Governor, Lt. Governor, Speaker Make Appointments To ATL Board

The ATL is coming together. This morning, the appointments made to The ATL board made by the Governor, Lt Governor, and Speaker were released. Additional board members are being elected by legislators that represent the districts drawn across the 13 county ATL map. The Chairman of The ATL’s board will be Charlie Sutlive of Georgia Power, recently of the University System of Georgia. Other appointees include Teddy Russell, Mark Toro, Gwinnett Commission Chair Charlotte Nash, and retiring Cobb County legislator Earl Ehrhart.

The press release for the announcements is as follows:

Gov. Nathan Deal, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and House Speaker David Ralston today announced appointments to the Atlanta-region Transit Link Authority (The ATL). Deal appointed Charlie Sutlive to serve as the board chairman, effective immediately. Cagle appointed Teddy Russell and Mark Toro, effective immediately. Ralston appointed Charlotte J. Nash, effective immediately, and Rep. Earl Ehrhart, effective upon the conclusion of his service in the Georgia General Assembly in January 2019.

“Georgia is a destination for all types of industries and people from all walks of life to come and enjoy the prosperity of our state,” said Deal. “By 2040, the metro Atlanta area is projected to add another 2.5 million residents and the ATL is a significant step towards providing a coordinated, streamlined and unified approach to prepare for the future of metro Atlanta and the surrounding communities. The ATL board members will work to ensure that our modes of transit and mobility are worthy of the No. 1 state for business and I look forward to their work to provide new options for Georgians to get to jobs, community activities and homes to spend time with family more quickly and efficiently.”

The ATL was established by HB 930 to provide structure for coordinated transit planning and funding for the 13-county metro Atlanta region. The ATL is responsible for developing a Regional Transit Plan, as well as identifying and prioritizing the projects and initiatives required to develop region-wide transit.

“As our state continues to experience record levels of growth, the ATL will strategically expand our public transportation network to accommodate thousands of new passengers, while reducing traffic congestion, strengthening the link between our communities, and spurring future economic growth,” said Cagle. “I commend Chairmen Brandon Beach and Kevin Tanner for their dedicated commitment to advancing this historic legislation, and I’m confident the ATL’s board members will take full advantage of our state’s many strategic assets to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of future investments in building a world-class transit network.”

The ATL is governed by a 16-member board and attached to the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority (GRTA) for shared administrative resources.

“Transit is an integral part of our efforts to reduce traffic congestion, improve freight logistics and create more jobs by attracting more businesses to metropolitan Atlanta,” said Ralston. “I am confident that the members of the ATL Board will look for ways to improve our transit network through innovative partnerships and projects, and that they will work tirelessly to keep Atlanta and its surrounding communities on the move.”

Charlie Sutlive, Chairman, The Atlanta-region Transit Link Authority, appointed by Deal
Sutlive is the director of corporate communication at Georgia Power. In this role, he provides strategic support for the company’s external and internal communications. Sutlive was previously the vice chancellor for communications and governmental affairs for the University System of Georgia (USG) and led the development and execution of communications, public affairs and economic development plans for USG’s 26 colleges and universities. He has held multiple leadership positions for some of the largest and most recognizable companies in the world, including MCI, which is now part of Verizon Communications, McKesson and Coca-Cola North America. Sutlive sat on the boards of Leadership Georgia, the REACH Georgia Foundation, the Jekyll Island Foundation and the Smithgall Woods Foundation. He is also a graduate of Leadership Georgia. Sutlive earned a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations from the University of Georgia.

Teddy Russell, The Atlanta-region Transit Link Authority, appointed by Cagle
Russell is a co-owner and the president of Russell Landscape. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia. Russell and his wife, Courtney, have three children and reside in Atlanta.

Mark Toro, The Atlanta-region Transit Link Authority, appointed by Cagle
Toro is a co-founder of North American Properties’ Atlanta office. He previously served in several leadership positions with Faison and Cousins Properties. Toro has acquired, developed or redeveloped more than 70 projects totaling almost 30 million square feet. He attended Rutgers University. Toro and his wife, Nancy, have two children and three grandchildren.

Charlotte J. Nash, The Atlanta-region Transit Link Authority, appointed by Ralston
Nash is the chair of the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners. She was elected countywide to this position in March 2011 and was reelected in 2012 and 2016. Nash previously worked for the Gwinnett County government for 28 years and retired as the county manager in 2004. She sits on the Atlanta Regional Commission Board and chairs the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District Board. Nash is a former president of the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia. She and her husband, Michael, have two children and two grandchildren. They reside in Dacula.

Rep. Earl Ehrhart, The Atlanta-region Transit Link Authority, appointed by Ralston
Ehrhart is the CEO of Taylor English Decisions. He was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1988 and will conclude his service as a member of the General Assembly in January 2019. As a member of the House, Ehrhart served as the Minority Whip, Chairman of the Rules Committee and Chairman of Higher Education Appropriations Committee. A businessman and entrepreneur, he was previously the executive vice president of the Facility Group and CEO of LakePoint Sports Development Group. Ehrhart and his wife, Ginny McCormack Ehrhart, have six children between them.

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Dave Bearse
Dave Bearse

These are appointments that should have been made by incoming or re-elected, not outgoing office holders.
Ehrhart needed a job, and he got one. His role in the KSU cheerleaders thing is the type of influence and leadership to be expected of him.


The board has to be in place by Dec 1 if I remember the legislation.

Dave Bearse
Dave Bearse

It was criticism of the legislation, not that those making appointments were taking liberties.