Paul F. Morris, FASLA
President and CEO
Paul Morris joined Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. (ABI) in July, 2013 as President and CEO. ABI is responsible for the development of the most comprehensive revitalization effort in the history of Atlanta and among the largest, most wide-ranging urban redevelopment and mobility projects in the United States. This multi-billion dollar sustainable development initiative is providing a network of public parks, multi-use trails and transit linking mixed use development and affordable housing by re-using 22-miles of historic railroad corridors circling downtown and connecting 45 neighborhoods directly to each other.
Read more about Paul Morris
Trained as a landscape architect and urban planner, Mr. Morris has spent his 30-year career in strategic consulting and executive management roles focusing on transportation, urban redevelopment, natural resource management, public parks, and the development of corporate and institutional facilities throughout North America, Europe and Asia. He has assisted communities across 25 U.S. States and 10 foreign countries, offering hands-on involvement in more than 400 programs and projects in major infrastructure investment, regional growth management, natural resource restoration, development dispute resolution, Brownfield redevelopment, and world heritage site regeneration. Mr. Morris’ work history includes projects in cities as varied as Sacramento, CA, Washington D.C. Vancouver, British Columbia, and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. Prior to joining ABI, Mr. Morris served as Deputy Secretary for Transit for the North Carolina Department of Transportation where he directed the more than 900 employees and $800M budget of the state’s multi-modal divisions, Aviation, Bicycle and Pedestrian, Ferry, Transit and Rail, while serving as lead for initiatives involving complete streets, transit oriented development, public-private partnerships, innovative funding strategies and sustainability blueprinting. Previous to that role, he worked with a number of consulting and investment firms including Parsons Brinckerhoff, Cherokee Investment Partners and his own firm, McKeever/Morris, Inc. He was president of Greenleaf Strategies, a strategic planning, design and project management consultancy to government and the private sector. At Cherokee Investment Partners, Mr. Morris developed and directed sustainable investment policies, programs and partnerships for institutional and corporate investors of a $2 billion real estate portfolio located across North America and Western Europe. At the transportation planning and engineering firm of Parsons Brinckerhoff, Mr. Morris served as executive vice president and global director of strategic consulting and sustainability – founding PB PlaceMaking, an award winning planning and development group – providing leadership in the areas of transit oriented development, public finance and investment, and organizational management. As managing partner at the policy, planning and design firm of McKeever/Morris, Inc. (acquired by PB in 1999), he oversaw a diverse array of award-winning corporate, institutional and government initiatives across North America and Asia. Mr. Morris has worked on several projects of national significance, such as the World Trade Center Memorial in New York City, the Columbine High School Memorial in Colorado, and the Oklahoma City National Memorial, at which he facilitated a 350-person citizen task force through the process of creating a National Park memorial dedicated to victims of the 1995 bombing of the A.P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. The effort included developing a vision for the memorial, advising 10 sub-committees through programming, fund-raising and community consensus building, directing media and government relations, conveying the long-range message of community building to the larger “world community,” and facilitating an international design competition and defining urban development on the surrounding 20 city blocks. Mr. Morris has served more than 40 organizations from local neighborhood associations to state legislative committees. He has taught at the university level and lectured widely, addressing more than 100 conferences and symposia – including the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Congressional Black Caucus, National Design Forum of Israel and the Royal Institute of British Architects. He has authored, contributed to or been featured in more than 90 publications on topics ranging from public-private partnerships, land use and transportation integration, urban innovation, public health, active living, brownfield redevelopment, and civic monuments & memorials. He has received numerous awards and recognition from groups including the State of North Carolina, The Waterfront Center, 1000 Friends of Oregon, National League of Cities, US DOT and the Army Corps of Engineers. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Oregon and graduate certificate in Zoning, Planning and Development from Harvard University. He is a member of several professional organizations, including the American Society of Landscape Architects, where in 2003 he served as national president. Mr. Morris currently lives in Atlanta and is married with two children.
Vice President and COO
Mr. Higgs joined ABI from his most recent position as Executive Vice President of Operations Development for the North Carolina Research Campus, a multi-faceted initiative of real estate developer Castle & Cooke using science and technology as the platform to redevelop and reinvigorate Kannapolis, North Carolina, a former textile town. In this role, Mr. Higgs works closely with the CEO and the executive team, providing oversight of the Economic Development, Design & Construction, Program Management, Housing, Procurement, and Human Resources activities of ABI, and lending additional breadth and capability to establishing and expanding our strong working relationships with private and public partners across the region, state and nation.
Read more about Clyde Higgs
Over the past 9 years, as a top executive at the Kannapolis Project, Mr. Higgs helped steer the day-to-day operations of a multi-billion dollar revitalization effort involving economic revitalization of the local economy. His work entailed ground and facility leasing over vast tracks of industrial lands and facilities; oversight of a complex multi-million annual operating budget; supervision of 60+ employees and consultants; and organizational direction of the capital improvements program. Higgs also provided strategic guidance for broad-based community advocacy and engagement, partnership development with state and local governments, universities, construction and design vendors, and real estate brokers and investors to ensure the project’s success. He brings nearly 20 years’ experience in economic development, real estate, intellectual property, technology, strategic planning, design, real estate development, grant and donor funding, and government relations, with a diversity of projects including those that specialize in urban innovation, science and technology. Clyde is a graduate of the University of South Alabama and also holds a graduate degree in Public Administration from East Carolina University. He has served on numerous boards and professional organizations, including two gubernatorial appointments: by Texas Governor Rick Perry to the Texas Emerging Technology Venture Fund for early stage companies working on innovations in the fields of biotechnology, healthcare, energy and information technology; and by North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue to the State Board of Community Colleges.
Marshall Norwood, CPA
Chief Financial Officer
Marshall Norwood is the Chief Financial Officer for Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. In this role he provides leadership managing all financial matters for ABI. This position handles process, policy and procedures for the Finance Department and works with Invest Atlanta, the organization’s parent entity, on financial matters as appropriate. Marshall handles financial analysis for proposed transactions, including identifying financing options for capital investments across the entire ABI program. He manages in an environment of high financial integrity and ensures proper controls are part of all processes and financial transactions.
Read more about Marshall Norwood, CPA
Marshall was elevated to this role in October, 2013. He previously served as the accounting manager since joining ABI in July, 2011, where he was responsible for the accounting function, including financial statement preparation and analysis, accounts payable, accounts receivable, guiding ABI through the annual audit process, as well as assisting with the comprehensive status of the Atlanta BeltLine financial plan. He formerly worked for the State of Georgia, Cox Enterprises and KPMG, and is a CPA. During his tenure at ABI, Mr. Norwood coordinated a major accounting software upgrade, managed ABI’s daily accounting functions and audit preparation, and absorbed many of the accounting functions previously performed by Invest Atlanta. Mr. Norwood began his career with KPMG Peat Marwick, one of the “Big 4” accounting firms. Following KPMG, he worked for Cox Enterprises, Inc. at various locations around the country serving in Assistant Controller and Controller positions for 15 years. In these roles, he handled all accounting functions in addition to HR, union negotiations, and contract administration for all building and maintenance contracts. Subsequently, he served as Budget Director for the State of Georgia’s Department of Human Resources for two years where he coordinated the agency’s budget process and presented the budget to the Governor and State Legislature on an annual basis. Mr. Norwood is a Georgia native and graduate from Morehouse College with a B.A in Business/Accounting. His professional affiliations include the Georgia Society of CPAs and the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA). Marshall’s non-work commitments include memberships in Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and Bible Way Ministries, Intl.
Vice President and General Counsel
Ms. Nina R. Hickson joined ABI to serve as Vice President and General Counsel in 2016. In this capacity, she is responsible for all legal matters including general corporate transactions, corporate governance, compliance and risk management and a wide variety of real estate-related matters including transactional work and negotiations.
Read more about Nina Hickson
Prior to her appointment as Vice President and General Counsel of ABI, Nina R. Hickson served as the Ethics Officer for the City of Atlanta. In this role she was responsible for educating all city officials and employees of the requirements for conducting city business in compliance with the City’s Code of Ethics. She also oversaw the City’s financial disclosure process and prosecutes violations of the Ethics Code. Immediately prior to serving as Atlanta’s Ethics Officer, Attorney Hickson served as Interim City Manager for the city of East Point where she had been the City Attorney for six years. As the chief legal officer for the municipal government, she provided legal services related to all civil litigation, administrative hearings, economic development initiatives, legislative proposals and commercial transactions for the City. During her tenure as City Attorney, she created a legal department with an outstanding reputation for professionalism and responsiveness. Prior to assuming the role of City Attorney for East Point, Attorney Hickson held prominent legal positions within the Atlantic Judicial Circuit and the Fulton County Justice System. Before these appointments, Hickson practiced law for 15 years in a variety of capacities including Assistant United States Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, General Counsel for the Atlanta Housing Authority, General Counsel and Vice President for Atlanta Life Insurance Company, and Vice President and Associate General Counsel to Primerica Financial Services, a subsidiary of the Citigroup Corporation. Her extensive community involvements have included the membership on various boards and civic organizations in metropolitan Atlanta and her commitment to community service has resulted in her receiving numerous awards and recognition. Hickson received her Bachelor of Arts degree, magna cum laude, in Journalism from Howard University in Washington, D.C. and her Doctor of Law degree from Emory University of Atlanta.
Executive Assistant to Paul Morris, FASLA
Anissa Morgan joined ABI in July 2014 as Executive Assistant to Paul Morris, President & CEO. Anissa is responsible for the day-to-day activity of the President & CEO. Anissa has over fourteen years of experience supporting C-Level Executives with ten years of those years heavily concentrated in Real Estate and Economic Development.
Community Planning & Engagement Director
Beth McMillan joined Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. as Director of Community Engagement in December 2008. Her responsibilities include coordination of all aspects of community input and the participation of all impacted Atlanta BeltLine communities. Beth was formerly the Director of Planning and Zoning for the City of East Point, Ga. where she managed a department of 15 employees engaged in the planning, zoning, inspection, licensing and permitting functions for the City.
Read more about Beth McMillan
Other responsibilities included the development and oversight of all zoning and development policies, establishment of a current development fee program and the total re-write of a proposed new Zoning Ordinance for the City. Beth was a key partner in the research, presentation and approval by the City Council and Fulton County Board of Commissioner’s of the City’s second TAD, the East Point Corridors TAD. Previously, Beth served for 17 years in planning in different responsibilities in the Fulton County Department of Environment and Community Development. In her last eight years at Fulton County she served as the Assistant Director of Comprehensive Planning. In that capacity Beth managed a staff of 13 professional planners responsible for community planning in North Fulton, Sandy Springs, Southwest Fulton and South Fulton County. There she successfully implemented 10 community overlay districts and managed four design review boards. Under her direction, Fulton County developed and implemented its’ Smart Growth Policy. Beth also led the research, development and adoption of the County’s first total rewrite of its’ comprehensive plan and map.
Ericka Brown Davis
Communications and Media Relations Director
As Communications and Media Relations Director, Ericka Davis directs all aspects of ABI’s multi-channel communications strategy and manage media relations for the organization. Prior to joining ABI, Ms. Davis served as Director of Communications and Customer Service for Fulton County Government, bringing more than 20 years of experience in the public sector to this role.
Read more about Ericka Davis
As Director of Communications and Customer Service for Fulton County Government, Ms. Davis served as the official spokesperson for the County, managing the communications strategy for all 39 departments. Prior to that role, she also served as Director of the Communications Division for the Georgia Department of Transportation and the Director of Communications for the Georgia Building Authority, State Properties Commission, and the Georgia State Financing and Investment Commission.
Ms. Davis holds a Master of Science in Technical Communications from Southern Polytechnic State University, and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership from Tennessee Temple University. She and her daughter Jessica reside in Atlanta.
Government Affairs Director
Jill Johnson joined ABI as its Government Affairs Director, a newly created position, in December 2013. In this capacity, Ms. Johnson actively supports ABI at the federal, state and local government levels to ensure and expand funding, regulatory, and political support for the program. Ms. Johnson has worked for more than a decade with conservation groups in Georgia and across the Southeast.
Read more about Jill Johnson
As the President of Live Oak Strategies, LLC, she advocated on behalf of her clients before the state legislature and acted as liaison to legislators, state agencies, and the Governor’s Office on their behalf. She provided help with government and public affairs, public and media relations, strategic planning, and fundraising.
Previously, Ms. Johnson served as the Political Director for Georgia Conservation Voters where she held elected officials accountable for their votes on key conservation issues and helped elect pro-conservation candidates to office. Before that, she spearheaded efforts on land conservation and advocacy at the Georgia Conservancy.
Ms. Johnson is a graduate of LEAD Atlanta and the Institute for Georgia Environmental Leadership, and received a Bachelor of Science degree from Tulane University. She is married with one child and enjoys running and participating in triathlons.
Economic Development Director
Jerald Mitchell joined ABI as the Economic Development Director in February 2014. In this capacity, he plays a critical role in developing and advancing the economic development strategy in partnership with Invest Atlanta to support the implementation of the Atlanta BeltLine’s mission. Previously, Mr. Mitchell served as the Director of Emerging Industry for the Savannah Economic Development Authority (SEDA).
Read more about Jerald Mitchell
Before he was the Director of Emerging Industry, Mr. Mitchell led SEDA’s Innovation Department focusing on the growth and investment for start-ups and entrepreneurs and previously managed SEDA’s Business Attraction activity as a senior business development professional. Prior to SEDA, he held roles as Regional Project Manager for the Georgia Department of Economic Development and Director of Economic Development for the Coastal Regional Commission. Mr. Mitchell also has significant leadership and management experience in the telecommunications industry and during his 13-year tenure in that field held management positions as Area Marketing and Government Relations Manager, Senior Manager of Customer Care and Operations Manager in both the Savannah and Jacksonville regions for Comcast.
A Savannah native, Mr. Mitchell received his Executive Masters of Business Administration in International Business from the Georgia Institute of Technology and his BA in Economics from Armstrong Atlantic State University. He is a graduate of the Leadership Georgia Class of 2013 and was named one of Savannah’s Rising Stars in 2014. Mr. Mitchell was recognized by the Business Journal and Report’s 40 under 40 business professionals in 2006 and was selected for Comcast University’s corporate leadership program, Leadership Savannah and Leadership Southeast Georgia. He served on the Golden Isles Arts and Humanities Board of Directors, the Savannah Poverty Reduction Initiative’s Policy Committee and Work Development Task Force, the Greater Savannah International Alliance Task Force, and the Leadership Savannah Board of Directors.
Housing Policy & Development Director
James Alexander is the Housing Policy & Development Director Director for Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. The Atlanta BeltLine seeks to reconnect communities and create a framework for growth by delivering 22 miles of new transit, over 1,000 acres of new greenspace, 33 miles of new trails, and 5,600 units of affordable housing.
Read more about James Alexander
He works to create and preserve affordable housing near the transit corridor, including the capitalization of an $8.8M affordable housing trust fund. He also worked with communities and consultants to create long-range master plans throughout the BeltLine, preparing districts for transit oriented development. Before working with the Atlanta BeltLine, Mr. Alexander was an Affordable Housing Development Project Manager at Allston Brighton Community Development Corporation (ABCDC) in Boston, Massachusetts. There, he oversaw the financing, construction, and lease-up of over 140 units of affordable rental and homeownership housing. Before working with ABCDC, Mr. Alexander worked at Robert Charles Lesser & Co, a real estate market research consulting company in Atlanta. Mr. Alexander received his B.A. in Urban Studies/Economics from Columbia University in 2000, and a Masters in City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2004.
Lee J. Harrop, LEED AP, P.E.
Lee Harrop is the Program Director for Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. In this role, Lee works directly with Project Managers from ABI, the City of Atlanta, and outside partners to ensure that projects are properly supported and moving forward as scheduled.
Read more about Lee J. Harrop, LEED AP, P.E
Prior to joining the Atlanta BeltLine, Lee worked in engineering consulting in Atlanta and New Orleans. While working in the private sector, he specialized in community improvement, infrastructure and environmental remediation projects throughout the Southeast and in the Caribbean. Lee studied at Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of New Orleans. He holds a BS in Civil and Environmental Engineering as well as a Masters of Business Administration from Georgia State University.
E. Fred Yalouris
Fred Yalouris joined Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. in June 2008. Previously, he was in Boston, where for eleven years he held the position of Director of Architecture and Urban Design for the Central Artery/Tunnel Project, the “Big Dig,” where he directed the planning, design, public participation process, and construction phase services for the surface restoration of the $15 billion project.
Read more about E. Fred Yalouris
This included overseeing the creation of 46 new parks in Boston and Cambridge, several miles of streetscape, over ten miles of trails, the restoration of several miles of harbor and river shorelines, the completion of a major public art program and archaeology program, and hundreds of environmental remediation commitments. It also included the designs of various buildings, pedestrian bridges and other structures. In the public participation process, he worked with a multitude of public agencies, neighborhood groups, property owners, business groups and special interest groups, and was responsible for over 900 public meetings during the planning, design and construction phases of the project. Prior to the Big Dig, Fred served as a college administrator and research associate for 10 years at Harvard, followed by 10 years as a college dean at University of Massachusetts (Lowell), Boston University and Newbury College. He lectured part-time for 20 years at Harvard University Extension, where he taught courses in Western art and architecture and archaeology. His publications cover topics in ancient topography, ancient art and architecture, nautical archaeology, and urban planning. He has received a number of awards for his work in managing the planning and design of parks, streetscapes and public spaces in Boston. Fred holds a B.A. from Harvard College and a Ph.D. from Oxford University (England). He is married with three children. He enjoys travel, collecting art, woodworking and wilderness canoeing.
Real Estate and Asset Management Director
Stacy Patton is responsible for overseeing all real estate‐related activities for ABI as it pertains to parks, trails, transit right‐of‐way, affordable workforce housing and economic development. She joins ABI from her most recent position as Managing Director of Development for Minerva USA where she was responsible for land acquisition, planning, design, entitlement and project management for residential ventures in both suburban and urban infill markets.
Read more about Stacy Patton
Stacy brings over 20 years’ experience in real estate, including acquisition, planning, design, real estate development and market analysis, with a diversity of projects including mixed-use, residential, industrial, brownfield, recreational and land conservation. Stacy is a graduate of the University of Georgia with a Masters in Landscape Architecture (with an emphasis on real estate development). Stacy serves on numerous boards and professional organizations, including The Governor’s Land Conservation Council, Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership and Fulton County Commission on the Environment.
Dr. Henry Ikwut-Ukwa joined ABI as Transportation Director in 2016. In this capacity, Dr. Ikwut-Ukwa will lead the effort to implement the 22-mile Atlanta BeltLine transit loop with the Atlanta Streetcar crosstown network, as well as the implementation of Atlanta BeltLine 46-miles of complete streets and accompanying elements of the Connect Atlanta Transportation Plan and the Streetcar System Plan.
Read more about Henry Ikwut-Ukwa
Dr. Ikwut-Ukwa joins ABI bringing over 15 years of professional experience in transit operations, transportation planning and policy development, project and program management, and engineering design. Prior to this appointment, Dr. Ikwut-Ukwa served as the Manager of Planning and Development with the Birmingham Jefferson County Transit Authority (BJCTA) in Birmingham, Alabama where he worked on the City’s successful TIGER 7 grant application for a 15-mile Bus Rapid Transit corridor project. Before his tenure with BJCTA, he was the Principal of a private consulting firm, Consul Company. Dr. Ikwut-Ukwa is no stranger to transit and transportation in the City of Atlanta: During his professional career, he has also served for nearly six years as Manager of Transit System Planning for MARTA where, among other things, he led the planning and implementation of the Memorial Drive Bus Rapid Transit Project. Prior to this he worked in private sector consulting with major engineering companies. Dr. Ikwut-Ukwa completed his doctoral work in Transportation Engineering with a minor in Public Policy at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He is a registered professional engineer (PE) in the state of Pennsylvania, and served for four years on both the Downtown and Midtown Atlanta Development Review Committees. He was recently selected into the 2016 Leadership Program of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA).
Valerie joined ABI in April 2016 as the Controller. In this role, Valerie supports the CFO in managing the financial affairs of ABI including ensuring the integrity of the financial records, maintenance of accounting controls and account analysis. Before joining ABI, Valerie spent more than 14 years in higher education as Director of Accounting.
Read more about Valerie Strickland
In her previous roles, Valerie held positions as accounting manager with distribution and manufacturing companies north of Atlanta. In these positions she performed a variety of technical and accounting duties such as direct oversight for the general accounting functions, preparation of financial reports, developing staff members and assisting non-financial users in the understanding of financial information. Valerie began her career with Deloitte and Touche in the same building where she currently serves ABI. She is a CPA and holds a BBA in accounting from Mercer University where she was awarded the Louis Newton Academic Achievement Award. Valerie is married with a variety of four-legged children. In her spare time, she enjoys gardening, reading and volunteering in the cat adoption room of PetSmart.
Senior Community Planner
Lynnette Reid joined the ABI team serving as the Community Engagement Advocate. Her involvement in the public sector dates back to 1992 when she worked as Senior Land Use Planner at the Fulton County Department of Environment and Community Development. While at Fulton County, she was instrumental in policy and regulatory development, community engagement and consensus building, and identified new and innovative was to make communities more sustainable and the community benefits more equitable in underserved communities.
Read more about Lynnette Reid
Her passion for the public sector and underserved communities led her to complete a Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration from Trenton State College in 1994. With years of experience in various aspects of planning and community development, in 1996 she completed her Master of City Planning with the Georgia Institute of Technology. She would also go on to successfully pass the American Institute of Certified Planners Exam in 2001. Most of her professional career as a planner was spent with a municipality in the Atlanta area where she served as the Senior Land Use Planner. In her role she worked on policy and regulatory development, community engagement and consensus building, and identified new and innovative was to make communities more sustainable and the community benefits more equitable in underserved communities. Lynnette believes that the mission of the Atlanta BeltLine, will truly make Atlanta a sustainable development community that people will enjoy for generations to come.
Communications & Media Relations Manager
Jenny joined the Atlanta BeltLine’s communications team in February 2012 where she works closely with the Director of Communications on all media, marketing, and communications functions. Jenny is an Atlanta native who worked in real estate marketing for five years as Marketing Manager for The Zac Team and then The BeltLine Team real estate group, both focused on intown Atlanta. Prior to her marketing roles, Jenny served as a transportation officer in the U.S. Army in Germany, Kuwait, and Iraq.
Read more about Jenny Odom
Jenny brings experience in writing, blogging, social networking, online and print marketing, graphic design, content management, human resources, public speaking, leadership, and management. She started volunteering with the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership in 2007 where she helped found their local festival program. She has also served on the committee for Art on the Atlanta BeltLine since its inception in 2010. Jenny attended Washington University in St. Louis on an ROTC scholarship and graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in 2002. She majored in graphic design with a concentration in illustration. Jenny resides in Decatur.
Development Officer for Public Grants
Lena Carstens joined the Atlanta Beltline, Inc. in August 2015 as the Development Officer for Public Grants. In this role, she actively supports ABI by identifying and applying for public funding opportunities at the federal, state, local, and regional government levels. Prior to joining ABI, Ms. Carstens served as the Program Manager for Arts and Education Services at the City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs.
Read more about Lena Carstens
Ms. Carstens is an alum of LEAD Atlanta Class of 2006 and received the Outstanding Atlanta award in 2010. She holds an MBA and an MA in Arts Administration from SMU in Dallas, TX and a BFA in Stage Management from the Conservatory of Theatre Arts at Webster University. Ms. Carstens is married with two children and enjoys playing roller derby.
Human Resources Manager
Khristie joined the Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. in June 2015 as the Human Resources Manager. In this role, she manages the daily operations of the Human Resources functions in order to effectively and efficiently fulfill the needs of the organization. Khristie works with all staff to build rapport, productivity and morale, and is responsible for recruiting talent for the growing organization.
Read more about Khristie Power
Before joining ABI, Khristie spent 16 years in the property management industry in Atlanta. Throughout her tenure she served in many capacities, including as a Director of Community Development Programs and a Human Resources and Operations Manager. Utilizing her background in Social Work, she created programs for after-school youth groups and summer programs in low-income communities. As Human Resources Director in her previous employment she designed and implemented various programs resulting in lower turnover and increased morale. Khristie was instrumental in a company-wide paperless conversion and increasing efficiencies within her department. She hold a Bachelors degree in Psychology from Emory University and a Masters in Social Work from the University of Georgia. You may see Khristie walking her dog on the Eastside Trail as she lives adjacent to the Atlanta BeltLine.
Assistant General Counsel
In January 2014, Michelle Thomas joined ABI in the newly created position of Assistant General Counsel. In this capacity, Ms. Thomas handles legal issues as directed or assigned by the General Counsel and provide legal advice for Atlanta BeltLine, Inc.
Read more about Michelle Thomas
Since 2004, she served as Senior Assistant County Attorney for the DeKalb County Law Department handling legal matters related to real estate, construction, professional services, utilities, public works and greenspace. She started at DeKalb County as Assistant County Attorney in 2002.
Previously, Ms. Thomas served as an associate with the City of Atlanta Law Department and prior to that she served as a law clerk with the Atlanta Municipal Court.
Ms. Thomas is a graduate of the Georgetown University Law Center and Howard University. She is a member of the East Point/College Park Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Robbie Ross joined ABI as Accounting Manager in 2014 with more than 16 years of accounting experience. He spent more than eight years in the industries of real estate development, construction, and hospitality, handling all aspects of accounting and finance, including month-end close, reconciliations, and financial statement preparation.
Read more about Robbie Ross
Robbie gained strong Construction Accounting and Joint Venture expertise working for Omni Hotels on projects they developed with Turner. He had responsibility for budgets, change orders, in-process billings, forecasts, variance reports, vendor relations, construction draws, and more. Prior to Omni, Robbie worked for Bass Hotels and Resorts where he had responsibility for monthly reporting, maintaining capital budgets, journal entries, and other facets of accounting for the development of new hotels. Most recently Robbie has worked for Feltrim Development NA, Inc., a private real estate development and property management company in Orlando, Florida. Robbie is an Atlanta native and graduated from Keller Graduate School in 2005 with a Master’s of Accounting & Financial Management after attending Georgia Southern for undergrad and Booker T. Washington for high school. He is on track to sit for the first part of the Certified Management Accountant exam in 2014.
Catherine M. Owens, LEED AP, PE
Catherine M. Owens joined the Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. team in May 2012 as the Senior Civil Engineer. She has worked for more than 10 years as a civil engineer in the private sector. Catherine came to ABI from AMEC Environment & Infrastructure, Inc. (formerly MACTEC Engineering & Consulting, Inc.) as a Senior Civil Engineer.
Read more about Catherine M. Owens, LEED AP, PE
At AMEC, Catherine worked with commercial, institutional, and industrial clients on projects ranging from demolition, environmental remediation, industrial facilities siting, environmental permitting, and development. Between 2010 and departing AMEC, Catherine was the AMEC project coordinator and civil engineer for the Perkins + Will-led Atlanta BeltLine Design Team. Catherine’s current projects at ABI include managing the Edgewood Bridge Replacement, the vertical connection between Ponce de Leon and the Atlanta BeltLine, and installation of a pedestrian plaza on the Atlanta BeltLine at Ponce City Market. She will also remain involved in the Design Team Contact, including the completion of the Eastside Trail. Prior to working at AMEC, Catherine lived in the DC area and was an architectural engineer managing projects for both private and institutional clients, providing consulting services for restoration and renovation of existing structures. Catherine has a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology. She lives in the Ardmore neighborhood, three blocks from the Atlanta BeltLine corridor.
Special Projects Manager
Heather Hussey-Coker joined the Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. team as Special Projects Coordinator in May 2010. In this capacity she supports the COO and project management team in the implementation of organizational and programmatic projects. Heather began her tenure with the Atlanta BeltLine project in 2005 at the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership, supporting the execution or implementation of many project milestones, including the establishment of the Partnership’s first Board of Directors, the development of the BeltLine Redevelopment Plan and 5 Year Work Plan, and the creation of the Atlanta BeltLine Tax Allocation District.
Read more about Heather Hussey-Coker
Prior to joining ABI full time, Heather established the Atlanta BeltLine Tour Program and continues to coordinate project area tours, leading over 400 tours since the Program’s inception in 2007. Ms. Hussey-Coker received her undergraduate degree in Cultural Anthropology and Human and Natural Ecology from Emory University and her master’s degree in City and Regional Planning from the Georgia Institute of Technology. She resides in the Riverside neighborhood of northwest Atlanta near the Westside Reservoir Park with her husband and two children.
Kevin W. Burke
Senior Landscape Architect
Kevin Burke, who joined Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. in January 2009 as Senior Landscape Architect, has more than twenty-nine years of professional experience on a range of institutional, roadway, college and university, and park projects. Kevin’s current projects include Project Management for the the East Side Trail, the Perkerson Park Splashpad, and the Corridor-Wide Design, as well as post-construction oversight of Stanton, Boulevard Crossing, Historic 4th Ward Park II, and Clear Creek parks.
Read more about Kevin W. Burke
He also organizes the annual Organic Land Care Symposium held in March and is collaborating with professionals from Emory, Georgia State, and the CDC on multi-year health outcome studies of the Atlanta BeltLine’s development of multi-use trails. Prior to joining ABI, Kevin was employed from 2005-2008 by the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority as a Project Engineer and landscape architect on the Central Artery/Tunnel Project responsible for providing project management, design, and construction QA/QC services to support the various restoration contracts. These contracts included rebuilding streetscapes, new construction of parks, and coordination with multiple agencies, abutters, and contractors. Between 1994 and 2004, Kevin was a key member of the Central Artery/Third Harbor Tunnel, “The Big Dig,” landscape architectural team. His primary involvement focused on preliminary design of landscape, streetscape, and open space areas throughout the Project. As part of his responsibilities, he led the Community Participation Program for the development of the Master Plan for over 30 acres of urban parkland. He also was involved with development and construction oversight of waterfront walkways along the Charles River and Fort Point Channel. Kevin has also managed projects for Harvard Business School, Boston University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the City of Medford, MA, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Ohio Department of Transportation and the New York State Department of Transportation. Kevin has a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture degree from Utah State University, in Logan, UT, is a Registered Landscape Architect in Georgia and New Hampshire and is a NOFA (Northeast Organic Farming Association) Accredited Organic Land Care Professional.
Real Estate Project Manager
Dave Pierce joined Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. in April 2015 as the Real Estate Project Manager. Dave supports the real estate team by reviewing development proposals, analyzing acquisitions, and assisting with other real estate functions such as asset management, research and reporting. He joins us with nearly ten years of professional experience in quantitative analysis with a focus and passion for real estate and transportation.
Read more about Dave Pierce
Dave was most recently with Beazer Homes where he was a Corporate Land Financial Analyst, reviewing land acquisitions for financial feasibility and identifying market, legal and environmental risks. Prior to that, he was a research associate at the American Transportation Research Institute, a non-profit entity focused on freight transportation studies. Dave was also a Senior Associate at Robert Charles Lesser & Co, a real estate consulting firm specializing in development feasibility studies. He graduated from Georgia Tech with a M.S. in City and Regional Planning along with a B.S. in Geography from Penn State. While he is a proud native of New Jersey, Atlanta has been his home for over a decade. Dave lives in Atlanta’s Candler Park neighborhood with his husband and dog.
Community Engagement Manager
Nathan Soldat, a forward thinking creative, joined ABI as Community Engagement Advocate in February 2014. Nathan comes to ABI from the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) where he was Senior Transit Planner working on regional transit coordination and planning. While at ARC he helped guide the agency’s first participation in a hack-a-thon, lead the effort to create open transit data for trip planning tools such as Google Transit and was project manager for the design of a regional unified bus stop signage program.
Read more about Nathan Soldat
Since 2011, he has served as a volunteer for ABI actively participating on the Art on the BeltLine Committee. During this time he also volunteered for the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership speaking at community festivals and helping to support the Ambassador Program’s outreach efforts. Prior to ARC, Nathan worked for the City of Decatur providing zoning review for all plan submittals, implementing new software to assist in plan management, and was a community facilitator during the city’s 2010 strategic plan update. Nathan has a Bachelor of the Arts in Global Studies with a concentration in African Studies and a Masters of Science in Urban Planning with a concentration in Housing and Community Development from the University of Iowa. He is very active in Atlanta’s public art and creative culture scene. He is a dedicated transit rider and bicycle commuter. He lives in Decatur with his wife and two children.
Communications & Media Relations Coordinator
Nicole Knox is the Communications and Media Relations Coordinator for Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. She is responsible for generating content for the website, social media and print publications. Nicole works with each department at the Atlanta BeltLine to coordinate interviews, release information to the press, and prepare presentations for the executive team.
Read more about Nicole Knox
Nicole spearheads the Trail Etiquette campaign and managed the publication of the 2015 Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. Annual Report. She also played an integral role in the production of the 2014 Annual Report, which was awarded the International Economic Development Council’s Silver Award. Until 2015, Nicole had a regular column in Atlanta VeloCity magazine, a publication by and for Atlanta’s cycling community. From 2010 to 2014, Nicole served as the nonfiction editor for Loose Change, WonderRoot’s literary magazine and has had her short fiction appear in PosteHaste Quarterly and The Red Clay Review. Nicole’s publishing credits also include copy-editing Business Acumen II. She holds a Master of Professional Writing from Kennesaw State University. Originally from Buffalo, NY, Nicole now lives in Reynoldstown with her many cats.
Kim Nicholson has more than 25 years of procurement experience, 20 of which were spent working in public procurement at city and county governments. Throughout her procurement career, Kim has purchased everything from ambulances to zoo animals.
Read more about Kim Nicholson
Kim has continuously demonstrated exceptional procurement capabilities with a focus on implementing process improvements including development of policies and procedures, developing targeted plans, and delivering solutions within budgets and timelines. Kim has also served as a process leader on several cross-functional teams related to procurement of enterprise resource systems (ERP) and other technological projects. Kim has been a member of the National Institute of Government Procurement since 1997 and has served on NIGP local chapter boards and received the NIGP CPPB certification in 2004. Kim graduated magna cum laude from Lincoln College in Normal, Illinois, with a Bachelors in Arts and with a minor in business. Kim has two sons that live in Atlanta and has followed the progress of the Atlanta BeltLine from her home in Bloomington, Illinois, St. Louis, Missouri, and is happy that she can now enjoy the Atlanta BeltLine any time she wants.
Valinda Johnson Brown
Valinda Brown joined Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. in December 2009 as the Paralegal to the Atlanta BeltLine’s legal and real estate departments. Valinda works with ABI’s General Counsel on legal matters and research and with the Director of Real Estate on matters relating to property title and acquisitions.
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Valinda previously worked for the present Atlanta BeltLine General Counsel, Patrise Perkins-Hooker at the law firm of Hollowell, Foster & Gepp. Valinda brings 12-years of transit-related experience with her as a previous employee of the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) where she worked as an Acquisition/Relocation Officer and Demolition Manager. Valinda received a B.A. degree in Journalism from Georgia State University and is a published author.
Tameka joined Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. in December 2012 as an accountant. In her role, her primary focus is on capital expenditures, accounts payable, accounts receivable, and month end close. Tameka brings over 10 years of accounting experience to the Atlanta BeltLine.
Read more about Tameka Silas
Prior to joining the Atlanta BeltLine, her experience included senior positions in accounts payable, accounts receivable, payroll, process improvement, and accounting system implementation for some of Atlanta’s largest corporations. Tameka is elated about joining the Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. team and the revitalization efforts in the City of Atlanta. Tameka received a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Mississippi Valley State University and a Master’s in Accounting and Finance from Keller Graduate School of Management.
GIS & IT Administrator
Giovanni Cosentino joined the Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. team in January 2014 as the GIS & IT administrator. He conducts geospatial analysis to help support ABIs projects and initiatives. Prior to joining the Atlanta BeltLine, Giovanni was completing his Master of Science in Environmental Geography and GIS at Georgia State University. He has also helped to start a GIS certificate program at Gwinnett Technical College by developing the GIS curriculum. Giovanni earned his Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies at Winthrop University in 2009.
Shaun Green, PE
Senior Transportation Engineer
Shaun Green brings 16 years of civil engineering experiences to Atlanta BeltLine, Inc., primarily focused on urban, multi-modal transportation systems. Shaun spent the last ten years with the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority, supporting the start-up and ultimate steady-state operation and maintenance of their regional express bus service. Prior to GRTA, Shaun worked as a consulting engineer, focusing on traffic engineering, urban planning and land development.
Read more about Shaun Green
Shaun is a graduate of Georgia Tech, has three daughters with his wife Janet, has been a bicycle commuter in Atlanta since 1994, and is an avid ice hockey player.
Art & Culture Project Manager
Elan Buchen is the Project Coordinator for Art & Design. He supports the Director of Design in executing the public art initiative “Art on the Atlanta BeltLine” as well as other public art projects that encompass the 22-mile network of parks and trails and provides design support for the senior staff.
Read more about Elan Buchen
Previous to this position, Elan was completing his Master of Fine Arts at the Savannah College of Art & Design, Atlanta campus, in Sculpture. During his time there he helped to design the sculpture curriculum for the Scientific Illustration department and administered multiple workshops to both students and educators on constructive anatomy, lifecasting, and creature creation. His work is on permanent exhibit at the Oatland Island Nature Center in Savannah and the Chattahoochee Nature Center in Roswell. Elan earned his Bachelor’s of Fine Arts from SCAD in 2006, graduating Summa Cum Laude and received the departmental Outstanding Achievement Award. During his career, Elan has acted as designer and sculptor for numerous fine arts and commercial clients from special effects to collected bronzes.
Meghan Injaychock joined Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. as a Landscape Architect in 2012 after completing a fellowship as a graduate student. Prior to joining ABI, she worked at South Face Energy Institute where she developed the 2010 EarthCraft Communities Standards and helped to manage EarthCraft Community developments across the Southeast U.S. She also managed the graphic design and assisted in writing “Fire Adaptive Landscaping for Native Habitats and wildlife in the Southern Coastal Plain,” a publication sponsored by the Georgia Forestry Commission and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Read more about Meghan Injaychock
Meghan is involved with the Georgia Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects and was the 2009 Georgia American Society of Landscape Architects Student Winner for senior capstone project on a design and programming of an Urban Farm in Downtown Savannah, GA. She was also the Juror’s selection for the international “Iraqi Memorial Project” in 2009 for design project commemorating civilian deaths in “Operation Iraqi Freedom”. Meghan graduated with a Master’s degree in Environmental Planning and Design from the University of Georgia in 2012 and is an active Atlanta BeltLine volunteer. In her free time, she enjoys paddling boarding and kayaking.
Real Estate Coordinator
As a native of the Atlanta, Monica brings 25 years of experience with Local Government Municipalities to her role at ABI, including the City of Atlanta, City of College Park & Columbus Consolidated Government, servicing in: Real Estate Development, Permitting, Demolition, Structural Inspections, Property Maintenance and Management.
Read more about Monica Collins
Ms. Collins’ education and training experiences include but are not limited to a completion of a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Property Management from Colorado Technical University (CTU). She holds and continues to be certified as an International Housing Inspector (IPMC) and Renovation, Repair & Paint with Georgia EPD (RRP). She is now completing her Masters of Science in Public Administration at CTU.
Housing Policy and Development Coordinator
Cecilia Leal joined the Atlanta BeltLine Inc in August 2016 as the Housing and Policy Development Coordinator. In this role, she is responsible for the coordination and execution of a nascent owner-occupied rehabilitation program. Ms. Leal will also provide support in the management of a downpayment assistance program, assistance in the predevelopment of ABI owned lands and utilizes data and analysis to track housing progress and trends along the Atlanta BeltLine .
Read more about Cecilia Leal
Prior to joining the Atlanta Beltline, Ms. Leal was a planner with the City of Sandy Springs. As a long range planner with the city, she coordinated land use planning and development projects, assisted in comprehensive planning and the city’s zoning code rewrite, and drafted policy for the city’s first inclusionary housing project. During her graduate studies at the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University, Ms. Leal was engaged as a fellow at the Atlanta Beltline, aiding the Economic Development department. She conducted research for both the Center for State and Local Finance and AYSPS while completing her Master’s degree in Public Policy with a concentration in Economic Development and Planning. Ms. Leal holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Linguistics and French from the University of Florida.
Front Office Coordinator
Rhonda Forge joined Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. as Front Desk Office Coordinator in January 2013. Rhonda assists with daily office management and coordinates all front desk activities and duties. Rhonda, a native Missourian, transferred to the Atlanta area over 13 years ago with shipping giant Federal Express. She has worked in the transportation and logistics field for over 20 years. Rhonda received her Bachelor of Science from the University of Missouri and is currently studying for her certification as a Data Base Administrator.