Metro Atlanta Chamber hires two new vice presidents

By Maria Saporta

A couple of interesting new hires have taken place at the Metro Atlanta Chamber — a vice president of government affairs and a vice president of transportation.

Two executives will be joining the organization as vice presidents in the public policy division reporting to Renay Blumenthal, the senior vice president.

Jeff Wansley, who currently is vice president of government affairs for Equifax, will be joining the Metro Atlanta Chamber as vice president of government affairs on Jan. 11.

In his new role, Wansley will be help facilitate, develop and implement the Chamber’s political strategy and annual legislative agenda. Wansley is a Georgia Native who also has worked for Atlanta Gas Light Co. and the National Association of Manufacturers.

And Wansley is no stranger to the chamber. From 2008 to 2010, he chaired the Committee for a Better Atlanta, which interviews candidates for public office and gives them a score of their qualifications and vision.

The Chamber’s second hire is Dave Williams, mayor of the City of Suwanee and founder of Southtrac, a promotional products and branded merchandise company.

Williams will become vice president of transportation for the Chamber, replacing Chuck Meadows, who has been in that job since 2007.

Meadows will be assuming a new role as the Chamber’s vice president for economic development policy.

As vice president of transportation, Williams will be responsible for implementing the Chamber’s transportation agenda. The top priority will be to work with regional leaders on efforts to get voters to approve the transportation sales tax referendum in 2012.

Previously Williams has served on Suwanee’s City Council and as president of the Gwinnett Municipal Association and as a board member of the Atlanta Regional Commission.

Williams (no relation to Chamber President Sam Williams) also is no stranger to the organization.

He began his career with the Chamber’s Atlanta Sports Council, and he was involved in the city’s efforts to host the 1996 Summer Olympic Games.

Getting voters to approve the regional transportation sales tax has been viewed as an uphill battle because voters do not seem to be in a mood to approve new taxes and because it will be hard to develop a project list that will be able to get support from throughout the region.

“We are delighted to have these accomplished leaders working for quality of life in the region,” Blumenthal wrote in an email announcing the new hires. “Please join us in congratulating hem and helping them be successful in their new roles.”

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

2 replies
  1. Scott says:

    Baring some seismic shift, or action by the legislature (note seismic shift), the 2012 vote will be an overwhelming no. I’m not sure anyone can salvage it “as is”.Report

    Reply
  2. Burroughston Broch says:

    It seems that the City of Atlanta is focused on promoting the Beltline to the exclusion of every other transportation project, except the downtown tram project. The Beltline seems to have very little focus on transportation at all and, if you look at their website, they don’t seem to have done much at all in 2010.

    I don’t yet understand how the Beltline would benefit me, for example. Let’s say that I get on the train at Perimeter and want to go to Decatur; I now ride to 5 Points and change trains to go to Decatur. If the Beltline were in service I would have to make two train changes versus one now and the journey would take longer since a tram has a slower service speed than heavy rail. What’s the benefit?

    If the City and MARTA are serious about the Beltline for transportation, then let’s see some plans.Report

    Reply

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