Network's late-night Adult Swim. The network has commissioned 15 episodes, with McGruder serving as executive producer. He calls the shots in terms of writers, artists, and actors. The series features a celebrity cast, including Regina King and John Witherspoon. Rebel Base and Hudlin Entertainment are producing the show in association with Sony Pictures Television.

SAM

MARTIN

Vice President

AGE: 37

HBO FILMS

Why she's hot: Sam Martin oversees the development and production of original movies. Provocative films are the hallmark of HBO's movie division and run the gamut from small independents to big theatrical events. Martin was responsible for bringing Lackawanna Blues to HBO Films, in addition to securing the script and overseeing the production of Sometimes in April, the film about the 1994 Rwanda genocide. She worked on Empire Falls, helping Richard Russo adapt his Pulitzer Prize winning novel, which garnered 10 Emmy nominations, including outstanding miniseries. Martin joined HBO Films as director in 2000 and spearheaded Boycott and the Golden Globe nominated Iron-Jawed Angels. She also collaborated on John Leguizamo's directorial debut Undefeated.

ANDREA NELSON MEIGS

Motion Picture Talent Agent

AGE: 37

CREATIVE ARTISTS AGENCY

Why she's hot: Andrea Nelson Meigs worked her way up to talent agent extraordinaire from mailroom clerk, and she had a law degree from Duke University School of Law when she got the job. So why did she start in the mailroom? Because Nelson Meigs was smart enough to know she had to get her foot in the door any way she could. Today, the power player has a roster of A-list clients, including Jamie Foxx; Jon Voight; and Overbrook Entertainment, Will Smith's production company. A returnee to our Hot List, she was instrumental in helping Beyonce Knowles grab one of the title roles in the upcoming movie adaptation of the hit Broadway play Dreamgirls.

SCOTT MILLS

Executive Vice President & CFO

AGE: 37

BLACK ENTERTAINMENT TELEVISION

Why he's hot: Scott Mills is not just a numbers man. "Scott serves as the voice of reason, and the arbiter of fiscal responsibility and overall business development across our BET brands," says BET President and CEO Debra Lee. In addition to managing the finances, Mills is also directly responsible for expanding the BET platform. In 2005, Mills structured a multimillion dollar sale of BET's book publishing business to Harlequin Enterprises Ltd. He structured the deal that allows BET to sell DVDs with exclusive BET programming from its award-winning shows, video shows, and other programming at Wal-Mart. And he's currently working on a deal that will provide BET content through a wireless carrier the company doesn't yet want to disclose. Prior to taking his current position, Mills was chief operating officer of BET Interactive, and before that senior vice president of business development for BET Holdings.

JADA MIRANDA

Vice President, Comedy Programming

AGE: 28

HBO ENTERTAINMENT

Why she's hot: Jada Miranda is among a handful of high-ranking black television executives. Over her two-year tenure, Miranda has been involved in the creative and production sides of various programs, including the highly acclaimed hit comedy series Entourage, as well as Curb Your Enthusiasm and The Comeback. On a daily basis, she manages a well-orchestrated balancing act by working closely with writers, fielding scores of show pitches, and overseeing over 50 scripts in development. "The fact that good shows come out of a process that is so lightening fast [and] has so much pressure to perform ... is a testament to the people working here," she says.

+ Soledad O'Brien

Anchor, Reporter

AGE: 39

AMERICAN MORNING, CNN

Why she's hot: As co-host of CNN's American Morning news program, roughly a half million people depend on Soledad O'Brien every morning to inform them about what's going on in the world. From a live remote, O'Brien came into viewers' homes with reports on the 2005 London terrorist attacks and the devastation of last year's tsunami. And she asked tough questions of FEMA officials regarding the slow reaction to Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf region. A 16-year veteran, O'Brien has held positions as producer and writer for a number of local television stations and, at one point, co-hosted The Discovery Channel's The Know Zone, for which she won an Emmy in 1995. O'Brien started gaining greater visibility when she joined NBC's Weekend Today after a stint hosting MSNBC's technology program The Site.

VANESSA MORRISON MURCHISON

Senior Vice President, Production

AGE: 36

20th CENTURY FOX

Why she's hot: Vanessa Morrison Murchison is a woman of cinematic clout. As senior vice president of production at 20th Century Fox, she acquires and develops materials--from novels and short stories to screenplays--and converts them into theatrical films. In addition to managing the creative aspects of development and production, Morrison Murchison also hires screenwriters and actors and participates in selecting directors and producers for her film projects.

Specializing in family movies and mainstream comedies, Morrison Murchison worked on Garfield, Cheaper by the Dozen, Dr. Doolittle 2, and Fat Albert. She is currently working on the sequels to Garfield and Cheaper by the Dozen.

BERNARD MUIR

Director of Athletics

AGE: 36

GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY

Why he's hot: On July 1, 2005, Bernard Muir was named director of athletics for Georgetown University. He oversees the operations of all intercollegiate and intramural athletic programs, which include more than 100 coaches and staff who support more than 650 student athletes participating in 27 sports. The majority compete in the Big East conference. Muir is the 10th person in the university's history to serve in this position. According to Muir, "The No. 1 priority is making sure that the student athletes know that there is somebody who's here to champion their cause and make sure they have the best experience possible, both on and off the playing field."

+ Tyler Perry

Playwright, Actor, Producer

AGE: 36

Why he's hot: Tyler Perry has made more than $75 million staging and producing plays. This year's screen adaptation of Diary of a Mad Black Woman, one of his earlier pieces, grossed $50 million at the U.S. box office. The film cost just $5 million to make, half of which was provided by Perry. A second film adaptation, Madea's Family Reunion, is scheduled for release next year.

Perry has moved beyond the genre of low-budget, gospel-heavy melodramas, often dismissed as the "Chitlin' Circuit." But his journey to success has been thorny. He wrote his first play, I Know I've Been Changed, from letters he wrote to himself about being a survivor of child abuse. Early stagings of the show failed repeatedly, and Perry ended up homeless. Then his fortunes changed. Perry went on to create new musical comedies as well as adapt and direct two plays based on Bishop T.D. Jakes' novels Woman, Thou Art loosed and Behind Closed Doors.

Today, hundreds of thousands of fans, mostly African American, religiously attend Perry's plays in major cities nationwide and purchase DVDs of the performances from his Website. Perry has remained faithful to his audience, fearing that a more traditional method of staging his plays would detract from the realness found in urban theatres--to which his fans would say a resounding "Amen."

DAVID L. NICHOLS

Executive Partner; Practice Lead

AGE: 36

GLOBAL SOA, ACCENTURE

Why he's hot: David Nichols and his global team of about 350 architects are in very high demand. With their cutting-edge, multitasking technology integration software, they help Accenture's Fortune 100, Fortune 500, and Fortune 1000 clients do business more efficiently and increase productivity. Nichols' job is twofold. He's responsible for all aspects of group operations in the company, including human resource growth, training and capability development, as well as financial growth. Since Nichols has been global practice lead, revenues for the business unit have increased about 400% in just one year, adding up to hundreds of millions of dollars for the company.

ADRIAN D. PARKER

Advertising Manager

AGE: 26

FOOT LOCKER INC. USA

Why he's hot: From negotiating media and marketing partnerships to developing broadcast and print ads, Adrian Parker is charged with delivering first-rate advertising to support Foot Locker Inc. USA, the $5.3 billion retail giant, which encompasses more than 3,200 Foot Locker, Lady Foot Locker, Kids Foot Locker, Champs Sports, and Footaction USA retail stores. Recently he formed alliances with entertainment powerhouses such as ESPN, MGM Studios, and Universal Music Group to support the brand's urban youth position. In 2003, the then 22-year-old revitalized Footaction's in-store television network of some 6 million viewers by creating TRENDZ, the first retail entertainment show.

+Stephen Stoute

Founder, CEO

AGE: 36

TRANSLATION CONSULTING AND BRAND IMAGING

Why he's hot: Stephen Stoute understands the value of the celebrity sell. The former record executive has connected Beyonce with Tommy Hilfiger, Jay-Z with Reebok, and Gwen Stefani with Hewlett-Packard. Noves such as these have put Stoute at the forefront of a new field called entertainment marketing.

For Reebok, the celebrity sell was a good fit. The athletic shoe manufacturer launched the S. Carter Collection by Rbk in April 2003. The global introduction of the collection was met with strong consumer demand and became the fastest-selling shoe in Reebok's history. Such successes have made Stoute's company, Translation Consulting and Brand Imaging, one of the hottest firms to hit Madison Avenue.

In the late 1990s, Stoute partnered with advertising exec Peter Arnell to launch marketing agency PASS, with a client roster including DaimlerChrysler, Reebok, Jose Cuervo, and McDonalds. When the venture was sold, Stoute got the idea for Translation: "How could Fortune 500 companies communicate with consumers in an authentic manner that didn't rely on formatted media? That was the premise." Hooking celebrities up with corporate giants takes more than a hot Rolodex. It requires an understanding of the market as well as excellent timing, instincts, and execution--and Stoute has proven he's got what it takes.

Among Stoute's other accomplishments: assembling an all-star group that included Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Jay-Z to invest a collective $10 million in Carol's Daughter, a Brooklyn-based beauty, health, and haircare business. Stoute remains a partner in that business.

BRIAN PARKER

VP, Emerging Markets & New Business Development

AGE: 30

CHOICE HOTELS INTERNATIONAL

Why he's hot: Brian Parker is the youngest and the first and only African American vice president at Choice Hotels International. In just two years, he has grown the number of African American and Hispanic-owned Choice hotel owners from one to 30. "African Americans spend $40 billion annually in the lodging industry but owned less than 1% of the hotels," says Parker about the landscape of minority-owned hotels before he got involved. And before Parker became a force in minority business development, he created and ran the sports marketing division for Choice hotels, which currently generates more than $20 million annually.

DONALD H. REHY

Senior VP & Deputy General Counsel

AGE: 38

FANNIE MAE

Why he's hot: Donald Remy, a New Orleans native, was assigned the task of coordinating Fannie Nae's response to the recent Gulf Coast disaster. While working with the company's Housing and Community Development Division, "we developed a strategy to distribute retail-owned foreclosed properties through HUD and FEHA." In 2002, Remy was appointed the first chief compliance officer. He has also served as a Pentagon lawyer and a captain in the U.S. Army, holding various positions, including special assistant to the deputy undersecretary of defense.

+Raven-Symone

Actor, Singer, Producer

AGE: 20

Why she's hot: To be a successful young actress and singer is not rare these days. But being the lead character and a producer of a hit show (featuring a predominantly black cast) makes Raven-Symone, star of That's So Raven, so remarkable.

The children's program and its star have won a multitude of awards. it has been picked up for a fourth season, making it one of the Disney Channel's longest-running shows, and it ranks No. 1 in the basic cable industry with girls aged 9 to 14.

Raven's popularity has made her a marketable commodity. Department stores Can't keep Raven-branded clothes, sheets, lunchboxes, and other items on their shelves. Last year's Raven-themed video game units. Toy stores have recently begun selling and cosmetic collection for girls is available at retail outlet. Disney estimates Raven merchandise should approach $400 million in sales by the end of 2006.

The actress has already proved she has staying power; she's grown up on television since joining The Cosby Show at the age of 3. Plus, she's already released two albums. What's next? Though Raven can't see into the future like the character she plays on TV. that isn't stopping her from predicting more success.

H. PHILIP SALHON

Vice President, Corporate Treasurer

AGE: 39

METLIFE

Why he's hot: H. Philip Salmon is the man behind a legendary merger. This past July, he helped MetLife complete its purchase of Traveler's Life & Annuity from Citigroup. By leveraging the power of the MetLife brand, Salmon led his team--for 29 days--in raising $7 billion in capital of the more than $11.8 billion needed to finance the transaction It was the largest deal in MetLife's 137-year history as well as one of the biggest acquisitions within the financial industry for 2005. The transaction secured MetLife's position as the largest life insurance company in the nation. Day-to-day, Salmon is responsible for corporate finance and strategic capital planning.

JEFFREY SCOTT

Managing Director

AGE: 35

BLACK ENTERPRISE/GREENWICH STREET CORPORATE PARTNERS

Why he's hot: Jeffrey Scott continues to help achieve the mission of Black Enterprise/Greenwich Street Corporate Growth Partners: to finance the growth of established minority-owned or managed companies. As managing director, Scott's responsibilities include the origination, organization, implementation, and monitoring of investments such as Tama Broadcasting and the national Hispanic media company, DMG Media. The firm oversees eight portfolio companies and ranks No. 9 on the BE PRIVATE EQUITY FIRMS list with $91 million in assets under management. "We offer useful information to those within the minority space," says Scott. "My ultimate responsibility is to help the best become even better."

J. MARSHALL SHEPHERD

Meteorologist

AGE: 36

NASA'S GODDARD SPACE FLIGHT CENTER

Why he's hot: As a research meteorologist, he serves as deputy project scientist for the $1 billion Global Precipitation Measurement mission, a series of satellites that monitor our environment. For the past 12 years, Shepherd has conducted research to help predict weather and climate changes. In 2004, the White House honored him with the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest distinction of its kind in the nation that's awarded for cutting-edge research and development. Shepherd is also a member of the National Science Foundation Advisory Council and the U.N. World Meteorological Organization Steering Committee.

JOHN SINGLETON

Executive Producer & Filmmaker

AGE: 38

Why he's hot: He's one of the hottest directors in Hollywood. This year, Four Brothers, the action adventure flick he directed, grossed $71 million, and Hustle & Flow, the indie film he produced and mortgaged his home to provide $2.8 million in financing for, grossed $22.1 million and won huge critical acclaim and top honors. In fact, when Hustle & Flow was screened at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival, the bidding war between studios for distribution rights quickly soared to a record-breaking $9 million. He won major acclaim for his breakout film Boyz N the Hoodat the age of 24. After 14 years, the director still hasn't lost his touch.

STEPHEN A. SMITH

NBA Analyst

AGE: 38

ESPN

Why he's hot: Quite frankly, Smith is one of those guys whom fans and critics love to hate. He has been accused of having more attitude than opinion. And to put it bluntly, he says, "Those guys are dead wrong. To me, opinion and attitude are the same. If you have an opinion, you've got an attitude." Smith argues that at the very least, he backs his opinions with facts. The 10-year veteran has built a name for himself in the broadcast industry as host of Quite Frankly with Stephen A. Smith, a 60-minute daily dose of sports, news, and opinions. Smith has a roster of accomplishments that include host of The Stephen A. Smith Show on ESPN Radio; analyst of the NBA Shootaround pre-game show; NBA Nation; and NBA Fast Break, to name a few. Smith envisions himself as the next Ed Bradley of the sports journalism world. "I want to expand beyond sports and do something relevant and prevalent in everyday lives," he says.

WILL SMITH

Producer, Actor

AGE: 37

OVERBROOK ENTERTAINMENT

Why he's hot: Smith is one of the highest paid actors in Hollywood, and made $28 million for I, Robot. His last blockbuster, Hitch, grossed $360 million at the box office worldwide. As a partner in Overbrook Entertainment, Smith has added producer to his list of credits with films such as Pursuit of Happyness and Monster Hunter, scheduled for upcoming release. He's the executive producer and co-creator of the UPN series All of Us and is an investor in The Momentum Experience, a theatrical distribution company that launched in July. Smith and his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, are investors in Carol's Daughter, the 2005 BLACK ENTERPRISE Emerging Company of the Year.

+Pharrell Williams

Producer

AGE: 32

STAR TRAK ENTERTAINMENT

Why he's hot: Pharrell Williams not only produces hot music but orchestrates a multimillion-dollar enterprise. He's been able to turn his credentials as producer-extraordinaire into partnerships that reach far beyond the music industry. He's launching Ice Cream Skate footwear, created and launched Billionaire Boys Club Clothing line in 2004.

Known for churning out hits with Neptunes' partner Chad Hugo for the likes of Jay-Z, Nelly, and Usher, Williams has produced a host of songs for music soundtracks for Hitch, Girl Next Door, and Daredevil. Right now, he's in the studio focusing on his wildly anticipated solo album, In My Mind, scheduled for a November release.

Widely considered a major influence of what new, innovative music sounds like, William's rock credentials were further bolstered by his appearance at the 2004 Grammy Awards, performing The Beatles / Saw Her Standing There on drums along with Sting, Dave Matthews and Vince Gill.

JAMES L. TANNER JR.

Lawyer, Agent

AGE: 36

WILLIAMS & CONNOLLY L.L.P.

Why he's hot: A partner at one of the premier litigation firms in the country, James Tanner brokers contracts and endorsement deals for players in the NBA, WNBA, and the NFL In 2004, Tanner helped negotiate more than $150 million in NBA contracts alone. This one-time senior adviser in the 1996 Clinton/Gore presidential campaign joined Williams & Connolly in 1997, charged with helping build up the firm's sports practice. Through his efforts, the roster has grown from seven to more than 30 clients, with Tanner representing blue-chip athletes such as Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs, Grant Hill of the Orlando Magic, and Marvin Williams, the No. 2 pick in the 2005 NBA draft who will play for the Atlanta Hawks.

KANYE WEST

Producer, Hip-hop Artist

AGE: 28

ROC-A-FELLA RECORDS

Why he's hot: After making hits behind the scenes for other hip-hop and R&B artists, Kanye West made his debut in front of the mic in 2004 with College Dropout, which sold nearly 3 million copies. At the 2005 Grammy Awards, West received 10 nominations and went home with three Awards. His follow-up recording, Late Registration, which was released late this summer, has already gone platinum. If you think there's no more originality in hip-hop, you haven't listened to West. His use of accelerated lyrics from classic rock and R&B songs, stringed instruments, and live choirs is a creative signature of his music. And then there are his lyrics. Instead of rhyming about slingin' and blingin' on the streets, West rhymes about the imperfect human condition, the state of nations, the grace of Jesus, and his own struggles and misgivings. Creative and driven, West is not afraid to express his views on anything. Not even the president.

PAMELA H. WHEELER

Director of Operations

AGE: 38

WOMEN'S NATIONAL BASKETBALL PLAYERS ASSOCIATION

Why she's hot: Pamela Wheeler is in charge and on top of her game. Wheeler manages the day-to-day operations and coordinates all business affairs for the WNBPA, which serves as a labor union for the players. When she was appointed in April 1999, her initial charge was to coordinate negotiations between the nascent WNBPA and the struggling WNBA, which culminated in the first collective bargaining agreement in women's professional sports in June of that year. In 2003, she renegotiated that collective agreement to include a provision for free agency.

ELDRICK "TIGER" WOODS

Professional Golf Player

AGE: 30

Why he's hot: He's seen his share of bogeys this year, but Tiger Woods continues to dazzle the world since launching his professional career in 1996. His World Golf Championship NEC win was his fifth this season and the 45th of his career. The winner's check alone was $1.3 million--his largest payoff so far. In April, Woods' sudden-death victory gave CBS its best Masters ratings in four years. By the end of the 2005 PGA season, he clinched the PGA Tour money title with a little over $9.9 million. Reportedly, Woods earned $87 million in income between June 2004 and June 2005.

+William Young Jr.

Military Strategies

AGE: 36

U.S. AIR FORCE SCHOOL OF ADVANCED AIR AND SPACE STUDIES

Why he's hot: Maj. William Young Jr. considers war both an art and a science that anyone can master. "I've gotten to where I am primarily due to hard work. I'm not the most brilliant or the most talented, I just work really hard ..."

A graduate of the prestigious Air Force Academy, Young has gone from books to bombs and now books again, developing his training in military strategy--the planning, conduct, and execution of warfare. A student at the most selective Air Force school, the U.S. Air Force School of Advanced Air and Space Studies, located at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama, Young is pursuing his master's degree in military operations. This handpicked class of 40 students--a mere 5% of those eligible to apply--learn the skills and knowledge needed to function as senior military strategists. Prior to his studies, he worked at the Pentagon and later served in Operation Enduring Freedom, where, as a navigator, he logged more than 72 hours of combined flying time with more than 1,000 flyovers within enemy lines as a chief within his Fighter/Bomber Team.

Upon graduation in June 2006, he will work all of his assignments at the three-star general level, working toward becoming one of the nation's leading information operations strategists. Well on his way, he is among 123 Air Force majors recently selected from nearly 3,100 candidates for early promotion to lieutenant colonel.

RUSSELL T. WRIGHT JR.

Chairman & CEO

AGE: 38

DIMENSIONS INTERNATIONAL INC.

Why he's hot: Since inheriting the corner office of a $150 million corporation from his father in 2003, Russell Wright Jr. has become the front man for an international information technology firm with 30 offices around the world. Ranked No. 35 on the 2005 BE INDUSTRIAL/SERVICE 100 list with $98.6 million in sales, Dimensions International marked the largest acquisition in the firm's history with the $30 million purchase of SENTEL Corp., a former RE 100s company. In February, the company won an $8.7 million contract from the Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command, and in April, the U.S. Army granted Dimensions a $4.96 million contract for RSD work.

WYCLEF

Hip-hop Artist/Producer

AGE: 33

Why he's hot: This preacher's son who became a Grammy Award winning hip-hop artist and producer is cutting deals. After years of producing and remixing hits for a variety of artists, Wyclef Jean has recently teamed up with cable television network HBO to produce and star in a comedy series loosely based on his life. Next year, Jean will reunite with The Fugees group members Pras Michel and Lauryn Hill to release their Reunion Album. The Score, the group's most successful recording, sold more than 17 million copies worldwide. The Haitian-born guitarist and activist also heads Yele Haiti, a nonpolitical organization that provides scholarships and humanitarian assistance for native Haitians.

--Additional reporting by Kenneth Meeks, Tanisha A. Sykes, Carolyn H. Brown, Sakina P. Spruell & Tennille H. Robinson Editorial research: Denise Campbell, Tracy H. Brown, Siobhan Benet & Maya Payne
COPYRIGHT 2005 Earl G. Graves Publishing Co., Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2005, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Date:Dec 1, 2005
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