The 25 most powerful people in Central Florida: 1-5

24. Teresa Jacobs, Orange County commissioner

25. Harvey Massey, pest-control executive

How this series was prepared

To compile this list, Taking Names columnist Scott Maxwell assembled a panel of 16 plugged-in observers who are in a good position to judge influence in Central Florida. They come from the political, business, nonprofit and educational communities -- and are as diverse in ethnicity, age and gender as they are in their professions.

Their mission was simple: Compile a list of the most powerful people in Central Florida -- those people who know how to get big-scale results through influence, contacts, diligence and fortitude. Each panelist started with a blank slate and was asked to come up with 25 names and rank them in order. The higher the rank, the more points a power player earned. Then, we just added them up.

Panelists were prohibited from voting for themselves. Still, a few of them made the list, which we expected from the start. (Who better to judge the influential than those who can tell us who influences them?)

Sincere thanks to the 16 people below who put a good deal of time and thought into this exercise:

*Rita Bornstein, former Rollins College president

*Cathy Brown-Butler, Bank of America, senior vice president

*Rich Crotty, Orange County mayor

*Bob Dallari, Seminole County commissioner

*Buddy Dyer, Orlando mayor

*Daryl Flynn, Orange County School Board

*Elizabeth Gianini, Burnham Institute vice president of external relations

*Patrick Howell, Orange County Log Cabin Republicans president

*Henry Maldonado, WKMG-Channel 6 general manager

*Shannon McAleavey, Disney World senior vice president

*John Morgan, Morgan & Morgan president

*David Odahowski, Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation president

*Belvin Perry, Orange-Osceola chief judge

*Marytza Sanz, Latino Leadership president

*Robin Smythe, Central Florida News-13 vice president/general manager

*Kathy Waltz, Orlando Sentinel publisher