Yellow Jackets Featured in ‘Georgia Trend’ List of Influential Georgians
Georgia Trend 2023 Influential Georgians - Top row (from left to right): John Avery, Brian Blake, Ángel Cabrera, Lisa Cupid, Andre Dickens, Jimmy Etheredge. Bottom row: Tom Fanning, Paul Judge, Jerald Mitchell, Valerie Montgomery Rice, Raphael Bostic, James Quincey.
Georgia Tech alumni are making a difference in their communities throughout the state, with former Yellow Jackets making up 10% of Georgia Trend’s list of the 100 most influential Georgians for 2023.
John Avery, EE 1986 – Director, Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC)
Blending his experience as a serial entrepreneur and a corporate executive, Avery — a Georgia Tech alumnus and holder of six patents — is now in his fourth year leading the state’s technology startup incubator, which serves entrepreneurs across Georgia through one-on-one coaching and provides access to resources and networking opportunities. Touting the innovation that occurs within ATDC, Avery has expressed his belief that it is the “center of gravity for this kind of activity anywhere in the Southeast.”
Brian Blake, EE 1994 – President, Georgia State University
Before embarking on a 20-year career in higher education and becoming Georgia State’s first Black president in August 2021, Blake earned his bachelor’s degree at Georgia Tech. In addition to leading the university to new fundraising and research activity records in his first year, Blake implemented four pillars at Georgia State: research and innovation, student success, college to careers, and identity and placemaking.
Ángel Cabrera, M.S. PSY 1993, Ph.D. PSY 1995 – President, Georgia Institute of Technology
Under Cabrera’s leadership, Georgia Tech continues to flourish as one of the premier research institutions in the nation, receiving $1.3 billion in annual research awards. Looking to the future, Cabrera unveiled a 10-year strategic plan in November 2020, followed by the launch of Transforming Tomorrow: The Campaign for Georgia Tech, with an emphasis on “developing leaders who advance technology and improve the human condition.”
Lisa Cupid, ME 2000 – Chair, Cobb County Board of Supervisors
A member of the board since 2013, Cupid became the first female and first Black chair in 2021. With an “all-in” approach, Cupid continues to promote inclusion and equity for all Cobb County residents and was recently chosen by the National Association of Counties to chair its economic development subcommittee. In addition to her public service, Cupid is an attorney and previously worked as a manufacturing process engineer after earning her degree from Georgia Tech.
Andre Dickens, ChE 1998 – Mayor, City of Atlanta
It’s been just over a year since Dickens was inaugurated as Atlanta’s 61st mayor at Bobby Dodd Stadium. In his first year in office, the Georgia Tech graduate laid the foundation for his term by unveiling a $750 million infrastructure plan. Dickens also continues to highlight affordable housing as a top priority, with a goal of delivering 20,000 units across the city by 2026.
Jimmy Etheredge, IE 1985 – CEO, Accenture North America
Serving as CEO of the global consulting firm's North American arm, Etheredge leads 80,000 employees. During his time in the role, he’s earned praise for reforming Accenture’s hiring practices — prioritizing skills, experience, and potential over educational background. Etheredge teamed with up Fox Sports' Emmanuel Acho to record the Change Conversations podcast focused on improving equity in the workplace.
Tom Fanning, IM 1979, M.S. IM 1980, HON Ph.D. 2013 – Chair and CEO, Southern Company
After more than 35 years with Southern Company, it was recently announced that Fanning will hand the reins over to Georgia Power President Chris Womack at the end of March. Under Fanning’s direction, the company has added 4,000 megawatts of renewable energy in the past decade, including a 52% emissions reduction in 2020, while also taking on a leadership role in the nation’s nuclear initiative. The two-time Georgia Tech graduate has also served as chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
Paul Judge, M.S. CS 2001, Ph.D. CS 2002 – Managing Partner, Panoramic Ventures
Having co-founded and sold three companies, Judge is using his experience as a serial entrepreneur to assist others as a managing partner of the “largest tech venture fund headquartered in the Southeast.” With minority and women-led tech startups receiving just 3% of capital investment, according to Panoramic, the firm highlighted their emphasis on backing underrepresented founders when Judge joined in 2021 with a $300 million fund.
Jerald Mitchell, MBA 2011 – President and CEO, Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce
Having served as the vice president of economic development for Atlanta BeltLine Inc. during a period of exponential growth and job creation, Mitchell now leads the Greater Columbus Georgia Chamber of Commerce — the chamber’s first Black president — with the goal of attracting businesses to the area while improving local infrastructure. Mitchell also serves as the president of Leadership Georgia, a statewide leadership development program.
Valerie Montgomery Rice, Chem 1983 – President and Dean, Morehouse School of Medicine
As the first female president of the Morehouse School of Medicine, Rice has continued to advocate for equity in the medical field. In 2020, Rice led Morehouse into a historic 10-year, $100 million partnership with CommonSpirit Health to develop and train more Black physicians with a goal of 300 completing their residency each year.
Raphael Bostic, HON Ph.D. 2022 – President and CEO, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
While leading the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Bostic has also played a vital role on the Federal Open Market Committee — the monetary policymaking body of the Federal Reserve System. In the community, Bostic served as the 2021–22 chair of the board of directors of the United Way of Greater Atlanta and the 2022 chair for the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce.
James Quincey, HON Ph.D. 2020 – Chair and CEO, The Coca-Cola Company
Leading the global powerhouse since 2017, Quincey has taken The Coca-Cola Company to new heights with $11.05 billion in revenue in the third quarter of the past fiscal year. The quarter also saw the company participate in World Water Week as it continues its commitment to addressing water challenges around the world.