Elected officials, government leaders, corporate executive and industry experts from across the South Metro region joined together virtually at the 19th annual South Metro Development Outlook (SMDO) conference held March 18, 2021. The body of speakers included Lt. Governor of Georgia Geoff Duncan, City of Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Jeffrey A. Parker, General Manager/CEO MARTA, Doug Hooker, Executive Director of the Atlanta Regional Commission and many others.
The event was hosted on a virtual platform for the first time in its history due to COVID-19 restrictions, but even a global pandemic can’t stop the bullish growth that’s taking place in the region.
“Without a doubt, we are optimistic as we move beyond the past 12 months and begin to emerge from the restraints of COVID-19, said Michael Hightower, SMDO Founder and Host. We have to dig deep and continue to be smart because the next several months will determine the next several years.”
The theme “Moving Beyond” resonated throughout the conference with the panelists and in their presentations. The one common denominator shared by all stakeholders was the need to continue advancing the plans for economic development in the region. Each speaker pointed to trending factors that will impact the future trajectory of the south metro region.
In addition to examining the current economic landscape, SMDO2021 recognized individuals and businesses with special awards for their accomplishments. This year’s recipients include Congressman David Scott, U.S. House of Representatives, GA-13 was presented with the Public Service Leadership Award in recognition of his long-term visionary leadership and dedication to the South Metro region. Arden’s Garden, T. Dallas Smith & Company and Ashley D. Bell, Partner Dentons Law Firm and former Region IV Administrator, U.S. Small Business Administration received the Small Business Enterprise Award for demonstrating exemplary leadership, sound business strategies and community involvement.
Key sponsors of this year’s South Metro Development Outlook Conference include the Development Authority of Fulton County, Georgia Power, Elevate Douglas Economic Partnership, The Collaborative Firm, LLC, AT&T, Henry County Development Authority, Union City, GA, Georgia Trend and Porsche.