2020 Atlanta 500: Government & Infrastructure

2020 Atlanta 500 Government Infrastructure MARTA
MARTA station

Photograph by Martha Williams

Civic Leaders | Government & Politics | Transportation | Utilities | Legends


Atlanta 500: Leona Barr Davenport

Photograph courtesy of the Atlanta Business League

Leona Barr-Davenport
President and CEO
Atlanta Business League

Leona Barr-Davenport is president and CEO of the Atlanta Business League, Atlanta’s oldest minority business development and advocacy organization. As president, she works with the board of directors to increase access to business opportunities for minorities, with specific emphasis on the development of businesses owned or operated by African Americans. Barr-Davenport has more than 25 years of experience in customer service, program development, organizational management, and fundraising for associations and youth-oriented programs.

Education: Benedict College, Clark Atlanta University School of Business (MBA)
Hometown: Johnsonville, South Carolina
Board memberships: Crossroads Community Ministries, Economic Development Corporation of Fulton County, National Business League
Notable achievements: Leadership Atlanta class of 2002, Leadership Georgia class of 1999

Atlanta 500: Kali Kirkham Boatright

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Kali Kirkham Boatright
Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce

Kali Kirkham Boatright is the new CEO of the Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce, coming to the organization from the Douglas County Chamber, where she served as CEO from 2004 to 2018. In a 14-year career at her previous workplace, Golden Key International Honor Society, Boatright rose from regional director to chief operating officer.

Education: University of Missouri
Why I chose this work: Nonprofit management in many ways chose me. I thought I would become a writer, but I went to work for Golden Key right out of college and thrived in an environment where I wore many hats and worked with new leaders each year.
Favorite book: The Alienist by Caleb Carr
Favorite travel destination: Australia
Favorite Atlanta place to visit: Walking and eating along the BeltLine
Bucket list: Empty-nesting!

Atlanta 500: Taifa Butler

Photograph courtesy of individual

Taifa Butler
Executive Director
Georgia Budget and Policy Institute

As executive director of the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, Taifa Smith Butler leads a team whose mission is to improve economic opportunity for all Georgians. The organization examines the state’s budget, taxes, and public policies in order to provide analysis and propose equitable solutions. Butler, who joined GBPI in 2011, counts more than 20 years of experience in strategic communications, public policy research, and data analysis in the public, nonprofit, and private sectors.

Education: Mount Holyoke College, Carnegie Mellon University (MS)
First job: Gift shop cashier, Einstein Medical Center, Philadelphia
Favorite TV show: This Is Us
Best advice received: From James White: “Being a public servant is not about having your name in lights, it’s about solving public problems.”
Favorite travel destination: Paris
Hidden talent: I played the violin for nearly 10 years.
Favorite Atlanta place to visit: Center for Civil and Human Rights

Atlanta 500: Chris Clark

Photograph courtesy of individual

Chris Clark
President and CEO
Georgia Chamber of Commerce

Peachtree City resident and Georgia native Chris Clark is president and CEO of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce. Previously he served as commissioner of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and as deputy commissioner for the Georgia Department of Economic Development. A graduate of Leadership Georgia, Clark has frequently been named one of Georgia Trend’s 100 most influential Georgians and one of the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s most influential Atlantans.

Education: Georgia Southern University, Georgia College & State University (MA)
Few people know: I’m a huge, massive Parrothead. I’ve seen Jimmy Buffett over 25 times.
Favorite book: The Old Man and the Boy by Robert Ruark
Favorite travel destination: Montana
What I’d tell my 18-year-old self: You’re lucky they hadn’t invented camera phones yet! Real lucky!
Bucket list: Fly-fishing in New Zealand
Who’d play me in a biopic: A young Michael J. Fox

Atlanta 500 Shan CooperShan Cooper
Executive Director
Atlanta Committee for Progress

Shan Cooper is the executive director for the Atlanta Committee for Progress, which was founded in 2003 to provide leadership on economic growth and inclusion for all Atlantans, and which includes more than 40 chief executives, university presidents, and civic leaders. Previously Cooper was chief transformation officer of the packaging company WestRock, responsible for recycling and waste services, procurement, enterprise logistics, and information technology. Prior to that she served as vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics.

Education: Emory University Goizueta Business School (MBA), Rutgers University
Hometown: Anniston, Alabama
Notable achievements: YWCA of Greater Atlanta Academy of Women Achievers (2016), Georgia Trend Most Respected Business Leader (2015), U.S. Black Engineer & Information Technology Pioneer Award (2013)
Why I chose this work: Prior to the role with ACP, I was retired. I came back to do this work because it allows me to have a positive impact in the community. I love giving back and I love Atlanta!
Inspiring person: My mom

Atlanta 500: Jerry E. Gonzalez

Photograph courtesy of individual

Jerry E. Gonzalez
Executive Director
Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials

Jerry Gonzalez is the founder and executive director of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials, a statewide nonprofit and nonpartisan organization with a mission to increase civic engagement and leadership development of the Latino community across Georgia. A native of Laredo, Texas, Gonzalez also leads the GALEO Latino Community Development Fund, which promotes voter registration and education, community education, and leadership development.

Education: Texas A&M University, Georgia State University Andrew Young School of Policy Studies (MA)
Why I chose this work: I made a conscious effort to dedicate my work toward improving our state.
First job: Closer at Wendy’s
Toughest challenge: GALEO was a startup 15 years ago.
Favorite Atlanta place to visit: Friend’s pool in East Atlanta
Bucket list: Trip to South Africa
Who’d play me in a biopic: Chris Pratt, but not sure how he would look with a shaved head

Atlanta 500: Ryan Gravel

Photograph by David Kidd

Ryan Gravel

Chamblee native Ryan Gravel is best known for his Georgia Tech master’s thesis, which presented a vision for what would become the Atlanta BeltLine. But he’s also an urban planner, designer, and author working on infrastructure, concept development, and policy as the founder of Sixpitch. Gravel recently completed the Atlanta City Design—an extensive blueprint for smarter urban growth—and opened a nonprofit start-up, Generator, alongside a new BeltLine-adjacent restaurant called Aftercar.

Education: Georgia Tech (MA)
First job: Typing bar codes into a computer in the back room of a music store at Ansley Mall. I guess it was Turtle’s, but I’m not sure.
Favorite movie: Blade Runner 2049
Lesson learned: The ideas we need are often unpopular, unwanted, and underfunded.
Bucket list: Tokyo

Atlanta 500: Kevin Green

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Kevin Green
President and CEO
Midtown Alliance

Kevin Green joined the Midtown Alliance as president and CEO in 2011. Previously he was executive director of the Clean Air Campaign, a Georgia nonprofit working in partnership with transportation management associations and public and private institutions to improve air quality and reduce traffic. Green was formerly vice president of environmental affairs for the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and practiced law for a decade; his litigation experience includes state and federal trial and appellate courts across the Southeast

Education: James Madison University, Emory University School of Law (JD)
Notable achievement: I am the drummer in my 18-year-old daughter Mia Green’s band.
First job: Delivering Sheetrock off a flatbed truck
Favorite travel destination: Vietnam (so far)
What I’d tell a recent graduate: When the alarm clock rings and you aren’t excited to go to work, it’s time to do something different.
Favorite Atlanta place to visit: Oakland Cemetery (it’s strangely affirming)

Atlanta 500: Doug Hooker

Photograph courtesy of individual

Doug Hooker
Executive Director
Atlanta Regional Commission

Cincinnati native Doug Hooker is executive director of the Atlanta Regional Commission, an agency that coordinates the policies and strategies of at least 10 county and 71 city governments to prepare for Atlanta’s regional growth challenges and opportunities. Previously he served as Atlanta’s commissioner of public works and executive director of the State Road and Tollway Authority, and in engineering roles with Georgia Power. He’s focused throughout his career on projects related to transportation, transit, water, energy, and education.

Education: Georgia Tech (MS), Emory University Goizueta Business School (MBA)
Best advice received: From my wife, when as a young man I said I wanted to be a significant leader in the Atlanta community: “What’s stopping you?”
Favorite Atlanta place to visit: Lullwater Road near sunset. Prettiest street in Atlanta.
Few people know: I record books for blind and print-impaired people with Georgia Radio Reading Service.
Inspiring person: My maternal grandfather, whose education had to stop at eighth grade, but who sent eight of nine children to college.

Santiago Marquez
President and CEO
Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

As president and CEO of the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Santiago Marquez leads an organization that promotes economic development for 1,100 businesses and individuals and provides a link between non-Hispanic entities and the Hispanic market. Before taking the helm in 2017, he served as GHCC’s vice president and chief financial officer. Marquez, who was born in Cuba and came to the United States in 1971, previously led Latino outreach efforts for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

Education: Georgia State University, University of Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business
Notable achievements: Alumnus of Buckhead Business Leadership Class and Leadership Atlanta, served on multiple boards including the Gwinnett Citizens Budget Review Committee and a supplier diversity advisory committee for Delta Air Lines

Atlanta 500: Sharon Mason

Photograph courtesy of individual

Sharon Mason
President and CEO
Cobb Chamber of Commerce

Sharon Mason has held five different leadership positions with the Cobb Chamber of Commerce since 2005; she climbed to president and CEO in January 2018, bringing more than 16 years of chamber and nonprofit leadership experience to the position. One particular source of pride is her partnerships with business and government leaders to establish a proactive job-creation strategy called SelectCobb, which has now created more than 24,000 new jobs with more than $2.5 billion in private new investment since 2013.

Education: Samford University
First job: Special Times Gift Shop in Snellville
Favorite TV show/movie/book: Parks and Recreation, Wonder Woman, all John Maxwell books
Favorite travel destination: Saint John, Saint Thomas, Saint Maarten
Favorite Atlanta place to visit: Chattahoochee River trails
Charities: MUST Ministries, Center for Family Resources, liveSAFE Resources
Bucket list: Hot-air balloon

Atlanta 500: Hala Moddelmog

Photograph courtesy of individual

Hala Moddelmog
President and CEO
Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce

In 2014, Hala Moddelmog became the first female president and CEO of the nearly 160-year-old Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, where she works on behalf of Fortune 500 companies and small to medium-sized businesses in the country’s ninth-largest metro region. Previously she was president of Arby’s Restaurant Group, president and CEO of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and the first woman to lead an international restaurant company as president of Church’s Chicken.

Education: Georgia Southern University, University of Georgia (MA)
Why I chose this work: I truly love and believe in Atlanta. This region has been very good to me, and I’m fortunate to be able to give back by promoting metro Atlanta for business development and much more. I never hesitated or gave it a second thought when this opportunity came along.
Toughest challenge: The death of my mother when I was just 17 years old was a pivotal moment in my life. It really sparked my independent streak.
Favorite Atlanta place to visit: Alliance Theatre

Atlanta 500: William Pate

Photograph courtesy of individual

William Pate
President and CEO
Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau

As president and CEO of the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau, William Pate promotes one of the city’s top economic drivers: tourism, which brought nearly 56 million visitors to metro Atlanta in 2018. He was also vice president of the host committee that managed the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship and board member of the host committee for Super Bowl LIII in 2019, and is vice chair for the host committee for the 2020 NCAA Men’s Final Four. A leader in the hospitality industry nationally, Pate serves on the board of the U.S. Travel Association. He has received many local and national awards, including the Herman J. Russell CEO of the Year award from the Atlanta Business League in 2019.

Education: Georgia State University (MA)
Hometown: Decatur, Georgia
First job: When I was 12 years old, I raked leaves for Mrs. Brumbeloe at $2 an hour.
Few people know: I was a college cheerleader.
Lesson learned: Maintain your perspective. What you think is a crisis today will just be a memory next year.
Favorite movie: Animal House
Who’d play me in a biopic: Jerry Seinfeld

Atlanta 500: AJ Robinson

Photograph courtesy of individual

A.J. Robinson
Central Atlanta Progress

Since 2003, Knoxville native A.J. Robinson has been president of Central Atlanta Progress—a private business association and advocacy organization started in 1941—and the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District. Both groups are committed to making the Atlanta community, specifically downtown, more livable, vital, and diverse. Previously Robinson was president of real estate company Portman Holdings, where he managed all aspects of the firm’s real estate development processes, including property and asset management of SunTrust Plaza and AmericasMart.

Education: Emory University, Harvard Business School (MBA)
Notable achievement: Being a founder of the Center for Civil and Human Rights
First job: Forklift driver for my father’s company
Best advice received: Get a good night’s sleep.
Toughest challenge: Getting a good night’s sleep
Favorite books: Teddy Roosevelt biographies
Favorite Atlanta place to visit: Downtown

Atlanta 500: Pat Upshaw Monteith

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Pat Upshaw-Monteith
President and CEO
Leadership Atlanta

Pat Upshaw-Monteith became president and CEO of Leadership Atlanta in 2005, having started with the organization in 1992 as co-executive director. In her time at the helm, she’s participated in the present and future growth of Atlanta by imparting to new generations of leaders the values that have traditionally been central to the area’s success. Previously Upshaw-Monteith served for 13 years as associate general manager of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

Education: Albany State University, Bowling Green State University (MA)
Notable achievement: When appointed to my position with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, I had the distinct honor of being one of the first African Americans hired in management by a major symphony orchestra.
Favorite book: David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell
What I’d tell my 18-year-old self: There is no elevator to the top. You must take the stairs.
Who’d play me in a biopic: Halle Berry

Atlanta 500 Kyle WingfieldKyle Wingfield
President and CEO
Georgia Public Policy Foundation

As an opinion columnist for nine years at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Kyle Wingfield wrote often about state politics and policy, focusing especially on education and school choice, transportation, healthcare, and state and local taxation. In April 2018 he joined the Georgia Public Policy Foundation as president and CEO, gaining a hands-on role in helping shape public policy at the state level after having written about it for so long.

Education: University of Georgia
Notable achievement: UGA Grady College John E. Drewry Young Alumni Award (2006)
First job: I spent a summer working in the dining hall at a Boy Scout camp near Rome. I made $35 a week—$32.32 after taxes.
Inspiring person: One of my journalism professors, the late Conrad Fink
Few people know: I’ve been to all seven continents.


Atlanta 500: Sherry Boston

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Sherry Boston
District Attorney
Stone Mountain Judicial Circuit

Appointed as district attorney for the Stone Mountain Judicial Circuit in January 2017, Sherry Boston oversees the prosecution of felony offenses filed in the Superior Court of DeKalb County, including murder, drug and sex offenses, child and elder abuse, theft, and corruption. She’s the second female district attorney in the history of the office. Previously she was the first woman appointed as municipal court judge for the City of Dunwoody.

Education: Villanova University, Emory University School of Law (JD)
Few people know: I have a twin sister. Yes, really!
Favorite travel destination: Mexico
Hobbies: I love to cook and have recently become obsessed with the Instant Pot. Truly, I’m obsessed with it!
Bucket list: Traversing Europe with my two beautiful daughters. I can’t wait to experience the culture, sights, and sounds with and through them.
Who’d play me in a biopic: Kerry Washington, please and thank you.

Atlanta 500: Keisha Lance Bottoms

Photograph courtesy of City of Atlanta, Mayor's Office of Communications

Keisha Lance Bottoms
City of Atlanta

In 2018, Keisha Lance Bottoms took office as Atlanta’s 60th mayor—only the second woman to hold the city’s highest municipal government seat. She’s also the only mayor in city history to have been elected to all three branches of government, serving previously as a judge and city councilmember. A native of Southwest Atlanta and an advocate for affordable housing, Bottoms also serves as chair of the Community Development and Housing Committee of the United States Conference of Mayors

Education: Florida A&M University, Georgia State University College of Law (JD)
Notable achievements: Awarded the 2018 FAMU Distinguished Award, the highest given by FAMU’s National Alumni Association

Atlanta 500: Chris Carr

Photograph by Andrea Briscoe

Chris Carr
Attorney General of Georgia

A motivated opponent of gang activity, elder abuse, human trafficking, and other major crimes, Chris Carr was appointed by Governor Nathan Deal as Georgia’s 54th attorney general in 2016 and reelected to the position in 2018. He believes there’s no more solemn responsibility than to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, the Constitution and laws of Georgia, and the interests of Georgians. He also serves on Georgia’s Judicial Nominating Commission, the body charged with reviewing and recommending judicial appointments.

Education: University of Georgia Terry College of Business, University of Georgia School of Law (JD)
Notable achievement: Selected to be on the National Association of Attorneys General Human Trafficking Committee by my peers
First job: I worked at Camelot Music in high school.
Hidden talent: I can play the piano.
Favorite TV shows: Two of my favorite shows are filmed in Georgia: The Walking Dead and Stranger Things.

Atlanta 500 Caren CloudCaren Cloud
Court Program Administrator
Fulton County Juvenile Court

As court program administrator for the Fulton County Juvenile Court, Caren Cloud promotes community engagement in the rehabilitation of court-involved youth and the restoration of family units. Cloud, who’s worked in child advocacy for 20 years, previously served as legal director for the Truancy Intervention Project Georgia and as an adjunct professor of juvenile law at Georgia State University College of Law. She is the president-elect of the Gate City Bar Association—the oldest African American bar association in Georgia—and an immediate past member-at-large of the Atlanta Bar Association’s board of directors.

Education: Clark Atlanta University, University of Georgia School of Law (JD)
Notable achievements: Atlanta Bar Association Distinguished Service Award (2016, 2018), John Marshall Law School Fred Gray Social Justice Award (2010)
First job: Six Flags Over Georgia taco stand
Favorite TV show: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Favorite travel destination: Florida’s Gulf Coast

Atlanta 500 Geoff DuncanGeoff Duncan
Lieutenant Governor of Georgia
State of Georgia

Geoff Duncan was elected lieutenant governor of Georgia in 2018 following six years in the Georgia House of Representatives. Drafted after college by the Florida Marlins, Duncan began his career playing minor-league baseball for six seasons before retiring in the early 2000s due to a shoulder injury. Duncan and his wife, Brooke, then founded a small marketing firm that launched their business careers; most recently, before entering politics, Duncan was CEO of a health technology start-up. As a Republican legislator representing Cumming, Duncan authored legislation including the Cargo Theft Act and Michael’s Law.

Education: Georgia Tech
Hometown: Cumming, Georgia
First job: Professional baseball pitcher
Hidden talent: I am an instrument-rated pilot.
Favorite book: The Bible
Favorite travel destination: Cruise ship
Charities: Browns Bridge Church’s Be Rich program, which provides support to our area’s nonprofits

Atlanta 500: Sean Gallagher

Photograph courtesy of individual

Sean Gallagher
Field Office Director, Atlanta Field Office
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

As field office director for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) in the Atlanta Field Office, Sean Gallagher directs immigration enforcement in Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. The Buffalo native previously served as director of the ICE ERO Boston Field Office and the deputy director of the Buffalo Field Office, as well as the assistant director over the Cleveland suboffice.

Education: State University College at Buffalo
Notable achievement: The Atlanta Field Office was awarded the agency’s Field Office of the Year Award for 2016-2017.
Why I chose this work: Working in federal law enforcement allowed me to continue to serve the nation post-military service.
Favorite book: Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
First job: Lifeguard
Favorite Atlanta place to visit: Little Five Points
Charities: Wounded Warrior Project

Atlanta 500: Paul L. Howard Jr.

Photograph courtesy of individual

Paul L. Howard Jr.
District Attorney
Fulton County

Currently serving his sixth term as Fulton County district attorney, Paul Howard Jr. first assumed the office of Atlanta’s top prosecutor in 1997, becoming the first African American to be elected district attorney in the state of Georgia. He’d previously served for four years as Fulton County’s solicitor general. Howard’s law career began in 1976, when he joined the City of Atlanta as an assistant solicitor.

Education: Morehouse College, Emory University School of Law (JD)
Notable achievement: Gate City Bar Association Hall of Fame (2008)

Atlanta 500: Johnny Isakson

Photograph courtesy of U.S. Senate

Johnny Isakson
U.S. Senator

In 2016, Senator Johnny Isakson became the first Georgia Republican ever to be elected to a third term in the U.S. Senate. He is also the only Georgian ever to be elected to the state House, state Senate, U.S. House, and U.S. Senate. The Atlanta native is a respected businessman with more than 40 years of experience in the real estate industry. He stepped down from the Senate at the end of 2019.

Education: University of Georgia
Notable achievements: As chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, I’m extremely proud of the work we’ve accomplished on behalf of our nation’s veterans. In 2017 and 2018, the Senate passed 18 major pieces of veterans’ legislation—all of which have been signed into law—that reform the VA and strengthen veterans’ healthcare, benefits, and services.
First job: Helping out at my grandparents’ farm in Fitzgerald, Georgia, in Ben Hill County
Inspiring people: Presidents John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan
Favorite movie: The Sound of Music
Favorite Atlanta place to visit: The Varsity

Jen Jordan
Shamp Jordan Woodward
State Senator
Georgia State Senate

Consistently recognized as one of the top 100 lawyers in the state, Jen Jordan is an attorney who specializes in complex civil cases and stands up for those the system has failed. In 2015 Jordan brought suit against then secretary of state Brian Kemp over a data breach that exposed the personal information of Georgia voters. She was elected to the Georgia legislature in a 2017 special election—breaking a Republican supermajority in the state Senate—and she won reelection in 2018. Jordan chairs the Senate Special Judiciary Committee and the Fulton County delegation.

Education: Georgia Southern University, University of Georgia School of Law (JD)
Notale achievement: In 2019, with the legislature debating a bill that would strictly limit access to abortion, Jordan delivered a dissent that went viral, drawing more than 3 million views on a single platform.
First job: Historical extra at Mossy Creek Festival. I would put on period clothing and be a hostess for visitors to the arts and crafts festival in Middle Georgia.

Atlanta 500: Timothy J. Keane

Photograph courtesy of individual

Timothy J. Keane
Commissioner of Planning
City of Atlanta

As Atlanta’s commissioner of planning, Tim Keane leads design, zoning, buildings, housing and community development, preservation, transportation planning, and other aspects of Atlanta’s growth. A native of Charlotte, he was appointed to the position in 2015. Previously Keane worked in Charleston, South Carolina, as director of planning, preservation, and sustainability, and as planning director for Davidson, North Carolina.

Education: University of North Carolina at Charlotte (MS)
Few people know: One of 12 kids. Six sisters and five brothers.
Lesson learned: Planning isn’t about taking notes.
Favorite book: The Grapes of Wrath
What I’d tell my 18-year-old self: Get a haircut.
Bucket list: Learning to golf

Atlanta 500 Brian Kemp

Brian Kemp
State of Georgia

Governor Brian Kemp built his first business, Kemp Development and Construction Company, with a pickup truck and a shovel. More than 30 years later, he is a successful entrepreneur with businesses and investments in banking, farming, timber, manufacturing, and real estate. Kemp ran for public office in the early 2000s and, after being elected to the state Senate, fought to cut fees, taxes, and mandates on job creators and Georgia families. As secretary of state, Kemp used technology and innovation to cut bureaucratic red tape, slash spending, and streamline government. As governor, Kemp is fighting to make Georgia number one for small business through regulatory reform

Education: University of Georgia

Atlanta 500: Eloisa Klementich

Photograph courtesy of individual

Eloisa Klementich
President and CEO
Invest Atlanta

Eloisa Klementich is president and CEO of Invest Atlanta, the City’s economic development authority. Her key accomplishments include helping create more than 42,000 new jobs and $5.1 billion in new capital investment. Previously she worked as special assistant for economic development at the U.S. Economic Development Administration and served as California’s assistant deputy secretary for economic development and commerce. She also worked as a consultant for Mexican president Vicente Fox.

Education: Pitzer College, Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey (MBA), University of California, Los Angeles (MA), University of La Verne (DPA)
First job: Big 5 Sporting Goods
Best advice received: From my father: “Nothing lasts forever.”
Board memberships: International Economic Development Council, Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative, WorkSource Atlanta, Latin American Civic Association, Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs, Atlanta Technical College, Atlanta Emerging Markets

Atlanta 500 Lucy McBathLucy McBath
U.S. Representative
Sixth Congressional District of Georgia

Elected in 2018, Lucy McBath is a Democratic U.S. representative for Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District, which includes Alpharetta, Dunwoody, Marietta, and Sandy Springs. McBath spent 30 years as a Delta Air Lines flight attendant until her 17-year-old son, Jordan Davis, was shot and killed in 2012. Turning to activism, McBath assumed dual roles as national spokesperson for Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action; she was also a faith and outreach leader for both organizations. McBath decided to run for the Georgia State House in 2017 and then the U.S. House the following year, defeating incumbent Republican Karen Handel in a closely watched election. A two-time survivor of breast cancer, McBath has also been an advocate for broader access to healthcare.

Education: Virginia State University

Robert McBurney
Chief Judge
Superior Court of Fulton County

A former prosecutor, Chief Judge Robert McBurney has served on the Fulton County Superior Court since 2012. He also serves on the Georgia Commission on Family Violence, a group of community leaders, legislators, judges, and law enforcement officials dedicated to reducing and eventually eliminating domestic violence in Georgia. Prior to his tenure on the bench, McBurney worked for a decade as an assistant U.S. attorney in Atlanta and, before that, for three years as a Fulton County assistant district attorney.

Education: Harvard College, Harvard Law School (JD)
Notable achievements: As a federal prosecutor, McBurney focused on cases involving public corruption, terrorism, and child sexual exploitation. His work on the Northern Exposure international counterterrorism operation earned him and his colleagues the FBI Director’s Award.

Atlanta 500 Harold D. MeltonHarold D. Melton
Chief Justice
Supreme Court of Georgia

A former prosecutor, Harold D. Melton was appointed to the Georgia Supreme Court in 2005 and sworn in as chief justice in 2018. Prior to joining the court, Melton served as executive counsel to Sonny Perdue, representing the governor on legal issues covering the entire scope of state government. Melton helped safeguard Georgia’s interests in water rights disputes with Alabama and Florida and participated in administration efforts to advance the delivery of criminal justice services in the state. Previously Melton spent 11 years in the Georgia Department of Law under two attorneys general, dealing with issues ranging from the creation of the Georgia Lottery to the administration of Georgia’s tobacco settlement.

Education: Auburn University, University of Georgia School of Law (JD)
First job: Sears parts department
Hobbies: Basketball, cooking out
Favorite book: All the President’s Men by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward
Favorite movie: Raising Arizona
Who’d play me in a biopic: A close-cropped Cuba Gooding Jr.

Atlanta 500 Felicia A MooreFelicia A. Moore
Atlanta City Council

President of the Atlanta City Council since January 2018, Felicia A. Moore has spent nearly three decades as a public servant, beginning as president of Riverside Neighborhood Association. She then served as chair of Neighborhood Planning Unit D, becoming an advocate for community economic development. Moore was subsequently elected as Atlanta city councilmember for District 9, serving for 20 years prior to her election as council president. She’s also a licensed real estate broker and resident of the historic Collier Heights community.

Education: Central State University, Central Michigan University (MS)
Notable achievements: Instrumental in the opening of a Publix supermarket in Northwest Atlanta where there hadn’t been a grocery store in decades, as well as the installation of the Agape Youth & Family Center, offering programs in technology, recreation, and health and wellness for seniors, children, and families.

Atlanta 500: Robert J. Murphy

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Robert J. Murphy
Special Agent in Charge, Atlanta Field Division
U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration

Counting more than 27 years of law enforcement experience, Robert J. Murphy serves as special agent in charge of the Atlanta Field Division of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. He leads 207 special agents, 280 task force officers, 36 intelligence research specialists, 48 diversion investigators, and other employees assigned to Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Murphy began his career in 1991 as an officer in the Orlando Police Department.

Education: Florida State University
Notable achievements: Three-time recipient of the U.S. Department of Justice Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces National Case of the Year Award
Inspiring person: I was working at Publix supermarkets through college. A Tallahassee Police Department officer who worked security at the Publix talked me into doing a ride-along one night, and I was hooked.
Favorite book: Atlas Shrugged
Who’d play me in a biopic: Kevin Bacon

Atlanta 500 David NahmiasDavid Nahmias
Presiding Justice
Supreme Court of Georgia

Presiding Justice David E. Nahmias was appointed to the Supreme Court of Georgia in 2009 by Governor Sonny Perdue, elected to a full six-year term in 2010, and reelected without opposition in 2016. An Atlanta native and the son of immigrants from Egypt and Germany, Nahmias practiced with a large law firm in Washington, D.C., before joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Atlanta in 1995. As a federal prosecutor, he worked extensively on the investigations into the Centennial Olympic Park bombing and subsequent attacks by Eric Rudolph. Following the September 11 attacks, Nahmias became one of the Justice Department’s leading terrorism prosecutors, and in 2004 President George W. Bush appointed him U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Georgia.

Education: Duke University, Harvard Law School (JD)
First job: Youth soccer referee. Calling fouls and not calling fouls, with people complaining either way, is good training to be a judge.
What I’d tell a recent graduate: Work very hard at whatever you are doing, and always be open to new and unexpected opportunities.

Byung “BJay” Pak
U.S. Attorney
Northern District of Georgia

A former three-term state representative, Byung J. “BJay” Pak was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in 2017 as the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Georgia—an office in which he previously prosecuted narcotics and economic crimes as an assistant U.S. attorney. Pak has also been in private legal practice handling complex civil litigation and white-collar investigation and prosecution matters, and was a member of Georgia’s Judicial Nominating Commission and the Georgia Council on Criminal Justice Reform.

Education: Stetson University, University of Illinois College of Law (JD)
Notable achievement: I am told I may be the first presidentially nominated and Senate-confirmed U.S. attorney of Korean descent in U.S. history.
First job: Chicken-wing cutter
Favorite TV show: Breaking Bad
Bucket list: Go fishing in Alaska

Atlanta 500: Rusty Paul

Photograph courtesy of individual

Rusty Paul
Sandy Springs

Elected mayor of Sandy Springs in 2013 and currently serving his second term, Russell K. “Rusty” Paul brings more than 40 years of government experience to the job. A former state senator, he was elected to Sandy Springs’ founding city council in 2005 and has served on the city’s charter-review commission and development authority. Paul also worked for the first Bush administration’s Department of Housing and Urban Development as assistant secretary for congressional and intergovernmental relations.

Education: Samford University
Few people know: I’m a chick-flick aficionado; I’m addicted to the Hallmark Channel.
First job: Picking cotton at age six
Favorite travel destination: My cabin at the farm on which I grew up [near Birmingham]—land that has been in my family since 1880
Favorite Atlanta place to visit: Sandy Springs
Who’d play me in a biopic: I’ll let Steven Spielberg decide.

Atlanta 500: David Perdue

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David Perdue
U.S. Senator

Warner Robins native David Perdue, the junior U.S. senator from Georgia, is the only Fortune 500 CEO in Congress. He counts more than 40 years of business experience as the former CEO of Reebok and Dollar General. In the 116th Congress, Perdue serves on the Armed Services, Banking, Agriculture, and Budget Committees. He was an early supporter of President Donald Trump and continues to be one of the president’s closest Senate allies.

Education: Georgia Tech (MS)
Best advice received: “Never worry about the next job—always take care of the one you’ve got.” This advice from my dad has carried me throughout my career.
Few people know: If only a few people know about it, there’s a reason!
Favorite book: Right now, The Hundred-Year Marathon: China’s Secret Strategy to Replace America as the Global Superpower by Michael Pillsbury

Atlanta 500: Robb Pitts

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Robb Pitts
Fulton County Board of Commissioners

Robb Pitts was elected in 2017 as chairman of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners, having previously served on the board from 2002 to 2014. Pitts also served two decades on the Atlanta City Council, including a stint as president from 1997 to 2001. As a Fulton commissioner, he advocated for diversification of revenue sources to relieve tax burdens on property owners. Pitts is also a former college professor and registered real estate broker.

Education: Ohio University, Academia Hispano Americana, Kent State University, La Universidad Interamericana, Emory University (MA)
Why I chose this work: I wanted to effect positive change and ensure that taxpayers receive the services they pay for in a more cost-effective and efficient manner.
Notable achievements: Played a key role in presenting Atlanta’s bid to the International Olympic Committee, and has participated in numerous international cultural-exchange programs, including Friendship Force and Sister Cities

Danny Porter
District Attorney
Gwinnett County

Danny Porter was elected district attorney of Gwinnett County in 1992 and has held the position since. His career with the Gwinnett DA’s office began in 1981, immediately following his graduation from the University of Georgia School of Law. Porter worked as a trial assistant for three years and was then promoted to senior assistant district attorney. Later, he headed the trial division of the DA’s office, supervising trial attorneys, and assumed the duties of drug prosecutor, initiating the creation of a special drug prosecution unit.

Education: University of Georgia School of Law (JD)

Atlanta 500: David RalstonDavid Ralston
Speaker of the House
Georgia House of Representatives

Ellijay native David Ralston has served as Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives since 2010, and as a state representative since 2002. He began his legal career in 1980 as an associate at the Athens firm of Cook, Noell, Tolley & Aldridge. Three years later, Ralston returned to his North Georgia roots and opened the Law Offices of David E. Ralston in Blue Ridge, where he’s practiced for the past 30 years.

Education: North Georgia College and State University, University of Georgia School of Law (JD)
Notable achievement: Georgia Trend Georgian of the Year (2011)

Atlanta 500: Kasim Reed

Photograph by AP/David Goldman

Kasim Reed
59th Mayor
City of Atlanta

Kasim Reed served two terms as Atlanta’s 59th mayor, beginning in 2010. Prior to that, he spent 11 years as a member of the Georgia General Assembly, first elected in 1998 as a state representative, then serving from 2002 to 2009 in the state Senate. He’s a former partner in the litigation practice of Holland & Knight, an international law firm with offices in Atlanta, where he specialized in entertainment law. Reed grew up in the Cascade community.

Education: Howard University, Howard University School of Law (JD)
Notable achievement: Appointed as Howard University’s youngest general trustee in 2002

Atlanta 500: Vic Reynolds

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Vic Reynolds
District Attorney
Cobb Judicial Circuit

Vic Reynolds was appointed director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation in February 2019 by Governor Brian Kemp. In this position, he leads an agency of over 900 employees. Reynolds is the former district attorney of Cobb County, where he was elected twice. He has also served as a police officer and as the former chief magistrate judge of Cobb County, and he was a partner in the law firm of Berry and Reynolds. He has been published in both local and national print and is the author of Georgia Objections at Trial, which is in its second edition.

Education: Georgia Southern University, Georgia State University College of Law (JD)
Few people know: I enjoy playing the guitar, although not very well.
First job: Delivering newspapers
Hobbies: Working out, especially Krav Maga. And I try to read two books a month.
Charities: The Zone, SafePath Children’s Advocacy Center, liveSAFE Resources
Favorite Atlanta place to visit: Kennesaw Mountain
Who’d play me in a biopic: Tom Hanks

Atlanta 500: Erika Shields

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Erika Shields
Atlanta Police Department

Following a career as a stockbroker, Erika Shields joined the Atlanta Police Department in 1995 as a patrol officer. In 2016 she was appointed the city’s 24th chief of police. In 2017, Shields’s first full year on the job, major crimes were down 8 percent overall, with murders dipping by 29 percent and armed robberies by 32 percent compared to 2016, according to FBI Uniform Crime Reporting.

Education: Webster University, Saint Leo University (MA)
Hometown: Morris, New York
Why I chose this work: Challenging criminal behavior and criminals has always appealed to me, and it’s equally important to me to help people who don’t have a voice and are most inclined to be forgotten. Policing is a natural fit.
Few people know: I love opera.
Charities: LifeLine Animal Project

Atlanta 500: Thomas W. Thrash Jr.

Photograph by RCL Portrait Design

Thomas W. Thrash Jr.
Chief Judge
Northern District of Georgia

Thomas W. Thrash Jr. has worked as an assistant district attorney on the Atlanta Judicial Circuit, an adjunct professor of law at Georgia State University College of Law, a partner in a law firm, and as a sole practitioner, among other positions. In 1997, President Bill Clinton appointed him U.S. district judge for the Northern District of Georgia, and in 2014 he was confirmed as chief judge. He’s an elected member of the American Law Institute.

Education: University of Virginia, Harvard Law School (JD)
Hometown: Birmingham, Alabama
Notable achievement: Nomination and confirmation as a federal judge
Board memberships: American Shakespeare Center Board of Trustees, Georgia State University College of Law Board of Visitors

Atlanta 500 Michael L. Thurmond

Michael L. Thurmond
DeKalb County Government

Raised as a sharecropper’s son in Clarke County, Michael L. Thurmond was elected in 2016 as CEO of DeKalb County, one of the most diverse counties in the Southeast. His top priority is to restore faith in county government. In office, he eliminated a $14 million budget deficit in the DeKalb County School District, creating an estimated fund balance of $80 million, and worked to generate a rainy-day fund of nearly $90 million in the county’s general budget.

Education: Paine College, University of South Carolina School of Law (JD)
Notable achievement: Led passage of the first-ever special-purpose sales tax in DeKalb County, which passed with 70 percent voter approval and resulted in a projected $600 million in capital improvements
First job: Working on my father’s vegetable truck
Hidden talent: Stand-up comedian
Favorite book: Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
Bucket list: Visit Robben Island in South Africa

Atlanta 500: Pat Wilson

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Pat Wilson
Georgia Department of Economic Development

As commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, Pat Wilson leads the agency responsible for creating jobs and investment opportunities in Georgia through business recruitment and expansion, workforce development, and international trade and tourism, as well as the arts, film, and music industries. Before being appointed to the position in 2016 by Governor Nathan Deal, Wilson served as the organization’s chief operating officer, and was previously director of government affairs in the administration of Governor Sonny Perdue.

Education: University of Georgia
Notable achievement: Georgia was named the number one state in the nation for business for five consecutive years by both Site Selection and Area Development magazines.
First job: Picking peaches
Few people know: I love karaoke.
Hobbies: Baseball, football, softball, and my kids’ sports at Northside Youth Organization
Favorite book: In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin by Erik Larson


Atlanta 500: Allison Ausband

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Allison Ausband
Senior Vice President, In-Flight Service
Delta Air Lines

Allison Ausband is senior vice president of in-flight service for Delta Air Lines, leading a global team of 24,000 flight attendants and supervisory and support personnel, as well as Delta’s onboard global food and beverage operations. Under Ausband’s leadership, Delta’s in-flight service team has achieved all-time customer satisfaction scores. She previously served as vice president for reservation sales and customer care. Ausband began her career at Delta in 1985 as a flight attendant.

Education: University of Georgia
Favorite travel destination: Saint Barthélemy
Hidden talent: Before taking to the skies, I was a radio announcer.
Charities: I lead Delta’s efforts in the fight against human trafficking.
Who’d play me in a biopic: Diane Lane

Atlanta 500: Ed Bastian

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Ed Bastian
Delta Air Lines

As CEO of Delta Air Lines since 2016, 20-year company veteran Ed Bastian helms a team of 80,000 global professionals. Under his leadership, Delta has become the world’s most awarded airline, named top U.S. airline by the Wall Street Journal, most admired airline worldwide by Fortune, and most on-time global airline by FlightGlobal. The company has also returned to sustained profitability. Prior to joining Delta, Bastian held senior finance positions at Frito-Lay International and Pepsi-Cola International.

Education: Saint Bonaventure University
Hometown: Poughkeepsie, New York
Few people know: I was 25 before I first stepped foot on an airplane.
Favorite book: Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t by Jim Collins
Charities: Rally Foundation for Childhood Cancer Research, Polaris Project

Atlanta 500 Roderick McLeanRoderick McLean
Vice President and General Manager, Air Mobility & Maritime Missions
Lockheed Martin

Roderick McLean is vice president and general manager of the Air Mobility & Maritime Missions line of business at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics in Marietta, responsible for the C-130 Hercules transport, the C-5 strategic airlifter, and other aircraft; McLean is also site general manager for the 5,000-employee Marietta facility. Since joining in 1994 as a radar systems engineer, McLean has held a variety of roles in the company, most recently as vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin’s F-16/F-22 Integrated Fighter Group programs in Fort Worth, Texas.

Education: North Carolina A&T State University, Georgia Tech (MA), University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business (MBA)
Hometown: Jacksonville, North Carolina
First job: Drove a school bus in high school at 16 and a half years old
Hidden talent: I enjoy playing classical music on the piano.
Hobbies: Basketball, swimming, biking, running, and participating in triathlons
Favorite movie: Black Panther
Favorite Atlanta place to visit: Silver Comet Trail

Atlanta 500: Russell R. McMurry

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Russell R. McMurry
Georgia Department of Transportation

In 2015, Russell R. McMurry was appointed by the State Transportation Board as commissioner of the Georgia Department of Transportation—the $3.5 billion, almost 4,000-employee state agency responsible for building, maintaining, and operating the 10th-largest transportation system in the country. McMurry began his career with the department in 1990 as an engineering trainee and has served in a variety of roles including construction project manager, district engineer, director of engineering, and chief engineer.

Education: Georgia Southern University
Notable achievement: Georgia Trend Georgian of the Year (2018)
First job: At 13, stocking shelves and taking inventory for a building-supply company
Few people know: I race motocross. I began riding at the age of 10 and still ride today.
Favorite book: The Great Bridge: The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge by David McCullough
Charities: Amigos for Christ, a nonprofit that facilitates leadership, water, health, education, and economic development in rural Nicaraguan communities

Atlanta 500 Jeffrey A. ParkerJeffrey A. Parker
General Manager and CEO

Jeffrey A. Parker is the general manager and CEO of the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority. Beginning his transportation career in 1985 with the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, Parker has more than 30 years of experience in both public and private transportation, including as MARTA’s senior director of transportation operations and commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Transportation. Prior to taking the helm at MARTA in 2018, Parker was vice president of the Georgia/Alabama/Tennessee District of the architecture and engineering consulting firm HNTB.

Education: Northeastern University
Board Memberships: Georgia Chamber of Commerce, Georgia Transportation Alliance, Central Atlanta Progress, Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce

Atlanta 500 John SeldenJohn Selden
Airport General Manager
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

Leading the world’s busiest airport, John Selden oversees operations as well as a multibillion-dollar capital improvement program that will pave the way for growth over the next 20 years. With more than three decades of aviation experience, Selden assumed the role of airport general manager in 2018; previously he was deputy general manager at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. Selden is a retired Navy commander who served at the Pentagon and in Operation Desert Storm. He ended his tour of duty as deputy commander of Naval Station Roosevelt Roads in Puerto Rico.

Education: Naval War College, U.S. Naval Academy
Hometown: Syosset, New York
Why I chose this work: I’ve had a love for planes and aviation ever since I visited the cockpit of an airplane at the age of five. After working as a pilot for 25 years, leading an airport was a natural transition.


Atlanta 500: Maurice Baker

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Maurice Baker
Manager, Community Relations
Georgia Natural Gas

Saint Louis native Maurice “Moe” Baker is manager of community relations for Georgia Natural Gas, which serves nearly half a million customers as part of Southern Company, one of the largest energy companies in the U.S. At GNG since 2002, Baker supervises community relations, philanthropy, and volunteer programs, and has been responsible for millions of dollars in charitable giving for the company. He began his career as manager of WSB-TV/Radio’s Consumer Action Center.

Education: Boston University
Best advice received: Yolanda King advised me to always bring a tape recorder to an interview. I was working for my high school newspaper at the time.
Favorite travel destination: South Africa
Hidden talent: I’m actually a pretty good painter.
Favorite TV shows: Blackish, 60 Minutes

Atlanta 500: Paul Bowers

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Paul Bowers
President and CEO
Georgia Power

Paul Bowers is chairman, president, and CEO of Georgia Power, the largest subsidiary of Southern Company, one of the nation’s leading energy providers. He joined the Southern Company system at Gulf Power in 1979 and has held executive leadership positions at multiple subsidiaries. Prior to his current position at Georgia Power, he served as chief financial officer of Southern Company, where he was rated by Institutional Investor as one of the industry’s Top Three CFOs in America.

Education: University of West Florida, Troy University (MS), Harvard Business School AMP
Notable achievements: Four Pillar Award (2018), Georgia Trustee (2018), Junior Achievement Atlanta Business Hall of Fame (2016), American Jewish Committee National Human Relations Award (2015)

Atlanta 500: Michael Braswell

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Michael Braswell
President, Retail Energy
Southern Company Gas

Michael Braswell is president of retail energy for Southern Company Gas, responsible for ensuring the expansion and continued success of the company’s retail energy operations in multiple states. Braswell is also CEO of SouthStar Energy Services, which serves nearly 700,000 customers; in Georgia it conducts business as Georgia Natural Gas. A Dunwoody native, Braswell has more than 25 years of experience in the natural gas industry and has worked in both regulated and nonutility environments.

Education: Georgia Tech, Georgia State University (MBA)
First job: At the Georgia Tech Research Institute while I was a student at Georgia Tech
Hobbies: I’m a bicycling and exercise enthusiast.
Favorite movie: The Shawshank Redemption
Favorite travel destination: Antigua

Atlanta 500 John DwyerJohn Dwyer
AT&T Prepaid Wireless Portfolio

John Dwyer is the president of AT&T’s Prepaid Wireless Portfolio, which consists of Cricket Wireless and AT&T Prepaid. Previously he led the customer experience effort for AT&T Mobile and Business Solutions, led the retail sales operations team, and served in sales and customer service leadership roles at AT&T, Cingular Wireless, and Pacific Bell Mobile Services. Dwyer serves on the executive committee of the Metro Atlanta Chamber, the executive board of directors for Junior Achievement of Georgia, and the boards of the Buckhead Coalition and 3DE.

Education: University of Wisconsin, University of Chicago (MA)
Hometown: Chicago, Illinois
Why I chose this work: I wanted to be in a growth industry, and over the last 25 years wireless communications has seen tremendous growth, innovation, and transformation.
First job: Dishwasher and oyster shucker in a seafood restaurant
Hidden talent: I ran the Boston Marathon in 2017.
Favorite book: A Man in Full by Tom Wolfe

Atlanta 500: Tom Fanning

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Tom Fanning
Chairman, President, and CEO
Southern Company

A native of Sandy Springs, Tom Fanning has been chairman, president, and CEO of Southern Company since 2010. He’s worked for the energy giant for more than 35 years, holding 15 different positions in eight business units—most recently as chief operating officer, responsible for Southern Company’s generation and transmission, engineering and construction services, research and environmental affairs, system planning, and competitive generation business units. Previously Fanning was president and CEO of Gulf Power.

Education: Georgia Tech (MA)
First job: Financial analyst
Hidden talent: I have coached youth sports in Atlanta for decades and was the 2018 recipient of the CEO Coach of the Year Award, the highest honor bestowed by the American Football Coaches Foundation.
Favorite travel destination: Maine

Kimberly S. Greene
Chair, President, and CEO
Southern Company Gas

Kimberly Greene is the chair, president, and CEO of Southern Company Gas, the leading natural gas company in the industry. At Southern Company Gas, she ensures the safe delivery of natural gas to more than 4.2 million utility customers in Georgia, Illinois, Tennessee, and Virginia. In addition, she oversees the nonutility businesses that deliver energy-related products and services, wholesale gas services, and gas midstream operations, including gas pipeline investments and storage and fuels. She is a strong advocate for emerging technologies, innovation, and STEM-related education. Greene serves as an Oil & Natural Gas Liaison Co-Lead for the Electric Subsector Coordinating Council, which is the principal liaison between the federal government and the energy sector on security issues. She is a member of the Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame.

Education: University of Tennessee, University of Alabama at Birmingham (MS), Samford University (MBA), Harvard Business School (AMP)
Boards: Valero Energy Corporation, Gas Technology Institute, and the American Gas Association. She also served on the board of directors of the Electric Power Research Institute for eight years, including one year as chair.

Atlanta 500: Kevin Greiner

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Kevin Greiner
President and CEO
Gas South

Kevin Greiner has served as president and CEO of Gas South since the company’s founding in 2006. Since that time, Gas South has become one of the Southeast’s leading retail natural gas providers, roughly doubling in size to serve more than 300,000 residential, business, and governmental customers in competitive markets in Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Previously Greiner worked at Southern Company and Enron.

Education: Wesleyan University, University of Michigan (MBA, MS)
Notable achievement: YMCA of Metro Atlanta Volunteer of the Year (2017)
First job: Working in a bagel shop on Long Island
Favorite TV show: Mad Men
Toughest challenge: Launching Gas South in 2006 in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and sky-high natural gas prices
Favorite Atlanta place to visit: The BeltLine
Bucket list: A bike trip in Europe

Atlanta 500 Venessa HarrisonVenessa Harrison
AT&T Georgia

As president of AT&T’s Georgia operations since 2018, Venessa Harrison is responsible for developing the overall strategic direction of AT&T’s public policy and corporate activities across the state. Working with state and local policymakers and business and community leaders, she focuses on new technologies that drive innovation and create jobs and on providing educational and economic opportunities that improve the quality of life for all Georgians. A native of Raleigh, North Carolina, Harrison began her telecommunications career as a telephone operator. Prior to her current position, she served for six years as president of AT&T North Carolina.

Education: University of Phoenix
First job: Employed in the utility billing department of the city of Raleigh, North Carolina
Few people know: Until now, most people did not know that I have an illogical fear of cats.
What I’d tell my 18-year-old self: Always be authentic and remember: Girls compete, women empower.
Hobbies: I love playing cards, especially Hand and Foot, with family and friends.

Atlanta 500 Peter HeintzelmanPeter Heintzelman
President and CEO
Cobb EMC

In March 2018 Peter Heintzelman became president and CEO of Cobb EMC, one of the nation’s largest electric cooperatives. He has an extensive background in corporate operations, business strategy, and finance in the energy, services, and manufacturing sectors, including having guided companies through complex transitional and growth periods. Previously Heintzelman served as interim group CEO of energy-storage technology and manufacturing company Alevo. He has also served as CFO and in other executive finance and leadership roles for T5 Oil & Gas, Shelf Drilling, Standard Bank, and Halliburton.

Education: University of Texas at Austin, Thunderbird School of Global Management (MBA)
Hometown: Dallas, Texas
Notable achievements: Cobb EMC is now ranked the fifth most reliable utility in the nation. Heintzelman’s financial background and focus on savings have helped the utility achieve an unprecedented financial profile, returning nearly $7 million in excess profits to the co-op’s 200,000 members between December 2018 and January 2019.

Lauren “Bubba” McDonald
Georgia Public Service Commission

Following 20 years as a state representative, Lauren “Bubba” McDonald was appointed to the Georgia Public Service Commission in 1998 by Governor Zell Miller, and then reelected in a special election later that year. He held the seat until 2002. McDonald returned to the commission in 2008 and now serves as its chairman. He’s also a member of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners’ Committee on Electricity and an executive member of the Nuclear Waste Strategy Coalition.

Education: University of Georgia
Notable achievement: Started funeral-home business with son in 1997. Now own three funeral homes.
Why I chose this work: Zell Miller talked me into it.
First job: Soda jerk in Commerce Drug Company
Few people know: Won first place in Georgia boys choir solo at age 12
Favorite TV show: Fox News
Favorite Atlanta place to visit: The Varsity

Atlanta 500: Michael L. Smith

Photograph courtesy of individual

Michael L. Smith
President and CEO
Oglethorpe Power

Michael L. Smith has served as president and CEO of Oglethorpe Power, one of the largest energy producers in Georgia, since 2013. He previously worked for Georgia Transmission—as senior vice president and chief financial officer, and later as president and CEO—and, prior to that, as the first executive director of the Committee of Chief Risk Officers, a nonprofit trade association incorporated in 2002 to compile best practices and standards for risk-management activities for the energy industry.

Education: Louisiana State University (MBA)
First job: Worked offshore in Gulf of Mexico oil fields
Favorite book: A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
Lesson learned: Every problem has a solution.
Favorite travel destination: Ireland
Charities: Catholic Charities USA

Atlanta 500: Russell Stokes

Photograph courtesy of GE

Russell Stokes
Senior Vice President
President and CEO
GE Power

Russell Stokes is president and CEO of GE Power and a senior vice president of GE, responsible for leading the company’s strategy on technology, solutions, and services across the entire energy value chain, from the point of generation to consumption. Prior to taking the helm at GE Power in 2017, he was president and CEO of GE Energy Connections, the electrification, grid, and controls business of GE. Stokes joined GE in 1997 in the financial management program.

Education: Cleveland State University
Favorite Atlanta place to visit: Center for Civil and Human Rights. The lunch counter sit-in simulation is something I will never forget and that all people could learn from by experiencing.
Charities: Junior Achievement of Georgia, Usher’s New Look
What I’d tell a recent graduate: If you aren’t multilingual already, invest in your future by learning other languages.


Nathan Deal
Deal served as a prosecutor, judge, state senator, and U.S. congressman for Georgia’s 9th District before being elected Georgia’s 82nd governor in 2010 and reelected in 2014. Under his leadership, Georgia was recognized as the top state for business five years in a row. Deal’s tenure was marked by efforts in transportation, criminal justice reform, and education reform.

Pat Epps
In 1965, Epps bought a small fixed-base operation at DeKalb Peachtree Airport and launched Epps Air Service. He has grown the original facility into a hub serving local and international businesses. His many honors include the National Business Aviation Association’s American Spirit Award and lifetime achievement award. Epps has also been inducted into the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame.

Shirley Franklin
Inaugurated in 2002, Franklin became Atlanta’s 58th mayor. She was not only the city’s first female mayor, but also the first African American woman to helm any major Southern city. A former protégé of mayors Maynard Jackson and Andrew Young, she helped bring the Olympic Games to Atlanta. She received the Profile in Courage Award in 2005.

John Lewis
Inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Lewis was active in the civil rights movement. He was a Freedom Rider, chaired the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, spoke at the 1963 March on Washington, and helped lead the Selma march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Among many honors, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011. In 1986, Lewis was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he continues to represent Georgia’s 5th District.

Sam Massell
Beginning his career in real estate, Massell served 22 years in elected offices, including eight as president of Atlanta’s Board of Aldermen and four as the city’s mayor from 1970 to 1974. As mayor, Massell established MARTA and developed minority opportunities in city government. Later, he became the founding president of the Buckhead Coalition, which he continues to helm.

Leah Ward Sears
Now in private practice with Smith, Gambrell & Russell, Sears was the first woman to serve as a judge on the Superior Court of Fulton County. Four years later she was appointed, and then elected, to become a justice on the Supreme Court of Georgia—the first woman and youngest jurist ever to receive that title. From 2001 to 2005, she became the presiding justice of the Georgia Supreme Court, eventually being named chief justice.

Andrew J. Young
A protégé of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Young was a leader of the SCLC. He helped draft the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. He was Georgia’s first African American congressman since Reconstruction. President Carter tapped him to be the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. He served two terms as mayor of Atlanta and helped bring the 1996 Olympics here. His accolades have included the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Morehouse College’s Andrew Young Center for Global Leadership is named for him, as is Georgia State University’s Andrew Young School of Policy Studies.