2007 Most Influential Georgians: Profiles A-L
University of Georgia
In Adams’ 10-year tenure, UGA has come into its own as high-tech academia. The school received $159.4 million in research awards, grants and contracts in its 2005 fiscal year, and both Kiplinger’s and The Princeton Review list the institution as one of the top 10 values in the country.
Daniel P. Amos
Chairman & CEO
Aflac, with plans to add 2,000 employees in the next five to seven years, is yet again one of Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For in America. Amos continues to give back to the community with a recent $1 million Aflac Foundation gift to Columbus Technical College for a new health sciences facility.
State of Georgia
Appointed by then-Gov. Zell Miller in 1997 as Georgia’s first black attorney general, Baker has since been elected three times. Baker, who has earned a reputation for fighting corruption and consumer fraud, has irritated the state’s Republican leadership, which mounted a tough but unsuccessful bid to defeat him in November, for his stands on open government and redistricting.
Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners Lilburn
Bannister was elected chairman of the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners in November 2004 after serving as mayor and city councilman of Lilburn, and as a member of the Georgia General Assembly. Bannister and Gwinnett County received national attention last summer when the National Association of Counties honored Gwinnett with two Achievement Awards for “responsible, responsive and effective county government.”
Barnes Law Group
The former governor is still trying to level the playing field between the haves and have-nots, and speaking loudly for open government. In 2006, his successful representation of a client battling Georgia’s voter ID law resulted in the GOP-backed decree being ruled unconstitutional by a Fulton County Superior Court judge.
Thomas D. Bell, Jr.
Since 2002, Tom Bell has been busy building upon the company’s 50-year history of commercial and retail developments while also showing a commitment to Atlanta’s intown revitalization. Along with announcing Midtown’s Fox Plaza and Buckhead’s Terminus 100, the company plans to move its headquarters downtown to 191 Peachtree Tower.
U.S. Congressman, District 2
Democrat Bishop recently helped secure $1.5 million for infrastructure improvements in Albany and Valdosta and supported a bill to raise the minimum wage. The House Appropriations Committee member also secured a study on how recent military base closings will affect Albany’s school system as troops are redeployed to Fort Benning.
Owner & CEO
Atlanta Falcons and Georgia Force
Chairman, The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation
By instilling his philanthropic vision into his sports teams, Blank has woven them into Atlanta’s community fabric. He’s helping bring people back downtown by moving the Force’s home to Philips Arena and making Falcons games fun again. Blank is also the capital campaign chair for Midtown’s Atlanta Symphony Center.
Executive Director, Founder
In addition to providing 23 million pounds of food to low-income families last year (a 52 percent increase over the year before) Bill Bolling is proud of the education and increased understanding of poverty gained by the businesses, community members and thousands of volunteers who help the Atlanta Community Food Bank (ACFB) in its mission of fighting hunger.
“We need to create a civic dialog so we can understand each other, and that’s part of what the food bank does as it convenes and facilitates different groups,” he says.
The ACFB was founded in 1979 in the basement of Atlanta’s St. Luke’s Episcopal Church as an emergency food provider. It now has its own 125,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art building. Food and products are distributed to 800 organizations in 38 counties in the Atlanta metro area and North Georgia.
The ACFB also sponsors programs such as Atlanta’s Table, Kids in Need and Community Garden. Bolling chairs a network made up of eight statewide food banks and serves on the boards of several regional groups that address homelessness, affordable housing, nonprofits and volunteers.
“As the government moves out of this kind of work, the private sector must pick it up,” Bolling says. “Trust is low, cynicism is high and the outcome of that is apathy. One of the challenges for the food bank and for society as a whole is building back trust, government trust, corporate trust and public and private trust.” – LME
Talk Radio Host, Author
On the heels of his wildly successful tome, The Fair Tax Book, co-authored with Georgia’s U.S. Congressman John Linder, Neal Boortz has returned to his writing table. His next book, due out in early 2007, is titled Somebody’s Gotta Say It.
“It’s ‘red meat,’” Boortz says. “I’m writing about all those things I say on the air that no one will say because of social or business convention. They think it, but they won’t say it.”
Boortz has been saying quite a lot over his 36-year career in broadcasting and he has plenty of people listening. His syndicated program, emanating from venerable WSB-AM, reaches between 4 and 5 million listeners each week. Boortz takes on the sacred cows of every political, social, religious and cultural stripe, rolling with the punches and throwing plenty of his own.
The radio show is driven by the news cycle, meaning no topic remains on the table for long.
“We might be talking about the same thing for two days but not for two weeks,” he says, citing the typical talk radio hot buttons: the war in Iraq, political elections, taxes, the size of government, traffic around Atlanta.
Neither conservative Republicans nor liberal Democrats claim Boortz. “And the Libertarians aren’t too happy with me either,” he quips. “I’m not doctrinaire. A lot of people who listen to talk radio want to hear someone who mirrors their thoughts. They aren’t going to get that listening to me.”
His strident tone, even in casual conversation, belies a surprisingly soft underbelly.
“Puppy dogs,” Boortz confides. “If there’s one class of people I can’t stand it’s those who abuse animals.” – PR
Atlanta City Council
Borders was elected president of the Atlanta City Council – her first run at public office – in a special election in 2004, and was re-elected in the 2005 citywide election cycle. Since taking office, her initiatives have included increasing the availability of affordable housing, uncovering solutions to the region’s traffic challenges and promoting neighborhood safety and preservation.
Balch & Bingham LLP
Democrat-turned-Republican Bowers’ influence in Georgia has continued since his days as state attorney general and one-time candidate for governor. A civil litigation attorney, Bowers also serves as chairman of the Governor’s Judicial Nominating Commission, which makes nominations to fill vacancies in the Georgia Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, Superior and State Courts.
Clark Atlanta University
When Walter Broadnax took office as president of Clark Atlanta University, he faced down a $25 million-a-year cash flow deficit, a campus in need of repair and an enrollment slide.
After four years, he has erased the deficit (the university is looking toward a surplus next year), renovated and expanded campus facilities and stabilized enrollment. With 4,600 students, Clark Atlanta has seen its first enrollment increase in 10 years and is holding its status as the largest historically black college in the country.
Broadnax says the institution has made the transition from surviving to thriving. One of his greatest joys is looking out his office window at students hurrying to class. “It’s a tremendous way of making a contribution to African-American youngsters and doing something positive about their future and our country’s future,” Broadnax says. “I couldn’t have, in my wildest imagination, come up with anything more fulfilling than this.”
That’s quite a statement coming from a man of his experience. Before CAU successfully recruited him, Broadnax held a wide range of academic and public service positions.
He taught at Syracuse University, American University and Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He served in national positions under presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton – first as deputy secretary for the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare and later as deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
He also has worked for the prestigious Brookings Institution, and served on advisory boards for the secretary of state, the controller general and NASA. – KHT
For 15 years Brown has kept his mind and his office door open as the popular sole commissioner of burgeoning Bartow County. Brown, who has more than 30 years in county government, gained voter approval for a sales tax to improve infrastructure and set aside greenspace, while establishing an energy conservation and recycling program.
Robert L. Brown, Jr.
RL Brown & Associates, Inc.
This successful business leader and award-winning architect has always found time for civic activities. Brown chairs two important organizations working to improve education in the state – the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education and Smart Start Georgia. He also serves on the boards of the Georgia Department of Transportation, Agnes Scott College and Georgia Chamber of Commerce, to name a few.
The state’s first Republican lieutenant governor, Cagle rallied from behind to defeat Ralph Reed in the primary, then trounced Democrat rival Jim Martin in November’s election. Cagle, first elected to the State Senate at age 28 and the first Republican state senator from Hall County, has vowed to bridge the gap between parties under the Gold Dome.
C. Michael Cassidy
Georgia Research Alliance
Cassidy manages the private, nonprofit corporation that capitalizes on groundbreaking university research to build a vital technology economy. The GRA has invested $400 million, which has helped attract 52 eminent scholars, leverage an additional $2 billion in federal and private funding and create more than 120 new technology companies and 5,000 jobs.
In the last Congress, Chambliss served on the Senate Armed Services Committee, the Select Committee on Intelligence and the Rules Committee, and chaired the Committee on Agriculture. He retains his committee memberships, but becomes ranking Republican on the Agriculture Committee. He was honored in 2006 with the Director’s Award for “extraordinary fidelity and essential service” to the CIA.
G. Wayne Clough
Georgia Institute of Technology
When it comes to education, the state of Georgia has its share of not-so-good news days. But there’s almost always one dependable bright spot – the Georgia Institute of Technology, which consistently ranks among the nation’s best.
Georgia Tech has prospered under the leadership of Clough, who became the Institute’s 10th president in September 1994. He is the first alumnus to serve as president, having received his B.S. and M.S. in civil engineering from Georgia Tech. He received a Ph.D. in civil engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.
Clough has guided Georgia Tech to new heights in both size and reputation. U.S. News & World Report has ranked Tech one of the nation’s top 10 public universities for eight consecutive years and a number of the institution’s programs rank among the very best.
During Clough’s tenure as president, Georgia Tech’s enrollment has increased from 13,000 to more than 17,000; research expenditures have increased from $212 million to $425 million; more than $1 billion in private gifts has been obtained and a building program topping $900 million has been completed with another $300 million in planning or design.
Clough has served on a number of prestigious national boards, including the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, but he’s also been active on the local level. He has chaired task forces for the governor and Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin and is a member of the executive committee of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and a trustee of the Georgia Research Alliance. – BN
When Augusta mayor Bob Young left office in 2005 prior to his term’s end to become the Region IV director for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Deke Copenhaver, then 38, decided to toss his hat into the ring.
“I have a tendency to jump into things without considering the consequences,” says Copenhaver, who won the November 2005 election in a December runoff with 56 percent of the vote. In an interesting bit of political trivia, when Copenhaver was re-elected on Nov. 7, 2006, he became the first mayor to have been elected twice at age 38.
Among his personal initiatives after taking office was instituting better long-range strategic planning and monthly meetings with members of the economic development community. “We needed to all sing from the same sheet music,” he says.
The sometimes acrimonious 2005 elections led Copenhaver to host the well-attended monthly Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast for Unity, seeking to break down long-standing racial barriers.
And the community has been successful at marketing Augusta’s economic development potential. Some 100 new jobs resulted from the location of Coastal Xenothal, a biotech ethanol company. In October global business solutions provider Automatic Data Processing, Inc. (ADP) announced that it will bring a business solutions center to Augusta, investing more than $30 million and creating 1,000 jobs.
With a background that includes both real estate sales and tenure as director of the nonprofit Central Savannah River Land Trust, Copenhaver relishes the task of “selling” Augusta.
“I’ve never had a problem selling something I believe in,” he says. “I believe in Augusta.” – PR
State School Superintendent
State of Georgia
During her first four years in office, Cox ambitiously initiated extensive curriculum reforms designed to improve the academic performance of Georgia students and schools, both of which still lag behind most of the nation. Georgia voters decided to give Cox’s reform package time to take root by re-electing her in a landslide last November.
Georgia Biomedical Partnership
Charles Craig, whose mission is to foster an environment where bioscience companies can grow and flourish, describes himself as “fascinated” by the industries on whose behalf he advocates.
“Bioscience will be the economic driver of 21st century progress,” he says. Citing the sequencing of the human genome as a major leap, Craig adds, “We’re only beginning to understand how everything works on a molecular level, both in our bodies and in other applications; agriculture, energy, technology and manufacturing.”
Biotech applications across the sciences spectrum often overlap. For example, in some manufacturing plants, biomass, or leftovers from genetically strengthened corn are being transformed into “green” plastics.
“There’s no way to speculate how important and how big this research and development can be for the state of Georgia,” Craig says. “Forty-five states, including Georgia, have identified biotech as a potential driver for their state’s economic development. The research is advancing so rapidly it’s incumbent upon the state to get moving. There is a time element involved.”
Georgia will get a biotech boost when Atlanta hosts the 2009 BIO (Biotechnology Industry Organization) International Conference. Planning is already under way for the annual event, referred to as the “Olympics of Biotechnology,” which will draw nearly 25,000 attendees.
“It’s an opportunity for the state to show the rest of the world that Georgia is a great place for developing a bioscience business,” says Craig, who cautions, “Other states and nations will be showing off as well. It’s important for (Georgia) to get in the game in an aggressive way.” – PR
Ann Wilson Cramer
Director, IBM Corporate Community
Relations and Public Affairs
Cramer has transformed a lifelong passion for the welfare of children and youth into a career path. The embodiment of community relations, Cramer oversees IBM’s involvement and investment in local communities, and is now the driving force behind the World Community Grid, a global effort harnessing the power of technology to tackle projects for the benefit of humanity.
Southface Energy Institute
Building “green” and saving on utility costs is no longer limited to high-end construction, thanks in part to Dennis Creech’s efforts over the past several decades.
In 2004, Atlanta’s Habitat for Humanity committed to build EarthCraft® certified homes. The EarthCraft House® is a joint project of the Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association and Southface Energy Institute. Certification can only be achieved after passing inspection by Southface-trained inspectors.
From new single-family construction, the concept has quickly grown to include renovation techniques, EarthCraft Communities and multi-family homes.
“The EarthCraft Community program is critical in looking at how we grow as a region,” says Creech, who co-founded Southface some 25 years ago. With a mission of promoting sustainable homes, workplaces and communities, Southface has sought to develop partnerships that make sustainable design an affordable standard.
“It’s unusual for an environmental group to be looking for market-based solutions,” Creech says. But the marketplace is essential to real change.
Creech, who speaks nationwide on energy and sustainable development, has served on a number of construction and energy-related boards and associations and several regional planning and policy bodies. Under his leadership, Southface has expanded its programs to national levels, and it has outgrown its home.
Southface’s new eco-building, under construction in Atlanta, next door to its current quarters, will demonstrate economical and market-ready energy, water and waste reducing features.
“The building will use 70 percent less water, a huge issue for Atlanta,” Creech says.
Call it “state-of-the-art but not pie-in-the-sky for the average guy.”
“We’re only a small nonprofit,” he adds. “It has to work in the marketplace.” – LME
Dr. Harlon Crimm
Chattahoochee Technical College
Soon after Dr. Harlon Crimm became president of Chattahoochee Technical College (CTC) in 1983, a student asked if his credits would transfer to a “real college.”
“It became one of my personal missions,” Crimm recalls, “that [CTC] would feel, look and act like a real college. We try harder on everything.”
Crimm’s success at creating a respected technical college can be measured in CTC’s steady, across-the-board growth.
The institution now boasts four campuses, three in Cobb County and one in Paulding County. Total enrollment exceeds 6,000, highest among all state technical colleges, with a thriving international community. CTC is currently exploring a partnership with a higher education institute in China.
On Crimm’s watch the number of students straight out of high school attending CTC has grown, dropping the average student age from 30 to 25.
“Our mission is still preparing students for work, but local students can come here and get a jump start on a university education or a full occupational course with us,” Crimm says. “Statistics indicate that 70 percent of the workforce needs some type of education beyond high school but below the baccalaureate level.”
To meet that demand, CTC offers a range of opportunities from associate degrees and diploma programs to technical certificates and high school dual enrollment programs in an array of disciplines.
By every measure, CTC is fulfilling Crimm’s personal mission. “I’ve known for a while that perception is everything,” he says, with regard to how CTC is viewed. “But we’ve got the substance to back it up.” – PR
Erroll B. Davis, Jr.
Chancellor, University System of Georgia
Erroll B. Davis, Jr. is getting high marks as he nears the end of his first year as chancellor of the University System of Georgia.
Davis, who took office in February 2006, is the first Georgia chancellor from outside academia and the first African American to hold his position. He brings a background as a successful business executive to the task of leading the state’s system of 35 public colleges and universities with more than 253,500 students, 35,000 faculty and staff and an annual budget of $5 billion. No small task, but Davis is used to big challenges.
Prior to coming to Georgia, Davis had served as chairman of the board of Alliant Energy Corporation, a Wisconsin-headquartered energy holding company with $8.3 billion in total assets and annual operating revenues of $3 billion.
But Davis is no newcomer to the workings of higher education. He is a past member of the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents; a life member and former chairman of the board of trustees of Carnegie Mellon University, where he earned a bachelor of science; and serves on the Board of Trustees of the University of Chicago, where he earned an MBA.
After a busy first year getting to know Georgia and the university system, Davis is working to set the state on course to meet what he sees as a key challenge: “Educating more Georgians to a higher level than ever before,” he says. “We need more students ready for college, more students enrolling in college, more students graduating ready to work.” – BN
Republican Congressman Nathan Deal has been a member of the influential U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce since 1995. And when he was named chairman of the Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Health in January 2006, it didn’t take him long to make an impact.
Deal, re-elected in November with more than 75 percent of the vote in Georgia’s 9th District, initiated and guided legislation that required proof of citizenship and income eligibility for Medicaid recipients.
Medicaid, the U.S. health insurance program for low-income individuals and families, is funded jointly by state and federal governments, but managed by the states. Georgia’s program, as a result of the legislation, dropped 66,000 from its rolls the first six months of 2006. Supporters of the legislation said tighter control was needed to catch Medicaid fraud.
Deal, a former Democrat whose influence could wane now that he is in the House’s minority party, also has been a catalyst for immigration reform. While he says he understands the value of the immigrant workforce, Deal insists it isn’t worth the tradeoff in increased crime, over-crowded schools, and pressure on the health-care system.
The congressman has also zeroed in on efforts to make the National Institutes of Health (NIH) more responsive instead of operating as its own fiefdom outside the realm of government oversight.
Deal also is keeping a close eye on reorganization efforts at the Centers for Disease Control. Noting its increased role in Homeland Security, one of his goals is to ensure the CDC does not get bogged down in bureaucracy and become less effective in fulfilling its mission. – RG
Aviation General Manager
Hartsfield-Jackson’s fifth runway and a new air-traffic control tower, North America’s tallest, opened in 2006. Since that time, delays at the world’s busiest airport dropped 70 percent over the year before. Also in 2006, construction of an off-site consolidated rental-car facility and people mover began, with plans to open both in 2008.
Georgia Department of Administrative Services
Douglas manages a staff of almost 300 in one of state government’s quietest, yet most vital, branches. DOAS is charged with providing critical business solutions and services to the state’s efficient operation, encompassing a broad spectrum that includes risk management, fleet management, procurement, surplus property and document services.
Marietta’s selection as an All American City last June – the nation’s most coveted civic recognition – served as a very public affirmation of the success of Dunaway’s administration. Not content to rest on his laurels, Dunaway continues to champion his city’s revitalization, which includes a massive renovation effort. An estimated $200 million in new residential or mixed-use projects broke ground in the last months of 2006 alone.
United Parcel Service, Inc.
The man responsible for the world’s largest package delivery company grew up with UPS. Starting in 1972 as an industrial engineering manager, Eskew has held his current position since 2002. In 2003 Eskew was appointed to the President’s Export Council. He was elected chairman of the U.S.-China Business Council in 2004.
University of Georgia
Damon Evans was just 34 years old when he took over the $68 million University of Georgia athletic department, at a time when Bulldog fans were more concerned with being second to the hated Florida Gators than they were over the relative youth of Vince Dooley’s replacement.
Evans not only kept the wheels on the athletic department when he took over for Dooley, he pointed them in the right direction. The Bulldogs rolled right over those Gators to win the all-sports competition for the Southeastern Conference in 2005-06.
It was the first time in 14 years Florida didn’t finish first. Georgia, which competes in 21 sports, won seven SEC championships in 2005-06, in addition to securing a national title in gymnastics.
UGA was just as successful off the field. The athletic department was recognized as the most profitable among Division I-A schools.
A bigger challenge for Evans is making sure the athletes who bring money into the university also make the grade in the classroom.
Evans insists educating the athlete is a priority.
“We work with young men and young women and we are in the business of growing and developing them so they are successful when their athletic careers are over,” says Evans, a former athlete who is also the first African-American athletic director in the SEC. “People think you have to have one or the other. You can have both. We say it is academics and athletics.” – RG
Georgia Power Company
Garrett runs a $5 billion utility serving 2.25 million customers across the state, but finds the time to engage in numerous community projects. Most recently, he led the fund raising campaign for the $3 million Southern Christian Leadership Conference headquarters, now being built on Auburn Avenue in Atlanta. Last year he chaired the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce.
Dr. Helene Gayle
Dr. Gayle leads the Atlanta-based organization that tackles the underlying causes of poverty. In 2005, CARE contributed $514 million to its fight against poverty, which reached 48 million people through 861 projects in 70 countries – all part of the organization’s mission to serve individuals and families in the world’s poorest communities.
Chamber of Commerce
Under Gaymon’s 19-year leadership, Columbus has benefited from the creation of 60,000 jobs and more than $4 billion in local capital investment. He also spearheaded efforts to create the Fort Benning Futures Partnership, successfully positioning the base as a site for dramatic growth in the last round of BRAC.
Dr. Julie Gerberding
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Gerberding, the first woman to lead the CDC, manages an $8.4 billion, 9,000-employee government agency that serves as the front line in outbreaks of infectious diseases. As if that isn’t challenging enough, a number of top scientists have departed the agency during Gerberding’s extensive reorganization effort and she has fallen under a Congressional microscope.
Renee Lewis Glover
Atlanta Housing Authority
After Mayor Maynard Jackson appointed her to serve on the board of directors for the Atlanta Housing Authority (AHA), Renee Glover wondered what she’d done to upset him. Atlanta’s public housing projects had all of the suffering of the segregated poor shared by other cities: high crime, low performing schools and bleak prospects.
Today, housing leaders from other cities come to Atlanta to learn how to make a change. By introducing mixed-income communities where public housing once was, Glover has helped transform urban policy and has been nationally recognized for her achievement. The model the AHA created under Glover’s leadership has been used by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as a blueprint for others to follow.
Glover envisioned a new way of providing housing in cities because she was new to the role. Formerly a corporate finance attorney in New York City and Atlanta, when Jackson recruited her to the board, she never expected to become executive director – a title she has since changed to CEO. But in 1994, after a year on the board, the executive director quit and Glover was pressed into service.
By recruiting private real estate development partners and creating mixed income communities, Atlanta has broken an unworkable mold. “Once you accept the thesis that concentrating families in poverty doesn’t work, then there’s no reason to play with that notion,” Glover says. “It is not an economically sustainable model, and it’s also terrible sociology.”
She hopes to transform all AHA properties to mixed-income, mixed-use villages similar to Centennial Place and The Villages of East Lake, communities that have elevated quality of life and education in the process.
“Everyone has the opportunity to achieve their human potential,” Glover says. “I don’t believe God created any of us to be less than successful.” – KHT
Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials
After watching the Georgia General Assembly pass some of the toughest anti-immigration policies in the country, one might discount the representation of the state’s growing Latino population. One might be wrong.
In just three years of existence, the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials (GALEO) has grown to a membership of more than 200 statewide. Membership is predominately non-Latino, but GALEO has laid its foundation by building bridges, enlisting such champions as Civil Rights movement icon the Rev. Joseph Lowery, as well as elected leaders across the state.
Much of the credit goes to Gonzalez, who has endured death threats and hate mail without missing a chance to get out the vote. As a result, 80,000 Latino residents have registered to vote statewide. In the three years Gonzalez has been on the job, the number of Latino registered voters has gone from 800 to 7,200 in Gwinnett County alone. In Cobb County, the number has increased from about 1,000 to more than 5,000. The story is much the same in Hall and Whitfield Counties.“We’re seeing a great deal of engagement,” Gonzalez says. “The community is not going to be voiceless any longer.”
The group formed after a contentious legislative session when drivers’ license privileges for immigrants were first approved, then rejected. So Gonzalez, a former legislative policy analyst for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, joined with State Sen. Sam Zamarripa and State Rep. Pete Marin to form GALEO.
“There’s clearly a huge disconnect,” Gonzalez says. “We need to stop and realize the important part immigrants play in our economy. By moving the Latino population forward we are helping our entire state as well, because the Latino community is an integral part of Georgia’s fabric now and in the foreseeable future.” – KHT
Association County Commissioners of Georgia
Across Georgia, Griffin sees and hears about the local challenges associated with population growth – whether it’s too little or too much – on a daily basis. He brings that information back to Atlanta, where he defines county-level issues to the powers-that-be in state government, helping legislators and others see the impact of statewide decision making on the local level.
CEO, Delta Air Lines
Grinstein has led Delta through its turbulent bankruptcy period and plans to pilot the company until the airline exits bankruptcy in mid 2007. In 2006, Delta launched a number of new international destinations; pension legislation affecting Delta retirees passed and a pilot agreement was signed. Despite the challenges of higher fuel prices, Delta saw an increase in ticket and travel demand. At year’s end a new challenge arose; competitor US Airways launched an $8 million hostile takeover attempt.
Georgia Southern University
Grube chairs the University System of Georgia’s team for Improving Retention and Graduation Rates. A member of the NCAA Division I Board of Directors, Grube has seen average SAT scores for incoming freshmen climb from 987 (prior to his arrival) to 1104 at GSU, where more than $250 million in construction projects have been recently completed or are under way.
Dr. Beverly Hall
Atlanta Public Schools
The dropout rate and number of teacher vacancies are down, 46 schools have been renovated and Hall’s reputation is soaring. Last year she received the Richard R. Green Award given by the Council of Great City Schools, the highest honor for leadership in U.S. urban education, and the American Association of School Administrators Humanitarian Award.
Secretary of State
State of Georgia
The former chairman of the Fulton County Commission, Handel was swept into office with the GOP tide. As Georgia’s first Republican secretary of state in more than 130 years, she’ll oversee a department of some 400 employees and an annual budget topping $35 million. Among her top priorities: Looking at electronic voting and creating a voter-verified paper trail.
P. Russell Hardin
Robert W. Woodruff Foundation
Hardin manages four charitable foundations – in addition to the Woodruff, he oversees the Joseph B. Whitehead, Lettie Pate Whitehead and Lettie Pate Evans foundations. They support a variety of interests, including education, health, human welfare, economic development and the arts. The foundations, which have assets in excess of $6 billion, granted almost $150 million in 2005.
Georgia Municipal Association
Higdon is on a mission to preserve cities’ home-rule authority. Despite the creation of new cities in the last year, the state has passed legislation that chips away at home-rule authority for municipalities. Says Higdon, “People want the ability to create communities that fit their values and standards, yet, unfortunately, we are faced oftentimes with one-size-fits-all legislation.”
State Senator, District 4
As chairman of the powerful appropriations committee, Hill is caretaker of the state checkbook, determining how Georgia’s $18 billion budget is spent. The grocer from Reidsville, a Democrat-turned-Republican, says the challenge ahead will be budgeting for growth and necessary services while Georgia experiences what he calls a slowdown in state revenues.
Chief Financial Officer
State of Georgia
Hills was finally able to smile again as Georgia’s economy began to improve in 2005 and “surplus” took the place of “cuts” in the state’s financial vocabulary. The former banking executive has received good reviews for his efforts to keep Georgia’s fiscal foundation solid and a reputation for keeping a tight grip on the state’s purse strings.
Isakson’s reputation as a hard-working bridge-builder, earned while serving in the Georgia General Assembly, remained intact as he moved to Washington. That ability to work both sides of the aisle might come in handy for the conciliatory Republican senator now that Democrats have control of both the House and the Senate.
E. Neville Isdell
Chairman & CEO
The Coca-Cola Company
Isdell provides the steady, guiding hand Coca-Cola needed to put the fizz back in the company’s reputation and the sparkle in its bottom line. While he keeps his eye on Coke’s global operations, he’s also focused on Atlanta, overseeing the company’s donation of land for both the Georgia Aquarium and the future Civil Rights Museum.
George M. Israel III
Georgia Chamber of Commerce
Under Israel’s leadership, the Georgia Chamber has flexed its considerable muscle to chalk up big wins in pro-business legislation from the Georgia General Assembly. The former Macon mayor has been the spark that keeps the 4,000-member strong statewide organization growing in power, prestige and influence.
on Developmental Disabilities
Jacobson leads Georgia’s primary resource agency for people with developmental disabilities, the go-to agency for Georgians dealing with independence, inclusion, education, advocacy or training issues involving the disability community. Jacobson’s work impacts state and federal legislation. He currently serves as president of the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities.
Dr. Michael Johns
Chancellor, Emory University
CEO, Woodruff Health Sciences Center
Chairman, Emory Healthcare
In November 2006, the nationally recognized leader in academic medicine was appointed Emory’s chancellor, a role he will assume in September 2007. Meanwhile, he will continue to guide the Woodruff Health Sciences Center, Georgia’s most comprehensive health-care system, with more than 4 million annual patient visits and a $4.6 billion economic impact in Metro Atlanta.
President Pro Tem
With a couple of Republican-led legislative sessions under his belt, it looks like Johnson’s position as one of Georgia’s top power brokers is firmly in place. As president pro tem of the Georgia senate, Johnson is a diligent worker for the GOP to keep his party in power statewide.
Bill Jones III
Sea Island Company
St. Simons Island
Jones continues to reshape his slice of Georgia’s coast, with new top-level development attracting international attention for luxury living and vacations. Along with other projects, The Cloister, already one of the world’s most honored resorts, was reborn in 2006 in even more elegant splendor after a several hundred million dollar rebuild.
DeKalb’s Mr. CEO has had his share of controversy, but he’s also had his share of success running the state’s second most populous county. Jones oversees one of the most diverse counties in the state, managing a $2.6 billion budget and more than 7,000 employees. He’s aggressively promoted DeKalb’s economic development, while simultaneously increasing its investment in greenspace.
Georgia House of Representatives
St. Simons Island
Keen is proud to be the first House majority leader from the GOP in 130 years. Topping his agenda for 2007 is an overhaul of Georgia’s tax code. “We have a Republican governor returning for a second term, control of the House and Senate. There hasn’t been a better time to do something significant with the tax code,” he says.
James Cox Kennedy
Cox Enterprises, Inc.
As head of Georgia’s largest private company, Kennedy guides a media empire that spans the country with newspapers, radio and television stations, a cable company and more. It’s a mix that has kept the firm growing. In Georgia, Cox is a media powerhouse, with the state’s largest newspaper, The Atlanta-Journal Constitution, and WSB radio and TV, under its umbrella.
Charles “Chick” Krautler
Atlanta Regional Commission
Since 2000 Krautler has led the regional planning and intergovernmental coordination agency for the Metro Atlanta area. The 20-county Atlanta region is expected to add another 2 million jobs and 2.2 million people by 2030, exacerbating the challenges faced by Krautler, whose mission is to promote quality growth in a sprawling region.
Georgia Department of Economic Development
Lesser meant more for Georgia last year. New and existing businesses created over 24,000 jobs and invested $5.6 billion. The major announcement was Kia’s decision to build an auto assembly plant in West Point (2,893 jobs, $1.2 billion investment) – a fine swan song for Lesser, who announced his resignation (effective Dec. 31, 2006) as Georgia Trend went to press.
Known as “the conscience of the U.S. Congress,” Lewis has lived by his personal slogan, “find a way to get in the way,” on behalf of the underdog. Lewis has led the fight against Bush administration policies that he sees as destructive, in areas that include health care, education, services for the poor and the war in Iraq.
Chief Operating Officer
State of Georgia
In January 2003 Lientz became Georgia’s first COO, appointed by Gov. Sonny Perdue to be the boss in state government. Lientz brings decades of experience in the financial services industry to his job as the manager’s manager, overseeing the leadership and supervision of state departments, agencies and their respective boards and commissions.