A big helping of optimism was served up along with lunch at Tuesday’s (Dec. 2) annual meeting of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. Transportation may be the chamber’s No. 1 issue for 2015, but outgoing chair Richard Anderson, Delta’s CEO, cautioned against too much negativity.
“Let’s level-set where we are,” he said in a pre-meeting press availability. “Atlanta competes with Houston, Dallas – and Charlotte, to a lesser degree. I’ll match our traffic against traffic in Houston and Dallas any day. I’m a Texan, so I can say that. We have work that we have to do. … But let’s understand where we are in the context of overall infrastructure. We compete very well in the competitive set of Southeastern cities where companies want to locate.”
Nonetheless, Anderson, Chamber President Hala Moddelmog and 2015 Chair Larry Gellerstedt, CEO of Cousins Properties, presented plans focused on reimagining Atlanta as a magnet for young creative types – the millennials.
A new marketing plan will be unveiled in the first quarter of the new year aimed at making Atlanta “the imagination hub of the world.”
SunTrust Bank’s Jenner Wood will chair the chamber in 2016, and Intercontinental Exchange’s Jeff Sprecher will take over in 2017.
In a change from the usual downtown hotel ballroom setting, this year’s luncheon meeting was at the Delta Flight Museum. Guest speakers included Jeff Arnold, founder of WebMD, and CNN’s Sanjay Gupta.
– Susan Percy