Daniel J. Callahan III

The banking industry in 1981 "is entering an era of free-market competition and technological innovation" prompted by a number of legislative and regulatory changes made in 1980, says Daniel J. Callahan III, president of the District of Columbia Bankers Association.

Beginning this year, interest rate ceilings on deposit gradually are being eliminated and banks are being allowed to pay interest on checking accounts. In addition, federal regulators and banking industry officials are looking seriously at ways to relax restrictions on interstate banking which would have a major impact on banking practices in the D.C. area.

Callahan, president of Riggs National Bank, the District's largest financial institution, says that Washington-area banks will "position themselves for the anticipated rapid spread of electronic banking," such as automatic teller machine systems, and will use electronic banking as a way of providing interstate banking services.

Riggs particularly is about to undergo a number of changes this year. Last fall the bank announced it would reorganize its corporate structure into a bank holding company, which would position it for expansion across state lines. Riggs already has expanded across the ocean, opening offices in London and Hong Kong and announcing plans to start an international banking subsidiary based in Miami.

In addition, last month Joe L. Allbritton, former owner of The Washington Star, announced an agreement for him to buy the largest block of Riggs common shares, representing about 14 percent of those outstanding, which would entitle him to elect at least three of the 25 members of the Riggs board of directors.

Callahan also serves as chairman of the Mayor's Overall Economic Development Advisory Committee, which plans to make recommendations early this year on ways the District can develop a new economic base and stop the exodus of blue-collar jobs from the city.

Callahan -- the son of a former D.C. Bankers Association president and senior Riggs executive, who was with the bank for 40 years after starting there as a messenger in 1923 -- is a native Washingtonian.

He began his career as a trainee at Riggs in 1956 and left in 1958 to go with Chase Manhattan Bank, working in New York and London until 1969. After stints at Hambro American Bank and Trust and Merrill, Lunch-Brown Shipley Bank Ltd., he returned to Riggs as executive vice president for lending and investment activity in 1973. He became Riggs president and chief administrative officer in 1976. Chris Coile

When Merrill Lynch & Co. purchased Colquitt-Carruthers and merged Merrill Lynch Realty/Chris Coile of Baltimore with the Washington real estate firm last month, one of the largest real estate operations in the country was born, with 45 offices from Northern Virginia to Towson, Md.

The acquisition was the latest move in Merrill Lynch's effort to develop a national network of real estate firms and represents its first venture into the Washington metropolitan area.

Chris Coile, the president of the Baltimore firm, will head the new venture, the first realty business to span the Baltimore-Washington-Annapolis regions.

Coile started his real estate career at the age of 21 and by the end of his second year in the business had surpassed $1 million in sales.

In 1970 he went into business for himself. Chris Coile and Associates grew from one office and three agents to a 19-office, 350-agent business. Early last year the firm was acquired by Merrill Lynch and became a subsidiary of Merrill Lynch Realty Associates Inc.

Coile has twice been named Realtor of the Year by the Anne Arundel Board of Realtors and was one of the youngest Certified Residential Brokers in the country. He graduated from Glen Burnie High School and studied business and music at Penn State University. Coile, an amateur rock musician, tried a career in music before getting into real estate.

Colquitt-Carruthers was founded in the early 1960s and has commercial investment and property management divisions as well as a training center for sales associates. Flaxie M. Pinkett

Businesswoman, political and community activist, black leader, real estate broker -- all describe Flaxie M. Pinkett.

Pinkett inherited her father's real estate company, becoming president and chairman of the board of John R. Pinkett Inc. in 1958. Her father had started the business in 1932, one year before she started attending Howard University while working in her father's office.

As chairperson of the Board of Trade's legislative/fiscal bureau, Pinkett has been involved in many of the group's most difficult projects, such as the District's workers' compensation system, Metro financing legislation, minimum wages, and budget and tax matters.

Pinkett also has served as an officer on the Washington Urban League Board, Potomac Electric Power Co., United Givers Fund, Howard University Cancer Center and as chairman of the D.C. Board of Higher Education.

"My attitude has always been to help the community I live in. That means I may be the first black in the door, but I won't be the only black if there is any way I can push that door open," she recently told Juan Williams of The Washington Post's editorial page staff.

Last year Pinkett was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, the highest military honor a civilian can receive, and toured Japan, Hawaii and Korea for the Army. When she returned, she prepared a report urging better vocational counseling for servicemen and servicewomen. J. Pat Galloway

The Greater Washington Board of Trade in 1981 plans to emphasize more regional cooperation in bringing businesses to the area, expanding its focus and downplaying competition among the various area jurisdictions for those businesses, according to new Board of Trade President J. Pat Galloway.

Galloway, general manager for Sears, Roebuck and Co. in the Washington-Baltimore region since December 1977, sees his own selection to head the business group as an indication of the organization's efforts to expand its area of interest, since he represents a company with outlets in not only the District but also Virginia and Maryland.

"We are not abdicating our interest in the District of Columbia, but we are saying that we are interested in a total region and more and more believe that the success of Greater Washington depends on the total area, not just one part," he said in a recent interview.

"We see this area competing with [cities like] Atlanta and Dallas, and that's where we want to come out on top."

The board of trade plans to target international companies and high-technology firms as good prospects for the region, he has said.

Galloway gives a generaly optimistic forecast for the area business community in the coming year but say that high interest rates and energy costs will continue to put a damper on the local economy.

Legislation priorities he has outlined for the group include zoning, workers' compensation, minimum wages, sewage treatment, water supply and political action.

Galloway joined Sears in Birmingham, Ala., his hometown, in 1949 and held a number of management and personnel assignments in a variety of the giant retail chain's southern stores and offices. Before coming to the Washington area, he was manager of Sears' Memphis retail zone.

In the retail area, he predicts significant expansion in the 1980s but not the explosion of the 1970s, and he believes mall developers in the future will have to make more efficient use of space. C. Gus Grant

Southern Pacific Communications, which in 1981 plans to break ground on a new 180,000-square-foot headquarters in Bethesda, is a new sign that Washington is becoming increasingly a world center of the telecommunications industry.

Moving from Burlingame, Calif., SPCommunications is one of four independent telecommunications companies that compete with the Bell System in providing long-distance phone service.

C. Gus Grant, who became SPCommunications president in 1973 after three years as vice president of Teledyne Inc., has stressed the growth potential for his industry.

"By the end of 1981 there will be a noticeable shortage of communication facilities in this country. It exists today in several key areas, and it will get worse before it gets better," Grant predicts.

The 61-year-old executive has warned small telephone company executives that they can either "join the trend" to expanded services of "long for the good old days, hope Bell will take care you and hope the competition will drop dead. This route will bring on nothing but grief."

SPComunications is moving to the Washington area because most of the company's plant investment and customers are east of the Mississippi, there is a large pool of engineering talent here and because of the many controversial regulatory and legislative issues confronting the telecommunications industry now, company spokesmen have said.

The company has applied to the Federal Communications Commission for four satellites, the first scheduled for 1983, needed to serve the growing demands of the market, Grant says. While about 10 percent of the company's 66,000 customers in 1980 were home users, he has predicted that about 25 percent will be home users in 1981.

Grant, a native of Tekoa, Wash., was graduated from Washington State University in 1941, served in the Army Corps of Engineers until 1945 and worked for General Electric for 17 years. Theodore R. Hagans Jr.

As president of the National Business League, the nation's largest and oldest black business organization, Theodore R. Hagans Jr. has a unique perspective on the problems and prospects for black and minority enterprises.

As an engineer and then a developer, Hagans is one of Washington's most successful black businessmen. He is the force behind the Fort Lincoln town development and also manages several apartment buildings in the area. Hagans also sits on the boards of Potomac Electric Power Co., McLachlen National Bank and the Greater Washington Board of Trade.

Hagans recently delivered his annual assessment of black business and economic development.He said that 1980 was a "staggering" year for blacks and minorities and that the "prospects for 1981 are even more grim, with the certainty of rising inflation and the possibility of a deepening recession as well."

Hagans stressed the need for blacks and minorities to have a stronger voice in national economic affairs. "Without our inclusion, this nation cannot achieve its fullest economic potential, nor hope to succeed on its journey to economic recovery," Hagans said.

Hagans called on black businessmen in increase their efforts to "penetrate productive markets and gain access to growth industries." He suggested more cooperative and joint ventures as a way to achieve this goal. Joseph Charyk

If Washington is destined to become the telecommunications capital of the world, as some have predicted, Communications Satellite Corp. will be one of the companies leading the way.

For Comsat and its president, Joseph Charyk, 1981 will a decisive and exciting year. The company has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in two new ventures that may hold the key to the future of the telecommunications industry.

The first steps were taken in December toward the establishment of what would be the nation's first direct satellite-to-home broadcasting service, a three-channel system that could begin operation in three to four years. Comsat will spend at least $668 million to start up the system, which will be undertaken by a new Comsat subsidiary, Satellite Television Corp. Comsat is currently looking for a partner in the venture -- perhaps a retailer who could sell the equipment needed to receive transmissions. Last spring Charyk, a former undersecretary of the Air Force who has led Comsat since its inception in 1963, said that Comsat's proposal could become the firm's "most innovative and far-reaching program" and that the high start-up cost "attests to our belief that the longer-term outlook for this ambitious program is very bright."

The second bright spot in Comsat' future is a new business communications satellite program launched by Satellite Business Systems, a joint venture involving Comsat, Aetna Life & Casualty Co. and International Business Machines Corp. Last month SBS sent up its first satellie, the $21 million, 1,200-pound SBS-1, which will enable businesses around the country to "talk" to each other using telephones, computers and television. SBS is not expected to show a profit until 1983, but officials are confident of meeting the goal of $400 million to $500 million in sales a year by the middle of the decade. Hanne Merriman

Despite disappointing sales last year and a continuing economic slump this year, the area's largest retailers are planning for more expansion and diversification.

In 1980 Garfinckel, Brooks Brothers, Miller & Rhoads opened two new stores, and another is scheduled to start business this year, with more to follow in 1982.

In addition, the company plans to increase its rapidly growing mail-order business, to start a new chain of discount stores and to go into the Baltimore area for the first time in the near future.

Hanne Merriman, vice president for merchandising, fashion and sales promotion for the Garfinckel's division, was part of a two-person management team -- the other member being Garfinckel's President William C. Detwiler -- appointed to head Garfinckel's five years ago.

As evidence of Garfinckel's interest in expanding its international markets, Merriman currently is on a buying trip a China, Japan and Hong Kong where she and other Garfinckel's executives plan to purchase made-to-order clothing for the stores.

Merriman, 39, started at Garfinckel's as a saleswoman in 1960, was a buyer for different departments, became divisional merchandise manager in 1970 and was made general merchandise manager in 1975.

Born and educated in Copenhagen, Merriman received a degree in business administration and accounting from the Copenhagen Business School.

A Garfinckel's colleague says that Merriman has accelerated the company's efforts in keeping the store's merchandise contemporary.