Éminences grises: 12 trailblazers who helped shape Atlanta


Roy Barnes
These days, Georgia’s last Democratic governor makes waves as one of the state’s most prominent trial attorneys—sometimes representing old adversaries.

Bill Bolling
He stepped down this year as executive director of the Atlanta Community Food Bank, but Bolling remains a valuable resource for fledgling nonprofits.

Pete Correll
The former CEO and board chairman of Georgia-Pacific is chairman of the Grady Memorial Hospital Corporation, which he helped create in 2008.

Tom Cousins
The retired developer and real estate magnate retains tremendous influence in the city’s politics and sports scene.

1015_power_franklin_oneuseonlyShirley Franklin
The feisty ex-mayor has devoted herself to the cause of education, with the occasional foray into online political punditry.

Charlie Loudermilk
The Aaron’s Inc. founder has been a force on the Buckhead business scene for decades, establishing the Buckhead Coalition and a new namesake park.

Joseph Lowery
One of the last of his generation of civil rights heroes, the former SCLC president delivered the benediction at President Obama’s first inauguration.

Sam Massell
Photograph by Caroline C. Kilgore

Sam Massell
As longtime president of the Buckhead Coalition, the former mayor of Atlanta is now known informally as the “Mayor of Buckhead.”

John Portman
A widely influential architect since the 1960s, Portman is also a developer who built Peachtree Center and much of the modern core of downtown.

Alana Shepherd
Cofounder of the eponymous Shepherd Center hospital, she has long been a prominent civic leader who’s well regarded in the business community.

Alexis Scott
The former Cox executive and longtime Atlanta Daily World publisher is active in the local nonprofit community.

Ted Turner
In many people’s minds, the visionary cable TV mogul, ecofriendly philanthropist, and outspoken yacht racer remains synonymous with modern Atlanta.

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This article originally appeared in our October 2015 issue.