By staff writer

April 2019

Atlanta may be one of the nation’s leading technology hubs, but the city isn’t satisfied. Last week, it announced the formation of a Chief Information Advisory Board (CIAB) to take its tech industry to the next level while improving the city’s digital connections.

Leaders from public and private sectors who comprise the board will analyze the challenges facing Atlanta’s technology sector and overall digital connectivity. Members of the CIAB team include IT leaders from Delta Airlines, Georgia State University, Cox Enterprises, Equifax, Chick-fil-A, Southern Company, Metro Atlanta Chamber, Quikrete, Adams & Reese LLP and Atlanta Tech Village.

 “The Chief Information Officer Advisory Board will play a vital role in setting the strategic direction for innovation and technology now and in the future,” said Gary Brantley, the city’s chief information officer.  “We’re thrilled to partner with these senior executives within top companies whose deep experience will fuel our agenda and help shape the future of technology in the great city of Atlanta.”

Building the right ecosystem for a growing tech hub requires a community of entrepreneurs, tech-focused corporations and higher education institutions who can supply skilled workers. As they say, it takes a village, and Atlanta has created its own Atlanta Tech Village, the country’s fourth largest tech hub. And it’s tethered to a robust investment and business community.

The city’s goal is to create 10,000 jobs and fuel Atlanta’s rise to a top-5 U.S. tech start-up center. The Village facilitates connections between talent, ideas and capital. In addition to providing fully equipped office space, The Village offers daily interactions to spread ideas and collaboratively solve problems; mentors and advisors who guide participants through challenges; networking events and classes to create collaborations and pre-accelerator programs; discounts from partners like Google, Microsoft and Hubspot; pitch competitions; and access to talent that can help grow businesses and attract new customers.

Atlanta is also home to the BridgeCommunity, a platform developed by Coca-Cola that aims to accelerate the success of technology start-ups by connecting them to corporations, while supporting local entrepreneurship. In addition, those with ties to cybersecurity and machine learning have a robust accelerator program in Cyberlaunch.

Higher education opportunities for techies include programs at Georgia Tech and Emory University, designed to help students and non-students further their businesses and achieve greater success. They’re another critical component of the city’s high-tech plans.

“We are proud of the ever-growing tech hub Atlanta has created,” said Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms upon announcing the new board. Its members, she said, “will serve as a great resource as we explore how we can continue to use technology in creative ways to improve our city and leverage our innovative local tech community.”

To learn more, please visit: https://www.business.org/business/startup/top-cities-for-entrepreneurs-and-startups/

Atlanta Chief Information Officer Advisory Board members include:

Eric Anderson, Egon Zehnder
David Cummings, Atlanta Tech Village
Cynthia Curry, Metro Atlanta Chamber
Martin Davis, Southern Company
Michael “Mike“ Ebrick, Chick-fil-A
Jay Ferro, Quikrete
Roy Hadley, Adams and Reese LLP
Bryson Koehler, Equifax
Danielle McPherson, Delta Airlines
Gregory Morrison, Cox Enterprises
Krishnakumar “KK“ Narayanan, Delta Air Lines
Phil Ventimiglia, Georgia State University
Tye Hayes, City of Atlanta