The Atlanta BeltLine is having a profound impact on the City of Atlanta and the region. The involvement and cooperation of leaders from across the City is vital to the project, and the guidance and commitment from our Board of Directors is particularly crucial to the continued success of the Atlanta BeltLine.
Meeting Schedule and Documents
The Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. (ABI) Board of Directors meets on the second Wednesday of each month.
Visit the Atlanta BeltLine Board Meetings page to view approved agendas, meeting minutes, monthly financial reports and additional supporting documents when applicable.
To request documents pertaining to Board of Directors meetings, contact:
Assistant Secretary to the Board, Assistant General Counsel
Board of Directors
The Honorable Keisha Lance Bottoms
Mayor, City of Atlanta
Keisha Lance Bottoms is the 60th Mayor of Atlanta.
A daughter of Atlanta, Mayor Bottoms is committed to realizing her vision of One Atlanta – an affordable, resilient and equitable Atlanta – which stands as a model city for both commerce and compassion.
A lifelong public servant, Mayor Bottoms is the only Mayor in Atlanta’s history to have served in all three branches of government, serving as a judge and City Councilmember before being sworn in as Mayor.
Leading with a progressive agenda focused on equity and affordable housing, Mayor Bottoms serves as Chair of the Community Development and Housing Committee for the United States Conference of Mayors.
Among Mayor Bottoms’ notable accomplishments to date include the establishment of the City’s first fully-staffed Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, the appointments of a LGBTQ Affairs Coordinator and a Human Trafficking Fellow, the citywide elimination of cash bail bond, the closure of the Atlanta City Detention Center to ICE detainees, and the rollout of the most far-reaching financial transparency platform in the City’s history – Atlanta’s Open Checkbook.
Under Mayor Bottoms’ leadership, the City of Atlanta led the historically successful staging of Super Bowl LIII, which included unprecedented community benefits – a $2.4 million renovation of John F. Kennedy Park on Atlanta’s Westside, more than 20,000 trees planted throughout the community and the seamless coordination of 40 federal, state and local public safety agencies.
A product of Atlanta Public Schools, Mayor Bottoms graduated from Frederick Douglass High School and received her undergraduate degree from Florida A&M University. She earned her Juris Doctorate from Georgia State University College of Law.
An active member of the community, Mayor Bottoms is a member of the State Bar of Georgia, Jack and Jill of America, The Links, Incorporated, and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. She has also served on the board of Families First and shares her personal story of adoption and advocates on behalf of adoption and foster care.
Mayor Bottoms is the daughter of Sylvia Robinson and R&B icon Major Lance. She resides in historic Southwest Atlanta with her husband, Derek W. Bottoms, their four children- Lance, Langston, Lennox and Lincoln, and their family dog, Logan.
Retired, President and CEO
John W. Somerhalder II was named president and chief executive officer of AGL Resources (NYSE: GAS) in March 2006 and was named chairman of the company’s board of directors in November 2007. Somerhalder retired from AGL Resources on December 31, 2015.
With four decades in the energy industry, including state and regulatory experience in multiple jurisdictions, Somerhalder provided seasoned leadership to AGL Resources, an Atlanta-based energy services holding company with operations in natural gas distribution, retail operations, wholesale services and midstream operations.
As the nation’s largest natural gas-only distributor based on customer count, AGL Resources served approximately 4.5 million utility customers in seven states through its regulated distribution subsidiaries: Atlanta Gas Light, Chattanooga Gas, Elizabethtown Gas, Elkton Gas, Florida City Gas, Nicor Gas and Virginia Natural Gas. The company also served more than one million retail customers through its SouthStar Energy Services joint venture and Pivotal Home Solutions, which market natural gas and related home services. Other non-utility businesses included asset management for natural gas wholesale customers through Sequent Energy Management and ownership and operation of natural gas storage facilities. In August 2015, AGL Resources entered into an agreement to sell the company to Southern Company in an all cash transaction, the deal closed on July 1, 2016. Somerhalder joined AGL Resources from El Paso Corporation, where he spent almost 30 years, rising through the ranks from engineer to president of El Paso Pipeline Group and executive vice president of El Paso Corporation.
He served on the board of directors of the American Gas Association, which he chaired in 2011. He also served on the boards of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. He has served as past chairman of the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America. He currently serves as a director of Crestwood Equity Partners LP and the Gas Technology Institute and is a Member of the National Petroleum Council.
Somerhalder is chairman of the board of the Atlanta BeltLine, Inc., which is leading the development of the Atlanta BeltLine along 22 miles of historic railroad around the city. A member of the board of the United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta, he successfully chaired the 2009 United Way Campaign for metro Atlanta during difficult economic times and served an unprecedented second term as chair of the 2010 campaign.
Somerhalder holds a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering from the University of Arizona.
He and his wife, Rebecca, live in Atlanta. They have four grown children and six grandchildren.
The Honorable Matt Westmoreland
Atlanta City Councilmember
Post 2 At-Large
Matt Westmoreland is the Post 2 At-Large member of the Atlanta City Council.
Prior to his election, Matt was the Atlanta Public Schools Board of Education’s District 3 representative, serving as chair of its Budget Commission and legislative liaison to the Georgia General Assembly.
During his tenure, the board recruited and partnered with a new superintendent to rewrite the school system’s mission and vision, revise its strategic plan, define equity, adopt a new operating model that pushed decision-making down to schools, develop a turnaround strategy for chronically struggling schools, and build a $545 million capital-projects plan.
As chair of the Budget Commission, Matt led efforts to cut waste from the central office, increase teacher pay, allocate funding based on student need, and direct more dollars to classrooms. During his tenure, Atlanta Public Schools’ graduation rate increased 19 points from 58 percent to 77 percent, and the district saw improved SAT, ACT, and Advanced Placement test scores system-wide.
An Atlanta native, Matt attended Morningside Elementary School, Inman Middle School, and Henry W. Grady High School. He received his bachelor’s degree in history from Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey, where he served as editor-in-chief of The Daily Princetonian. After graduation, Matt returned to Atlanta as a Teach for America Corps Member and taught history at Carver Early College High School in southeast Atlanta.
Matt previously served as programs director for Horizons Atlanta, an educational non-profit serving low-income students across Metro Atlanta through summer enrichment programs. He also worked for the Atlanta Regional Commission, the Washington, D.C. Public Schools System, in the D.C. office of Congressman JohnLewis, and was an Urban Leaders Fellow with Colorado Senator Mike Johnston.
A lifelong and active member of Peachtree Road United Methodist Church, Matt lives in Midtown.
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.
Atlanta BeltLine Partnership Appointee
Georgia Power Company
Senior Vice President – Metro Atlanta & Corporate Relations
Bentina C. Terry is Senior Vice President for Metro Atlanta & Corporate Relations for Georgia Power. In this role, Bentina is responsible for the company’s operations, sales, customer service, economic and community development, and external affairs activities for 1.4 million customers across metro Atlanta as well as statewide responsibility for Georgia Power’s work in underserved communities – people of color, the elderly, women and LGBTQ+.
Bentina is actively involved in the community and feels fortunate to work for a company that has a passion for the communities it serves.
She serves on the board of directors for the International Women’s Forum – Georgia, the Atlanta Police Foundation, Leadership Atlanta, the Grove Park Foundation, the Atlanta Beltline, Inc. and the Atlanta Beltline Partnership (2o21-2023 Chair). She is also on the campaign committee for the Woodruff Arts Center and the advisory council for the Truist Atlanta Open. In 2020, she was named on the Greater Atlanta YWCA’s Women of Achievement and has been named one of Atlanta Business League’s 100 Most Influential Women for several consecutive years.
Bentina has had a diverse career with Southern Company, beginning her career in 2001 at Georgia Power, next serving as a senior executive at Southern Nuclear Operating Company and Gulf Power before returning to Georgia Power in 2017. During her Southern Company career, she has been responsible for many different areas including External Affairs, Legislative and Regulatory Affairs, Community and Economic Development, Corporate Communications, Sales and Marketing, Customer Service, Compliance and Ethics, Corporate Services and aspects of Power Delivery. She also served as General Counsel and Corporate Secreetary of Southern Nuclear. Prior to Southern Company, Bentina began her career practicing law with Troutman Sanders law firm in Atlanta and also served as the Associate General Counsel at Progress Energy in Raleigh, NC.
A native of Fayetteville, N.C., Bentina holds a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Michigan Law School and a Bachelor of Arts in English from North Carolina State University. She is a member of the North Carolina State Bar and the Georgia State Bar, Leadership Atlanta, Leadership North Carolina, Leadership Florida, the International Women’s Forum, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc and The Links, Incorporated. She has received various awards and recognitions for her contribution to the state of Florida including being named one of Influence Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in Florida Politics (2015), and one of the Florida Diversity Council’s Most Powerful and Influential Women (2012). She was also an International Women’s Forum (IWF) Fellow in 2012 and a 2017 graduate of the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Regional Leadership Institute.
She is married to Antonio Terry and loves to play golf and run in half marathons.
Michelle E. Nelson
Invest Atlanta Appointee
Ernst & Young LLP
Talent Engagement & Operations Leader
Michelle Nelson serves as Talent Engagement & Operations leader with Ernst & Young LLP in their global practice. With 20 years of experience in helping organizations to develop and implement high-impact global human resource models, she is known for successfully translating executive vision and strategy into organizational operations and structure.
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
Vice President, Choice Neighborhoods
Ernestine W. Garey is the Vice President for Choice Neighborhoods and a Senior Advisor to the CEO at Atlanta Housing.
Prior to Atlanta Housing, Ms. Garey serves as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) for Invest Atlanta, the City of Atlanta’s economic development agency. Ms. Garey managed and directed the day to day activities of Invest Atlanta’s operating departments and was 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 Erika Mitchell
Atlanta Board of Education
Since elected to the Atlanta Board of Education, Erika Mitchell has established herself as one of Atlanta’s most influential public servant. Mitchell is an active board member when it comes to serving her community and she is a strong believer in parent and community engagement. Within Mitchell’s first year in office, she developed the first electronic newsletter for her district, and established community partnerships with Georgia’s Own Credit Union, Chick fil-A, University for Parents, youthSpark, Fulton County Juvenile Courts, U First Project, NFL Players Association,100 Black Men of America, St. Peters Missionary Baptist Church, and The Launch Pad for her educational district. She has also co-written the first school district Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking policy and protocol in the state of Georgia in collaboration with Dr. Sharnell Myles.
Mitchell currently serving on the Atlanta Board of Education’s Policy Review Committee, Equity Taskforce and the Georgia Statewide Human Trafficking Taskforce Workgroup 1. Mitchell was recently appointed by the City of Atlanta’s Mayor Bottom to serve on the Atlanta 2020 Census Committee. Mitchell is also an elected member of the National School Boards Association’s Council of Urban Boards of Education’s Steering Committee.
RESPECTED PUBLIC SERVANT
The multi-talented professional and local public servant is a native of Atlanta and is committed to bridging the support gap between non-profit organizations and for-profit companies in order to better serve the diverse communities. Mitchell has served as the National Ambassador for the Arthritis Foundation, the President’s Volunteer Service Awards, and the program advisor for Fuel Up To Play 60. Mitchell has served on boards and committees for the following organizations: NFL Alumni, NFL Players Association Metro Chapter, Caribbean American Advancement Foundation and the American Red Cross.
Mitchell has been awarded 2019 The National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs, Inc (The Greater Atlanta Chapter) Public Servant Award, 2019 C.T Martin’s Public Servant Award, and was honored by The Alabama State University’s “50 under 50” Class of 2018, 2018 America Caribbean Captains of the Industries, 2016 Barack Obama’s “President Lifetime Volunteer Service” Award, the “Martin Luther King, Jr. Drum Major” Award and the 2011 National Black Latino Council Community Organization of the Year.
PRIOR TO CURRENT ROLE
Mitchell is currently the Managing Partner at Sports Unlimited Enterprise, LLC. Sports Unlimited Enterprise, LLC (SUE) specializes in Event planning, Public Relations, Charities, Non-Profits and Branding for current and former professional athletes. SUE’s Mission is to bridge the gap between professional athletes and corporate companies that will engage athletes and or their charities involvement with the youth and their community. SUE provides a platform for athletes to leverage their brands to host or partner with fundraising and charitable events.
Mitchell is also the founder of Atlanta Women In Sports (AWIS), which salutes and honors Atlanta business women who are blazing trails and redefining the position of “sports executive and athletes” with their contributions in the sports industry. AWIS also provides a platform and networking opportunities for women to connect and engage professionals of various industries who carry a similar passion for the business of sports.
A graduate of Alabama State University, Mitchell was able to take advantage of a full athletic scholarship. She won numerous awards for her stellar athletic performance including the Indoor and Outdoor track and field South Western Athletics Conference (SWAC) Championships in 2001, 2002 and 2003. Mitchell earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Computer Information Systems yielding her the knowledge and opportunity to work for major global brands such as Coca Cola, Cbeyond, and Kodak as an Information Technology (IT) specialist.
She furthered her education and received a full scholarship from Esani Paul Mitchell partner school to become a licensed esthetics educator. Shortly after completing her educators’ degree, Mitchell began her teaching career at AVEDA Institute, where she taught histology and physiology of skin, creating AVEDA’s first makeup artist curriculum and small business development. Mitchell also provided State Board certified Continuing Educational Units to professional cosmetologists and estheticians.
Mitchell’s passion for volunteering led her to volunteer her time to international pageants including Miss Africa USA, Miss Latina US, and the Miss Latin America Del Mundo pageant. Through her dedication to volunteer work, she managed to incorporate her business skills and her love for beauty and founded La Reina Pageant Productions in 2010, which also produces Atlanta Latino Fashion Week, Atlanta Caribbean Fashion Week, Miss Georgia Latina™ , Miss Teen Georgia Latina ™, Miss Alabama Latina and Miss Teen Alabama Latina pageants. As producer and state director, her vision is to mentor and create opportunities for Latinas and Caribbeans to pursue their goals and dreams while impacting the community through culture sharing and, most importantly, culture awareness.
The Honorable Lee Morris
Fulton County Board of Commissioners
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.