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, ABI oversees all aspects of planning, developing, and execution of the project.
Chief Executive Officer(404) 477-3003 (Main Office)
Clyde Higgs was named President and CEO of ABI in February 2019 after serving in an interim capacity for a year and a half and as Chief Operating Officer for three years. In addition to overseeing the company, Higgs works to expand ABI’s strong working relationships with private and public partners across the region, state and nation. Higgs brings 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. He is a graduate of the University of South Alabama and holds a Master of Public Administration from East Carolina University.
Chief Operating Officer
Ruben Brooks came to ABI from the Regional Center Director for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Multifamily Housing where he led the South East Region in making large scale commercial real estate investment and asset management decisions. Prior to HUD, he spent over nineteen years at Fannie Mae in a variety of leadership positions including Director of Multifamily Affordable Housing. A native of Baltimore, Brooks received a B.S. in Management from Morgan State University, an MPA. from the University of Baltimore, and an M.S. in Real Estate from Johns Hopkins University. He sits on the Board of Directors of Junior Achievement of Georgia and is a graduate of Leadership Atlanta’s Class of 2015.
Chief Financial Officer
Nicole Kimes has over 17 years of experience providing accounting and financial reporting services to the real estate industry, both private and public. Her expertise spans across a wide range of financial responsibilities, including funds, operating and development properties, investor reporting, joint ventures and corporate operations. She also has specialized experience with the financial aspects of capital transactions as well as the compliance aspects of joint venture agreements, lender financial covenants, and REIT requirements. A registered CPA, Kimes holds a BS in Accounting from Southern University and A&M College.
Prior to joining ABI, Aasia Mustakeem was a Partner at Smith, Gambrell & Russell focusing her practice on commercial real estate and institutional lending. Mustakeem is Chairperson of the Commission on Continuing Lawyer Competency and the Georgia Board of Bar Examiners; a board member of the Georgia Bar Foundation and the Georgia State University College of Law Board of Visitors; past board member of Grady Memorial Hospital Corporation; and a member of Leadership Atlanta. Mustakeem has been recognized as a Georgia Super Lawyer since 2004, and in 2003 received the Outstanding Woman in the Profession Achievement Award from the Atlanta Bar Association.
Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer
Nonet Sykes is the Chief Equity & Inclusion Officer for the Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. (ABI) where she leads the development and implementation of policies and approaches that advance equity and inclusion for all facets of the BeltLine. Prior to joining ABI, Sykes was Director of Racial Equity and Inclusion at the Annie E. Casey Foundation. She is a graduate of the University of Baltimore, University of Maryland Eastern Shore and received her certificate in Organizational Consulting and Change Leadership from Georgetown University. Sykes serves on the board of the Atlanta Wealth Building Initiative. She is married with two children.
Executive Assistant to the CEO
Vicki Cimkentli joined Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. in 2017 as the Executive Assistant to the CEO. Cimkentli has a long history of experience as an Executive Assistant and a Personal Assistant to various corporate executives. She originally hails from England and spent a number of years living in other areas of Europe before moving to the USA in 1996. Cimkentli resides in Marietta with her husband and their dogs. A self-confessed foodie, she enjoys traveling, the arts, and discovering restaurants.
Executive Assistant to the CFO & General Counsel
Allegra B. Hutchinson has over 20 years of experience as c-level executive assistant in healthcare, legal and government, including the City of Atlanta and State of Georgia. Hutchinson has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a minor in Management. She is a native of San Diego, California and relocated to Atlanta in 2005, where she raised three sons, who have served or are still serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. You can find Hutchinson and her two Rottweilers on the BeltLine this summer.
Executive Assistant to the COO & CEIO
Takata Washington joined Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. in 2019 as an Executive Assistant to the COO and CEIO. She brings over 30 years of experience as an Executive Assistant to ABI. Washington is a Montgomery, Alabama native that loves baking, cooking, music, sports and spending quality time with family and friends.
Vice President of Economic Developmentkcollins@atlbeltline.org
As Vice President of Economic Development, Kelvin Collins leads a comprehensive strategy to increase equitable economic outcomes for residents and businesses of the Atlanta BeltLine. Prior to ABI, Collins spent 15 years in leadership roles in both private and public sectors, advancing economic development solutions for low-income communities in New York City. Most recently, he served as the Chief M/WBE Officer at NYC Department of Education – the nation’s largest public-school system. His previous roles include President & CEO of the Harlem Commonwealth Council (HCC) and Assistant Commissioner at the NYC Department of Small Business Services. He is a graduate of Midwestern State University, Texas.
Vice President of Government Affairsjjohnson@atlbeltline.org(404) 477-3674 (Office)
Jill Johnson joined Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. as its Government Affairs Director in December 2013. Her work includes managing issues of concern to the Atlanta BeltLine at the federal, state, and local levels to ensure and expand funding and regulatory support. She has more than a decade of experience lobbying at the Georgia State Capitol. She previously worked as the Political Director for Georgia Conservation Voters and on land conservation advocacy with the Georgia Conservancy. Johnson is a graduate of several leadership programs, including LEAD Atlanta, and has served on numerous boards, including Girls on the Run Atlanta. She received a Bachelor of Science degree from Tulane University.
Vice President of Community Planning, Engagement, & Arts and Culturebmcmillan@atlbeltline.org(404) 477-3003 (Main Office)
Since 2008, Beth McMillan has led the planning and community engagement team at ABI, coordinating all aspects of community input and the participation of all impacted Atlanta BeltLine communities. McMillan has held numerous leadership positions in city planning and community development including Director of Planning and Zoning for the City of East Point, GA, and the Assistant Director of Comprehensive Planning for the Fulton County Department of Environment and Community Development. Among the highlights of her almost 30-year career are leading Fulton County’s Smart Growth Policy, successfully implementing 10 community overlay districts, and participating in the research and approval of the East Point Corridors TAD.
Vice President of Housing Policy & Development
Dennis Richards came to ABI from National Church Residences, the nation’s largest not-for-profit provider of affordable senior housing, where he served as the Senior Director of Housing Development. In this role, he led all housing development efforts for the Atlanta MSA. Prior to leading the Atlanta market, Mr. Richards served as the Director of Finance for Housing Development, where he was responsible for all finance and cost accounting activities for housing development projects across the organization’s national footprint. A native of Columbus, Ohio, Mr. Richards holds a B.S. in Financial Management from The Ohio State University and an M.B.A from Franklin University. Mr. Richards is a proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
Kimberley Wilson, R.A.
Vice President of Design and Constructionkwilson@atlbeltline.org(404) 477-3576 (Office)
Kimberley Wilson joined ABI in September 2019 as the Vice President of Design and Construction. Wilson provides senior leadership to the ABI design and construction project delivery teams, including the planning and implementation of trails, streetscapes, parks, and transit. Wilson has worked for both architectural firms and general contractors in Atlanta, contributing to landmark projects such as the Living Building at Georgia Tech and the restoration of both the Georgia State Capital and the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church. Her project experience also includes retail and mixed-use developments such as North Highland Steel, the MARTA Lindberg transit-oriented development, and Gasket City Lofts.
Kevin W. Burke, PLA, FASLA
Director of Designkburke@atlbeltline.org(404) 477-3637 (Office)
Kevin Burke is the Director of Design for Atlanta BeltLine Inc. and has thirty-seven years of experience on a plethora of institutional, roadway, college and university, residential, and park projects. He coordinates design and construction efforts for all public open spaces and serves as the chair of the ABI design Review Committee. He implemented the requirement that all ABI projects initiated since 2018 will be SITES certified and was the organizer of ABI’s Organic Land Care Symposium which informed the public about more sustainable ways of maintaining our public spaces. Burke has a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture degree from Utah State University and in 2019 became a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects.
Kara Keene Cooper
Economic Development Directorkcooper@atlbeltline.org(404) 477-3657 (Office)
Kara Keene Cooper brings over 15 years of economic development and marketing experience to ABI, serving most recently at the Decide DeKalb Development Authority and the Cumberland CID. She executes economic development initiatives to empower existing BeltLine businesses and markets the corridor as a premier business destination. She is on the board of the Carver Cluster Schools Foundation and the Board of Managers for the Casey Foundation’s Pittsburgh Yards development site. She is a graduate of Leadership Atlanta’s LEAD program as well as programs with the Urban Land Institute and the Atlanta Regional Commission. Cooper earned a BBA from the University of Georgia and an MPP from Georgia State University.
Real Estate and Asset Management Directordpierce@atlbeltline.org(404) 477-3538 (Office)
Dave Pierce joined ABI in 2015 and serves as Real Estate and Asset Manager Director with over a decade of experience in real estate and transportation. He leads the real estate team’s efforts to acquire land needed to complete the Atlanta BeltLine. Pierce also manages the real estate aspects of developments along the Atlanta BeltLine, as well as oversees management of Atlanta BeltLine assets. Pierce graduated from Georgia Tech with an M.S. in City Planning along with a B.S. from Penn State. He lives in Candler Park with his husband and can be found most nights running on Atlanta BeltLine trails.
Khristie Power, PHR
Human Resources Director
Since June 2015, Khristie Power manages the daily operations of the Human Resources functions at ABI. She works with all staff to build rapport, productivity and morale, and is responsible for recruiting talent for the growing organization. Before joining ABI, she spent 16 years in the property management industry in Atlanta, serving in many capacities, including as a Director of Community Development Programs and a Human Resources and Operations Manager. Power holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Emory University and a master’s in social work from the University of Georgia. You may see her walking her dog on the Eastside Trail.
Director of Planninglreid@atlbeltline.org(404) 477-3551 (Office)
Lynnette Reid joined the ABI team as the Community Engagement Advocate, served as the Senior Community Planner, and is now the Director of Planning. With approximately 20 years of public sector experience, Reed brings a wealth of experience related to community planning & engagement, land use, zoning, and regulatory development. Having worked with Fulton County Department of Environment & Community Development, and now the Atlanta BeltLine for the past 8 years. She holds a B.A. in Public Administration from the Trenton State College, and Master of City and Regional Planning from the Georgia Institute of Technology. She is a proponent of inclusive and equitable communities.
Janella Barner joined Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. (“ABI”) as Senior Paralegal in 2018 and brings over 15 years of legal experience as a real estate/corporate paralegal. She works closely with ABI’s legal, real estate, and finance teams on real estate, contract, government, and compliance related matters. Her main skills include the coordination of real estate closings, contract reviews, title matters, corporate law, and legal research. Barner resides in Gwinnett County with her husband and two children, and enjoys bible study, singing, and spending time with family.
Senior Housing Policy and Development Manager
Chelsea Arkin joined ABI in 2021 as the Senior Housing Policy and Development Manager to support the creation and preservation of affordable housing units along the BeltLine. She collaborates with public, private, and nonprofit partners to meet the goal of creating or preserving 5,600 affordable housing units within the BeltLine Tax Allocation District. An Atlanta native, she has devoted her career to the development of healthy, livable, and equitable communities. Arkin earned master’s degrees in City and Regional Planning and Public Policy from Georgia Tech and a B.A. from Bryn Mawr College. Arkin lives in the Cabbagetown neighborhood of Atlanta.
Real Estate Project Managerncapomacchia@atlbeltline.org
Nic Capomacchia joined ABI in 2020 as a real estate project manager helping to acquire land and manage development along the BeltLine. Prior to joining ABI, Nic managed finance and real estate transactions for an international medical school and spent time in business management consulting. He obtained an MS in Economics from Georgia State University and a BBA in International Business and Finance from the University of Georgia. A native of the Atlanta area, Nic has US and EU citizenship and a large extended family. He enjoys traveling and experiencing new cultures and cuisines.
Lena Carstens, CGMS, GPC
Development Officer for Public Grants
Lena Carstens joined ABI in 2015 as the Development Officer for Public Grants. She actively supports ABI by identifying and applying for public funding opportunities at the federal, state, local, and regional levels. Carstens formerly served as the Program Manager for Arts and Education Services at the City of Atlanta. She is an alum of LEAD Atlanta Class of 2006 and received the Outstanding Atlanta award in 2010. She holds an MBA and an M.A. in Arts Administration from Southern Methodist University and a BFA in Stage Management from the Conservatory of Theatre Arts at Webster University.
Subrena Clark, MBA, CPPB
Procurement Managersclark@atlbeltline.org(404) 477-3692 (Office)
As the Procurement Manager for ABI, Clark procures and monitors all aspects of ABI’s procurement process. She brings 20 years of procurement experience. As a certified Professional Public Buyer with the Institute for Public Procurement, she has led and served on procurement process improvement teams. In addition, Clark facilitated intergovernmental programs locally with other procurement professionals. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree with the University of Georgia and a Master of Business Administration 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.
Marketing Communications Managerhclave@atlbeltline.org(404) 477-3662 (Office)
Heather Clavé brings over ten years of experience in communications, marketing, and public relations to ABI. She previously served as communications director for The GLOBE Academy, where she created and implemented a strategic communications and branding plan from the ground up. She also spent seven years at the Consulate General of France in Atlanta, managing communications and public relations for the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the U.S. Southeast. Clavé holds a B.A. in Multinational Business Operations and an M.A. in French from Florida State University. She can be found on the BeltLine with her husband and sons.
Communications & Media Relations Managerjodom@atlbeltline.org(404) 477-3659 (Office)
Odom joined ABI in 2012, but her involvement started with the Atlanta BeltLine in 2007 as a volunteer. Her background is in media relations, website and content management, marketing, social networking, graphic design, writing, public speaking, and leadership. Prior to ABI, she worked as a marketing manager for intown Atlanta real estate firms and served as an U.S. Army transportation officer in Germany and the Middle East. Odom has a Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design and Illustration from Washington University in St. Louis. She is an Atlanta native and resides in Decatur with her husband and two children.
Front Desk Office Coordinator(404) 477-3003 (Main Office)
Rhonda Forge joined Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. as Office Coordinator in January 2013. Forge assists with daily office management and coordinates all front desk activities and duties. Forge, 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. Forge received her Bachelor of Science from the University of Missouri and has her Certification as an Oracle Data Base Administrator.
Hope Gist, PE
Hope Gist brings over 11 years of experience working in Transportation. She previously worked as the Senior Site Engineer on the Ford GoBike (currently known as Bay Wheels) bike share team in the Bay Area. Her role included transitioning and expanding the system from the former pilot system into Ford GoBike, which also included designing, permitting, and deploying over 300 bike share stations across five cities in the Bay Area. Before that, she contributed to the design of light rail and streetcar projects in Maryland and the District of Columbia. Gist holds a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI).
Shaun Green, PE
Senior Transportation Engineer
Shaun Green joined ABI in 2013 as Senior Transportation Engineer. His professional career has focused on urban, multi-modal transportation systems. Before joining ABI, Green spent ten years with the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority (GRTA) and worked as a consulting engineer prior to that. He is a graduate of the prestigious North Avenue Trade School here in Atlanta and has been a bicycle commuter since 1994. He plays beer-league ice-hockey, does occasional band gigs as a drummer, and believes himself to be a lot funnier than he actually is. He and his wife have three daughters.
Senior Landscape Architect
Meghan Injaychock joined Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. in 2012 after completion of a yearlong fellowship with ABI’s Design Team. Injaychock holds a bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture and a master’s degree in Environmental Planning and Design from the University of Georgia. Her master’s thesis focused on the creation of the BeltLine’s first Urban Farm located in Adair Park. Most of Injaychock’s responsibilities are with the construction and Design of trail and parks within the BeltLine corridor.
Economic Development Project Managernjones@atlbeltline.org
Natalie Jones comes to ABI with a strong background in economic development, providing foreign-owned companies with aftercare services as part of the Global Cities Initiative (GCI), a joint project of Brookings and JPMorgan Chase. Prior to that, she managed the creative and logistical execution of a large awards program, and oversaw visits of foreign dignitaries. Jones is an active community member serving in the Junior League of Atlanta, Inc., and she is also a graduate of LEAD Atlanta’s Class of 2020. She is a proud Georgia State University alum and lives in Howell Station with her family.
Arts & Culture Program Managermkyle@atlbeltline.org(404) 477-3636 (Office)
After an academic fellowship with ABI in 2014, and assisting with installations in subsequent years, Kyle was appointed to her current position in 2017. Kyle holds an MFA in Sculpture from the Savannah College of Art and Design, and an M.A. in Painting and Drawing from the Edinburgh College of Arts. She was awarded the 2013 Lee Kimche McGrath Fellowship for Arts & Sciences and the StarSeed Fellowship in 2014 to research the intersection of Public Art, Performance and Space in Riga and Pedvale, Latvia. She has curated exhibitions locally and internationally over the last ten years, ranging in disciplines from performance to public art.
Arts & Culture Program Coordinator
Following two academic fellowships and a contractor position with Atlanta BeltLine, Langley was appointed Coordinator in 2018. With 10 years of experience with public art projects, Langley supports his department by managing logistical and compliance components of Art on the Atlanta BeltLine. Langley project manages the annual Lantern Parade, develops UX initiatives, and advises on LGBTQ+ issues. Originally from Nashville, Langley holds an M.A. in Art History from Georgia State University. He has managed public art projects for Burning Man in Nevada as well as in Georgia. He has also published research on topics of public art and cultural identity.
Nancy Newell, PE
Civil Engineernnewell@atlbeltline.org(404) 477-3653 (Office)
Newell has nearly 7 years of civil engineering experience with a focus on transportation design. Before joining ABI, she worked for a private consulting firm in Panama City Beach, FL where she worked on a variety of roadway design projects. She was a project engineer for the Coastal Trail, a series of multi-use paths that stretch over 24 miles in the Florida Panhandle. Newell earned a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from Auburn University. She enjoys running, live music, traveling, and being outdoors. Newell lives adjacent to the Eastside Trail where she and her dog walk the BeltLine daily.
Kim Nicholson, CPPB
Procurement Officerknicholson@atlbeltline.org(404) 477-3670 (Office)
Kim Nicholson leads the procurement team with goals that strictly align with ABI’s core values of equity and inclusion in all solicitations. She demonstrates 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. Nicholson 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. She graduated magna cum laude from Lincoln College in Normal, Illinois with a bachelor’s degree in arts and a minor in business.
GIS & IT Manager
Jori O’Hanley joined Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. as GIS Manager in January 2017. She brings 16 years of experience providing GIS support in multiple areas. In her role at ABI, she collaborates with team members to support spatial data management, analysis and visualization needs, and manage ABI’s geospatial data. Her past work includes over 10 years in the environmental field, in consulting and federal government. O’Hanley holds a B.S. in Environmental Studies/GIS focus from Boston University, an M.S. in GIS from Northeastern University and a Master’s Certificate in Web Application Development from Boston University.
Lori Roman has 10 years of accounting experience in tax preparation, accounting services, credit and collects, and corporate accounting. Prior to joining the ABI team in 2018, she worked in various industries including nonprofit, law, and hospitality. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, music, photography and travel. Romans holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in accounting.
Robbie Ross, CMA
Senior Accounting Manager
Robbie Ross joined ABI as Accounting Manager in 2014 with more than 16 years of accounting experience. He spent over 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. Ross is an Atlanta native and graduated from Keller Graduate School of Management in 2005 with a Master of Accounting & Financial Management after attending Georgia Southern University for his undergraduate degree and Booker T. Washington for high school.
Asset Management CoordinatorJSalazar@Atlbeltline.org
Jasmine Salazar works directly with the Real Estate & Asset Management team to ensure ABI assets are in good condition. Prior to joining ABI, she worked as Community Coordinator at Gene Kansas | Commercial Real Estate and the company’s culturally based workspace, Constellations. Salazar holds a Bachelor of Science in Public Policy with a concentration in Economic Development & Planning from Georgia State University. She enjoys spending time with her loved ones, traveling to new countries, and trying diverse foods along Atlanta’s international corridor Buford Highway.
Nathan Soldat, AICP
Community Engagement Managernsoldat@atlbeltline.org(404) 477-3552 (Office)
Nathan Soldat joined ABI in February 2014. He came to ABI from the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) where he was Senior Transit Planner working on regional transit coordination and planning. From 2011 to 2014 he also served as a BeltLine volunteer for Art on the BeltLine and spoke at community festivals. Prior to ARC, Soldat worked for the City of Decatur providing zoning review for all plan submittals and supporting master planning efforts. Soldat has a B.A. in Global Studies and a M.S. in Urban Planning from the University of Iowa. He is a dedicated transit rider and bicycle commuter.
Valerie Strickland, CPA
Controllervstrickland@atlbeltline.org(404) 477-3539 (Office)
Valerie Strickland joined ABI in April 2016 as the Controller. In this role, Strickland supports the CFO in managing and reporting on the financial affairs of ABI including ensuring the integrity of the financial records, maintenance of accounting controls and account analysis. Before joining ABI, Strickland spent more than 14 years in higher education as Director of Accounting. Strickland is a CPA and holds a BBA in accounting from Mercer University where she was awarded the Louis Newton Academic Achievement Award. In her spare time, she enjoys reading and gardening.
Michelle L. Thomas, ESQ
Assistant General Counselmthomas@atlbeltline.org(404) 477-3545 (Office)
Michelle L. Thomas joined ABI in 2014 as Assistant General Counsel. In this role, she provides advice and counsel to ABI board members and staff on a broad range of legal issues ranging from real estate and construction to risk management and intellectual property. Prior to her arrival at ABI, Thomas was a Senior Assistant County Attorney for the DeKalb County Law Department. Thomas is a graduate of the Georgetown University Law Center and of Howard University. She is a member of the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys (GABWA) and Corporate Counsel Women of Color (CCWC).
Rashida Williamson, MPA
Community Engagement Advocaterwilliamson@atlbeltline.org
Rashida Williamson joined ABI in 2020 as an External Affairs Project Assistant for the Planning and Community Engagement, Government Affairs and Communications departments. Prior to joining ABI, Rashida was a Scheduling Clerk with Hawkins, Parnell & Young law firm. Her past governmental experience includes aiding for Senator Michael ‘Doc’ Rhett under the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus and working for the late Congressman John Lewis through the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. She is a graduate of Clark Atlanta University, where she received her BA in Political Science and a graduate of Kennesaw State University, where she received her Master of Public Administration.