On August 23, 2017, the ABI Board of Directors voted to elect Brian McGowan as President and CEO of the Atlanta BeltLine. Prior to his appointment, Mr. McGowan served as a Principal with the global law firm Dentons. At Dentons, McGowan led a practice area that focused on global economic development initiatives where he engaged with business leaders and elected officials to address community and job growth challenges. Prior to this, Mr. McGowan was the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Metro Atlanta Chamber. In 2011, McGowan served as the CEO of Invest Atlanta. In this role, he refocused the organization to be a catalyst for community revitalization, economic growth and competitiveness. During his tenure at Invest Atlanta, he was responsible for programs that facilitated the creation of more than 23,000 jobs and nearly $2 billion in investment in the City of Atlanta.
Earlier in his career, Mr. McGowan was appointed by President Barack Obama to be US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce, served as an economic advisor in the White House National Incident Command for the BP oil spill and was appointed US co-chair for the OECD working party on territorial policy for rural areas. Brian was also appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger as Deputy Secretary for Economic Development and Commerce for the State of California and was appointed by Governor Nathan Deal of Georgia to serve on the Board of the Fort McPherson Local Redevelopment Authority. He has also supported a USAID funded program to help cities in Bulgaria create economic development programs. Throughout his career, Mr. McGowan has created new economic initiatives including the California iHub program, Start Up Atlanta, SelectUSA and the i6 Challenge. His work has facilitated the creation of 36,000 direct jobs and nearly $5 billion in capital investment working with such private companies as Mercedes Benz, the Atlanta Falcons, Athenahealth, Tyler Perry Studios, PulteHomes, NCR and Carter’s.
Mr. McGowan has received numerous awards and recognitions for his work including the Coast Guard Commanders Award for Civilian Service by the United States Coast Guard, RealShare Magazine’s Top 40 Under 40 Real Estate Professionals and the Michael and Mary Johnston Fellowship in American Politics. Mr. McGowan also has extensive community involvement including serving as a Board Member of the following organizations: the Atlanta Shakespeare Company, the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, California Technology Council, International Economic Development Council, the McPherson Implementing Local Redevelopment Authority, the Georgia Advanced Technology Ventures Inc., and the University of California, Riverside School of Public Policy. Mr. McGowan has also served as the Chair of the Georgia Foreign Trade Zone.
Mr. McGowan holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of California Riverside and a Masters of Arts degree from Claremont Graduate University.