By Hala Moddelmog, President and CEO, Metro Atlanta Chamber
Last December, the Metro Atlanta Chamber and Jeffrey C. Sprecher convened Atlanta leaders in New York City to celebrate the region’s success in business, talent attraction and innovation. This one-of-a-kind event at the New York Stock Exchange not only highlighted our position as a top-tier global competitor, it also caught the attention of Bloomberg. As a result, this month Bloomberg TV broadcasted live from Atlanta as the first in a series of broadcasts built around U.S. cities that are home to major corporations.
Bloomberg TV hosted an inspiring roundup of Atlanta’s leading executives from organizations and companies with a global presence. Among the assembled group were:
- Craig Menear, Chairman, CEO and President, The Home Depot
- Keith Lerner, Chief Market Strategist, SunTrust
- Mary Laschinger, Chairman and CEO, Veritiv
- Frank Patterson, President, Pinewood Atlanta Studios
- Jeff Sprecher, Chairman, NYSE, Chairman and CEO, Intercontinental Exchange
- Jeff Arnold, Founder, WebMD and Chairman and CEO, Sharecare
- Keisha Lance Bottoms, Mayor, City of Atlanta
- Education Roundtable with Claire Sterk, President, Emory and Mary Schmidt Campbell, President, Spelman
- Rob Waldner, Chief Strategist and Head of Multi-Sector, Invesco Fixed Income (IFI)
- Tom Noonan, former Chairman, president and CEO, Internet Security Systems, Inc.
Highlights covered the gamut of our ecosystem from our local tech talent, to the film scene, our leading education system and everything in between. It was clear from these assembled guests that our metro Atlanta industry clusters interact and enhance one another. Craig put it best when he talked about The Home Depot’s work in innovation:
“[Tech is] a growing element of the Atlanta community. The Home Depot has an innovation center at Georgia Tech where we work on things like augmented reality, machine learning and A.I. The technology community here in Atlanta is significant.”
Tech was a common theme for many of Bloomberg TV’s guests and their stories of working in our business community. ICE’s Jeff Sprecher spoke about the company’s advantages being located in Atlanta and using this location as a hub from which to operate exchanges around the world. The powerful tech being created and innovated upon in our region makes operations like this a possibility.
Tom Noonan with Internet Security Systems, Inc. illustrated the abundance of companies working on the innovation of the future:
“Cybersecurity companies like Ionic Security, NexDefense; business automation companies like SalesLoft, Terminus and FullStory; and exciting companies that are changing the way we look at logistics like STORD – an interesting startup here in Atlanta – and Roadie, which is solving the last mile problem for many companies. All of this innovation is coming out of Atlanta, and all of the innovation is driving the skyline you see around you.”
Our education guests highlighted their work preparing the next-generation of talent and their integration with other entities in the region. Dr. Sterk spoke about Emory’s connection to the business community and the opportunities that result from serving the metro as a research institute. Dr. Schmidt Campbell spoke to Spelman’s engagement in revitalizing the Westside:
“Spelman is located in Southwest Atlanta. The West Side is undergoing a huge redevelopment effort. Spelman and other colleges in the Atlanta University Consortium have looked at the communities and decided there are real assets there. There are residents, businesses, social service organizations, and we’ve begun to partner with them in a way that permits our students, our staff and our faculty to contribute, because we figured we can rebuild our community together.”
For me, Mayor Bottoms rounded out this vision of our metro region, with industries that unite around the common desire of improving our lives:
“I think there is a balance in Atlanta [between business and equity], and I think we’re an example for the rest of the country. What we’ve seen in Atlanta is that what’s good for the community is good for business. I think that’s the balance we’ve been able to strike.”
As seen firsthand on Bloomberg TV, metro Atlanta is a place where many different ideas can thrive and find support from all over the region. The union of our ecosystems produces a whole that is based on strong leadership with a focus on community.
To watch clips of the interviews mentioned here, as well as stream full episodes from the April 9 Bloomberg TV segment, please visit: https://www.bloomberg.com/live/us.