When Sally Jewell left the Northwest, and her president and CEO posts at REI, for the job of interior secretary in the Obama administration, Washington state gained perhaps its most prominent advocate for public lands since the late Senator Henry M. “Scoop” Jackson. That advocacy stems from direct experience of those lands during countless hiking and mountaineering trips, which include summiting Mount Rainier seven times. Since Jewell breezed through her Senate confirmation hearings last April—aided by her past experience as an engineer in the oil and gas industry, and later as a commercial banker—she has unabashedly seized the reins at the sprawling agency. In her few short months as secretary, she has warned Department of the Interior employees against espousing climate-change denials and signed off on a $3.8 million auction of wind power rights on the Atlantic Coast. Nature as economic driver and brand identity have been key to REI’s success. Imagine what its former CEO can do with the value proposition from the country’s most treasured natural assets.
The Full List: Most Influential People of 2013
Their finger prints are all over Seattle. From protecting honeybees to regulating marijuana to popping and locking, these 54 men and women (and in one case, a machine) are shaping our neighborhoods, economy, attitudes and future. In the case of our person of the year—for the first time in our nine years of compiling this list, it’s a tie!—the impact is on a global scale. We may not always like the direction they are taking us in but it’s hard to deny: these folks are taking us somewhere.