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Senior Management


Miguel Southwell MIGUEL SOUTHWELL
Aviation General Manager

Miguel Southwell was named aviation general manager of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) in May 2014.  

Southwell, who in June 2013 returned to ATL as a deputy general manager, brings more than two decades of aviation management experience to his new role. He is the former deputy director of business for Miami International Airport (MIA) and four Miami-Dade County general aviation airports. During his 12-year tenure in Miami, he was responsible for generating more than $700 million in annual revenue from a wide variety of airport businesses, including real estate management, restaurants, retail, parking and hotel operations. Southwell also oversaw the divisions of HR, Procurement, Contracts, Arts and Cultural activities at MIA.  

Before joining MIA in 2001, Southwell spent 11 years at ATL in numerous leadership positions, including as interim assistant general manager for Business and Finance. He also served for five years as an adjunct professor at Georgia State University where he taught courses in air transportation management. Southwell previously worked as a regional manager and assistant vice president of Willamette Savings, where he oversaw the lending and savings operations of 16 branches in Portland, Oregon. He began his career in the airline industry.  

Southwell holds a bachelor's degree in Management from Portland State University and a master's degree in International Business from City University of New York’s Bernard Baruch College. Southwell currently chairs the Airports Council International (ACI) - Fund Council that provides training to airport professionals in developing countries. ACI is the world’s association of airports with more than 1,750 member airports in 174 countries. Southwell served six years on the ACI World Governing Board and is the immediate past president of its Latin America and Caribbean Region.  

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Balram Bheodari BALRAM “B” BHEODARI
Aviation Deputy General Manager

Balram “B” Bheodari has more than 25 years of experience in aviation leadership and management roles. He leads the Airport’s Public Safety and Security, Operations, Maintenance, Transportation and Asset Management and Sustainability divisions.

Before becoming Aviation deputy general manager, Bheodari served as interim assistant general manager for Operations, Maintenance and Security (OMS), which later was reorganized into two divisions (Public Safety and Security; Operations, Maintenance and Transportation). The OMS division comprised Airside Operations, Landside Operations, Airport Maintenance, Security, Ground Transportation, Airport Police, Airport Fire, Automated People Mover Systems and the Airport Centralized Command and Control Center.

In November 2009, Bheodari spearheaded activation of Hartsfield-Jackson’s consolidated rental car center and the ATL SkyTrain automated people mover. He lead the activation team responsible for the opening of the Maynard H. Jackson Jr. International Terminal in 2012.

In 2008, he received the American Association of Airport Executives’ Accredited Airport Executive designation, which fewer than 10 percent of airport executives nationally have earned.

In 2011, Bheodari earned the International Airport Professional accreditation from the Airports Council International and the International Civil Aviation Organization Before arriving at the Department of Aviation in 1999, Bheodari was assigned to Third U.S. Army headquarters in Atlanta and served as a senior aviation adviser to the chief of aviation in support of operations in Southwest Asia.

Bheodari graduated from Troy University with a Bachelor of Science in aviation management. Bheodari also completed the Emory University Executive Education Management Development Program. He is an instrument-rated rotary wing pilot and retired from the Army with 22 years of active military service in the aviation branch.

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ROOSEVELT COUNCIL JR. 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.

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, and he is a graduate of Memphis State University, the Harvard University Executive Leadership Program and the Georgia Leadership Council.

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MICHAEL L. SMITH MICHAEL L. SMITH
Aviation Deputy General Manager

Michael L. Smith was named aviation deputy general manager in August 2014. Smith is responsible for all airport commercial development, including concessions, properties and parking.

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.

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Richard Duncan 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.

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PAUL MEYER 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 94 million passengers and more than 910,000 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 director of Operations since 2004. As director, 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 nonmovement 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 and 2011, and the Airport was awarded the FAA Runway Safety Partnership Award for 2011.

Meyer is a colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserve and has 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 Surface Collaborative Decision Making Team and of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Technical Committee on Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting.

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GREG RICHARDSON GREG RICHARDSON
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.

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JIM DRINKARD, P.E. JIM DRINKARD, P.E.
Assistant General Manager, Planning and Development

Jim Drinkard has served as assistant general manager since June 2009. He has more than 35 years of airport planning and engineering experience. Drinkard began his career as a design engineer working on the original midfield design for Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in 1977, as a member of the Atlanta Airport Engineers joint venture.

Prior to joining the City of Atlanta, Jim worked for HNTB Corporation for 31 years, retiring from HNTB as a Vice President in 2009. While at HNTB, he served as project manager for several major projects at Orlando International Airport, including the North Crossfield taxiway bridge and South Terminal complex infrastructure development. He also served as project manager for major airfield and landside development projects at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, Houston Intercontinental Airport, Raleigh-Durham International Airport, Charleston International Airport, Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport, Huntsville International Airport, Savannah International Airport and Philadelphia International Airports

He returned to Hartsfield-Jackson in 2000 as a planning manager for the Hartsfield Planning Collaborative (HPC), a five-firm venture of which HNTB was a member. During a portion of his assignment with the HPC, Drinkard was seconded to the Department of Aviation to serve as co-director of Planning, with primary focus on the $6 billion Capital Improvement Program.

Drinkard has been actively involved in the Airports Council International – North America Operations and Technical Committee, previously served on the board of the Consulting Engineers Council of Georgia, and has remained a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers throughout his professional career. In 2011, Drinkard achieved the status of International Airport Professional (IAP), an accreditation awarded by the Airports Council International and the International Civil Aviation Organization. In 2012, Drinkard was recognized as “Engineer of the Year in Government” by the Georgia Engineering Alliance.

Drinkard is a native Atlantan, grew up in Woodstock, Georgia, and holds a Bachelors of Civil Engineering degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology

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MYRNA WHITE MYRNA WHITE
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 Engagement, Public Relations, Executive Messaging, Partners in Education, International Engagement and Web Content.

She is honored to serve as 2014 chair of the Airports Council International Marketing & Communications Committee, North American region. A former board member for several local chambers of commerce, she currently serves as 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.

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Sharon Jones SHARON HEARD-JONES
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.

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