Cre8asite Forums has a thread that discusses who is the ultimate SEO, Who is da' MAN!!!!!?????. Names such as Danny Sullivan, Ammon Johns, Detlev Johnson, and Jim Wilson (who past away but will always be remembered). Ammon Johns from what I have heard around the industry is today's leader in search engine optimization. He will probably kill me for saying so in such a public area, but I do hear wonderful things.
I spoke with Ammon on the phone a month or so ago. He is not only a great SEO, he is a giving person. Besides for the 4,163 posts at Cre8asite Forums under the screen name Black_Knight (you see he didn't even use a hyphen in his name - he is so humble), he has helped dozens of experts learn more. In addition, he won't ever say he is the best and won't ever say anything bad on an other person. He is someone to look up to in this industry.
Here is to the best!