December 20, 2018

Atlanta, GA – Following hot coffee, breakfast and a lively VIP networking hour in the Woodruff Arts Center’s Rotunda, beautifully decked out in holiday attire, Capital Analytics President Abby Melone welcomed keynote speaker City of Atlanta COO Richard Cox to the podium in the Rich Theater.

Cox thanked Focus: Atlanta for taking such a deep interest in the metro area. He went on to laud the city’s accomplishments — which certainly contributed to Georgia once again being named the Best Place to Do Business. Cox has known Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms since high school, and he told a charming story about how he came to be the city’s COO and what the position means to him. He concluded his address by underscoring the need for regional leaders to continue to embrace their diversity as they work together toward a common goal: the One Atlanta vision.

The program’s first panel, “Innovation: Taking Atlanta to New Heights,” was moderated by Chad Gregory of Wells Fargo, who welcomed his fellow panelists Gautam Vyas of FIS Global, Shannon James of the Aerotropolis Atlanta Alliance and Jimmy Etheredge of Accenture. The discussion began with Gregory asking each panelist to speak a little about what makes Atlanta such a hotbed for innovation. All cited Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, access to an educated workforce and the region’s growth in the fintech industry. Gregory then asked each panelists to discuss some of the challenges facing the city today. Transportation remained a key obstacle, but other challenges included market saturation, economic mobility and diversification, among other things. As Atlanta continues to pioneer in the realm of tech and innovation, these issues will be at the forefront of every leader’s mind.

James Gnefkow of Peachtree Planning took the stage next to answer questions pulled out of a fishbowl relating to December 2017’s tax overhaul. He gracefully navigated the complicated legislation, highlighting major takeaways for Atlanta businesses, potential effects of the loss of SALT deductions and the impact on Atlanta’s bustling real estate industry.

The final panel addressed “Healthcare 2020,” moderated by Greenberg Traurig’s Ted Blum, who introduced panelists Bryan Ginn Jr. of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Jeff Fusile of Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield Georgia and Dr. Jim Sams of Privia Medical Group – Georgia. With a medical practitioner, a medical educator and an insurer all on-stage together, the potential for differing points of view seemed high, but all three panelists shared similar concerns and a similar vision for the future of healthcare: namely, affordability, accessibility and strong relationships between doctors and their patients.


“The average Georgian spends $30,000 a year on healthcare,” Fusile said, “it’s the third biggest expense they have. We must be the leaders in making healthcare more affordable.” All agreed that the challenge moving forward is to make sure that 10 years from now we aren’t listening to a healthcare panel discussing the same exact concerns.

The event was attended by 175 high-level guests and officials from many of Atlanta’s key industries and economic institutions. After photo ops and a resounding applause, guests filed out of the theater to collect their shiny new copies of Focus: Atlanta 2019, hot off the press!

About Focus: Atlanta

Focus: Atlanta is an in-depth economic review of the key issues facing Metro Atlanta’s economy featuring the exclusive insights of prominent industry leaders. Focus: Atlanta is produced with two goals in mind: 1) to provide comprehensive investment knowledge on Atlanta to local, national and international investors, and 2) to promote Atlanta as a place to invest and do business.

The book conducts a deep dive of the top economic sectors in the county including real estate, construction, utilities and infrastructure, transportation and aviation, banking and finance, technology and fintech, health, education, sports, and arts culture and tourism. The publication is compiled from insights collected from more than 200 economic leaders, sector insiders, political leaders and heads of important institutions. It analyzes the leading challenges facing the market, as well as covers emerging opportunities for investors, entrepreneurs and innovators.

A copy can be purchased for $159 at

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