‘Georgia Trend’ Names Tech Alumni Among Most Influential Georgians

These 11 Yellow Jackets are being recognized for their transformative roles around the state.
Georgia Trend 2024 Most Influential Georgians

Georgia Trend 2024 Most Influential Georgians

For their efforts to transform their communities through public service, leadership, and philanthropy, 11 Georgia Tech alumni have been named among Georgia Trend’s 100 Most Influential Georgians for 2024.  

Brian Blake, EE 1994 – President, Georgia State University 

Under Blake’s leadership, Georgia State University received a school-record $224 million in research grants in fiscal year 2023 and is preparing to construct its third research tower on campus. Now in his second year, Blake, the university’s first Black president, launched a strategic plan that will guide GSU through 2033 with the goal of building on the four pillars he set when he arrived: 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 

Contributing $4.5 billion to the state economy, Georgia Tech leads the 26 University System of Georgia member institutions and ranks among the leading research institutions in the U.S. with over $1.45 billion in research awards annually. In November, Cabrera announced the Comprehensive Campus Plan, which will increase the Institute’s footprint around Atlanta and includes the innovative Arts Square project, two new residential halls, a thermal energy plant, and additional infrastructure upgrades throughout campus. 

Lisa Cupid, ME 2000 – Chair, Cobb County Board of Supervisors 

A board member since 2013, Cupid became the first female and first Black chair in 2021. Throughout her career in public service, Cupid has championed efforts to expand transit services and enhance public safety measures, and continues to advocate for inclusion and equity for all Cobb County residents. In 2022, she was appointed to chair the National Association of Counties’ economic development subcommittee. Alongside her duties on the board, Cupid is an attorney and a former policy analyst and manufacturing process engineer. 

Andre Dickens, ChE 1998 – Mayor, City of Atlanta 

Now in his second year in office, Dickens recently celebrated the culmination of his Year of the Youth campaign, which resulted in a $20 million investment into early childhood education in Atlanta and a $1 million pledge to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta, among other achievements. This year, the city added 3,000 affordable housing units, with an additional 5,000 planned. The mayor visited the White House to discuss infrastructure improvements at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport with President Joe Biden. In 2023, Dickens was elected to lead the Atlanta Regional Commission, becoming the first Atlanta mayor to serve as the board’s chairman.  

Watch Dickens’ May 2022 Georgia Tech Commencement Speech. 

Roderick McLean, M.S. EE 1993 – Vice President and General Manager, Air Mobility and Maritime Missions, Lockheed Martin 

As the vice president for Lockheed Martin’s Air Mobility and Maritime Missions division, McLean oversees 5,000 employees at three of the company’s primary aircraft production facilities and leads the C-130J Super Hercules airlifter, LM 100J, c-5, and P-3 programs. McLean began as a radar systems engineer with Lockheed Martin in 1994, ascending to his current position in 2019. He serves on the Metro Atlanta Chamber Board of Directors and is a member of the Executive Leadership Council. 

Jannine Miller, MBA 2013 – Executive Director, SRTA, GRTA, and Atlanta-Region Transit Link Authority 

With more than two decades of experience in the transportation industry, Miller is tasked with improving mobility in Georgia by providing reliable, safe, innovative, multimodal transportation solutions as the leader of the Tollway Authority, Georgia Regional Transportation Authority, and the Atlanta Region Transit Link Authority. In the role, Miller seeks to add express lanes to GA 400 and will explore new ridership options for express commuter bus services. 

Jerald Mitchell, MBA 2011 – President and CEO, Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce 

Mitchell took the reins of the Greater Columbus Georgia Chamber of Commerce in 2020 — becoming its first Black President — with the goal of attracting businesses to the area while improving local infrastructure. In the past year, Pratt & Whitney announced a $206 million expansion of its Columbus facility, creating 400 new jobs. Mitchell previously served as the vice president of economic development for Atlanta BeltLine Inc. and is the current president of Leadership Georgia, a statewide leadership development program.  

Valerie Montgomery Rice, Chem 1983 – President and Dean, Morehouse School of Medicine 

Rice strongly advocates for equity in the medical field as the first female president of the Morehouse School of Medicine. Under her leadership, Morehouse will establish the Maternal Health Research Center of Excellence. With funding from a National Institutes of Health grant, the center will develop methods to reduce maternal mortality rates. Since Rice assumed the role in 2014, Morehouse's M.D. candidates have doubled. 

Watch Rice’s May 2018 Georgia Tech Commencement Speech.  

Honorary Degrees: 

Raphael Bostic, HON Ph.D. 2022 – President and CEO, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta 

Leading the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Bostic is responsible for its monetary policy, bank supervision and regulation, and payment services. Bostic is a member of the Federal Open Market Committee, the monetary policymaking body of the Federal Reserve System. In 2021-22, Bostic served as the chair of the board of directors of the United Way of Greater Atlanta and chaired the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce in 2022. 

Watch Bostic's May 2022 Georgia Tech Commencement speech. 

James Quincey, HON Ph.D. 2020 – Chair and CEO, The Coca-Cola Company 

As The Coca-Cola Company continues to experience sustained growth around the globe, including a $1 billion investment in India, the soft drink giant is also investing locally. In March 2023, Quincey and Coca-Cola announced $1.7 million in grants to be distributed to Atlanta youth organizations, including Atlanta Public Schools and the United Way of Greater Atlanta. 

Watch Quincey's December 2020 Georgia Tech Commencement speech. 

Chris Womack, HON Ph.D. 2023 – President, CEO, and Chair, Southern Company 

In March 2023, after previously leading Georgia Power, Womack became the president and CEO of Southern Company, which serves more than 9 million customers nationwide. The company has set a goal of reaching net zero emissions by 2050. Womack has been named among Black Enterprise’s 100 Most Powerful Executives in Corporate America and received numerous awards for his efforts as a civic and business leader. 

Watch Womack’s December 2023 Georgia Tech Commencement speech