To learn more about how the Atlanta BeltLine is helping to broaden the opportunities of our region, please contact:
Atlanta BeltLine Inc.
100 Peachtree Street NW
Atlanta, Georgia 30303
Adjacent businesses such as Ponce City Market have welcomed Atlanta BeltLine traffic by opening access points directly from the trail.
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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.
President and CEO
Paul Morris joined Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. (ABI) in July, 2013 as President and CEO. ABI is responsible for the development of the most comprehensive revitalization effort in the history of Atlanta and among the largest, most wide-ranging urban redevelopment and mobility projects in the United States. This multi-billion dollar sustainable development initiative is providing a network of public parks, multi-use trails and transit linking mixed use development and affordable housing by re-using 22-miles of historic railroad corridors circling downtown and connecting 45 neighborhoods directly to each other.
Vice President and COO
Mr. Higgs joined ABI from his most recent position as Executive Vice President of Operations Development for the North Carolina Research Campus, a multi-faceted initiative of real estate developer Castle & Cooke using science and technology as the platform to redevelop and reinvigorate Kannapolis, North Carolina, a former textile town. In this role, Mr. Higgs works closely with the CEO and the executive team, providing oversight of the Economic Development, Design & Construction, Program Management, Housing, Procurement, and Human Resources activities of ABI, and lending additional breadth and capability to establishing and expanding our strong working relationships with private and public partners across the region, state and nation.
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.
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.
Executive Assistant to Paul Morris, FASLA
Anissa Blair joined ABI in July 2014 as Executive Assistant to Paul Morris, President & CEO. Anissa is responsible for the day-to-day activity of the President & CEO. Anissa has over fourteen years of experience supporting C-Level Executives with ten years of those years heavily concentrated in Real Estate and Economic Development.
Community Planning & Engagement Director
Beth McMillan joined Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. as Director of Community Engagement in December 2008. Her responsibilities include coordination of all aspects of community input and the participation of all impacted Atlanta BeltLine communities. Beth was formerly the Director of Planning and Zoning for the City of East Point, Ga. where she managed a department of 15 employees engaged in the planning, zoning, inspection, licensing and permitting functions for the City.
Communications and Media Relations Director
As Communications and Media Relations Director, Ericka Davis directs all aspects of ABI’s multi-channel communications strategy and manage media relations for the organization. Prior to joining ABI, Ms. Davis served as Director of Communications and Customer Service for Fulton County Government, bringing more than 20 years of experience in the public sector to this role.
As Director of Communications and Customer Service for Fulton County Government, Ms. Davis served as the official spokesperson for the County, managing the communications strategy for all 39 departments. Prior to that role, she also served as Director of the Communications Division for the Georgia Department of Transportation and the Director of Communications for the Georgia Building Authority, State Properties Commission, and the Georgia State Financing and Investment Commission.
Ms. Davis holds a Master of Science in Technical Communications from Southern Polytechnic State University, and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership from Tennessee Temple University. She and her daughter Jessica reside in Atlanta.
Government Affairs Director
Jill Johnson joined ABI as its Government Affairs Director, a newly created position, in December 2013. In this capacity, Ms. Johnson actively supports ABI at the federal, state and local government levels to ensure and expand funding, regulatory, and political support for the program. Ms. Johnson has worked for more than a decade with conservation groups in Georgia and across the Southeast.
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).
Before he was the Director of Emerging Industry, Mr. Mitchell led SEDA’s Innovation Department focusing on the growth and investment for start-ups and entrepreneurs and previously managed SEDA’s Business Attraction activity as a senior business development professional. Prior to SEDA, he held roles as Regional Project Manager for the Georgia Department of Economic Development and Director of Economic Development for the Coastal Regional Commission. Mr. Mitchell also has significant leadership and management experience in the telecommunications industry and during his 13-year tenure in that field held management positions as Area Marketing and Government Relations Manager, Senior Manager of Customer Care and Operations Manager in both the Savannah and Jacksonville regions for Comcast.
A Savannah native, Mr. Mitchell received his Executive Masters of Business Administration in International Business from the Georgia Institute of Technology and his BA in Economics from Armstrong Atlantic State University. He is a graduate of the Leadership Georgia Class of 2013 and was named one of Savannah’s Rising Stars in 2014. Mr. Mitchell was recognized by the Business Journal and Report’s 40 under 40 business professionals in 2006 and was selected for Comcast University’s corporate leadership program, Leadership Savannah and Leadership Southeast Georgia. He served on the Golden Isles Arts and Humanities Board of Directors, the Savannah Poverty Reduction Initiative’s Policy Committee and Work Development Task Force, the Greater Savannah International Alliance Task Force, and the Leadership Savannah Board of Directors.
Housing Policy & Development Director
James Alexander is the Housing Policy & Development Director Director for Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. The Atlanta BeltLine seeks to reconnect communities and create a framework for growth by delivering 22 miles of new transit, over 1,000 acres of new greenspace, 33 miles of new trails, and 5,600 units of affordable housing.
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.
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.
Real Estate and Asset Management Director
Stacy Patton is responsible for overseeing all real estate‐related activities for ABI as it pertains to parks, trails, transit right‐of‐way, affordable workforce housing and economic development. She joins ABI from her most recent position as Managing Director of Development for Minerva USA where she was responsible for land acquisition, planning, design, entitlement and project management for residential ventures in both suburban and urban infill markets.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Senior Landscape Architect
Kevin Burke, who joined Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. in January 2009 as Senior Landscape Architect, has more than twenty-nine years of professional experience on a range of institutional, roadway, college and university, and park projects. Kevin’s current projects include Project Management for the the East Side Trail, the Perkerson Park Splashpad, and the Corridor-Wide Design, as well as post-construction oversight of Stanton, Boulevard Crossing, Historic 4th Ward Park II, and Clear Creek parks.
Senior Real Estate Project Senior 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Art & Culture Project Manager
Elan Buchen is the Project Coordinator for Art & Design. He supports the Director of Design in executing the public art initiative “Art on the Atlanta BeltLine” as well as other public art projects that encompass the 22-mile network of parks and trails and provides design support for the senior staff.
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.
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.
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.
Communications & Media Relations Coordinator
Nicole Knox is the Communications and Media Relations Coordinator for Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. She is responsible for generating content for the website, social media and print publications. Nicole works with each department at the Atlanta BeltLine to coordinate interviews, release information to the press, and prepare presentations for the executive team.
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.
Valinda Brown joined Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. in December 2009 as the Paralegal to the Atlanta BeltLine’s legal and real estate departments. Valinda works with ABI’s General Counsel on legal matters and research and with the Director of Real Estate on matters relating to property title and acquisitions.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 .
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 Honorable Kasim Reed
Mayor, City of Atlanta
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.
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.
Elizabeth B. Chandler
Ms. Chandler is currently the Vice President and General Counsel for Rollins, Inc. She has 16 years of in-house experience and 12 years of large firm experience in Atlanta. Her industry experience includes consumer services, energy, retail and government affairs, and she has managed legal departments ranging from four to 85. Her experience includes high profile transactions and litigation, including class actions. She has excellent relationships with the Atlanta law firms and have retained most of them throughout her career using competitive bidding processes. She has advised four public company Boards of Directors and six CEOs on a wide variety of matters, covering IPOs, bankruptcy, litigation and transactions. She has also handled large international acquisitions and financing transactions.
Invest Atlanta appointee
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
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
Donnelly is regional president leading Wells Fargo consumer banking operations in the Atlanta metropolitan area, where Wells Fargo serves every other household. Donnelly is the senior leader for Wells Fargo in Atlanta, one of the company’s top three markets in total consumer households served.
Donnelly’s previous roles with Wells Fargo include regional president for the Mid-South region, including Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee, retail banking executive, retail banking director, and financial specialist leader.
Donnelly received his bachelor’s degree in finance from Radford University in Virginia.
An active community leader, Donnelly chairs the Economic Development Committee of the Metro Atlanta Chamber and serves on the chamber’s executive committee and board of directors. Donnelly is Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Atlanta Beltline Partnership and the Wells Fargo Foundation in Atlanta. He is a board member of Teach for America in Atlanta, the Buckhead Coalition, the Woodward Foundation, Woodruff Arts Center Board of Trustees and the Carter Center Board of Councilors. Donnelly also serves as treasurer for Georgia Partnership for Education, and Leadership Atlanta and he is an active member of the Atlanta Rotary Club.
In 2015, Donnelly was named Most Admired CEO in the finance category by the Atlanta Business Chronicle. In 2016, Donnelly became campaign chair for the United Way of Greater Atlanta’s 2016-2017 capital campaign.
Donnelly is married and has three children.
The Honorable Joan Garner
Fulton County Board of Commissioners, District 4
Commissioner Joan P. Garner is a native of Washington D.C., but made Atlanta her home in 1978. She earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English from the University of the District of Columbia, and a Master’s Degree in Organizational Communication from Howard University. Commissioner Garner is devoted to building healthier communities in Fulton County by advocating for policies, resources, and collaborative partnerships that create productive environments for citizens to live, work, and play.
She is very active in building healthy communities and serves on several steering committees through the National Association of Counties and the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia. She is currently in her 2nd term serving as Fulton County Commissioner for District 4, where she resides in the Historic Old Fourth Ward neighborhood with her partner, Judge Jane Morrison.
The Honorable Andre Dickens
Atlanta City Councilmember, Post 3 At-large
Councilman Andre D. Dickens was elected citywide to the Atlanta City Council Post 3 at Large in November 2013. The Councilman currently serves as the chair of the Community Development & Human Resources Committee. He also serves on the boards of the Atlanta Beltline, Invest Atlanta, and the Center for Civil and Human Rights. In 2014, the Atlanta Business League named the new councilmember one of Atlanta’s Men of Influence.
Dickens is a proud product of the Atlanta Public School System. He attended Miles Elementary, Southwest Middle School and Benjamin E. Mays High School. Dickens earned his bachelors degree in Chemical Engineering from Georgia Tech in 1998. In 2013, he earned his Master’s of Public Administration in Economic Development at Georgia State University.
In 1999, Dickens began working for DSM Engineering Plastics and in 2002 he co-founded City Living Home Furnishings in Atlanta, a family-operated business that grew into a multi-million dollar business with two locations and over 20 employees.
He returned to his alma mater to serve as the Assistant Director of Outreach Initiatives for Georgia Tech’s Office of Institute Diversity. In this role, he managed the graduate recruitment program and helps hundreds of undergraduate students and their parents successfully transition into college life.
In 2016, Dickens became the new Executive Advisor for TechBridge, a nonprofit that drives community impact by bringing affordable technology and business expertise to other nonprofits. Andre is charged with building relationships with large nonprofits across the US. TechBridge’s mission to ultimately reduce poverty through technology aligns perfectly with Andre’s personal mission and attracted him to this role that he enjoys.
With an undying quest for knowledge, Andre obtained his Master’s of Public Administration with a concentration in Economic Development at Georgia State University’s Andrew Young School of Policy Studies in December 2013. He is member of the Phi Alpha Alpha (PAA) Public Affairs and Administration Honor Society.
In his short tenure as Post 3 At-Large Councilmember he has become a vocal and legislative activist in promoting quality educational opportunities for Atlanta Public School students and ensuring that affordable housing is a significant component of Atlanta’s future economic growth.
Dickens and his wife Kimberly, a real estate attorney, and their daughter, Bailey and their dog Kola love Atlanta. Councilman Dickens looks forward to his public service career as he works to make the city he loves, the best it can be.
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.
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