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January 7, 2020

Brad Currey Featured in Greenlight on Sustainability

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The Metro Atlanta Chamber featured 2019 Atlanta E3 Impact Award Winner Brad Currey in our Greenlight on Sustainability lunch series on December 9, 2019. Brad earned his E3 Award for his extraordinary commitment to sustainable business practices through two careers in Atlanta: in banking at Trust Company of Georgia, and then in paperboard/packaging as CEO of RockTenn. After his retirement from RockTenn in 2000, he dedicated himself to advancing water stewardship and long-term water supply for the states of Georgia, Florida and Alabama.

Currey’s leadership was crucial to the creation of the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) Stakeholders, which is a group of 54 citizens from Georgia, Florida and Alabama seeking to develop a science-based sustainable water management plan for the three states. Currey was instrumental in fundraising more than a million dollars, principally used for Georgia Tech to conduct complex water flow research over a myriad of environmental and management scenarios.

During the lunch, MAC debuted a video profiling Currey’s contributions was debuted at lunch event, which can be viewed here.

The highlight of the lunch event was a fireside chat with MAC Chief Policy Officer Katie Kirkpatrick, in which Brad shared stories, including his early life in Chattanooga with his mother, who was deeply civically engaged. Her example was instrumental in his long service on numerous boards of civic and cultural institutions including the Woodruff Arts Center, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, The Carter Center and chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. Brad’s mother was also deeply committed to protecting the environment, which imprinted on him at an early age.

Currey has also served on the board of the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District (MNGWPD) since its creation and spoke proudly of its record of water conservation and changes to policy. Over the last decade, Atlanta has grown by more than 1 million residents, yet it now consumes less total water. Brad also noted that the water district has successfully convinced many Atlanta residents that they don't need to water their lawns, “Bermuda grass gets brown when it's not watered, but that doesn't kill anyone.”

Currey also shared his decision process that led him to leave the banking business to run RockTenn in 1978, when its revenues were $56 million. When Currey retired in 2000, its revenue had skyrocketed to $1.3 billion.

When asked by an audience member, what his advice for other would be, he paused dramatically, and then his response was simple and powerful, “Off your ass and on your feet!”

Congratulations again to Brad Currey, and many heartfelt thanks for all your contributions to metro Atlanta, the state of Georgia and the Southeast!

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