Distinguished Leadership Overseeing a Transformational Endeavor

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 minute, monthly financial reports and additional supporting documents when applicable.

To request documents pertaining to Board of Directors meetings, contact:

Michelle Thomas
Assistant Board Secretary, Assistant General Counsel

Tel: (404) 447-3545
Email: mthomas@atlbeltline.org
View meeting agendas and minutes

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.

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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.

John Somerhalder


AGL Resources

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.

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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.

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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 Gabriel


Community Representative

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.

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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.

Dallas Clement


Atlanta BeltLine Partnership Appointee

Dallas Clement is executive vice president and chief financial officer for Cox Enterprises, a leading communications, media and automotive services company. With $18 billion in revenue, Cox Enterprises is one of the nation’s largest private companies. He is responsible for the company’s audit; financial planning and analysis; financial reporting and control; tax; and treasury functions. He also oversees corporate strategy and investments; information technology; legal; public policy; risk management; supply chain services; and sustainability operations.

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Clement was previously executive vice president and chief financial officer for Cox Automotive, the company’s division that touches three out of four vehicle transactions in the U.S., and spent 20 years at Cox Communications, the company’s broadband communications and entertainment division that serves six million residences and businesses. Clement received a bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics and economics from Harvard College and a master’s degree in engineering-economic systems from Stanford University.

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.

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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.

Ernestine Garey

Invest Atlanta appointee

Atlanta Housing

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.

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During her 30 year tenure with Invest Atlanta, she also served as Managing Director of Housing Finance and was instrumental in the issuance of over $1 billion in housing revenue bonds, creating over 15,000 units of affordable workforce housing, both rental and homeownership, in the City of Atlanta.

She holds a Master’s Degree from Clark Atlanta University in French with further studies at Georgia State University in Urban Policy.

She is the President Emeritus of the Board of Directors for the National Association of Local Housing Finance Agencies (NALHFA), the premier advocacy group of affordable housing professionals. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Atlanta BeltLine, Inc.

The Honorable Cynthia Briscoe Brown

Atlanta Board of Education

Seat 8 At-Large

Cynthia Briscoe Brown was sworn in to the Atlanta Board of Education, Seat 8 At-Large, in January 2014. But since the early 1990s she has worked publicly and behind the scenes for all kids, devoting herself to making sure every child gets everything he or she needs to succeed.

A graduate of Davidson College and Vanderbilt Law School, Cynthia uses her 30 years of experience as an attorney to help students, teachers and families across the city. She has assisted several APS schools in forming their own nonprofit foundations and frequently donates her expertise to students with legal issues related to college and scholarship applications.

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Cynthia serves or has served on the boards of the Calvin Center, the Atlanta Partnership for Arts in Learning, the Committee for Teaching About the United Nations/Atlanta, and the Alliance Française d’Atlanta, creating partnerships with each organization and opportunities for students and teachers across the city to improve their skills and enrich their lives. As a volunteer with Young Audiences of Atlanta, Cynthia helped develop and implement the smART stART program, using visual and performing arts experiences to improve and encourage the reading skills of economically disadvantaged kindergarten students.

During the three terms she and her husband served as co-presidents of North Atlanta Parents for Public Schools (NAPPS), Cynthia was a unifying force for the North Atlanta cluster of schools and APS as a whole. Cynthia emphasized positive community engagement by supporting APS schools and students, and developing and nurturing strong media relations. She reached out to cluster organizations and community groups across the city to identify common goals and provide a consistent voice for children throughout Atlanta.

Cynthia has served on the PTA executive boards in each of her children’s schools. As a trustee of the North Atlanta High School Foundation, she worked to identify and creatively meet the needs of every student. She developed and ran a successful teacher incentive program to engage teachers, build collegiality and reward them for extraordinary support of their students and colleagues. She has participated in several APS facilities construction or renovation project committees on behalf of community stakeholders.

Cynthia and her husband, James F. (Jim) Brown Jr., are both Atlanta natives and practicing attorneys. They are active in music and service ministries at First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta. They have two children, both of whom have attended APS schools since kindergarten.

The Honorable Lee Morris

Fulton County Board of Commissioners

District 3

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.

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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.