Focus Atlanta 2020 launches with great acclaim

Focus Atlanta 2020 launches with great acclaim

2022-07-11T06:57:13-04:00November 23rd, 2020|Atlanta, Economy, Press Releases|

By: Felipe Rivas


November 23 2020

Atlanta’s economic resilience in the face of unprecedented challenge was the center of focus at the launch of the second edition of Focus: Atlanta 2020.

Atlanta, Ga. – In this time of uncertainty, it has never been more important to demonstrate the strength and overall resilience of the local community and economy. On Thursday, integrated media platform Capital Analytics provided an opportunity to shed light on the challenges and opportunities in the region as it launched its annual analysis, Focus: Atlanta 2020, with a virtual business conference held via Zoom Webinar.

Known for its increased population growth, robust education sector, and home of the busiest airport in the world and the largest employer in the region, the Atlanta market is poised for continued growth and economic diversification even in the midst of coronavirus-related challenges and uncertainty. Focus: Atlanta 2020 dives into the top economic sectors in the county, including real estate, construction, utilities and infrastructure, transportation and aviation, banking and finance, legal, healthcare, education and arts, culture and tourism. 

“A great talent pipeline fueled by some of the country’s best colleges and universities, a tech hub that is only expanding and gaining in stature, a business-friendly environment that is convincing major corporations to relocate here, a great climate – all these factors and more have come together to make Atlanta one of the Top 15 destinations in the country for business and careers,” President and CEO for Capital Analytics Abby Melone remarked in her opening speech.

Like other parts of the nation, the Atlanta market has felt the economic constriction and health challenges created by the pandemic. But it has also experienced notable job expansions and has maintained its reputation as one of the best states for business in the nation. “It is really difficult to fight an enemy that you can’t see and one that you have not seen before,” Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport CEO John Selden told the virtual audience during his closing keynote speech. 

Throughout the pandemic, the aviation and hospitality sectors were among the hardest hit, yet travel is beginning to come back, Selden said. “The airlines did a tremendous job at making air travel safe. Many people are starting to come back and flying,” he said. “There is innovation rolling out called ‘Air Bridges’ where travelers will be tested before getting on a plane and when they get to their destination. Everyone will know their results before taking off. These innovations are coming fast and furious.” A silver lining for the airport this year was the acceleration of many of its capital projects. “Our projects are speeding up. We are full speed ahead and growing.”

Much like the airport, sectors such as education, real estate, banking and financial services felt the initial blow dealt by the pandemic but have been able to pivot, adapt and innovate during this time. The panels during the virtual conference addressed the economic climate as well as prevailing themes dominating Altanta’s economy, mainly the role of education and upward mobility, development opportunities in the region and financial institutions and their transition to the digital landscape.

The first panel, Inclusive Education: Diversity and its impact on upward mobility, explored the challenges created by the pandemic to educational institutions and the role colleges and universities play in creating upward mobility. Moderated by Belle Wheelan, president of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, the panel featured University of West Georgia President Brendan Kelly,  Clark Atlanta University President George French,  Brenau University President Anne Skleder and Agnes Scott College President Leocadia Zak. 

The second panel, Looking towards 2021: What the future holds for Atlanta’s real estate market, explored how the residential and commercial real estate markets fared during the COVID-landscape and what the future may look like for the office, residential, retail and industrial sectors. Moderated by Jeff Shaw, CEO of BridgeCRE, the panel featured Perkins + Will Managing Principal for Atlanta’s Corporate and Commercial practice Kim Rousseau,  Jamestown Properties CEO Matt Bronfman and H.J. Russell & Company CEO Michael Russell.

The third panel, Financial institutions and their adaptation to the virtual world, focused on financial institutions’ efforts to maintain operations in the digital environment. Moderated by Cindy Davis,  Greenberg Traurig’s chair of the banking and finance practice, the panel featured FIS Senior Vice President and Division Executive for Debit, ATM and Software Melissa Jankowski, Fifth Third Bank Regional President Randy Koporc, Peachtree Planning Tax Attorney James Gnefkow, and Wells Fargo Commercial Banking Business Development Officer Matt Rapoport.

More than 600 high-level guests and officials from Atlanta’s key industries and economic institutions tuned into the event via Zoom Webinar. For those who missed the event or would like to revisit some of the highlights from the day, please visit:


About Capital Analytics & Focus: Atlanta

About Capital Analytics:

Capital Analytics produces in-depth business intelligence with a focus on providing comprehensive investment knowledge on markets within the United States for the domestic and global business community. Over a seven-month research period, it meets with more than 200 top political, commercial and industry leaders to deliver targeted information, in-depth analyses and strategic insights to the global business community on economic trends and investment opportunities.

Capital Analytics has a global readership and includes among its readers top executives working in real estate, finance, technology, trade and logistics, health, hospitality and others. Books are distributed locally, nationally and globally to trade and investment boards, executives of Fortune 500 companies, institutional investors, consulates and embassies, hedge funds, leading chambers and associations, as well as high-level summits and conferences.

For more information, contact: 

Max Crampton-Thomas

Regional Editor

305-523-9708 Ext: 233