By Patrick Adcock
This year’s Metro Atlanta Chamber (MAC) Annual Meeting offered up equal reflection on the accomplishments of the past 12 months as well as a preview of the promise 2017 holds. With over 1,300 business leaders and guests in attendance on Nov. 30, the Atlanta Hyatt Regency’s ballroom was packed with the kind of talent only found in Georgia.
The 157th Annual Meeting was sponsored by Crawford & Co., Delta Air Lines, and GE, as well as many others and featured a roster of guest speakers representing the key influencers of metro Atlanta. Jenner Wood, the corporate executive vice president of SunTrust and the 2016 MAC chair, kicked off the proceedings, remarking on the success the chamber has had in collaborating with state and local partners in assisting companies with their location and expansion needs. Some of the corporate powerhouses finding new growth in the metro area include General Electric, Honeywell, NCR, and Anthem.
“Those companies will create 10,489 jobs and generate over $5 billion in investment in our region,” Wood said. “When a large employer compares our area to other cities across the country, they are impressed by the partnership between state and local government, academia, the non-profit community, and the business community.”
Other speakers such as Jeff Sprecher, CEO of Intercontinental Exchange, chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, and MAC’s 2017 chair-elect; Glenn Lurie, president and CEO of AT&T Mobility and consumer operations and MAC’s 2018 chair-elect; Carol Tomé, executive vice president and CFO of The Home Depot and a past MAC chair; Russell Stokes, president and CEO of GE Energy Connections and MAC’s 2019 chair-elect; and MAC President and CEO Hala Moddelmog all emphasized that growth doesn’t happen accidentally – it is accomplished through dedicated, hard work.
That hard work led to other 2016 accomplishments such as Site Selection Magazine’s ranking of Georgia as the #1 state for doing business for the fourth consecutive year, the production of 24,000 jobs in mobile app development bringing in over $1 billion in economic impact, the domination of our FinTech industry directing 70 percent of all payment transactions through Atlanta, and legislative victories such as the passing of the sales tax referendum in support of MARTA’s expansion and other transportation improvements. MAC’s Annual Meeting highlighted and celebrated these accomplishments and more.
However, this year’s gathering was not just intended to celebrate 2016 – MAC also previewed the year to come beginning with the unveiling of the new brand identity for the chamber. The Phoenix remains the guiding symbol of MAC and metro Atlanta – representing death and rebirth – however, now sharply redesigned with 29 individual feathers to show the 29 counties of the metropolitan region demonstrating a collaborative spirit.
Additionally, MAC unveiled the three pillars of its new strategic plan – encompassing the broad areas of “Grow,” “Advocate,” and “Promote.” Grow refers to the chamber’s drive to recruit new companies while retaining the current business roster. Advocate refers to MAC’s advocacy for a modern, educated workforce with a high quality of life. Promote refers to initiatives spearheaded by ChooseATL and the Atlanta Sports Council among others to present the Atlanta lifestyle beyond Georgia’s borders.
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed closed the event with a call to action to the audience to tell Atlanta’s story with passion. He outlined how our city is constantly evolving and growing for the better, and challenged event attendees to promote those success stories every day.
As MAC proceeds with its move to 191 Peachtree Street, 2016 has indeed been an eventful year with many examples of the ways in which Atlanta is moving forward. The growth trend will continue in 2017. Incoming 2017 MAC Chair Jeff Sprecher shares in the sense of optimism for what’s to come.
“I, along with the rest of the MAC leadership team, am committed to this region and impassioned about helping Atlanta continue to be a top-tier global competitor,” Sprecher said.
Patrick Adcock is a Communications Intern with the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Patrick was previously an editor at The Red & Black and has written for various publications under New South Publishing. He graduated from the University of Georgia in 2015. For questions, please email [email protected]