Aviation General Manager
Miguel Southwell is the Aviation General Manager of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport – the world’s most traveled and most efficient passenger airport which reached a world record of 100 million passengers in 2015.
With over 30 years of building his aviation expertise, Mr. Southwell oversees the Airport’s operations and capital development program with combined annual budgets of nearly $1 billion. Additionally, he is leading the ATL team in executing a $6 billion Master Plan that will chart the course of Airport development for the next 20 years. The Master Plan will provide ATL visitors an even greater guest experience with modernized parking structures and passenger terminal facilities, additional concourses, a potential new runway and expanded cargo facilities.
Mr. Southwell began his aviation industry career with various airlines on the Caribbean island of Antigua, where he was born. Since then he has held senior management positions in banking, and at two of the nation’s leading airports, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and Miami International Airport.
Recognized internationally as an innovative aviation professional, Mr. Southwell chairs the Airports Council International (ACI) Fund Council, which provides training for airport professionals in developing countries. ACI is the world’s association of airports with over 800 airports across the globe. He is a director for the ACI North America region; he served six years on the ACI World Governing Board; and he is a past president of the ACI Latin America and Caribbean Region.
Mr. Southwell is a global influencer and was awarded the 2015 Global Humanitarian award from the Atlanta-based human services organization, Caring for Others, Inc. He also was ranked 13th on Atlanta Magazine’s list of the 50 men and women who run metro Atlanta. Additionally, he was named among the Most Admired CEOs by the Atlanta Business Chronicle and was celebrated as a 2015 Mover and Shaker by the Caribbean Media Network.
A community-minded executive, Mr. Southwell serves on the Metro Atlanta Chamber Board of Advisors and is a member of the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau Board of Directors.
He has planted seeds of knowledge within hundreds of students while serving as an adjunct professor at Georgia State University, and he is committed to the development of our youth with the Project Success initiative established by 100 Black Men of Atlanta.
Mr. Southwell lives in Atlanta with his wife of 38 years, Allison. They are the proud parents of two sons – Kiel and Sean.
MICHAEL L. SMITH
Aviation Senior Deputy General Manager
Michael L. Smith was named aviation senior deputy general manager in April 2015. Smith is responsible
for managing the Department’s day-to-day functional operations including airside, terminal and
landside operations, commercial operations, planning and development, finance, procurement, and IT.
Smith has nearly two decades of municipal government experience. He served 17 years with the City
of Atlanta as a senior assistant city attorney, where he practiced all aspects of local government law,
including litigation, contracts, property use and development, business and employment issues.
He served as Atlanta’s lead counsel representing the Department of Aviation. In this capacity,
he was responsible for preparing and negotiating terms of agreements related to the airlines
and other airport tenants. He played a key role in preparing intergovernmental agreements with
surrounding jurisdictions to implement airport projects, such as the fifth runway.
Prior to joining the Hartsfield-Jackson team, Smith was a private practice attorney specializing
in local government law, airport and aviation matters.
Before starting his own practice, Smith served as county attorney for Clayton County, Georgia
and also held positions with Delta Air Lines. He began his legal career as law clerk for
the Honorable Clarence Cooper, then judge in the Superior Court of Fulton County, Georgia.
A native Atlantan, Smith earned a political science degree from Duke University and a
law degree from North Carolina Central University.
ROOSEVELT COUNCIL JR.
Aviation Deputy General Manager/Chief Financial Officer
Roosevelt Council Jr. became Aviation deputy general manager/chief financial officer in April 2012. Council
is responsible for all accounting, budgeting, financial analysis and forecasting, procurement and treasury
operations at the Airport. His direct reports are the assistant general managers of Finance and Accounting
as well as the senior Procurement officer overseeing contracts and procurement.
Council has more than 25 years of experience as a financial professional in public accounting, communications,
transportation logistics and the public sector. He joined the City of Atlanta in 2009 as budget and fiscal policy
chief and later served as deputy chief financial officer, both under former Mayor Shirley Franklin. Prior to joining
the Airport, he served as interim CFO for the City of Atlanta under Mayor Kasim Reed.
Before his employment with the City of Atlanta, Council was CFO of the Georgia Technology Authority, where he was
responsible for general accounting, budget, cost accounting, financial reporting, payroll and strategic planning.
Council serves as a member of the Atlanta Technical College Local Board of Directors, a member of the 100 Black Men of Atlanta
and he is a graduate of Memphis State University, the Harvard University Executive Leadership Program and the Georgia Leadership Council.
RICHARD L. DUNCAN
Assistant General Manager,
Public Safety and Security
Richard L. Duncan, a Certified Protection Professional, has served as assistant general manager for
Public Safety and Security since April 2012. Duncan joined the Department of Aviation in May 1996 and
has held several leadership positions in the Aviation Security division, including his most recent
position as Security director.
In his current role, Duncan leads the Airport Public Safety and Security Team, which consists of
more than 500 individuals with operational responsibilities for Airport law enforcement, life and
fire safety, emergency preparedness and response and the Airport Communications Center. Duncan is
responsible for day-to-day operations and regulatory compliance at the Department of Aviation to
ensure the efficient, safe and secure movements of about 240,000 passengers and 2,700 aircraft
operations each day. Additionally, Duncan is responsible for developing and implementing the
Airport’s emergency response plans. He regularly coordinates with federal, state and local
agencies — including the Federal Aviation Administration, Transportation Security Administration,
Department of Homeland Security and Federal Bureau of Investigation — to implement rules,
regulations and procedures.
Duncan is the vice chair of the Airport Council International World Standing Security Committee.
As a past chairman of the Great Atlanta Chapter of ASIS International, the largest international
organization for security professionals, Duncan is credited for developing and spearheading the
implementation of the Chapter’s renowned Security Officer Recognition program. He is also
a past chairman of the Airports Council International–North America Public Safety and Security
Committee. Access Control and Security Systems Magazine named Duncan Security Director of the Year.
Duncan was also named one of the 25 Most Influential Security Executives by Security Magazine,
Solutions for Enterprise Security Leaders. He also was featured in the Corporate Brass Section of
“Who’s Who in Black Atlanta,” ninth edition and the Corporate Spotlight Section
of its fourteenth edition.
A retired commissioned military police officer, Duncan has performed challenging law enforcement and
security management duties internationally. Duncan is Board Certified in Security Management by ASIS
International. He is also certified in Homeland Security by the American Board for Certification in
Homeland Security. Duncan earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in criminal justice from the University of
Florida and a Master of Science degree in education from the University of Southern California. He is
also a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College.
PAUL S. MEYER
Assistant General Manager,
Operations, Maintenance and Transportation
Paul S. Meyer, an Accredited Airport Executive, leads the Operations, Maintenance and Ground Transportation
division at the world’s busiest airport to ensure a safe and efficient operating environment
for more than 96 million passengers and more than 868,000 flight operations annually.
Paul's division comprises Airside Operations, Landside Operations, Airport Maintenance, Ground Transportation, Automated People Mover Systems,
Customer Service and common-use facilities. He became the interim assistant general manager in April 2012 and began serving in a
permanent capacity in January 2013.
Meyer is responsible for ensuring compliance with federal, state and local regulations, including the Federal
Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations and advisory circulars.
He joined the Department of Aviation in November 1993 and has held several key positions in the Aviation Operations division,
including serving as director of Operations, where he was responsible for emergency response; aircraft parking, including cargo
and charter aircraft operations; construction coordination; airfield marking, lighting and signage; winter weather operations;
FOD (foreign object debris) control; wildlife management; customer service; runway incursion prevention; common-use facilities;
and all drivers training programs for movement and non-movement areas.
The Armbrust Aviation Group named him “Airport Operations Manager of the Year” in 2006 based on demonstrated leadership,
innovation, safety programs and community service. Under his leadership, FAA Airport Certification Inspections were rated
excellent with “zero discrepancies” from 1998 to 2001 and in 2004, 2006, 2010, 2011 and 2015; additionally, the Airport was
awarded the FAA Runway Safety Partnership Award for 2011.
Meyer retired from the U.S. Air Force Reserve at the rank of colonel in 2015. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in
aeronautical studies and a master’s degree in aviation management from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
He is a member of the FAA Airport Surface Collaborative Decision Making Team and was selected in 2015 to serve on the
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Civil Emergency Planning Committee specializing in civil aviation matters.
Assistant General Manager,
Finance and Accounting
Greg Richardson is responsible for leading and managing all accounting, budget, finance, treasury and risk management functions for the Airport.
He was named the interim assistant general manager for Finance and Accounting in April 2012 and began serving in a permanent capacity in July 2013.
He began working for Hartsfield-Jackson in April 2011 after serving as the controller for the City of Atlanta from 2009 to 2011.
Richardson is a licensed certified public accountant in Georgia and has worked in accounting and finance for 25 years. Before joining the City of Atlanta, he was the business segment controller for CheckFree Corp., based in Norcross. Prior to CheckFree, he was the chief accounting officer for Hobbs Group, LLC.
Richardson started his career with RTM Restaurant Group in 1987 as a staff accountant and ultimately worked his way up to controller.
He is a graduate of Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science in accounting. He is an active leader in his church and a choral
member of the Gwinnett Symphony Orchestra.
FRANKLIN RUCKER, P.E.
Assistant General Manager, Planning and Development
Franklin Rucker is the Assistant General Manager for Planning & Development for the Department of Aviation.
He is responsible for the planning, design and construction of the capital program at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
Mr. Rucker has more than 33 years of experience in civil engineering design and project management with 18 years of progressive experience in the
aviation facilities industry directing sophisticated design and construction projects.
Mr. Rucker returned to Hartsfield-Jackson in 2015, following five years as a Deputy Project Manager for Parsons International,
where he led the expansion of the Abu Dhabi International Airport in the United Arab Emirates.
Prior to his tenure with Parsons, Mr. Rucker worked for nine years at Hartsfield-Jackson,
where he managed a list of major development projects including the ATL 5th Runway,
the Airport’s innovative checked baggage screening system and the expansion of the Airport’s security screening checkpoint locations.
Before Hartsfield-Jackson, Mr. Rucker served as Project Manager/Project Engineer for numerous projects in the public and private sectors,
including construction programs for the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) stations and the Georgia Dome.
Mr. Rucker holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology
and is a registered Professional Engineer in the State of Georgia.
Director, Office of Public Affairs
Whether through her work with Airports Council International or with area chambers of commerce, Myrna White
is passionate about the role airports play in the economic vitality of the communities they serve.
Her leadership in that arena has earned her commendations from both the Georgia Senate and the House of Representatives.
White is Director of Public Affairs for the Department of Aviation at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport,
the world’s busiest airport. She began her aviation career leading information workshops to increase awareness
in Airport-area communities of plans to build a fifth runway. Her management skills are diverse, as she now is
responsible for overseeing business units that include Government and Community Affairs, Public Relations
(excluding media relations), Executive Messaging, Partners in Education, International Affairs and Web Content.
She recently ended her term as chair of the Airports Council International (ACI) Marketing & Communications Committee,
North American region. She has been named 2015 chair of ACI’s FAA Reauthorization Communications Working Group.
A former board member for several local chambers of commerce, she currently serves on the Global Advisory
Council for Clayton State University’s College of Business and is second vice president for the Arts Clayton Board of Directors.
White was named 2013 Business Woman of the Year by the Clayton Chamber of Commerce and was honored with the 2013
Celebration of Women Torch Award from Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Atlanta Alumnae Chapter. She also received the
Pinnacle Leadership Award from the sorority’s East Point/College Park Alumnae Chapter.
Additionally, the Georgia House and Senate passed resolutions honoring her for her professional leadership and service to the community.
White is a graduate of Leadership Fayette, Leadership Clayton and the Regional Leadership Institute.
She is a former Big Sister of the Year for Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Inc.; named an Outstanding Georgia Citizen;
listed among Georgia’s Most Powerful and Influential Women in Government by Women Looking Ahead magazine
and in the Atlanta Business League’s List of Atlanta’s Top 100 Women of Influence each year since 2006.
A graduate of the University of Georgia School of Journalism, she also completed the Emory University
Executive Education Management Development Program.
Director, Aviation Information Systems
Sharon Heard-Jones became director of the Department of Information Technology–Aviation
(DIT-Aviation) unit on July 19, 2012. The division comprises the Aviation IT Network
Services, Aviation IT Application Services, Aviation IT Strategic Services, Project
Management, Information Security and Desktop Support units.
Heard-Jones, who has more than 17 years of IT experience, is responsible for implementing
and integrating technologies to support the Department of Aviation’s strategic objectives.
She provides leadership and a clear technological vision for the Department of Aviation
and its stakeholders. Heard-Jones ensures that the DIT-Aviation plan is aligned
with the Airport’s overall business goals. She advises staff on notable changes
within the information systems industry and recommends appropriate investments.
She supports the activation of new technology platforms to help reduce financial
costs and improve efficiency.
Heard-Jones provides IT standards, technical specifications and operational support
for key Airport systems, such as computer-aided dispatch (CAD) and fingerprint database
systems, and is conducting factory testing on the new parking revenue control system
at the Maynard H. Jackson Jr. International Terminal.
She joined the Department of Aviation in 1996 as a help desk support technician
and has served in many other capacities, including system analyst, system administrator,
report developer, business and system application manager, and application services
manager. As the application services manager, Heard-Jones was responsible for managing
database administration, website administration, web development management, system
administration, project management for team projects, strategic and business planning,
budget development and administration within DIT-Aviation.
In August 2010, Heard-Jones provided development support and oversight for the implementation
of the Airport’s first mobile website, geared toward the traveling public. She also
oversaw the commission of the Airport Safety and Operational Compliance System (ASOCS),
which allows the Airport to manage and maintain federal compliance. In the same
year, she implemented a failover database solution for the gate management system
and supported other business systems, such as the vehicle reservation system. In
2009, she was responsible for the redesign and development of the Airport’s Wi-Fi
splash website. She has been an instrumental leader in the implementation of other
systems, such as the Airport’s PROPworks accounts receivable and the City of Atlanta’s
Oracle ERP systems.
Heard-Jones holds a bachelor’s degree in information technology from American InterContinental
University. She completed the Emory University Executive Education Management Development
Program and is a graduate of the Pathbuilders Achieva leadership program for women.
Assistant General Manager For Commercial Development
Vivica Brown became Assistant General Manager for Commercial Development in April 2015.
In this role, Ms. Brown reports directly to the Senior Deputy General Manager and leads
the Airport’s Concessions Unit, Properties and Airline Affairs Unit, Marketing Unit,
and Airport Parking Unit. Ms. Brown joined the Department of Aviation in 2011 as a
Deputy Assistant General Manager. Prior to her tenure in the Department of Aviation,
Ms. Brown served for five years in the City’s Law Department providing legal representation for
Hartsfield-Jackson, where she rose to the position of Deputy City Attorney for Aviation.
Ms. Brown began her professional career on Wall Street in the financial services industry as
a Series 7 Registered Representative before entering law school on a full scholarship.
She launched her legal career in the private sector for a major mobile telecommunications
company, where she ultimately managed the legal team of attorneys and paralegals located
in remote offices across five southern states.
Ms. Brown’s public service work started in 2002, where she served as a senior litigation
attorney for a local county government. In addition to representing the County’s police and
sheriff’s offices in complex state and federal litigation, Ms. Brown also represented one
of the largest and busiest general aviation Airports in the U.S., the DeKalb-Peachtree Airport.
Ms. Brown is a graduate of the Airport Council International (ACI) Airport Executive Leadership Program.
She also holds a dual Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and African-American studies from the
University of Virginia, and a Juris Doctorate degree from California Western School of Law.