Gain understanding and insight into the most comprehensive transportation and economic development effort ever undertaken in the City of Atlanta and among the largest, most wide-ranging urban redevelopment programs currently underway in the United States.
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The Atlanta BeltLine
Where Atlanta Comes Together. Learn more
About Atlanta BeltLine Inc.
Realizing the Atlanta BeltLine Vision
Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. (ABI) is the entity overseeing the planning and execution of the Atlanta BeltLine vision. The ABI staff works closely with City of Atlanta departments to define details of the plan, secure public funding, inform and engage members of the community, and serve as the overall project management office for construction of the trails, transit, parks, and other key components.
Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. was formed in 2006 by Invest Atlanta (formerly the Atlanta Development Authority) for the purpose of managing the implementation of the Atlanta BeltLine program. Working with partners, including City of Atlanta departments, its functions include specifically defining the Atlanta BeltLine plan; leading efforts to secure federal, state and local funding; spearheading all design and engineering; constructing trails, parks, transit, streetscapes, affordable housing, and art; continuing the community engagement process; managing all vendors and suppliers; and serving as the overall project management office to execute the Atlanta BeltLine program.
ABI is also responsible for tracking and reporting progress on the program to the Atlanta City Council, Atlanta Public Schools, and Fulton County, the three taxing authorities that authorized the Atlanta BeltLine TAD legislation in 2005.
Each day, Atlanta BeltLine staffers work to advance a project that will have an enduring and positive impact on Atlanta and the surrounding region. Just as the project is dynamic and engaging, so are the many people that come together to shape this auspicious vision into a reality.
A Team Committed to Progress
The Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. staff is an experienced and determined team tasked with the implementation of the Atlanta BeltLine vision. Working closely with the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership, the City of Atlanta, and Partner organizations, the staff at ABI oversees all aspects of planning, developing, and execution of the Atlanta BeltLine project.
President and CEO
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 where he modernized operations and expanded regional economic development collaboration. In 2011, McGowan served as the CEO of Invest Atlanta where he refocused the organization to be a catalyst for community revitalization, economic growth and global 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. McGowan is also a Non-resident Fellow at the Brookings Institution.
Read more about Brian McGowan+-
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. He has also held economic development positions in California with the City of Palm Springs, the City of Ontario and the County of San Bernardino. 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, Strong Cities/Strong Communities, SelectUSA and the i6 Challenge.
Mr. McGowan has received numerous awards and recognitions for his work including the U.S. Coast Guard Commanders Award for Civilian Service, 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 Bicycle Coalition, International Economic Development Council, the McPherson Implementing Local Redevelopment Authority, the Combine, the Center for Civic Innovation, the Georgia Advanced Technology Ventures Inc., and the University of California, Riverside School of Public Policy. Mr. McGowan has also serves as the Chair of the Georgia Foreign Trade Zone.
Mr. McGowan holds a Bachelors degree in Political Science from the University of California, Riverside and a Masters degree in Politics, Economics and Business from the Claremont Graduate University.
Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
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.
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.
Marshall Norwood, CPA
Vice President and 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.
Executive Assistant to the CEO
Ms. Vicki Cimkentli joined Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. in 2017 as the Executive Assistant to Paul Morris. Vicki has a long history of experience as an Executive Assistant and a Personal Assistant to various corporate executives.
Read more about Vicki Cimkentli+-
She originally hails from England, and spent a number of years living in other areas of Europe before moving to the USA in 1996. Vicki has resided in the Atlanta area for the past 10 years and lives in Marietta with her husband, Levent, and their two dogs. She enjoys traveling, the arts, and exploring restaurants with her dining club.
Planning & Community 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.
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 two children 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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
Kevin W. Burke
Principal 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.
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.
Senior 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.
Keith Hall, AICP
Senior Transit Project Manager
Keith Hall joined the Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. team in March 2017 as a Senior Transit Project Manager. He has worked for more than 25 years as in transit planning and will support delivery of streetcar projects on the Atlanta BeltLine.
Read more about Keith Hall+-
Keith Hall has nearly twenty five years of experience in transit service, land use, and transportation infrastructure planning in the United States, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. Keith’s passion is building accessible and mobile urban communities. Keith’s experience includes complete streets, integration of land use and transportation, and transportation access planning, but his core background has focused on transit service and infrastructure planning. He has developed operations and service plans, corridor infrastructure plans, and long range plans for a variety of transit modes, including bus network service, high-occupancy vehicle lane bus service plans, and service and infrastructure improvement plans for bus rapid transit, commuter rail, and light rail transit.
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.
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 as a marketing manager for intown Atlanta real estate firms for five years before joining ABI. 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 online and print marketing, website and content management, graphic design, writing, social networking, human resources, public speaking, and leadership. 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 with her husband and two children.
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.
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.
Natasha Graham joined Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. in 2017 as the Senior Paralegal. In her role, Natasha works with ABI’s Vice President and General Counsel and Assistant General Counsel on legal matters, real estate matters, governance, and compliance, and also assists other ABI Directors and Project Managers on various matters related to the Atlanta BeltLine initiative.
Read more about Natasha Graham+-
Natasha began her paralegal career at an Atlanta-based real estate investment trust (REIT) and brings over a decade of experience working for law firms, real estate developers, and corporations, including a GSE. Immediately prior to joining ABI, she provided paralegal support for the real estate team at a major marketer of children’s apparel.
Natasha graduated from Wellesley College with a B.A. in Economics and is an active member of the Atlanta Wellesley Club. She volunteers her time to support inclusive educational opportunities and also enjoys meeting new and long-time Atlanta residents at diverse community meetings, professional networking events and social activities throughout the metro area.
Real Estate Project Manager
Schroder is responsible for supporting real estate-related activities for ABI as it pertains to acquisitions, due diligence, asset management, and construction along the Atlanta BeltLine corridor. He joins ABI after spending six years with Wells Fargo’s Commercial Real Estate Group in Atlanta, where he served as a relationship manager responsible for business development, risk assessment, and new loan origination for private and institutional commercial real estate developers and investors.
Read more about Schroder Voyles+-
While at Wells Fargo, he gained valuable experience underwriting acquisitions, recapitalizations, and the construction of office, industrial, retail, multi-family, hotel, and self-storage real estate across the country. Schroder completed a five month advanced credit management training program in San Francisco with Wells Fargo in the Fall of 2015. Prior to Wells Fargo, Schroder spent two years at TriMont Real Estate Advisors, serving as an analyst on the Special Asset Management group. He graduated from the University of Georgia with a B.B.A. in Real Estate. He was born and raised in Atlanta, and currently lives in Atlanta’s Berkeley Park neighborhood.
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.
Nathan Soldat, AICP
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.
GIS & IT Manager
Jori O’Hanley joined Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. as GIS & IT Manager in January 2017. She brings 13 years of experience providing GIS support in multiple areas: desktop GIS, web application development, client needs assessment, data management, and GIS staff training/guidance materials.
Read more about Jori O'Hanley+-
In her role at ABI, she will collaborate with team members to support spatial data management, analysis and visualization needs, and manage ABI’s geospatial data. Her previous GIS work includes spatial analysis, compiling and formatting data, geocoding, map design, data visualization, image formatting, and GPS data presentation.
Previous to this position she worked for over 10 years in the environmental field. She spent 3 years in environmental consulting with AMEC Earth & Environmental, and 8 years in EPA Region 1’s GIS Center. Most recently she worked in emergency response providing GIS support to FEMA Region IV. Ms. O’Hanley holds a BS degree in Environmental Studies/GIS focus from Boston University. During her career, she earned an MS in GIS from Northeastern University and a Masters Certificate in Web Application Development from Boston University.
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.
Community Engagement Manager
In 2011, Whitney was invited to work as the Community Engagement and Public Affairs Graduate Fellow with Atlanta BeltLine Inc. (ABI). As a Graduate Fellow, Whitney supported Planning and Community Engagement during construction of the Eastside Trail and Public Affairs through adoption of the Sub-area Master Plans and contributed to the Environmental Justice Policy.
Read more about Whitney Fuller+-
She volunteered for the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership for over 6 years, becoming a BeltLine Tour Guide in 2015. After completing her Fellowship with ABI, Whitney progressed through leadership roles in the public and private sectors. In her most recent role as an Urban Planner with the City of Atlanta, Whitney researched, wrote and presented reports on zoning cases such as the “Bright Lights” District downtown and proactive rezoning of stadium communities in Council District 3. Whitney is an advocate of the community, serving as Vice-Chair to the Atlanta BeltLine Tax Allocation District Advisory Committee (TADAC) before resigning to re-join the Atlanta BeltLine Incorporated team. Whitney is a Georgia Southern University alumna, bicycle commuter, urban gardener and mother to “Adobe” the Doberman Pinscher.
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.
Subrena Clark, MBA, CPPB
In July 2017, Subrena Clark joined Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. (ABI) in the newly created position of Procurement Manager. In this role, she will procure and monitor all aspects of ABI’s procurement process.
Read more about Subrena Clark+-
Subrena brings more than 16 years of Public Procurement experience. She has lead and served on process improvement teams related to contract management systems and departments, and enterprise resource systems. In addition, she has facilitated intergovernmental programs locally with other procurement professionals to stimulate the local economy. Prior to ABI, she held business development and procurement roles at the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, Georgia Minority Supplier Development Council, Atlanta Public and Fulton County Schools. Ms. Clark is a Certified Professional Public Buyer through The Institute for Public Procurement – NIGP. Subrena has a Bachelor of Arts degree with the University of Georgia and holds a Master of Business Administration degree from the American InterContinental University. A native of Atlanta, she loves to explore the history of the city, and is a collector of skyline portraits. Subrena lives in Atlanta with her husband and three children.
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.
JR “Junior” Knox
Communications & Media Relations Coordinator
Junior is the Communications and Media Relations Coordinator for Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. They are responsible for generating content for the website, social media and print publications. Junior 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 Junior+-
Junior spearheads the Trail Etiquette campaign and managed the publication of the 2016 and 2015 Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. Annual Reports. They 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, Junior had a regular column in Atlanta VeloCity magazine, a publication by and for Atlanta’s cycling community. From 2010 to 2014, Junior served as the nonfiction editor for Loose Change, WonderRoot’s literary magazine and has had their short fiction appear in PosteHaste Quarterly and The Red Clay Review. Junior’s publishing credits also include copy-editing Business Acumen II. They hold a Master of Professional Writing from Kennesaw State University. Originally from Buffalo, NY, Junior now lives in Reynoldstown with their many cats.
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.
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 includes a Master of Management with a concentration in Public Administration, and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Property Management, both 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.
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.
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.
Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. Board of Directors
The Honorable Kasim Reed
Mayor, City of Atlanta
Read Mayor Reed's Biography+-
Kasim Reed is the 59th Mayor of the City of Atlanta. He was elected to a second term on November 5, 2013 and took the oath of office on January 6, 2014. Elected with a clear mandate for fiscal reform, Mayor Reed has increased core city services and reduced the City’s spending during the worst recession in 80 years.
Since taking office, he has hired more than 900 police officers and created the largest police force in the city’s history, re-opened all of the city’s recreation centers as safe havens for young people and improved fire-rescue response times. Working with the Atlanta City Council and the city’s employee unions, he successfully initiated a series of sweeping reforms to address the city’s $1.5 billion unfunded pension liability. Mayor Reed began his term facing a $48 million budget shortfall; under his leadership, the city has had four years of balanced budgets with no property tax increases, and its cash reserves have grown from $7.4 million to more than $127 million.
Mayor Reed has received numerous accolades since taking office. In 2013, he was ranked among the top ten most influential African-Americans in the nation by The Root, a publication of the Washington Post Company. He received the Distinguished Leadership Award from the National Forum for Black Public Administrators. The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies in Washington D.C. honored him with the Louis E. Martin Great American Award, saying he “heralds a new and creative approach to leadership.” In 2011, Governing Magazine named Mayor Reed as one of the top state and local government officials of the year. Thomas Friedman, the Pulitzer-Prize winning New York Times columnist and author of “That Used to Be Us,” called Reed “inspiring” and labeled him as “one of the best of this new breed of leaders.” In his book “We Can All Do Better,” former U.S. Senator Bill Bradley cited Reed’s straightforward approach in successfully reforming the city’s pension plan and wrote: “We need more of that kind of candor.”
Mayor Reed’s civic leadership and service have been nationally recognized on programs such as Meet the Press and on news outlets such as MSNBC, CNN, FOX and CNBC, and in publications including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and Delta Sky Magazine. Mayor Reed has been a guest speaker at numerous national and international conferences, including the Aspen Ideas Festival, Chicago Ideas Week, New York Ideas, New Cities Summit, Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) America, the Gathering of Leaders and recently delivered his first TED talk at TEDCity2.0.
As a champion for Atlanta and the State of Georgia, Mayor Reed serves on a number of advisory committees. He is Chairman of the Transportation and Communications Committee of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and Chairman of the Regional Transit Committee of the Atlanta Regional Commission. In November 2013, he joined Vice President Joe Biden to tour the Panama Canal and advocate for the deepening of the Port of Savannah; Georgia’s largest economic development project to date. He is a member of the Aspen Institute-Rodel Fellowship Class of 2007, Leadership Georgia Class of 2000 and Leadership Atlanta Class of 1998.
Prior to his election, Mayor Reed established a track record of leadership during his 11 years as a member of the Georgia General Assembly. He was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1998 and served two terms. From 2002 to 2009, he served in the Georgia State Senate, where he was Vice Chairman of the Senate Democratic Caucus. He is a former partner of Holland and Knight LLP, an international law firm.
Mayor Reed is a graduate of Howard University in Washington D.C., where he received his Bachelor of Arts and Juris Doctor degrees and an honorary Doctor of Laws. As an undergraduate member of Howard University’s Board of Trustees, he created a fundraising program that has contributed more than $10 million to the school’s endowment since its inception. Mayor Reed was appointed as Howard University’s youngest General Trustee in June 2002 and remains a dedicated member of the Board of Trustees.
Mayor Reed enjoys attending sports events and reading. Some favorite books include Master of the Senate by Robert Caro and The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass. He likes playing golf with his father, Junius Reed, and calls his mother, Sylvia Reed, his “best friend.” He also enjoys spending time with his three older brothers: Chuck, Carlton and Tracy.
The mayor lives in the Cascade community of Southwest Atlanta with his wife, Sarah-Elizabeth, and their daughter, Maria Kristan. He is a member of Cascade United Methodist Church.
Read Mr. Somerhalder's Biography+-
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. 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.
Michelle E. Nelson
Invest Atlanta Appointee
Read Ms. Nelson's Biography+-
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.
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.
Invest Atlanta appointee
Read Ms. Garey's Biography+-
In her capacity as COO, Ms. Garey manages and directs the day to day activities of Invest Atlanta’s operating departments and is the strategic liaison fortifying relationships with the Board of Directors, Atlanta City Council and other governmental and community stakeholders. Invest Atlanta’s economic toolkit includes bond financing, revolving loan funds, housing financing, tax increment financing and tax credits.
During her 30 year tenure with Invest Atlanta, she also served as Managing Director of Housing Finance and was instrumental in the issuance of over $1 billion in housing revenue bonds, creating over 15,000 units of affordable workforce housing, both rental and homeownership, in the City of Atlanta.
She holds a Master’s Degree from Clark Atlanta University in French with further studies at Georgia State University in Urban Policy.
She is the President Emeritus of the Board of Directors for the National Association of Local Housing Finance Agencies (NALHFA), the premier advocacy group of affordable housing professionals. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Atlanta BeltLine, Inc.
The Honorable Cynthia Briscoe Brown
Atlanta Board of Education, Seat 8 At-Large
Read Mrs. Briscoe Brown's Biography+-
Cynthia Briscoe Brown was sworn in to the Atlanta Board of Education, Seat 8 At-Large, in January 2014. But since the early 1990s she has worked publicly and behind the scenes for all kids, devoting herself to making sure every child gets everything he or she needs to succeed.
A graduate of Davidson College and Vanderbilt Law School, Cynthia uses her 30 years of experience as an attorney to help students, teachers and families across the city. She has assisted several APS schools in forming their own nonprofit foundations and frequently donates her expertise to students with legal issues related to college and scholarship applications.
Cynthia serves or has served on the boards of the Calvin Center, the Atlanta Partnership for Arts in Learning, the Committee for Teaching About the United Nations/Atlanta, and the Alliance Française d’Atlanta, creating partnerships with each organization and opportunities for students and teachers across the city to improve their skills and enrich their lives. As a volunteer with Young Audiences of Atlanta, Cynthia helped develop and implement the smART stART program, using visual and performing arts experiences to improve and encourage the reading skills of economically disadvantaged kindergarten students.
During the three terms she and her husband served as co-presidents of North Atlanta Parents for Public Schools (NAPPS), Cynthia was a unifying force for the North Atlanta cluster of schools and APS as a whole. Cynthia emphasized positive community engagement by supporting APS schools and students, and developing and nurturing strong media relations. She reached out to cluster organizations and community groups across the city to identify common goals and provide a consistent voice for children throughout Atlanta.
Cynthia has served on the PTA executive boards in each of her children’s schools. As a trustee of the North Atlanta High School Foundation, she worked to identify and creatively meet the needs of every student. She developed and ran a successful teacher incentive program to engage teachers, build collegiality and reward them for extraordinary support of their students and colleagues. She has participated in several APS facilities construction or renovation project committees on behalf of community stakeholders.
Cynthia and her husband, James F. (Jim) Brown Jr., are both Atlanta natives and practicing attorneys. They are active in music and service ministries at First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta. They have two children, both of whom have attended APS schools since kindergarten.
Atlanta BeltLine Partnership Appointee
Read Mr. Clement's Biography+-
Dallas Clement is executive vice president and chief financial officer for Cox Enterprises, a leading communications, media and automotive services company. With $18 billion in revenue, Cox Enterprises is one of the nation’s largest private companies. He is responsible for the company’s audit; financial planning and analysis; financial reporting and control; tax; and treasury functions. He also oversees corporate strategy and investments; information technology; legal; public policy; risk management; supply chain services; and sustainability operations.
Clement was previously executive vice president and chief financial officer for Cox Automotive, the company’s division that touches three out of four vehicle transactions in the U.S., and spent 20 years at Cox Communications, the company’s broadband communications and entertainment division that serves six million residences and businesses. Clement received a bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics and economics from Harvard College and a master’s degree in engineering-economic systems from Stanford University.
The Honorable Lee Morris
Fulton County Board of Commissioners, District 3
Read Commissioner Morris's Biography+-
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.
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.
The Honorable Natalyn Archibong
Atlanta City Councilmember, District 5
Read Councilmember Archibong's Biography+-
Natalyn Mosby Archibong is serving her fourth term as a member of the Atlanta City Council. She is a proud graduate of the Atlanta Public Schools, and earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Georgia Southwestern University, her Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Georgia State University, and her Juris Doctorate Degree from the University of Georgia. Prior to her election in 2001, Archibong was very active in many civic and community organizations. She founded the East Atlanta Business Association, and served three consecutive terms as its president. Under her leadership, the East Atlanta Village grew to become a distinctive commercial node, attracting a diverse and eclectic mix of businesses providing retail, entertainment, food, and services. As an educational activist, Archibong served as Corporate Secretary for APPLE Corps, Inc., and she established a parent sponsored public school advocacy group, OASIS: Organized Association of Schools in Southeast Atlanta.
Professionally, Archibong began her career as an Educational Evaluator with the State Department of Education. Later, she served as the Crim Cluster Coordinator through The Atlanta Project, and became the Executive Director of the DeKalb Initiative for Children and Families. She is currently an attorney in private practice, and her office is located within the Council District she serves.
Archibong was introduced to excellence in education, civic involvement and public service early in life by her parents. In fact, public service has become a family tradition. Her father, Nathaniel Mosby (an Army veteran and career Federal Government employee), was a former DeKalb County Commissioner, and her mother, Gwendolyn Mosby, is a retired Atlanta Public School teacher.
Archibong currently serves as the Chair of the City Utilities Committee, and as a member on the Finance Executive, Committee on Council, and Transportation Committees. At its January 2009 meeting, Archibong was appointed the President Pro Tempore of the Council, by the unanimous vote of her colleagues.
Her legislative accomplishments include sponsoring zoning legislation which resulted in the Edgewood Retail District and the creation of over 1,600 jobs and more than 10.1 million dollars in tax revenue, establishing a taskforce to study the environmental hazards associated with second-hand smoke, legislation acquiring more than 10 acres of greenspace in District 5, legislation directing the City’s Chief Financial Officer to provide greater transparency in matters regarding the City’s financial standing, as well as legislation establishing a 911 Taskforce to resolve jurisdictional issues involving Atlanta-in-DeKalb emergency response. Archibong served as: Chair of the City Utilities Committee, a member of the Board of Directors of Atlanta’s General Employees Pension Fund, a member of the 2003 Class of Leadership Atlanta, Trustee of the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System, and Board member, East Lake YMCA.
Archibong was recognized as a Top Woman of Influence in 2012 by the Atlanta Business League.
Archibong is divorced and has a daughter, Miriam. Miriam, a product of the Atlanta Public School System, is a graduate of both Spelman College and Harvard Graduate School of Education, and she is currently enrolled in law school. Miriam recently spent a year studying the educational system in Singapore, as the result of being awarded a Fulbright Research scholarship.
Read Ms. Gabriel's Biography+-
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.
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.
Board of Directors Meeting Schedule and Documents
The Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. (ABI) Board of Directors meets on the second Wednesday of each month. Approved agendas and meeting minutes are maintained in the Atlanta BeltLine Board Meetings page, along with monthly financial reports. In some months, additional supporting documents may be included as well.
To request documents pertaining to Board of Directors meetings, please contact:
Vice President and General Counsel
Tel: (404) 447-3691