2. James Dolan
Cablevision Systems Corporation President and CEO
Forget the money, although Dolan has more than any of us can even dream about. Forget the private jets and helicopters and the 10,000-square-foot Colonial mansion in Oyster Bay where Tiger Woods was rumored to hide out when things went south with Elin. Forget, even, the empire itself which Dolan can call his own: Cablevision, Radio City Music Hall, Clearview Cinemas, Madison Square Garden…the list goes on…and on. Consider only Dolan’s hold on Long Island—think of the flow of information, and his ability to control it. Cablevision provides Internet and cable television access to the majority of Long Island; Cablevision owns News 12 and Newsday—LI’s biggest broadcast and print news sources, respectively. Dolan controls all of it. It may not be a monopoly, but it sure feels like one; in fact, it almost feels like something bigger than that—it almost feels like a monarchy. Remember this, too: If LeBron James comes to the Knicks, it will be James Dolan who woos him, and James Dolan who signs the checks.
3. James Simons, Ph.D.
Renaissance Technologies, Inc. Founder and Chairman
It’s not his money that makes Simons powerful. It’s his genius—and how he uses it. He just happens to be a billionaire as well. Even better, he is a self-made billionaire who climbed his way onto the Forbes 2010 World’s Billionaires List at No. 80 with a net worth of $8.5 billion. To put this in perspective, Donald Trump ranks at No. 488 with a net worth of $2 billion and Oprah ranks at No. 400 with $2.4 billion. Simons is the mastermind of a time-tested investment strategy that helps to keep his company, Renaissance Technologies, from losing ground. Simons cracked codes for the U.S. Department of Defense during the Vietnam War, and when Wall Street was spiraling downward, Simons’ disciplined investment strategies kept his firm moving forward. His Medallion Fund surged 80 percent in 2008, despite the market collapse. But Simons is not just a billionaire, he’s a philanthropist and scholar. He funds scientific research and co-founded the charitable Simons Foundation with his wife, Marilyn. And like a truly powerful person, he does it all under the radar.
4. Bill O’Reilly
The O’Reilly Factor Host
As the Conservative agenda spreads, so too does the pervasive Fox News. And while Glenn Beck has been the most talked-about Fox News personality of late, Manhasset resident O’Reilly is still its most bankable. The O’Reilly Factor is reportedly on track to record its highest ratings ever, averaging 3.7 million viewers per week, up 8 percent over last year, according to Nielsen. (Those numbers are reflected in O’Reilly’s salary, which the L.A. Times reports is “well north of $10 million a year.”) By comparison, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann is reportedly averaging 984,000 viewers. Perhaps surprisingly, in an era of Tea Parties and Sen. Scott Brown, some feel O’Reilly has drifted away from the right and more toward the middle. That may be more perception than reality, but either way, the power wielded by O’Reilly right now is undeniable, especially on an island whose own political identity has shifted back toward the right over the last year.
5. Samuel Aronson, Ph.D.
Brookhaven National Laboratory Director
Physicist, mentor, leader, trailblazer. Aronson has dedicated much of his life’s work to overseeing the cutting-edge operations of Brookhaven National Lab. Since joining its accelerator department in 1978, he has continued to climb the ranks, pushing the envelope of the complex’s pioneering experiments with each step, ultimately supervising many of the Lab’s internationally recognized scientific breakthroughs and advances, such as its Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider. Physicists from around the world use the Collider to study what the universe could have resembled during its first moments of creation. Quarks, gluons, enigmatic dark matter—Aronson’s Beautiful Mind contemplates them all.
6. Stuart Rabinowitz
Hofstra University President
Following the landmark announcement of plans to build a new medical school and Hofstra’s hosting of the final 2008 presidential debate between Sen. John McCain and now-President Barack Obama, the past year has tested both Rabinowitz and Hofstra as an institution. Having weathered numerous PR headaches, including the DWI arrest of the school’s newly hired men’s basketball coach and the discontinuation of its decades-old football program, Rabinowitz—now in his 10th year as president—has persevered as a unwavering beacon of strength and stewardship for not only this venerable university but its legions of students and alumni. He continues to guide Hofstra as one of Long Island’s premier learning institutions and solidify its prominence.
7. Edward Mangano
Nassau County Executive
The former seven-term Nassau County Republican legislator from Bethpage beat the odds last December to make history, seizing the county’s top-elected spot from his well-funded Democratic opponent, two-term incumbent Tom Suozzi. It was a tough, hard-won battle—the result of a relentless grassroots campaign and month-long paper ballot recount. Mangano made good on some of his key campaign promises, repealing Suozzi’s Home Energy Tax and signing an executive order to begin reforming the county’s broken property tax assessment system—on Inauguration Day. Mangano has much more work cut out for him, however, namely, a ballooning budget gap estimated in the hundreds of millions.
8. Stanley Bergman
Henry Schein, Inc. CEO
For 21 years Bergman has been the chief executive of Henry Schein, Inc., one of the world’s leading producers of health care equipment and medical services. Chances are if you’ve gone to the dentist, a Henry Schein product has gone into your mouth. From a storefront drugstore in Queens opened by pharmacist Henry Schein and his wife Esther in 1932, it’s grown to become a Fortune 500 company, based in Melville, with more than 12,500 employees worldwide and a presence in 200 countries. And it boasts one very successful CEO. Bergman came to the company in 1980; now the 60-year-old executive ranks No. 316 on Forbes magazine’s list of top compensated CEOs. Here’s to his health!
9. Peter King
U.S. Representative (R-Seaford)
Long Island’s lone Republican Congressman is no stranger to controversy. In fact, he revels in it—he even writes back to those who send him hate mail. His post-9/11 rhetoric on Muslim-Americans ruffled feathers. His prior support of the IRA earned him harsh critics as well. And his bashing the media for their Michael Jackson coverage at the time of The King of Pop’s death (he called MJ a pedophile) won King both praise and disapproval. But he plays the game, too. For example, he flip-flopped on his condemnation of President Obama’s response to the failed Christmas bomber. That isn’t to say he’s going soft on Bam. His experience as ranking minority member of the Homeland Security Committee recently earned him chairmanship of the National Security Solutions Group, a partisan group that aims to hold the president accountable for “misguided policies.” What could be next for LI’s King? Well, there’s still time to challenge U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. Look out.
10. Dr. Samuel Stanley
Stony Brook University President
Since taking the reins following former Stony Brook President and Power List Hall of Famer Shirley Strum Kenny’s retirement, Stanley has had to fill some big shoes—and hasn’t skipped a beat. During his inauguration speech—in which he received an H1N1 vaccination onstage—the former vice chancellor for research at Washington University announced a plan to add 400 faculty members during the next decade, said he would seek to allocate more resources toward graduate programs, outlined a new research alliance with Brookhaven Lab and Cold Spring Harbor Lab, and vowed to revamp the SUNY University tuition process. Something tells us that although this is Stanley’s inaugural year on the Power List, it won’t be his last.