Articles from the Atlanta Business Chronicle

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The Loudermilks bring their business back to their former home in Buckhead

As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on October 27, 2017

Charlie and Robin Loudermilk have come home.

The father and son have moved their business offices back into the building where they worked for decades.

Built in 1963, the office tower at 309 East Paces Ferry Road was the first high-rise in Buckhead. Charlie Loudermilk bought it in 1970 and for more than 40 years it served as the headquarters for Aaron’s Inc., the furniture and electronics rental company he had founded in 1955. Aaron’s used it as its home base until a couple of years ago, when the company moved to a new headquarters at 400 Galleria Parkway.

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Civic Atlanta column: Operation Hope, SunTrust CEOs talk credit scores

As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on October 20, 2017

John Hope Bryant, founder and CEO of Operation HOPE, sees the world through credit scores.

The average credit score for people living in the city of Atlanta is 670. An unnamed county south of the city has an average credit score of 602 while a county to the north of the city has an average score of 720. Credit scores are an indicator of the wealth in an area, and Bryant believes they are key in lessening the income divide.

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The Masquerade commits to Underground

As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on October 20, 2017

Underground Atlanta’s first permanent tenant will be long-time Atlanta music venue The Masquerade.

The concert venue known for its three stages – Heaven, Hell and Purgatory – has signed a lease to stay at least 10 years at the downtown project.

The Masquerade had first moved to Underground last November. At the time, it was pegged as a temporary location after the venue had to leave its long-time home on North Avenue when that property was bought for redevelopment.

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Underground Atlanta project progressing well, developer WRS says

As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on October 20, 2017

Since buying Underground Atlanta last April, WRS Inc. has been moving forward with development plans for the property.

WRS is partnering with Peak Campus, a student housing developer, to build a 700-bed building across from Georgia State University. The building also will have about 25,000 square feet of retail at street level. The student housing development should be open by the fall of 2020 for that school year.

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Column: Atlanta Committee for Progress develops blueprint for next mayor

As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on October 13, 2017

The high-powered Atlanta Committee for Progress has developed a blueprint for the city as a way to help provide a smooth transition for the next mayor.

ACP, which was created in 2003 by then-Mayor Shirley Franklin, includes many of the top business and civic leaders in the Atlanta region. It has helped launch a host of initiatives, including the Atlanta Beltline, acquisition of the Martin Luther King Jr. papers, pension reform and the Westside Future Fund.

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GRA Study: State needs to increase research funding 

As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on October 13, 2017

When Atlanta CEO Larry Gellerstedt recently met with 60 of Cousins Properties Inc.’s investors, he heard one message loud and clear.

“Don’t tell us about your airport,” they told him. “All we want to hear about is your university infrastructure.”

Gellerstedt recalled that exchange at the Oct. 5 quarterly meeting of the Georgia Research Alliance, a public-private partnership of top business leaders, presidents of the state’s research universities and key officials in state government. Gellerstedt also happens to be the current chairman of GRA.

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Column: MailChimp makes deep journey into community knowledge, philanthropy

As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on October 6, 2017

When MailChimp first approached the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta to set up a “Community College” for its employees, the nonprofit kept sending the technology company to other possible partners.

“We kept pushing back,” said Alicia Philipp, president and CEO of the Community Foundation. “We don’t usually work with companies. We work with high net worth individuals and the community. This was not in our wheelhouse.”

But Lain Shakespeare, MailChimp’s director of corporate citizenship, would not take no as an answer. “My mission is to grow corporate citizens,” Shakespeare said. “The Community Foundation was the only choice for us.”

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Atlanta-born Purpose Built Communities accelerates work revitalizing neighborhoods

As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on October 6, 2017

OMAHA – Hundreds of people gathered from Oct. 2-4 here in the hometown of famed billionaire investor Warren Buffett to review the accomplishments of Atlanta-based Purpose Built Communities and preview its future efforts.

Buffett told the 500 attendees at the 8th annual Purpose Built conference how he was hesitant when Atlanta real estate developer Tom Cousins first approached him years ago to be an investor in the redevelopment of Atlanta’s East Lake community.

“I was skeptical, but you never want to underestimate Tom Cousins,” Buffett said. “He’s been going around like Johnny Appleseed… He has resurrected neighborhoods. There’s no one I would rather partner with.”

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Column: Honeywell’s executive chairman sings Atlanta’s praises on visit

As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on Sept. 29, 2017

Dave Cote, executive chairman of Honeywell, would like to see Amazon come to Atlanta.

A year ago, Honeywell announced that it was establishing a state-of-the-art Software Center in Atlanta near Georgia Tech. It also has located its recently formed Home and Building Technologies business in Atlanta. The company is expected to employ more than 730 software-focused employees by 2021.

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Oglethorpe University launching business school with $50 million gift

As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on Sept. 29, 2017

Oglethorpe University will receive a $50 million gift from alumnus Bill Hammack to establish a business school.

The gift is 10 times larger than the biggest gift the university has ever received – $5 million from the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation. It also is 20 times larger than the biggest individual gift the university ever received – $2.5 million from Ann and Tom Cousins, a donation made in 2017.

The new business school, which will open in the fall of 2019 within the liberal arts college, will be called the Q. William Hammack Jr. School of Business. It will be housed in the new Center for Science and Innovation, which also will open in the fall of 2019. Hammack already had signed on to give the new Center $2 million.

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Business leaders go all out to help win Amazon’s HQ2 

As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on Sept. 22, 2017

Metro Atlanta leaders, working in concert with state of Georgia, are pulling out all stops to lure Amazon’s HQ2 to the region.

The prospect of winning Amazon’s second headquarters with the potential of 50,000 new jobs has captured the attention of all the major players in the state and the region.

“Amazon is the Olympic moment for economic development in metro Atlanta,” one business leader said of the possibility. Another called it the equivalent of a “corporate Super Bowl.”

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Why Delta’s Richard Anderson went from planes to trains

As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on Sept. 15, 2017

Make no mistake about it. Richard Anderson is now a railroad guy.

Anderson, the former CEO of Delta Air Lines Inc., became co-CEO of Amtrak — the nation’s passenger railroad system — in July. His co-CEO is Wick Moorman, who served as both CEO of Norfolk Southern Railroad and as Amtrak’s past CEO.

“I don’t work in the airline industry anymore,” Anderson was quick to say in a brief interview on Sept. 9 when he was in Atlanta to be honored at a gala of the American Cancer Society. “I work for Amtrak.”

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Column: GeorgiaForward forum back ‘to talk about the future’

As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on Sept. 15, 2017

After a four-year absence, the GeorgiaForward statewide forum is back.

Georgia Forward is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization aimed at improving the state by engaging business, political, academic and civic leaders to collaboratively shape a statewide policy agenda.

This year, the theme will be “Defining Georgia’s Prosperity.”

“We will explore how you can grow economic prosperity for all of Georgia, including rural Georgia,” said A.J. Robinson, chair of GeorgiaForward’s board. “We like to talk about the future.”

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Column: Families First names Terry Tucker its new CEO

As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on Sept. 8, 2017

Families First, one of the oldest human service organizations in the state, has named Terry Tucker as its next CEO.

Tucker, who has a background in technology, entrepreneurship and nonprofits, has been serving as the chief strategy officer and general counsel for City of Refuge, a nonprofit that has been working to improve lives on Atlanta’s Westside.

In an interview on Sept. 5, Tucker said he was drawn to Families First for two reasons: its efforts improve the lives of children and families, and its commitment to providing data-driven programs to measure its impact on people’s lives.

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Keith Parker leaving MARTA better than he found it

As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on Sept. 8, 2017

The impending departure of MARTA General Manager and CEO Keith Parker the transit agency announced Sept. 5 comes at a pivotal time in the system’s history.

After 25 years in the transit industry — including five years at MARTA — Parker will be leaving this fall to become president and CEO of Goodwill of North Georgia.

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Column: ‘Something transformational’ happening at Atlanta Ballet

As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on August 25, 2017

As the Atlanta Ballet experiences an artistic transformation, it is launching the public phase of its “The Time is Now” campaign. The $23.5 million campaign is focused on the company’s artistic programming as well as building its endowment. So far, $15.1 million has been raised towards the campaign.

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Column: Unprecedented effort underway to fight low literacy

As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on August 18, 2017

Low literacy — whether it’s among youth or adults — hurts the state’s economic potential and is a leading cause of poverty.

Now an unprecedented collaboration is underway in Georgia to address low literacy with a multi-generational approach.

The Georgia Literacy Commission, which held its third public meeting in Tifton on Aug. 14, reflects that collaboration. Georgia’s First Lady Sandra Deal is one of the commission’s co-chairs along with Wendell Dallas of Atlanta Gas Light; Phil Jacobs, a retired AT&T Georgia president; and Teya Ryan of Georgia Public Broadcasting.