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)
Mr. Higgs became the President and CEO of ABI in February 2019 after serving for more than three years as Chief Operating Officer. In addition to overseeing the company, Mr. Higgs strives to expand our strong working relationships with private and public partners across the region, state and nation.
Prior to ABI, he served 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.
For the nine years prior to joining ABI, Mr. Higgs helped to steer the day-to-day operations of this multi-billion dollar revitalization effort involving economic revitalization of the local economy. His work entailed ground and facility leasing over vast tracks of industrial lands and facilities; oversight of a complex multi-million annual operating budget; supervision of 60+ employees and consultants; and organizational direction of the capital improvements program. Higgs also provided strategic guidance for broad-based community advocacy and engagement, partnership development with state and local governments, universities, construction and design vendors, and real estate brokers and investors to ensure the project’s success.
Clyde brings nearly 20 years’ experience in economic development, real estate, intellectual property, technology, strategic planning, design, real estate development, grant and donor funding, and government relations, with a diversity of projects including those that specialize in urban innovation, science and technology.
Clyde is a graduate of the University of South Alabama and also holds a graduate degree in Public Administration from East Carolina University. He has served on numerous boards and professional organizations, including two gubernatorial appointments: by Texas Governor Rick Perry to the Texas Emerging Technology Venture Fund for early stage companies working on innovations in the fields of biotechnology, healthcare, energy and information technology; and by North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue to the State Board of Community Colleges.
Chief Operating Officer
Ruben was appointed the COO of ABI in August 2019. Mr. Brooks most recently served as Regional Center Director for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s) Office of Multifamily Housing for nearly seven years where he led the South East Region (11 offices including San Juan, PR) in making large scale commercial real estate investment and asset management decisions.
He led a team of over 162 real estate professionals throughout the region and directed the multifamily activity including the underwriting of market rate, tax credit, FHA insured and affordable transactions, loan production, asset management, operations and customer relations. Mr. Brooks was also responsible for managing and minimizing the credit losses to the FHA insurance fund on a market rate and subsidized asset portfolio that approximated $17 billion in outstanding loan commitments, 491,000 apartment units and over 6,000 properties. During his tenure at HUD, Mr. Brooks’ signature accomplishment was leading the region’s transformation effort which included modernizing and realigning the region’s FHA business model and underwriting and asset management platform to accelerate transaction approval, better classify risk, streamline decision making, and improve customer service.
A native of Baltimore, Mr. Brooks received a BS degree in Management from Morgan State University’s Earl G. Graves School of Business, an MPA degree from the University of Baltimore’s Yale Gordon College of Arts and Sciences, and an MS degree in Real Estate from Johns Hopkins University’s Carey School of Business. Mr. Brooks sits on the Board of Directors of Junior Achievement of Georgia and is a graduate of Leadership Atlanta’s Class of 2015. Mr. Ruben is a basketball, baseball, football and exercise enthusiast and has a keen interest in financial literacy, work readiness and economic empowerment.
Prior to joining ABI, Aasia was a Partner in the Real Estate practice of Smith, Gambrell & Russell focusing her practice on commercial real estate. She represented developers, purchasers and sellers in connection with acquisition, disposition and development of various types of projects, as well as institutional lenders in connection with their corporate real estate. Aasia has been selected for inclusion in Georgia Super Lawyers for the past 15 years. She is a member of several boards including the Georgia Bar Foundation, the Georgia State University College of Law Board of Visitors and the Georgia Board of Bar Examiners, and is a past member of the boards of both the Grady Memorial Hospital Corporation and Zoo Atlanta. She is also a member of Leadership Atlanta and Leadership CREW. Aasia received the Outstanding Women in the Profession Achievement Award from the Atlanta Bar Association in 2003.
Marshall Norwood, CPA
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.
Marshall was elevated to this role in October, 2013. He previously served as the accounting manager since joining ABI in July, 2011, where he was responsible for the accounting function, including financial statement preparation and analysis, accounts payable, accounts receivable, guiding ABI through the annual audit process, as well as assisting with the comprehensive status of the Atlanta BeltLine financial plan. He formerly worked for the State of Georgia, Cox Enterprises and KPMG, and is a CPA. During his tenure at ABI, Mr. Norwood coordinated a major accounting software upgrade, managed ABI’s daily accounting functions and audit preparation, and absorbed many of the accounting functions previously performed by Invest Atlanta.
Mr. Norwood began his career with KPMG Peat Marwick, one of the “Big 4” accounting firms. Following KPMG, he worked for Cox Enterprises, Inc. at various locations around the country serving in Assistant Controller and Controller positions for 15 years. In these roles, he handled all accounting functions in addition to HR, union negotiations, and contract administration for all building and maintenance contracts. Subsequently, he served as Budget Director for the State of Georgia’s Department of Human Resources for two years where he coordinated the agency’s budget process and presented the budget to the Governor and State Legislature on an annual basis.
Mr. Norwood is a Georgia native and graduate from Morehouse College with a B.A in Business/Accounting. His professional affiliations include the Georgia Society of CPAs and the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA). Marshall’s non-work commitments include memberships in Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and Bible Way Ministries, Intl.
Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer
Nonet Sykes joined ABI in 2018 as the organization’s first Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer (CEIO). As CEIO, Nonet provides cooperative leadership, management, and strategic planning for equity and inclusion related to the Atlanta BeltLine.
The CEIO position is heavily involved in formulating policies that address health and sustainability in communities, innovation in community outreach and communication, displacement mitigation, and long-term affordable housing efforts.
Nonet Sykes was previously the Director of Race, Equity, and Inclusion at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, where her responsibilities included the design and implementation of strategies to operationalize the Foundation’s commitment to racial and ethnic equity and inclusion both within the organization and throughout its programs and grantmaking. Prior to the Casey Foundation, Nonet was the deputy Executive Director and Director of Programs for the Maryland Center for Community Development where she was responsible for managing capacity building programs to support community development corporations and other non-profit organizations throughout the state of Maryland. Nonet also served as Executive Director of Tri-Churches Housing, Inc. and Community Development Specialist with the Baltimore Community Development Financing Corporation.
Nonet’s 20 plus years of experience spans the areas of community development, program strategy and development, nonprofit effectiveness, and organizational culture and change leadership. Nonet serves on the board of directors for the National Recreation and Parks Association, board of advisors for National League of Cities’ Race, Equity and Leadership Initiative, and board of directors for the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers (ABAG). Nonet was featured in the book Big Impact: Insights & Stories from America’s Non-profit Leaders,” the University of Baltimore Magazine in 2016, and the Association of Black Foundation Executives Magazine in 2014. Nonet was also named 2010 Leading Woman by The Daily Record.
A native of Baltimore, Nonet earned a bachelor’s degree in rehabilitation services from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Baltimore where she was a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Fellow., and a certificate in organizational consulting and change leadership from Georgetown University. Nonet is also a diamond life member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Executive Assistant to the CEO
Ms. Vicki Cimkentli joined Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. in 2017 as the Executive Assistant to the CEO. Vicki 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. Vicki has resided in the Atlanta area for the past 10 years and lives in Marietta with her husband, Levent, and their two dogs. She enjoys traveling, the arts, and exploring restaurants with her dining club.
Dwayne C. Vaughn
Vice President of Housing Policy and Developmentdvaughn@atlbeltline.org(404) 477-3003 (Main Office)
Dwayne C. Vaughn has been appointed and will serve as Vice President of Housing Policy and Development with the Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. (“ABl”). In this role, Mr. Vaughn will work closely with the Chief Operating Officer and executive team providing senior level leadership, innovation and focus to achieve ABl’s affordable workforce housing goals and initiatives. He will work collaboratively with neighborhoods, city leaders, developers, housing providers and numerous other private and public stakeholders to help ensure that ABl’s housing efforts will provide workforce families the opportunity to live and thrive within the Atlanta BeltLine’s impact areas. Mr. Vaughn, a seasoned housing and real estate professional, is a strong advocate of affordable and workforce housing as an essential element to stimulate vibrant, healthy and diverse mixed- income communities.
Prior to his appointment at ABl, Mr. Vaughn served as Executive Director of the Mobile Housing Board (“MHB”) and affiliated entities. MHB is the 2nd largest affordable housing agency in Alabama serving 6,000+ workforce and low-income families through its affordable housing units, tax credit sponsored units, affordable homeownership units, market units, and housing assistance funded by the public-private partnership vehicle known as the Housing Choice Voucher Program. Mr. Vaughn exercised day-to-day leadership and oversight of MHB’s annual budgets ranging up to $57+ Million and up to 160+ employees. While at MHB, Mr. Vaughn provided leadership for the development of a comprehensive six-year $439+ Million Housing Transformation Plan 2020 designed to redevelop or reposition: five (5) severely distressed and aging housing communities into vibrant, seamless, market quality mixed-income, mixed-used communities; enhancing eight (8) other communities in need of additional capital investment.
Mr. Vaughn also worked in the Atlanta, Georgia metropolitan area, primarily as an attorney, providing strategic legal, business, and risk management advice for small and medium-sized businesses, individuals and affordable housing providers. His services focused heavily in the areas of real estate (commercial and residential), Affordable Housing, Housing Choice Voucher programs, business law, civil rights, litigation, employment law and management systems administration. Mr. Vaughn has held the staff positions of Director of Special Initiatives, Assistant Director for Housing Operations, and Deputy General Counsel with the Housing Authority of the City of Atlanta, Georgia. Mr. Vaughn served on various community and regional boards, including the BBVA Compass Bank Community Reinvestment Act (“CRA”) Community Advisory Committee helping to advise on the proposed $11 Billion investment of BBVA in affordable housing and lending to underserved communities, organizations and individuals.
Mr. Vaughn is a member of Leadership Alabama and various affordable housing trade organizations. Mr. Vaughn graduated from Howard University and holds a law degree from Rutgers School of Law, Newark, New Jersey. He is married to his college sweetheart and they have five children. Mr. Vaughn understands the importance of solving housing problems in partnership with the broader community. He is excited to return to Atlanta and actively participate in ABl’s affordable housing initiatives.
Vice President of Brand Content and Strategic Initiativestharris@atlbeltline.org(404) 477-3660 (Office)
Ms. Twanna Harris joined Atlanta BetltLine, Inc. as VP of Brand Content and Strategic Initiatives in 2018. With over 18 years of strategic brand, multicultural, and experiential marketing expertise, Twanna brings a wealth of knowledge in the space of crafting and amplifying strong brand messaging, building brand love through experiences, and leveraging the affinity of strong alliances to reach larger, diverse audiences of stakeholders.
She has worked for some of the largest global brands and nonprofits, including Procter & Gamble, The Coca-Cola Company, PepsiCo, and United Way, and has most recently focused her love for marketing and communications on more purpose-driven initiatives, with organizations such the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan’s social impact division) and Harry Belafonte’s nonprofit agency, Sankofa.
Vice President of Community Planning & Engagementbmcmillan@atlbeltline.org(404) 477-3003 (Main Office)
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.
Other responsibilities included the development and oversight of all zoning and development policies, establishment of a current development fee program and the total re-write of a proposed new Zoning Ordinance for the City. Beth was a key partner in the research, presentation and approval by the City Council and Fulton County Board of Commissioner’s of the City’s second TAD, the East Point Corridors TAD.
Previously, Beth served for 17 years in planning in different responsibilities in the Fulton County Department of Environment and Community Development. In her last eight years at Fulton County she served as the Assistant Director of Comprehensive Planning. In that capacity Beth managed a staff of 13 professional planners responsible for community planning in North Fulton, Sandy Springs, Southwest Fulton and South Fulton County. There she successfully implemented 10 community overlay districts and managed four design review boards. Under her direction, Fulton County developed and implemented its’ Smart Growth Policy. Beth also led the research, development and adoption of the County’s first total rewrite of its’ comprehensive plan and map.
Jerald Mitchell, MBA
Vice President of Economic Developmentjmitchell@atlbeltline.org(404) 477-3537 (Office)
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.
Kimberly Wilson, R.A.
Vice President of Design and Construction
Kimberley Wilson joined ABI in September 2019 as the Vice President of Design and Construction. In this capacity, Ms. Wilson is responsible for providing senior leadership to the ABI design and construction project delivery teams, including the planning and implementation of trails, streetscapes, parks, and transit.
Prior to joining ABI, Kim served as the Associate Director of Construction Services for Georgia Institute of Technology where she was responsible for the design and construction of capital projects on campus. Kim is a registered architect with a master’s degree in construction management. During her twenty-year career in Atlanta, working for both architectural firms and general contractors, she has contributed to many landmark projects including 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.
As a long time and current resident of intown Atlanta neighborhoods, Kim is passionate about the Atlanta BeltLine and the opportunities it offers to bring our city together with improved connectivity, new transportation options, low-income housing development, the elimination of food deserts, and equitable access to parks.
Government Affairs Directorjjohnson@atlbeltline.org(404) 477-3674 (Office)
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.
As the President of Live Oak Strategies, LLC, she advocated on behalf of her clients before the state legislature and acted as liaison to legislators, state agencies, and the Governor’s Office on their behalf. She provided help with government and public affairs, public and media relations, strategic planning, and fundraising.
Previously, Ms. Johnson served as the Political Director for Georgia Conservation Voters where she held elected officials accountable for their votes on key conservation issues and helped elect pro-conservation candidates to office. Before that, she spearheaded efforts on land conservation and advocacy at the Georgia Conservancy.
Ms. Johnson is a graduate of LEAD Atlanta and the Institute for Georgia Environmental Leadership, and received a Bachelor of Science degree from Tulane University. She is married with two children and enjoys running and participating in triathlons.
Henry Ikwut-Ukwa, PhD, PE
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.
Dr. Ikwut-Ukwa joins ABI bringing over 15 years of professional experience in transit operations, transportation planning and policy development, project and program management, and engineering design. Prior to this appointment, Dr. Ikwut-Ukwa served as the Manager of Planning and Development with the Birmingham Jefferson County Transit Authority (BJCTA) in Birmingham, Alabama where he worked on the City’s successful TIGER 7 grant application for a 15-mile Bus Rapid Transit corridor project.
Before his tenure with BJCTA, he was the Principal of a private consulting firm, Consul Company. Dr. Ikwut-Ukwa is no stranger to transit and transportation in the City of Atlanta: During his professional career, he has also served for nearly six years as Manager of Transit System Planning for MARTA where, among other things, he led the planning and implementation of the Memorial Drive Bus Rapid Transit Project. Prior to this he worked in private sector consulting with major engineering companies.
Dr. Ikwut-Ukwa completed his doctoral work in Transportation Engineering with a minor in Public Policy at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He is a registered professional engineer (PE) in the state of Pennsylvania, and served for four years on both the Downtown and Midtown Atlanta Development Review Committees. He was recently selected into the 2016 Leadership Program of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA).
Kevin W. Burke, PLA, FASLA
Director of Designkburke@atlbeltline.org
Kevin Burke, who joined Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. in January 2009 as Senior Landscape Architect, currently serves as the Director of Design and has more than thirty-seven years of professional experience on a range of institutional, roadway, college and university, and park projects. Kevin’s prior projects at ABI include overseeing design and construction for the Eastside Trail, the Perkerson Park Splashpad, the Westside Trail, and the Corridor-Wide Design, as well as D. H. Stanton Park, Boulevard Crossing Park, and Historic Fourth Ward Park.
Prior to joining ABI, Kevin was employed from 2005-2008 by the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority as a Project Engineer and landscape architect on the Central Artery/Tunnel Project responsible for providing project management, design, and construction QA/QC services to support the various restoration contracts. These contracts included rebuilding streetscapes, new construction of parks, and coordination with multiple agencies, abutters, and contractors. Between 1994 and 2004, Kevin was a key member of the Central Artery/Third Harbor Tunnel, “The Big Dig,” landscape architectural team. His primary involvement focused on preliminary design of landscape, streetscape, and open space areas throughout the Project. As part of his responsibilities, he led the Community Participation Program for the development of the Master Plan for over 30 acres of urban parkland. He also was involved with development and construction oversight of waterfront walkways along the Charles River and Fort Point Channel.
Kevin has also managed projects for Harvard Business School, Boston University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the City of Medford, MA, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Ohio Department of Transportation and the New York State Department of Transportation. Kevin has a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture degree from Utah State University, in Logan, UT, is a Registered Landscape Architect in Georgia and New Hampshire and is a NOFA (Northeast Organic Farming Association) Accredited Organic Land Care Professional.
Real Estate and Asset Management Director
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.
Michelle L. Thomas, ESQ
Assistant General Counselmthomas@atlbeltline.org(404) 477-3545 (Office)
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.
Since 2004, she served as Senior Assistant County Attorney for the DeKalb County Law Department handling legal matters related to real estate, construction, professional services, utilities, public works and greenspace. She started at DeKalb County as Assistant County Attorney in 2002. Previously, Ms. Thomas served as an associate with the City of Atlanta Law Department and prior to that she served as a law clerk with the Atlanta Municipal Court. Ms. Thomas is a graduate of the Georgetown University Law Center and Howard University. She is a member of the East Point/College Park Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Valerie Strickland, CPA
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.
In her previous roles, Valerie held positions as accounting manager with distribution and manufacturing companies north of Atlanta. In these positions she performed a variety of technical and accounting duties such as direct oversight for the general accounting functions, preparation of financial reports, developing staff members and assisting non-financial users in the understanding of financial information. Valerie began her career with Deloitte and Touche in the same building where she currently serves ABI. She is a CPA and holds a BBA in accounting from Mercer University where she was awarded the Louis Newton Academic Achievement Award. Valerie is married with a variety of four-legged children. In her spare time, she enjoys gardening, reading and volunteering in the cat adoption room of PetSmart.
Senior Community Plannerlreid@atlbeltline.org(404) 477-3551 (Office)
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.
Her passion for the public sector and underserved communities led her to complete a Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration from Trenton State College in 1994. With years of experience in various aspects of planning and community development, in 1996 she completed her Master of City Planning with the Georgia Institute of Technology. She would also go on to successfully pass the American Institute of Certified Planners Exam in 2001.
Most of her professional career as a planner was spent with a municipality in the Atlanta area where she served as the Senior Land Use Planner. In her role she worked on policy and regulatory development, community engagement and consensus building, and identified new and innovative was to make communities more sustainable and the community benefits more equitable in underserved communities. Lynnette believes that the mission of the Atlanta BeltLine, will truly make Atlanta a sustainable development community that people will enjoy for generations to come.
Khristie Power, PHR
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.
Before joining ABI, Khristie spent 16 years in the property management industry in Atlanta. Throughout her tenure she served in many capacities, including as a Director of Community Development Programs and a Human Resources and Operations Manager. Utilizing her background in Social Work, she created programs for after-school youth groups and summer programs in low-income communities. As Human Resources Director in her previous employment she designed and implemented various programs resulting in lower turnover and increased morale. Khristie was instrumental in a company-wide paperless conversion and increasing efficiencies within her department. She hold a Bachelors degree in Psychology from Emory University and a Masters in Social Work from the University of Georgia. You may see Khristie walking her dog on the Eastside Trail as she lives adjacent to the Atlanta BeltLine.
Lena Carstens, CGMS, GPC
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.
Ms. Carstens is an alum of LEAD Atlanta Class of 2006 and received the Outstanding Atlanta award in 2010. She holds an MBA and an MA in Arts Administration from SMU in Dallas, TX and a BFA in Stage Management from the Conservatory of Theatre Arts at Webster University. Ms. Carstens is married with two children and enjoys playing roller derby.
Communications & Media Relations Managerjodom@atlbeltline.org(404) 477-3659 (Office)
Jenny joined the Atlanta BeltLine’s communications team in February 2012 where she works closely with the VP of Brand, Content, and Strategic Initiatives 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.
Jenny brings experience in online and print marketing, website and content management, graphic design, writing, social networking, human resources, public speaking, and leadership. She started volunteering with the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership in 2007 where she helped found their local festival program. She has also served on the committee for Art on the Atlanta BeltLine since its inception in 2010. Jenny attended Washington University in St. Louis on an ROTC scholarship and graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in 2002. She majored in graphic design with a concentration in illustration. Jenny resides in Decatur with her husband and two children.
Kim Nicholson, CPPB
Procurement Officerknicholson@atlbeltline.org(404) 477-3670 (Office)
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.
Kim has continuously demonstrated exceptional procurement capabilities with a focus on implementing process improvements including development of policies and procedures, developing targeted plans, and delivering solutions within budgets and timelines. Kim has also served as a process leader on several cross-functional teams related to procurement of enterprise resource systems (ERP) and other technological projects. Kim has been a member of the National Institute of Government Procurement since 1997 and has served on NIGP local chapter boards and received the NIGP CPPB certification in 2004.
Kim graduated magna cum laude from Lincoln College in Normal, Illinois, with a Bachelors in Arts and with a minor in business. Kim has two sons that live in Atlanta and has followed the progress of the Atlanta BeltLine from her home in Bloomington, Illinois, St. Louis, Missouri, and is happy that she can now enjoy the Atlanta BeltLine any time she wants.
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 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.
Robbie gained strong Construction Accounting and Joint Venture expertise working for Omni Hotels on projects they developed with Turner. He had responsibility for budgets, change orders, in-process billings, forecasts, variance reports, vendor relations, construction draws, and more. Prior to Omni, Robbie worked for Bass Hotels and Resorts where he had responsibility for monthly reporting, maintaining capital budgets, journal entries, and other facets of accounting for the development of new hotels. Before joining ABI, Robbie worked for Feltrim Development NA, Inc., a private real estate development and property management company in Orlando, Florida.
Robbie is an Atlanta native and graduated from Keller Graduate School in 2005 with a Master’s of Accounting & Financial Management after attending Georgia Southern for undergrad and Booker T. Washington for high school.
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.
Prior to joining ABI full time, Heather established the Atlanta BeltLine Tour Program and continues to coordinate project area tours, leading over 400 tours since the Program’s inception in 2007. Ms. Hussey-Coker received her undergraduate degree in Cultural Anthropology and Human and Natural Ecology from Emory University and her master’s degree in City and Regional Planning from the Georgia Institute of Technology. She resides in the Riverside neighborhood of northwest Atlanta near the Westside Park at Bellwood Quarry with her husband and two children.
Nathan Soldat, AICP
Community Engagement Managernsoldat@atlbeltline.org(404) 477-3552 (Office)
Nathan Soldat, a forward thinking creative, joined ABI as Community Engagement Advocate in February 2014. Nathan came 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.
Since 2011, he has served as a volunteer for ABI actively participating on the Art on the BeltLine Committee. During this time he also volunteered for the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership speaking at community festivals and helping to support the Ambassador Program’s outreach efforts. Prior to ARC, Nathan worked for the City of Decatur providing zoning review for all plan submittals, implementing new software to assist in plan management, and was a community facilitator during the city’s 2010 strategic plan update.
Nathan has a Bachelor of the Arts in Global Studies with a concentration in African Studies and a Masters of Science in Urban Planning with a concentration in Housing and Community Development from the University of Iowa. He is a dedicated transit rider and bicycle commuter. He lives in Decatur with his wife and two children.
Community Engagement Managerwfuller@atlbeltline.org(404) 477-3574 (Office)
In 2011, Whitney was invited to work as the Community Engagement and Public Affairs Graduate Fellow with Atlanta BeltLine Inc. (ABI). As a Graduate Fellow, Whitney supported Planning and Community Engagement during construction of the Eastside Trail and Public Affairs through adoption of the Subarea Master Plans and contributed to the Environmental Justice Policy.
She volunteered for the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership for over 6 years, becoming a BeltLine Tour Guide in 2015. After completing her Fellowship with ABI, Whitney progressed through leadership roles in the public and private sectors. In her most recent role as an Urban Planner with the City of Atlanta, Whitney researched, wrote and presented reports on zoning cases such as the “Bright Lights” District downtown and proactive rezoning of stadium communities in Council District 3. Whitney is an advocate of the community, serving as Vice-Chair to the Atlanta BeltLine Tax Allocation District Advisory Committee (TADAC) before resigning to re-join the Atlanta BeltLine Incorporated team. Whitney is a Georgia Southern University alumna, bicycle commuter, urban gardener and mother to “Adobe” the Doberman Pinscher.
Arts & Culture Project Managermkyle@atlbeltline.org(404) 477-3636 (Office)
Miranda Kyle joined ABI as Arts & Culture Program Manager in 2017. In this role she is responsible for curating all arts and culture exhibitions and performances on the trail, project managing collaborations with other arts organizations, incorporating art into trail design, and creative place keeping.
Miranda received undergraduate degrees in Chemistry and Fine Art from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington in 2005, a post graduate degree in Painting from the Edinburgh College of Art, Scotland in 2007, completing her MFA in Sculpture at The Savannah College of Art & Design in 2015. She was awarded the 2013 Lee Kimche McGrath Fellowship for Arts & Sciences for her research in utilizing 3D printing technologies with traditional foundry practices, and in 2014 she was awarded the StarSeed Fellowship to research the intersection of Public Art, Performance and Space in Riga and Pedvale, Latvia.
Since 2015 Miranda has played an active role in the DIY art scene of Atlanta, curating exhibitions for a variety of emerging and underground art spaces around the city. She has exhibited across the U.S. & internationally. She currently serves on the steering committee for the National Conference on Contemporary Cast Iron Art and Practices.
Kara Keene Cooper
Economic Development Project Managerkcooper@atlbeltline.org(404) 477-3657 (Office)
Kara Keene Cooper is Economic Development Project Manager for the Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. In her position, she supports the economic development efforts of the organization by connecting and empowering existing businesses along the corridor as well as aiding in research, analysis, and promotion of the Atlanta BeltLine to new companies looking to set-up their business operations in Atlanta. Prior to joining ABI, Ms. Cooper served as Project Manager for the Decide DeKalb Development Authority (DDDA). At the DDDA, she was responsible for business recruitment, retention, and expansion efforts for DeKalb, one of Georgia’s largest counties.
Before her time at DDDA, Ms. Cooper served as the Manager of Outreach for the Cumberland Community Improvement District (CID). At the CID, she was responsible for implementing community development initiatives, executing communications and marketing strategies, engaging property owners and the business community around public infrastructure projects, and working on non-capital improvement projects. Ms. Cooper was also the Manager of Marketing and Public Relations for the Rialto Center for the Arts at Georgia State University for nearly a decade.
Cooper is a founding member of the Perkerson Elementary School Foundation. She is a founding member of the Atlanta BeltLine Young Leaders Board (AB67) with the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership and serves on the Executive Committee. Cooper currently owns a home in the Capitol View Neighborhood (an Atlanta Beltline community) and participated in the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Community Economic Development Institute. She was named a Power 30 Under 30 for the City of Atlanta and was a 40 Under 40 Nominee for the UGA Alumni Association. She is a graduate of the LEAD Atlanta program sponsored by Leadership Atlanta, the Urban Land Institute’s Center for Leadership, the New Leaders Council Atlanta, and the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Regional Leadership Institute and their Millennial Advisory Panel.
Cooper earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration focused on Management Information Systems and a minor in Drama from the University of Georgia. Cooper also earned a Master of Public Policy from Georgia State University’s Andrew Young School of Policy Studies focusing on Planning and Economic Development.
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.
In her role at ABI, she will collaborate with team members to support spatial data management, analysis and visualization needs, and manage ABI’s geospatial data. Her previous GIS work includes spatial analysis, compiling and formatting data, geocoding, map design, data visualization, image formatting, and GPS data presentation.
Previous to this position she worked for over 10 years in the environmental field. She spent 3 years in environmental consulting with AMEC Earth & Environmental, and 8 years in EPA Region 1’s GIS Center. Most recently she worked in emergency response providing GIS support to FEMA Region IV. Ms. O’Hanley holds a BS degree in Environmental Studies/GIS focus from Boston University. During her career, she earned an MS in GIS from Northeastern University and a Masters Certificate in Web Application Development from Boston University.
Shaun Green, PE
Senior Transportation Engineer
Shaun Green brings 16 years of civil engineering experiences to Atlanta BeltLine, Inc., primarily focused on urban, multi-modal transportation systems. Shaun spent the last ten years with the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority, supporting the start-up and ultimate steady-state operation and maintenance of their regional express bus service. Prior to GRTA, Shaun worked as a consulting engineer, focusing on traffic engineering, urban planning and land development.
Shaun is a graduate of Georgia Tech, has three daughters with his wife Janet, has been a bicycle commuter in Atlanta since 1994, and is an avid ice hockey player.
Subrena Clark, MBA, CPPB
Procurement Managersclark@atlbeltline.org(404) 477-3692 (Office)
In July 2017, Subrena Clark joined Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. (ABI) in the newly created position of Procurement Manager. In this role, she will procure and monitor all aspects of ABI’s procurement process.
Subrena brings more than 16 years of Public Procurement experience. She has lead and served on process improvement teams related to contract management systems and departments, and enterprise resource systems. In addition, she has facilitated intergovernmental programs locally with other procurement professionals to stimulate the local economy. Prior to ABI, she held business development and procurement roles at the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, Georgia Minority Supplier Development Council, Atlanta Public and Fulton County Schools. Ms. Clark is a Certified Professional Public Buyer through The Institute for Public Procurement – NIGP.
Subrena has a Bachelor of Arts degree with the University of Georgia and holds a Master of Business Administration degree from the American InterContinental University. A native of Atlanta, she loves to explore the history of the city, and is a collector of skyline portraits. Subrena lives in Atlanta with her husband and three children.
Kristen Mansfield, PLA
Senior Landscape Architect
Kristen Mansfield joined Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. in July of 2019 as Senior Landscape Architect. Born and raised a Hoosier, Kristen relocated to the Southeast in 2004 where she began her career at a boutique landscape architecture firm in Hilton Head Island, SC. Soon thereafter, she transferred to Florida to help establish a Tallahassee location. It was during her time there that she was introduced to ABI, where she was the design consultant project manager for Phase II of Historic Fourth Ward Park. During her tenure in South Carolina and Florida, she worked on a variety of projects that included high-end resort work for Sea Pines Resort, large scale community planning and visioning, and park design and construction. In 2014, she began working for a multidisciplinary design firm in Charlotte, managing multi-family, institutional, and parks and recreation planning, design and construction projects. Kristen is a painter, loves to read and travel, and is a die-hard Colts fan.
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.
Meghan is involved with the Georgia Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects and was the 2009 Georgia American Society of Landscape Architects Student Winner for senior capstone project on a design and programming of an Urban Farm in Downtown Savannah, GA. She was also the Juror’s selection for the international “Iraqi Memorial Project” in 2009 for design project commemorating civilian deaths in “Operation Iraqi Freedom”. Meghan graduated with a Master’s degree in Environmental Planning and Design from the University of Georgia in 2012 and is an active Atlanta BeltLine volunteer. In her free time, she enjoys paddling boarding and kayaking.
Real Estate Project Manager
Schroder is responsible for supporting real estate-related activities for ABI as it pertains to acquisitions, due diligence, asset management, and construction along the Atlanta BeltLine corridor. He joins ABI after spending six years with Wells Fargo’s Commercial Real Estate Group in Atlanta, where he served as a relationship manager responsible for business development, risk assessment, and new loan origination for private and institutional commercial real estate developers and investors.
While at Wells Fargo, he gained valuable experience underwriting acquisitions, recapitalizations, and the construction of office, industrial, retail, multi-family, hotel, and self-storage real estate across the country. Schroder completed a five month advanced credit management training program in San Francisco with Wells Fargo in the Fall of 2015. Prior to Wells Fargo, Schroder spent two years at TriMont Real Estate Advisors, serving as an analyst on the Special Asset Management group. He graduated from the University of Georgia with a B.B.A. in Real Estate. He was born and raised in Atlanta, and currently lives in Atlanta’s Berkeley Park neighborhood.
Monica Collins, MBA
Real Estate Coordinatormcollins@atlbeltline.org(404) 477-3664
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.
Ms. Collins’ education includes a Master of Management with a concentration in Public Administration, and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Property Management, both from Colorado Technical University (CTU). She holds and continues to be certified as an International Housing Inspector (IPMC) and Renovation, Repair & Paint with Georgia EPD (RRP).
Arts & Culture Program Coordinator
Chris Langley joined ABI as the Arts & Culture Program Coordinator in March 2018 after holding two post-grad fellowships and a contractor position as Arts & Culture Program Administrator from 2016-2018.
A novice art historian by training, Chris did is graduate research in the Black Rock Desert working with artists, Lamplighter Camp Project Manager (Tony “Snotto” Lewis), and Temple architect David Best at Burning Man for 2010/2012/2014. In his role at ABI, Chris handles user experience, historic preservation, research institution interfacing, as well as assisting with all ongoing Arts & Culture projects and partnerships.
Community Engagement Advocatekmorris@atlbeltline.org(404) 477-3578 (Office)
Kathrine Morris joined the Atlanta Beltline, Inc. as Community Engagement Advocate in October 2018. Before joining the ABI Kathrine spent the last 5 years working in the affordable housing development industry in her hometown of Cleveland, Ohio.
Throughout her tenure she served in many different roles and capacities including Community Organizer, Sustainability Project Manager, and Resident Services Manager before her final role as Communications and Engagement Manager. In her previous position, Kathrine was instrumental in creating programming that helped to bridge connections with potential partners, community leaders, concerned residents, and local and national institutions. Kathrine brings a wealth of knowledge in the space of community development, neighborhood and resident engagement, and equity and inclusion work.
Kathrine is a graduate of Emory University and has a passion for people, cities and wellness. Kathrine lives adjacent to the Westside trail of the Atlanta BeltLine and runs and bikes the trail daily.
Front Desk Office Coordinator(404) 477-3003 (Main Office)
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.
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, governance, and compliance related matters.
Her main skills include the coordination of real estate closings, contract reviews, title matters, corporate law, and legal research. Janella is an ABA certified paralegal and has earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice. Prior to joining ABI, she served as Senior Paralegal at Atlanta Housing (formerly Atlanta Housing Authority) for almost 12 years. Before joining Atlanta Housing, Janella held the position as sole paralegal at a prominent Metro Atlanta engineering firm, assisting in right-of-way acquisitions and traffic/road improvement projects, for nearly 5 years. On a personal note, Janella resides in Gwinnett County with her husband and two children, and enjoys bible study, singing, and directing youth choirs.
Hope Gist, PE
Having recently relocated from the San Francisco Bay Area, Hope previously worked as the Senior Site Engineer on the Ford GoBike (currently known as Bay Wheels) bike share team in the Bay Area. Her work included transitioning and expanding the system from the former Bay Area Bike Share System into Ford GoBike, which also included designing, permitting, and deploying over 300 bike share stations across five cities in the Bay Area.
She also worked as a Civil Engineer with the DC Streetcar Program Management Team in Washington, DC. She started her career in Baltimore, MD designing transit alignments, utilities and other rail and roadway elements for the Baltimore Red Line and Purple Line LRT projects in Maryland. As a teenager, she was inspired to become a Civil Engineer and work in Transportation due to complaints from other riders on the local DC Metro bus she used to travel to her summer jobs in DC. As a result, she felt compelled to make a difference to change and improve transit and eventually other means of sustainable Transportation. Combined, she has over 11 years of experience working in the Civil/Transportation arena.
Outside of work, Hope enjoys a multitude of activities including, but not limited to, cooking (and trying new restaurants and cuisines), biking, camping, traveling and getting her hands on anything she can fix, build or design.
Nancy Newell, PE
Nancy has been working for a private consultant firm in Panama City Beach, FL for the last five and a half years, mainly on transportation design projects for the FDOT. In this role she also developed plans for geometric design, horizontal and vertical alignments, temporary traffic control, erosion and sedimentation control, signing and pavement markings, lighting design and analysis, and drainage systems. She is excited for the opportunity to join the Atlanta BeltLine team and to get involved with the community. Nancy was born and raised in the Florida Panhandle and graduated from Auburn University (War Eagle!). She enjoys watching college football, listening to live music, and anything outdoors. Nancy just moved adjacent to the Eastside Trail with her dog, Dale, say hello if you see them.