100 Most Influential Georgians

Michael Adams


President


University of Georgia


Athens


Age: 59


UGA continues to be recognized as one of the nation’s best business and public research universities. Adams’ efforts to improve student quality are reflected in the growing campus. Total construction initiated during his tenure has hit $1 billion, including the new $40 million Lamar Dodd School of Art scheduled to open next fall.



Dr. J. David Allen


Chairman


Georgia Chamber of Commerce


Atlanta


Age: 62


Allen holds the Georgia Chamber of Commerce record for recruiting the most new members (more than 200), and chaired the record-setting 2006 Chamber fund-raising campaign. In 2007 the dentist and healthcare consultant (Allen & Associates) was appointed to serve on the Department of Natural Resources board.



Daniel P. Amos


Chairman & CEO


Aflac, Inc.


Columbus


Age: 56


With a little help from a web-footed friend, Amos has grown Aflac revenues to more than $14 billion. The company’s people-first management approach has led to a reputation as one of the best places to work for both Hispanics and working mothers, and Fortune has again ranked it as one of America’s Most Admired Companies.



Radcliffe Bailey


Artist


Atlanta


Age: 39


Having established himself as a magnificent painter of assemblages, Bailey recently moved into the realm of 3-D installation. His ambitious double-show at Clark Atlanta University’s Trevor Arnett Gallery and Solomon Projects in Midtown Atlanta, part of the 2007 National Black Arts Festival, was a giant step forward for the collagist extraordinaire.



Thurbert Baker


Attorney General


State of Georgia


Stone Mountain


Age: 55


Baker helped pass a law to protect children from online sexual predators, pushed through a groundbreaking law against financial identity fraud and wrote the state’s new law targeting fast-growing residential mortgage fraud. He’s also led the charge against Medicaid fraud, supported strengthening domestic violence laws and upheld the state’s Open Records and Open Meetings acts.



Thomas D. Bell, Jr.


Chairman/CEO


Cousins Properties


Atlanta


Age: 57


Bell, a business and civic leader who chairs Mayor Shirley Franklin’s Peachtree Corridor Task Force, helms a 50-year-old, $1.3 billion real estate company that continues to reshape Atlanta, with projects such as Terminus in Buckhead and Fox Plaza in Midtown. The firm also made a major commitment to downtown, relocating its headquarters to what was a mostly vacant 191 Peachtree Tower.



Sanford Bishop


U.S. Congressman


District 2


Albany


Age: 60


Bishop has helped secure more than a billion dollars in federal grants and loans for agricultural interests such as peanut, cotton and soybean farmers, helping southwest Georgia’s heavily rural and agricultural Second District prosper. He’s also pushed through bills to sustain and expand local military installations such as Fort Benning.



Arthur Blank


Owner & CEO


Atlanta Falcons and


Georgia Force


Chairman, The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation


Atlanta


Age: 65


The Falcons’ 2007 season unraveled before it began with the indictment, guilty plea and federal felony conviction of star quarterback Michael Vick for illegal dogfighting and gambling, but Blank remains on target as one of Atlanta’s philanthropic giants. His family foundation has granted more than $160 million to community causes, and he has given $35 million toward a new Atlanta Symphony Center.



Bill Bolling


Executive Director/Founder


Atlanta Community Food Bank


Decatur


Age: 60


Bolling founded his organization as an emergency food source in the basement of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church 29 years ago in downtown Atlanta. Today the ACFB distributes some 22 million pounds of food and other donated grocery items to more than 800 nonprofit partner agencies in 38 North Georgia counties.



Lisa Borders


President


Atlanta City Council


Atlanta


Age: 49


As Atlanta City Council President since 2004, Borders has encouraged neighborhood stability, supported the availability of affordable housing and sustained growth in the city’s business districts. She juggles all that with her role as senior vice president for Cousins Properties. But with plans to run for Atlanta mayor in 2009, her biggest challenge still awaits.



Annette Bowling


Executive Director


Albany Advocacy Resource Center


Doerun


Age: 71


For more than 30 years Bowling has carried a passionate message to elected officials and anyone else who would listen: The disabled can be productive members of society. Thanks to her tireless efforts, thousands of lives have been changed as housing and healthcare programs have brought disabled people from the fringes of society into the mainstream.



Walter Broadnax


President


Clark Atlanta University


Atlanta


Age: 63


When Broadnax became the second president in the school’s history, Clark Atlanta was facing a deficit of some $25 million. Today, university claims put the deficit at $4 million following an alumni fund-raising campaign, and enrollment has increased. And yet, a group of faculty and students has called for his removal, claiming the school is in worse shape.



C. Michael Cassidy


President/CEO


Georgia Research Alliance


Atlanta


Age: 54


With Cassidy at the helm, the Alliance has become an internationally acclaimed model for uniting business, research universities and state government to create and sustain a technology-driven economy. To date, it has invested roughly $400 million to attract eminent scholars and create new technology jobs, as well as leverage $2 billion in federal and private funding.



Dan Cathy


President/COO


Chick-fil-A, Inc.


Fayetteville


Age: 54


Cathy represents the next generation of leadership for the family-owned Atlanta-based restaurant company, with more than 1,350 stores in 37 states and Washington, DC. Chick-fil-A surpassed $2 billion in sales in 2006 and will probably exceed $2.5 billion for 2007. The fast-growing chain, which regularly wins awards for customer service, has more than 47,000 employees nationwide.



Saxby Chambliss


U.S. Senator


Moultrie


Age: 64


Chambliss’ efforts to persuade the Army Corps of Engineers to update its 20-year-old Water Control Plan may help alleviate Georgia’s water crisis. He’s also been instrumental in drafting two farm bills and worked to reform the federal crop insurance program through his chairmanship of the Agriculture Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management.



G. Wayne Clough


President


Georgia Institute of Technology


Atlanta


Age: 66


Since Clough became president in 1994, research expenditures have increased from $212 million to $425 million and more than $900 million has been spent to improve the campus, including building new dorms, creating the award-winning Tech-nology Square and expanding the 5th Street bridge. In the process, he’s helping change the character of Atlanta’s Midtown district.



Carol Couch


Director


Georgia Environmental Protection Division


Decatur


Age: 51


Couch is the first woman to lead the 850-person agency that implements and enforces state and federal laws designed to protect, conserve and restore Georgia’s environmental resources. She also chairs the Georgia Water Council, the group charged with overseeing development of a comprehensive statewide water plan, which she will ultimately administer as EPD director.



Mike Cowan


Commissioner (District 1)


Whitfield County


Board of Commissioners


Dalton


Age: 51


Cowan, who is serving his fourth term on the Whitfield County Board of Commissioners since first being elected in 1996, won the National Association of Counties (NACo) 2007 County Courthouse Award for innovative governance. NACo recognized Cowan for, among other things, spearheading county projects to modernize local water system infrastructure and improve drinking water quality.



Kathy Cox


State School Superintendent


State of Georgia


Fayetteville


Age: 43


Kathy Cox is best known for implementing the Georgia Performance Standards to improve academic performance. Now, the overhaul is starting to pay off. Georgia’s graduation rate jumped to an all-time high of 72.3 percent, SAT scores are keeping up with the nation, and the state’s minority students continue to score as well as their peers.



Charles Craig


President


Georgia Biomedical Partnership


Atlanta


Age: 55


Craig is the point man for Georgia’s life sciences industries, which provide 15,000 jobs, $940 million in annual wages and an expected $6.9 billion in sales (for 2007). The industry roster has grown to include emerging bio-fuel and bio-energy firms as Georgia prepares to host the 2009 BIO International Conference.



Dennis Creech


Executive Director


Southface Energy Institute


Atlanta


Age: 57


As co-founder and executive director of Southface, Creech has advocated for water conservation, saving energy and sustainable development for more than 25 years. Through partnerships and programs such as EarthCraft, the nonprofit’s message reached more than 40,000 people last year alone. With Georgia’s water restrictions continuing to tighten, his message is timelier than ever.



Erroll Davis


Chancellor


University System of Georgia


Atlanta


Age: 63


Davis, the first African-American to hold his position, leads a growing university system with 35 institutions, a $5.7 billion annual budget, 260,000 students, 40,000 employees, and an economic value to the state of some $23.3 billion a year. The system projects $3.4 billion for new facilities to meet an expected enrollment increase of some 100,000 students by 2020.



Benjamin DeCosta


Aviation General Manager,


Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport


Atlanta


Age: 61


DeCosta manages the state’s largest employment center with a workforce of about 56,000 and an annual regional economic impact of more than $23.5 billion. But the world’s busiest airport (almost 85 million passengers in 2006) may not be enough to meet future capacity, so DeCosta is studying the possibility of adding a second Atlanta airport.



Earl Ehrhart


State Representative


Powder Springs


Age: 48


Ehrhart, the longest-serving Republican in the Georgia House of Representatives and the no-nonsense, occasionally irascible chairman of the powerful House Rules Committee, has been an ardent supporter of, among other things, the title-pawn industry, the rights of single fathers and Speaker Glenn Richardson’s GREAT Plan to reform the state tax system.



Sue Everhart


Chairperson


Georgia Republican Party


Marietta


Age: 62


The first woman to chair the Georgia Republican Party, Everhart was elected to her post in May 2007. She couldn’t have made history at a better time – Georgia is one of the nation’s most powerful GOP strongholds. The governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, both U.S. senators and seven (out of 13) members of the Congressional delegation are Republicans.



Shirley Franklin


Mayor


City of Atlanta


Age: 62


The “sewer mayor” now is Atlanta’s “water mayor,” presiding over an era of record drought and water consciousness in north Georgia. Under Franklin’s tenure, the city began a $1 billion initiative to replace water mains and meters and repair leaks. Franklin, who was planning to raise water rates for overuse, supports piping in additional sources (like desalinated seawater) for the long term.



Mike Garrett


President/CEO


Georgia Power Company


Atlanta


Age: 58


Garrett is top dog at a company with 2.3 million customers throughout Georgia and annual revenues of $5.3 billion, with an eye toward more nuclear power production at Plant Vogtle in coming years. Garrett chaired the Georgia Department of Economic Development Board in 2007 and is chairing the United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta’s 2007-2008 fund-raising campaign.



Julie Gerberding


Director


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Atlanta


Age: 52


Gerberding is five years into her job as the first woman to run the public health agency with nearly 15,000 federal and contract employees, based in the busy Clifton Corridor area of Atlanta. She is directing an organizational transformation to better position the agency to respond to new challenges, including a national public health response to the effects of climate change.



Renee Lewis Glover


President/CEO


Atlanta Housing Authority


Atlanta


Age: 58


Glover manages the state’s largest housing authority, serving some 50,000 people. The AHA, the nation’s first public housing agency to completely privatize management of its properties, blurs the line between social service and economic development – in the past 12 years it has demolished thousands of public housing units in favor of new, mixed-income communities.



Jerry Gonzalez


Executive Director


Georgia Association of


Latino Elected Officials


Atlanta


Age: 36


The pragmatic Gonzalez endures threats and hate mail in his tireless effort to increase representation of the Georgia Latino population in elected office and at the polls, where his efforts have resulted in ever-increasing numbers of registered voters. GALEO’s Institute for Leadership now partners with the University of Georgia’s Fanning Institute to increase civic engagement.



Jerry Griffin


Executive Director


Association County Commissioners Of Georgia


Jonesboro


Age: 63


As leader of the consensus-building organization for all 159 county governments in the state, Griffin has a considerable to-do list, especially with this year’s legislative session. House Speaker Glenn Richardson wants to completely eliminate all property taxes in Georgia, which ACCG fears would shift local spending decisions from local governments to the capitol.



Karen Handel


Secretary of State


State of Georgia


Roswell


Age: 45


Handel, former Fulton County Com-mission Chair, was elected as Geor-gia’s first Repub-lican Secretary of State since the 1870s. Among her top priorities as the state’s election monitor: revamping Georgia’s electronic voting system, specifically the transition toward the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT), a plan that could cost the state $100 million.



Becca Hardin


Executive Vice President of Economic Development


The Valley Partnership


Columbus


Age: 42


Hardin leads the economic development team for a multi-county, multi-governmental entity covering Columbus/Muscogee County, Harris, Talbot, Taylor, Marion and Chattahoochee counties and the cities of West Point, Manchester and Phenix City, Ala. The Partnership has, since 2000, created more than 16,000 jobs and generated $2.7 billion through new projects and business expansions.



Jim Higdon


Executive Director


Georgia Municipal Association


Atlanta


Age: 66


Higdon, chief advocate for Georgia’s cities, directs an organization with a membership of more than 500 municipal governments. He has been at the forefront of opposition to House Speaker Glenn Richardson’s proposed tax plan that would abolish property taxes across the state, effectively handing over the community checkbook to state legislators.



Tommy Hills


Chief Financial Officer


State of Georgia


Atlanta


Age: 63


With prudent eyes on the state’s balance sheet, the former longtime banking executive is tasked with keeping Georgia fiscally stable, a tough job that promises only to get tougher. Among other things near the top of his to-do list, Hills is overseeing the effort to effectively address a looming $16 billion shortfall in the state employee retirement system.



Johnny Isakson


U.S. Senator


Marietta


Age: 63


Isakson, who touts conservative values, has spent his political career developing a reputation for working both sides of the political gangway. That mollifying spirit came through as Isakson sponsored a stem-cell bill that was considered a compromise to a Democrat-backed bill. Isakson’s bill passed easily in the Senate, but there was no House version of the bill.



E. Neville Isdell


Chairman/CEO


The Coca-Cola Company


Atlanta


Age: 62


Isdell leads a $23 billion global soft-drink empire with 55,000 employees and operations on every continent, a company experiencing double digit earnings increases from quarter to quarter. He assured a smooth leadership transition when he announced last month that Muhtar Kent, his second in command, will succeed him in July.



George M. Israel III


President/CEO


Georgia Chamber of Commerce


Macon


Age: 57


Georgia government has developed a reputation for being fervently pro-business, and the results-driven Israel is a main reason why. The Macon native (and former mayor of that city) has faithfully and effectively carried out the 4,000-member chamber’s primary mission of aggressively advocating the business viewpoint in shaping public policy.



Eric Johnson


President Pro Tem


Georgia Senate


Savannah


Age: 53


A state senator since 1994, the Savannah Republican shaped Georgia’s Special Needs Scholarship program, the state’s first education voucher program. It provides state funds for children with disabilities to attend the public or private school of their choice. So far, more than 900 special needs children have used the vouchers.



Bill Jones III


Chairman/CEO


Sea Island Company


St. Simons Island


Age: 49


The $500 million resort renaissance that Jones began six years ago was punctuated with the midsummer debut of the 160,000-square-foot Beach Club. Located across from The Cloister, the fabled landmark that was reborn in 2006, the Beach Club is focused on families – swimming pools, movie theatre, playground, etc., all of it close to some of the nation’s top-ranked resort golf courses.



Vernon Jones


CEO


DeKalb County


Lithonia


Age: 48


The opinionated Jones often has been at the center of a self-perpetuating storm since becoming chief executive of diverse DeKalb in 2000, overseeing a budget of almost $3 billion in the second most populous county in Georgia. The former Democratic state representative will run for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Republican Saxby Chambliss.



Jerry Keen


Majority Leader


Georgia House of Representatives


St. Simons Island


Age: 57


Keen, who used to lead the Georgia Christian Coalition, has been mentioned as a possible future gubernatorial candidate. A clever but subtle force behind the scenes, the ambitious socially and fiscally conservative Keen has stepped to the fore in his support of tax reform and a tough approach to dealing with sex offenders.



James Cox Kennedy


Chairman/CEO


Cox Enterprises, Inc.


Atlanta


Age: 60


Kennedy guides Georgia’s largest private company (the nation’s 12th largest), a $12 billion media empire with about 78,000 employees nationwide. Cox Enterprises owns the third-largest cable TV company in the U.S., the nation’s largest wholesale auctioneer of used cars, radio and TV stations, and newspapers, including The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.



Jane Kidd


Chairperson


Georgia Democratic Party


Athens


Age: 54


Kidd is growing a grassroots network on a county-to-county basis, combining 21st century technology with old-fashioned shoe leather as she tries to make her party relevant again in Georgia. Presidential candidate John Edwards spoke at last year’s Jefferson-Jackson Dinner fund raiser (generating more than $500,000) and Kidd expects the entire field of candidates for this January’s event.



Charles “Chick” Krautler


Director


Atlanta Regional Commission


Atlanta


Age: 60


Finding solutions to the side effects of Metro Atlanta’s enormous population growth – traffic congestion, air pollution and water woes – leaves Krautler in an ever-challenging job as mediator among 10 counties and 66 municipalities. To help, Krautler oversaw development of a $67 billion regional transportation plan.



John Lewis


U.S. Congressman, 5th District


Atlanta


Age: 67


Lewis is a tireless advocate for civil liberties, with colleagues in Wash-ington, DC., often calling him “the conscience of the U.S. Congress.” His resonant voice still stirs passion with a crowd, whether he’s recalling the dozens of arrests, beatings and injuries he suffered during the civil rights movement or neighborhood preservation, the Beltline and tax subsidies.



Jim Lientz


Chief Operating Officer


State of Georgia


Atlanta


Age: 63


Lientz, appointed the state’s first COO in 2003 by Gov. Sonny Perdue, is the man behind the scenes in charge of running state government. An executive in the financial services industry for some 30 years before his government appointment, Lientz gets high marks for his role overseeing the state’s managers.



Doug Marchand


Executive Director


Georgia Ports Authority


Savannah


Age: 60


To Marchand, the global economy can be counted one 20-foot shipping container at a time. During his tenure at the ports authority, the number of containers passing through each year has tripled to 2.3 million. Georgia’s deepwater ports and inland barge terminals support more than 286,000 jobs in the state, contributing $14.9 billion in income, $55.8 billion in revenue and $2.8 billion in local and state taxes.



John Mellott


Publisher


The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


Marietta


Age: 50


Mellott presided over a major newsroom overhaul last year at the AJC, which has seen its daily circulation numbers tumble year after year. Still the Southeast’s largest daily newspaper and flagship of the Cox media empire, the AJC reaches a print and online audience of more than 2.3 million each week.



Emory Morsberger


CEO


The Morsberger Group


Lawrenceville


Age: 52


One of the brains driving the proposed “brain train” that would link Atlanta to Athens, Morsberger is a regional leader in the rehabilitation and revitalization of historic buildings and declining neighborhoods. His company has spearheaded the creation of two community improvement districts in Gwinnett and is responsible for the planned $400 million renovation of City Hall East in Atlanta.



Lisa Mount


Director/Consultant


Artistic Logistics


Sautee Nacoochee


Age: 43


Mount’s influence extends from Sautee Nacoochee (designated one of the “100 best small art towns in America,”) where she directed and co-produced the acclaimed story-play, Headwaters :: Stories From a Goodly Portion of Beautiful Northeast Georgia, across Georgia and the nation. Artistic Logistics helps nonprofit arts organizations nationwide get their ducks in a row.



Sam Olens


Chairman, Cobb County Board of Commissioners


Chairman, Atlanta Regional Commission


Marietta


Age: 50


Olens understands traffic congestion. He lives it daily as he shuttles between Marietta and downtown Atlanta, delicately balancing his hyper-local duties as the elected head of Cobb government with building consensus among the disparate elected officials that make up the Atlanta Regional Commission, to address stalled roadways, air quality and water issues.



Larry O’Neal


State Representative


Warner Robins


Age: 58


The chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee achieved statewide notoriety for implementing changes in a state law that provided thousands of dollars in tax breaks for his old friend, Gov. Sonny Perdue. O’Neal is co-sponsor of a bill authored by Speaker Glenn Richardson to eliminate property taxes.



Alicia Philipp


President


The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta


Decatur


Age: 54


Philipp, who has led the foundation for 30 years, recognized the value of engaging the next generation of philanthropists in 2000 when she established the Center for Family Philanthropy to offer personalized services to donor families to teach their children about ways to give back. The Community Foundation awarded some 4,600 grants totaling about $50 million to nonprofits in metro Atlanta last year.



Dubose Porter


State Representative


District 143


Executive Editor/Owner


Courier Herald


Dublin


Age: 54


An irritant of Republicans at the State Capitol since the GOP took control in 2004, Porter also serves as a gadfly in Middle Georgia as the executive editor and co-owner of nine newspapers. Porter, as minority leader, now relishes dustups over the state budget, taking on waste in state operations and safeguarding education.



Daniel Rahn


President


Medical College of Georgia


Augusta


Age: 57


Rahn is transforming the medical college’s campus, boosting student enrollment 24 percent in the last six years to 2,400 students, breaking ground for the School of Dentistry’s new building, launching 20 other facilities projects, and partnering with the 24 nursing programs throughout the University System of Georgia to address a nursing shortfall in the state.



David Ratcliffe


Chairman, President & CEO


Southern Company


Atlanta


Age: 58


With 4.3 million customers, more than 500,000 shareholders and some 26,000 employees, Ratcliffe runs a corporation that touches the lives of people across the Southeast. The former high school biology teacher probably never dreamed of climate change, biofuels and the region’s voracious appetite for electricity when he joined a Southern Company subsidiary in 1971.



John Rice


Vice Chairman


General Electric


President/CEO


GE Infrastructure


Roswell


Age: 51


The soft-spoken, community-minded Rice is a high-flying road warrior. Based in Atlanta, he travels to 25-30 countries a year on behalf of GE Infrastructure, comprising the Energy, Aviation, Rail, Oil & Gas, Energy Financial Services and Aviation Financial Services operations – global businesses responsible for $54 billion in revenue and 90,000 employees.



Glenn Richardson


Speaker


Georgia House of Representatives


Hiram


Age: 47


While Georgia leadership spent most of 2007 focusing on epic challenges in statewide water and transportation planning, Richardson (the first GOP speaker in more than 130 years) trumpeted his tax reform plan. He wants to eliminate property taxes in favor of statewide sales taxes on goods and services, radically altering the way local governments operate.



Spurgeon Richardson


President/CEO


Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau


Atlanta


Age: 66


Richardson has been the leading architect of Atlanta’s tourism and hospitality industry surge since taking the helm of the ACVB in 1991. Each year, more than 35 million visitors spend some $10 billion (supporting 215,000 jobs) in Atlanta, where 60,000 hotel rooms are occupied nightly – the city’s 65 percent hotel occupancy rate exceeds the national average of 63 percent.



Dr. Larry E. Rivers


President


Fort Valley State University


Fort Valley


Age: 55


Rivers has set his alma mater on the path to health and prosperity. Enrollment and the endowment have increased 20 percent while budget deficits have been eliminated, a $44 million student housing village opened in the fall, a $15 million science research facility is scheduled for completion in 2009 and a new $13.5 million student center and stadium is in the works.



A.J. Robinson


President, Central Atlanta Progress


President, Atlanta Downtown


Improvement District


Atlanta


Age: 52


Making Downtown Atlanta more livable, vital and diverse seemed a daunting task for Robinson when he joined CAP in 2002. But the continued whir of construction cranes and the resulting new additions to the skyline show that the former real estate executive is reshaping the area through economic development, improved public safety and even better marketing.



David Scott


U.S. Congressman


13th District


Atlanta


Age: 61


Scott represents one of the state’s oddly shaped districts, including portions of Cobb, Douglas, Fulton, Clayton, Henry and DeKalb counties. The longtime state legislator (28 years) has taken a leadership role in the U.S. Congress, throwing his support behind legislation that includes extending PeachCare, extending the Voting Rights Act and giving veterans both retirement and disability pay.



Leah Sears


Chief Justice


Georgia Supreme Court


Atlanta


Age: 52


Sears, the first African-American female chief justice in the country, founded the Commission on Children, Marriage and Family Law to address problems associated with family breakdowns. Last year she helped reunite one family in a case that received national attention, casting one of the votes that set free Genarlow Wilson, ruling that his sentence for a teen sex conviction was cruel and unusual punishment.



Thomas (Tom) A. Smith


President/CEO


Oglethorpe Power Corporation


Alpharetta


Age: 53


Smith runs the nation’s largest power supply cooperative in assets, annual kilowatt-hour sales and ultimate customers served. Oglethorpe Power serves 38 of Georgia’s 42 Electric Membership Corporations, covering some 70 percent of the state’s land mass. The corporation has assets of more than $4.8 billion and annual revenues in excess of $1 billion.



John W. Somerhalder II


President/CEO


AGL Resources


Atlanta


Age: 52


Somerhalder has the experience needed to cope with the ups and downs of the energy services business. He had already spent some 30 years in the field before being named in March 2006 to head Atlanta-based AGL, which serves more than 2.2 million customers in six states.



Andy Stanley


Founder/Senior Pastor


North Point Ministries


Alpharetta


Age: 49


Stanley presides over a mega-church for the 21st century. North Point Ministries maintains three campuses in Metro Atlanta with about 21,000 churchgoers, and about a dozen strategic partner churches around the country. Stanley, voted the 13th most influential “Christian in America” (ChurchReport.com), is a pioneer in the use of high definition video in place of a live speaker.



Kenneth (Ken) C. Stewart


Commissioner


Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD)


Marietta


Age: 58


Stewart has one of the most important jobs in state government. He heads the department in charge of attracting new business to Georgia and helping grow the ones already here. GDEcD has been praised for becoming more aggressive in its international efforts and improving the support given to the state’s small businesses and entrepreneurs.



James Stokes


President


The Georgia Conservancy


Atlanta


Age: 63


Stokes, who led Alston & Bird’s environmental law practice group for 20 years, has directed the Georgia Conservancy since May 2005. Among his priorities for the environmental organization are continuing active involvement in development of a statewide water plan – he was appointed by EPD Director Carol Couch to both the Water Advisory Committee and Drought Response Committee.



Jimmy Tallent


President/CEO


United Community Bank, Inc.


Blairsville


Age: 55


A native of northeast Georgia, Tallent took charge of a local, $40 million Union County bank and has shrewdly turned it into UCBI, an $8 billion, multi-bank holding company – third largest in Georgia, with banking offices in north Georgia, coastal Georgia, western North Carolina, eastern Tennessee and Metro Atlanta.



Michael Thurmond


Commissioner


Georgia Department of Labor


Athens


Age: 54


Under Thurmond’s guidance, Georgia’s labor department is considered one of the best in the nation at getting the jobless back to work. Thurmond has been a strong advocate for Georgians who have lost their jobs or need help with the training or education required in today’s changing labor market.



William J. Todd


President/CEO


Georgia Cancer Coalition


Atlanta


Age: 59


Todd is in the forefront of making Georgia a pacesetter in cancer care. Under his leadership, the Coalition has made encouraging progress in attracting funding for research and bringing together all resources, public and private, to focus on one goal: reducing the human suffering and untimely deaths attributed to cancer.



Cynthia Tucker


Editorial Page Editor


The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


Atlanta


Age: 52


Tucker added journalism’s highest honor to her long list of achievements, winning the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 2007, after coming close as a finalist twice before. Syndicated in more than 70 papers, Tucker writes thoughtfully on a variety of complex issues and directs editorial opinion policy for the Southeast’s largest newspaper.



James Wagner


President


Emory University


Atlanta


Age: 54


Under Wagner’s leadership, Emory ($5.7 billion annual economic impact) strengthened its role as an education destination in the past year, especially when it comes to faculty: Novelist Salman Rushdie began serving as distinguished writer in residence; His Holiness the Dalai Lama became a presidential distinguished professor; and Natasha Trethewey (Phillis Wheatley Distinguished Chair in Poetry) won the Pulitzer Prize.



B.J. Walker


Commissioner


Georgia Department of Human Resources


Atlanta


Age: 58


In an age when state legislators have routinely targeted social services for the budget axe, Walker has the challenge of managing Georgia’s comprehensive health and social service agency, one of the largest departments in state government (19,000 employees, budget of some $2.5 billion), providing services in mental health, developmental diseases, addictive diseases, aging, child welfare and public health.



John Wieland


Founder, Chairman and Chief


Creative Officer


John Wieland Homes and Neighborhoods, Inc.


Atlanta


Age: 71


Wieland made his fortune as one of the Southeast’s top residential developers. Now he’s one of At-lanta’s leading volunteers and philanthropists. Wieland has won nearly every major homebuilding award given and his volunteer activities would fill a book. He and his wife Sue have donated millions to a variety of causes, including the High Museum.



John Williams


CEO, Williams Realty Advisors


CEO, Corporate Holdings


Atlanta


Age: 64


Williams founded Post Properties, left it under rancorous circumstances four years ago, and has moved happily onward. His company’s project, The Mansion on Peachtree, a luxury hotel and condominium project, is Buckhead’s tallest building and last year saw the opening of the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre and its 2,750-seat John A. Williams Theatre (he donated $10 million to the centre).



Sam Williams


President


Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce


Atlanta


Age: 62


If there’s a business moving to or growing in Metro Atlanta, you can be sure Williams knows about it and is probably involved in making it work. For more than a decade, Williams has kept the chamber in the forefront promoting growth and bringing leaders together to tackle the major issues affecting the region.



Major General Walter Wojdakowski


Commanding General


U.S. Army Infantry Center & Fort Benning


Age: 57


Wojdakowski’s military career has taken him around the world, Texas to California, Kuwait to Iraq. Since 2005, he has been commanding general of Fort Benning, the U.S. Army’s largest training installation. A huge expansion at Fort Benning will bring about 33,000 new residents to the region and some $3 billion in construction.



Jim Wooten


Associate Editorial Page Editor


The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


Smyrna


Age: 62


Wooten has been called the lone local conservative voice on the Journal-Constitution’s editorial page staff, but it’s a voice respected by a legion of readers on both sides of the political spectrum. The Georgia native, University of Georgia graduate, Vietnam veteran and long-time Georgia newspaperman has the experience to speak with authority.

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