Distinguished Leadership Overseeing a Transformational Endeavor

The Atlanta BeltLine is having a profound impact on the City of Atlanta and the region. The involvement and cooperation of leaders from across the City is vital to the project, and the guidance and commitment from our Board of Directors is particularly crucial to the continued success of the Atlanta BeltLine.

Meeting Schedule and Documents

The Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. (ABI) Board of Directors meets on the second Wednesday of each month.

Visit the Atlanta BeltLine Board Meetings page to view approved agendas, meeting minutes, monthly financial reports and additional supporting documents when applicable.

To request documents pertaining to Board of Directors meetings, contact:

Aasia Mustakeem
Secretary to the Board, General Counsel

Tel:  (404) 477-3690
Email: amustakeem@atlbeltline.org
View meeting agendas and minutes


Board of Directors

The Honorable Andre Dickens

Mayor, City of Atlanta

Andre Dickens is the 61st Mayor of Atlanta.

Prior to becoming mayor, he served as an at-large City Council member for two terms. In addition to serving in public office, Mayor Dickens has been a businessman and nonprofit executive and is an engineer, deacon, father and native Atlantan. His career follows his passions and his impact follows his commitment.

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As the Post 3 At-Large Council member, Andre Dickens was a vocal legislative leader on public safety, transportation, affordable housing, workforce development, educational opportunities for Atlanta Public Schools students, and seasoned citizens programming. He served as the chairman of the Transportation Committee, providing oversight to city streets, bridges, sidewalks, paths, and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the world’s busiest airport. In 2017, he chaired the Public Safety and Legal Administration Committee, during which time homicides went down 33% and all violent crimes decreased 12%.

Some of his legislative highlights include: creating the Department of Transportation, sponsoring legislation increasing annual salaries for Senior Patrol Officers, implementing a $15 per hour minimum wage for city employees, establishing BeltLine Inclusionary Zoning for affordable housing, establishing the Atlanta Youth Commission, setting aside a $40 million Housing Opportunity Bond, creating a joint commission between City Council and APS board, and establishing a BeltLine senior housing rehab program.

Mayor Dickens is a proud product of Atlanta Public Schools and a graduate of Mays High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a Master of Public Administration degree in Economic Development from Georgia State University.

Mayor Dickens enjoys spending time with his daughter, experiencing live music, attending church services, and traveling the world. He is an avid Atlanta sports fan and enjoys supporting the Falcons, Hawks, Braves, United, Dream, and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.

 

John Somerhalder

Chairman

AGL Resources

Retired, President and CEO

John W. Somerhalder II was named president and chief executive officer of AGL Resources (NYSE: GAS) in March 2006 and was named chairman of the company’s board of directors in November 2007. Somerhalder retired from AGL Resources on December 31, 2015.

With four decades in the energy industry, including state and regulatory experience in multiple jurisdictions, Somerhalder provided seasoned leadership to AGL Resources, an Atlanta-based energy services holding company with operations in natural gas distribution, retail operations, wholesale services and midstream operations.

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As the nation’s largest natural gas-only distributor based on customer count, AGL Resources served approximately 4.5 million utility customers in seven states through its regulated distribution subsidiaries: Atlanta Gas Light, Chattanooga Gas, Elizabethtown Gas, Elkton Gas, Florida City Gas, Nicor Gas and Virginia Natural Gas. The company also served more than one million retail customers through its SouthStar Energy Services joint venture and Pivotal Home Solutions, which market natural gas and related home services. Other non-utility businesses included asset management for natural gas wholesale customers through Sequent Energy Management and ownership and operation of natural gas storage facilities. In August 2015, AGL Resources entered into an agreement to sell the company to Southern Company in an all cash transaction, the deal closed on July 1, 2016. Somerhalder joined AGL Resources from El Paso Corporation, where he spent almost 30 years, rising through the ranks from engineer to president of El Paso Pipeline Group and executive vice president of El Paso Corporation.

He served on the board of directors of the American Gas Association, which he chaired in 2011. He also served on the boards of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. He has served as past chairman of the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America. He currently serves as a director of Crestwood Equity Partners LP and the Gas Technology Institute and is a Member of the National Petroleum Council.

Somerhalder is chairman of the board of the Atlanta BeltLine, Inc., which is leading the development of the Atlanta BeltLine along 22 miles of historic railroad around the city. A member of the board of the United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta, he successfully chaired the 2009 United Way Campaign for metro Atlanta during difficult economic times and served an unprecedented second term as chair of the 2010 campaign.

Somerhalder holds a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering from the University of Arizona.

He and his wife, Rebecca, live in Atlanta. They have four grown children and six grandchildren.

The Honorable Jason Dozier

Atlanta City Councilmember

District 4

Jason Dozier represents District 4 on the Atlanta City Council.

He is the director of program operations and evaluation at Hire Heroes USA, a national nonprofit dedicated to empowering U.S. military members, veterans, and military spouses to succeed in the civilian workforce.

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After graduating from Denison University with a degree in history and education, he joined the United States Army where he served as a reconnaissance officer in both Iraq and Afghanistan, earning both the Army Commendation Medal and the Bronze Star. A native Atlantan, he returned to Georgia to help transitioning military veterans in a full-time capacity while concurrently earning a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Georgia.

Jason has also earned a Master of Science in Real Estate degree from Georgia State University, and as a result, has been an active member of the Urban Land Institute, the International City/County Management Association, and the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Millennial Advisory Panel. He has also served on the board for two Atlanta transportation advocacy organizations –  the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, which works to transform Atlanta into a more livable, accessible city by making biking equitable, safe, and appealing; and Advance Atlanta, which is a citizen-driven grassroots advocacy coalition dedicated to building support for transit expansion in metro Atlanta.

As a resident of Atlanta’s historic Mechanicsville community, Jason has played an active role throughout Neighborhood Planning Unit V; this includes serving as the co-chair of the Intrenchment Creek Community Stewardship Council, serving as communications chair for the NPU, serving on the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation NPU-V Advisory Board, serving as vice president for the Mechanicsville Civic Association, and at one point serving on the Steering Committee for the Turner Field Community Benefits Coalition. Jason also served on the board of the BeltLine Tax Allocation District Advisory Committee, working to ensure citizen oversight of the planning, design, and implementation of the Atlanta BeltLine. In addition to his professional work with military veterans and community organizing across southwest Atlanta communities, he is also a 2015 alumnus of LEAD Atlanta, a 2016 Political Partner with the Truman National Security Project, a 2016 New Leaders Council Fellow, a 2016 Atlanta Business Chronicle 40 Under 40 honoree, and a 2021 Georgia Trend 40 Under 40 honoree.

Ayana Gabriel

Secretary

Community Representative

Ayana L. Gabriel is currently a Program Officer for The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation. In this role she manages over $1.5M in education grant funding. The education portfolio includes a STEAM grant initiative, early childhood education, education reform, and education initiatives on the Westside.

Ayana began her career as a Chemical Engineer at Merck, Inc., but her passion for improving education opportunities for urban children led her to leave her engineering career to pursue a role as an educator in Atlanta Public Schools.

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As a science teacher at Bunche Middle School Ayana revitalized the Science Club, which had been absent for two years, dramatically increasing student membership. She was then chosen to become part of the charter team that founded the School of Computer Animation and Design (CAD) at the South Atlanta Educational Complex; an initiative sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

After five years in the APS system, Ayana joined the education non-profit, Teach For America (TFA) to work on education policy and to systemically improve national public education. She served as the Managing Director of Diversity and Strategy for the Admissions unit of TFA, where she consulted on diversity and equity initiatives contributing to the most diverse incoming corps in Teach For America’s history. This follows her role as Managing Director of Program where she oversaw the development of over 300 new Atlanta teachers through their training and development.

Ayana has been a resident of southwest Atlanta since 2006 where she served as President of the Westview Community Organization. Under her leadership the neighborhood saw the largest increase in community engagement in over a decade and new business investment, contributing to the revitalization of Southwest Atlanta. It also acquired over $15,000 in grant money for community work including a summer STEAM camp for local youth.

Ayana holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from Spelman College, a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Secondary Education Science Certification from Mercer University. Ayana is the Community Representative for The Atlanta Beltline, Inc. Board and 2014 New Leaders Council (NLC) alumni.

Bentina Terry

Atlanta BeltLine Partnership Appointee

Georgia Power Company

Senior Vice President – Metro Atlanta & Corporate Relations

Bentina C. Terry is Senior Vice President for Metro Atlanta & Corporate Relations for Georgia Power. In this role, Bentina is responsible for the company’s operations, sales, customer service, economic and community development, and external affairs activities for 1.4 million customers across metro Atlanta as well as statewide responsibility for Georgia Power’s work in underserved communities – people of color, the elderly, women and LGBTQ+.

Bentina is actively involved in the community and feels fortunate to work for a company that has a passion for the communities it serves.

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She serves on the board of directors for the International Women’s Forum – Georgia, the Atlanta Police Foundation, Leadership Atlanta, the Grove Park Foundation, the Atlanta Beltline, Inc. and the Atlanta Beltline Partnership (2o21-2023 Chair). She is also on the campaign committee for the Woodruff Arts Center and the advisory council for the Truist Atlanta Open. In 2020, she was named on the Greater Atlanta YWCA’s Women of Achievement and has been named one of Atlanta Business League’s 100 Most Influential Women for several consecutive years.

Bentina has had a diverse career with Southern Company, beginning her career in 2001 at Georgia Power, next serving as a senior executive at Southern Nuclear Operating Company and Gulf Power before returning to Georgia Power in 2017. During her Southern Company career, she has been responsible for many different areas including External Affairs, Legislative and Regulatory Affairs, Community and Economic Development, Corporate Communications, Sales and Marketing, Customer Service, Compliance and Ethics, Corporate Services and aspects of Power Delivery. She also served as General Counsel and Corporate Secreetary of Southern Nuclear. Prior to Southern Company, Bentina began her career practicing law with Troutman Sanders law firm in Atlanta and also served as the Associate General Counsel at Progress Energy in Raleigh, NC.

A native of Fayetteville, N.C., Bentina holds a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Michigan Law School and a Bachelor of Arts in English from North Carolina State University. She is a member of the North Carolina State Bar and the Georgia State Bar, Leadership Atlanta, Leadership North Carolina, Leadership Florida, the International Women’s Forum, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc and The Links, Incorporated. She has received various awards and recognitions for her contribution to the state of Florida including being named one of Influence Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in Florida Politics (2015), and one of the Florida Diversity Council’s Most Powerful and Influential Women (2012). She was also an International Women’s Forum (IWF) Fellow in 2012 and a 2017 graduate of the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Regional Leadership Institute.

She is married to Antonio Terry and loves to play golf and run in half marathons.

Michelle E. Nelson

Invest Atlanta Appointee

Ernst & Young LLP

Talent Engagement & Operations Leader

Michelle Nelson serves as Talent Engagement & Operations leader with Ernst & Young LLP in their global practice. With 20 years of experience in helping organizations to develop and implement high-impact global human resource models, she is known for successfully translating executive vision and strategy into organizational operations and structure.

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In her current role she provides strategic counsel to executive leaders and collaborative project leadership to multiple internal functions spanning 100 countries driving operational alignment and processes efficiencies to enable successful performance. Michelle has also served as an Ethnicity Leader in the Americas practice where she consulted on diversity and inclusiveness initiatives to drive implementation of strategic plans and metrics. Over her 16 year career with Ernst & Young she has held leadership roles in both the Americas and global practices in its US and UK offices.

She is a former member of the Atlanta BeltLine Tax Allocation District Advisory Committee and serves on the Board of Directors for the Fulton County/City of Atlanta Land Bank Authority. Michelle received her Master of Business Administration from Tulane University as a Morton A. Aldrich fellow and her Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Grambling State University as a Presidential Merit scholar. She is an Atlanta native and resides in southwest Atlanta.

Dawn J. Arnold

Invest Atlanta appointee

Invest Atlanta

Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer

Dawn J. Luke is Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer at Invest Atlanta and oversees its Community Development, Finance, Information Technology, Human Resources and Investment Services departments. Prior to her current position, Dawn served as Senior Vice President of Community Development and was responsible for providing leadership and strategic direction in the successful execution of a shared vision of comprehensive community development, quality affordable housing, and economic growth in the City of Atlanta’s ten Tax Allocation Districts.

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Ms. Luke also served as the Managing Director of Housing Finance for five years and was responsible for overseeing the successful implementation of $250M in pivotal affordable housing programs, which served to provide viable housing solutions for Atlanta’s workforce, seniors, disabled, and individuals confronted with homelessness. During her tenure with Invest Atlanta, Ms. Luke also managed and operated the Authority’s multifamily and single-family Housing Bond Portfolio of approximately $1.8 billion and more than 20,000 units of housing. Ms. Luke earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics from Spelman College and an MBA in International Business from Georgia State University. She currently serves as President Emeritus of the Board of Directors of Georgia Sustainable Communities Alliance (GSCA), Vice President of the Board of Directors for the National Association of Local Housing Finance Agencies (NALHFA), President of the Formation Board of the Southwest Atlanta Partnership, Inc., Board of Directors of Atlanta Land Trust Collaborative, and is an active member of the Enterprise Community Partners Advisory Board.

The Honorable Erika Mitchell

Atlanta Board of Education

District 5

Since elected to the Atlanta Board of Education, Erika Mitchell has established herself as one of Atlanta’s most influential public servant. Mitchell is an active board member when it comes to serving her community and she is a strong believer in parent and community engagement. Within Mitchell’s first year in office, she developed the first electronic newsletter for her district, and established community partnerships with Georgia’s Own Credit Union, Chick fil-A, University for Parents, youthSpark, Fulton County Juvenile Courts, U First Project, NFL Players Association,100 Black Men of America, St. Peters Missionary Baptist Church, and The Launch Pad for her educational district.  She has also co-written the first school district Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking policy and protocol in the state of Georgia in collaboration with Dr. Sharnell Myles.

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Mitchell currently serving on the Atlanta Board of Education’s Policy Review Committee, Equity Taskforce and the Georgia Statewide Human Trafficking Taskforce Workgroup 1. Mitchell was recently appointed by the City of Atlanta’s Mayor Bottom to serve on the Atlanta 2020 Census Committee. Mitchell is also an elected member of the National School Boards Association’s Council of Urban Boards of Education’s Steering Committee.

RESPECTED PUBLIC SERVANT

The multi-talented professional and local public servant is a native of Atlanta and is committed to bridging the support gap between non-profit organizations and for-profit companies in order to better serve the diverse communities. Mitchell has served as the National Ambassador for the Arthritis Foundation, the President’s Volunteer Service Awards, and the program advisor for Fuel Up To Play 60. Mitchell has served on boards and committees for the following organizations: NFL Alumni, NFL Players Association Metro Chapter, Caribbean American Advancement Foundation and the American Red Cross.

Mitchell has been awarded 2019 The National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs, Inc (The Greater Atlanta Chapter) Public Servant Award, 2019 C.T Martin’s Public Servant Award, and was honored by The Alabama State University’s “50 under 50” Class of 2018, 2018 America Caribbean Captains of the Industries, 2016 Barack Obama’s “President Lifetime Volunteer Service” Award, the “Martin Luther King, Jr. Drum Major” Award and the 2011 National Black Latino Council Community Organization of the Year.

PRIOR TO CURRENT ROLE

Mitchell is currently the Managing Partner at Sports Unlimited Enterprise, LLC. Sports Unlimited Enterprise, LLC (SUE) specializes in Event planning, Public Relations, Charities, Non-Profits and Branding for current and former professional athletes. SUE’s Mission is to bridge the gap between professional athletes and corporate companies that will engage athletes and or their charities involvement with the youth and their community. SUE provides a platform for athletes to leverage their brands to host or partner with fundraising and charitable events.

Mitchell is also the founder of Atlanta Women In Sports (AWIS), which salutes and honors Atlanta business women who are blazing trails and redefining the position of “sports executive and athletes” with their contributions in the sports industry. AWIS also provides a platform and networking opportunities for women to connect and engage professionals of various industries who carry a similar passion for the business of sports.

 

EARLY DAYS

A graduate of Alabama State University, Mitchell was able to take advantage of a full athletic scholarship. She won numerous awards for her stellar athletic performance including the Indoor and Outdoor track and field South Western Athletics Conference (SWAC) Championships in 2001, 2002 and 2003. Mitchell earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Computer Information Systems yielding her the knowledge and opportunity to work for major global brands such as Coca Cola, Cbeyond, and Kodak as an Information Technology (IT) specialist.

 

She furthered her education and received a full scholarship from Esani Paul Mitchell partner school to become a licensed esthetics educator. Shortly after completing her educators’ degree, Mitchell began her teaching career at AVEDA Institute, where she taught histology and physiology of skin, creating AVEDA’s first makeup artist curriculum and small business development. Mitchell also provided State Board certified Continuing Educational Units to professional cosmetologists and estheticians.

 

Mitchell’s passion for volunteering led her to volunteer her time to international pageants including Miss Africa USA, Miss Latina US, and the  Miss Latin America Del Mundo pageant. Through her dedication to volunteer work, she managed to incorporate her business skills and her love for beauty and founded La Reina Pageant Productions in 2010, which also produces Atlanta Latino Fashion Week, Atlanta Caribbean Fashion Week, Miss Georgia Latina™ ,  Miss Teen Georgia Latina ™, Miss Alabama Latina and Miss Teen Alabama Latina pageants. As producer and state director, her vision is to mentor and create opportunities for Latinas and Caribbeans to pursue their goals and dreams while impacting the community through culture sharing and, most importantly, culture awareness.

The Honorable Lee Morris

Fulton County Board of Commissioners

District 3

Lee Morris is the Fulton County Commissioner representing District 3, which encompasses the southern part of Sandy Springs, all of Buckhead and parts of midtown. A graduate of Duke University and Emory University School of Law, Mr. Morris began his career practicing tax, corporate and pension law in Atlanta. For 32 years, he served as General Counsel and Chief Financial Officer for an Atlanta-based architectural-engineering firm until retiring in March 2017.

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Commissioner Morris was also elected to the District 7 seat on the Atlanta City Council in 1993, and re-elected in 1997. During his tenure on the Atlanta City Council, Mr. Morris chaired the Utilities and Zoning committee and the Finance-Executive Committee. His many accomplishments as a City Councilman include helping to initiate the City’s sidewalk building program; introducing traffic calming to the City; sponsorship of what many consider the first transit-oriented zoning in the region around the Buckhead MARTA Station and; introducing legislation which strengthened the neighborhoods in the City. In August of 2003, Governor Sonny Perdue appointed Commissioner Morris to the Board of the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority, where he served until 2006. In June of 2007, Lt. Governor Casey Cagle appointed Mr. Morris to the Georgia Public Defenders Standards Council. Commissioner Morris has had active leadership roles in the community spanning nearly 45 years including but not limited to organizations such as the Atlanta Council of Younger Lawyers, the Atlanta Bar Association, the Southeastern Consortium for Minorities in Engineering Atlanta Business Alliance, the Civic League for Regional Atlanta, the Midtown Alliance, the Atlanta Urban League, Common Cause Georgia, the Piedmont Park Conservancy, the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District, the Buckhead Community Improvement District, the Midtown Improvement District, the Buckhead Neighborhood Alliance, and the Emory University Board of Visitors.