The Hot List, 2003

From entertainment and technology to politics and finance, these 50 top playersunder 40 represent our editors' picks

movie The Cookout, which she co-wrote for her company, Flavor Unit Entertainment.

James McLurkin
Research Scientist Age: 31
As NASA launched two Mars rovers this summer, McLurkin, a graduate student at MIT’s computer science and artificial intelligence lab, toiled on something bigger: programming 4.5 inch microbots to carry out cooperative tasks, including exploring the Red Planet. As senior lead research scientist on the Swarm project for iRobot, McLurkin developed the robots to emulate bees, with the ability to cluster, disperse, and orbit. “Swarms of robots are the future,” says McLurkin. “Robots will become more useful, and, as they do, many of the tasks they are good at, multiple robots will do better.”

Michael A. Ray
Investment Trader Age: 38
Ray manages all aspects of trading for Legg Mason Funds Management Inc., which has five equity mutual funds and approximately $26 billion in equity assets. He completed an 18 million share transaction in the NASDAQ-100 Index Tracking Stock, the largest single print transaction in the history of exchange-traded funds. Ray is one of BE’s “Top 50 African Americans on Wall Street.”

Tarrus L. Richardson
Financier Age: 34
Richardson is managing director and co-founder of ICV Capital Partners LLC, a $130 million private investment firm focused on investing in inner city and ethnic minority companies. He’s an active member of the board of directors of ICV’s five portfolio companies, which collectively have more than $200 million in revenue. The Harvard M.B.A. graduate also co-founded Gold Coast Securities, an investment bank in Ghana, and handled mergers and acquisitions at Salomon Smith Barney.

L. Londell McMillan
Attorney & Entrepreneur Age: 37
Passion drives McMillan to the halls of justice everyday, “advocating for change within an industry that has made $65 billion, largely off the backs of our talent,” says the negotiator and litigator, who co-founded the Artist Empowerment Coalition to promote artists’ rights. McMillan’s high-profile clients, such as Stevie Wonder and Roberta Flack, represent a $4.5 billion client brand value. He negotiated the $120 million deal when Prince changed his name to a symbol. Instrumental in the formation of the WNBA, he lobbied the NBA on behalf of star athletes to create the franchise and handles intellectual property issues for The New York Times. Currently in expansion, The McMillan Firm & NorthStar Business Enterprises Inc. is a full-service enterprise, where business and law meet politics and media.

Michael Russell
CEO Age: 38
Russell was named CEO of H.J. Russell & Company (No. 11 on the BE INDUSTRIAL/SERVICE 100 list with $300 million in revenues) in October 2003, upon the retirement of his father, Herman J. Russell. The younger Russell was previously executive vice president and responsible for operating and managing the Construction Division. This division generated 90% of the company’s 2002 revenues.

Jeffrey Scott
Financier Age: 33
As managing director of Black Enterprise/Greenwich Street Corporate Growth Partners (No. 9 on the BE PRIVATE EQUITY FIRMS list with $91 million in assets under management), which invests in minority-owned or managed companies, Scott is responsible for the origination, structuring, execution, and monitoring of investments in companies like Source Enterprises and Glory Foods. Previously,

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