Atlanta Chapter: Celebrating 30 Years -- “Fueling the Next Generation of Energy Leaders”
Shown Past Presidents L-R: Wayne Glover, Barbara Washington, Charles Rucker, Warren Cox, Willie Green, Gerald Johnson, Cordell Carter, Valerie Searcy, Keith Jackson, Eric Arnold, Cherryl Harris and Herb Joseph.
The Atlanta Chapter of AABE was founded in February 1982, by James K. Davis, Jr. retired senior vice president of Employee & Corporate Relations of Georgia Power Company. He later reached out to Isaac Blythers of Atlanta Gas Light Company for support to help strengthen the organization. The Atlanta Chapter was dedicated to fulfilling the mission of the national organization by supporting its goals and objectives. Charter members included James K. Davis, Isaac Blythers, Tom Walker (Gulf Oil/Chevron), and Barbara Washington (City of Atlanta).
During the 1980s, meetings were held at Pascal’s Restaurant on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., a local meeting place for civil rights activities. The Atlanta Chapter formed partnerships with other local minority organizations through the Atlanta Exchange and recorded many of its achievements in its first newsletter, titled “FOCUS.” The Atlanta Chapter started an Adopt-A-School mentoring program at Terry Mill Elementary School. Two of AABE’s national conferences took place in Atlanta during this decade - in 1982 and 1989.
By the 1990s the chapter continued to grow and included members from companies such as Oglethorpe Power Corporation, SCANA Energy and The Southern Company. Mentoring expanded to Washington High and McNair High Schools. The chapter even held its first fundraiser for the scholarship program by hosting a successful fashion show. Atlanta Chapter presented its first Black Energy Awareness Month (BEAM) program to expose students to professionals of color and to encourage them to pursue careers in the energy industry. In 1998 the AABE scholarship was renamed the James K. Davis Scholarship.
The Atlanta Chapter hosted AABE’s 2000 National Conference. This conference was overwhelmingly successful, surpassing fundraising and attendance goals, and achieving overall excellence in the format and the conference speakers - which included Andrew Young, Coretta Scott King and Judge Glenda Hatchett. Our membership grew to nearly 200 and included engineering and consulting firms, as well as Mirant Corporation, AGL Resources, blackEnergy, Georgia Natural Gas, Southern Company Gas, Southern LINC, Southern Company Energy Solutions, General Electric and Greystone Power Company. Also during the 2000s Atlanta Chapter helped charter the Savannah Chapter, partnered with Georgia Power’s Energy Exchange group to co-host its annual Dr. Martin Luther King holiday program, implemented its annual scholarship golf tournament (2003), developed its chapter logo representing Atlanta, began mentoring programs at area high schools, initiated energy townhall forums, established a legislative and regulatory affairs committee, and provided student of the business meetings about issues/challenges facing the energy industry.
Since 2010, our signature events include the James K. Davis Scholarship Gala, the James K. Davis Scholarship Golf Tournament, and the annual BEAM (Black Energy Awareness Month) program. To date, the Atlanta Chapter has awarded more than $415,000 in scholarships to 375 metro-Atlanta high school and post-secondary minority students excelling in math, science, and energy related fields! Atlanta has also established a long-term partnership with Morehouse College on two key efforts: 1) the Morehouse-Wide Initiatives for Sustainable Energy (M-WISE) - to advise and help develop their energy curriculum, and 2) the Morehouse College Entrepreneurship Center (MCEC) to help facilitate entrepreneur career options in the energy industry.
Today, Atlanta Chapter is one of nine chapters in the Southeast Region and continues to be a strong, viable, team-oriented chapter with committed leadership and dedicated membership.
Other Notable Items:
Outstanding Chapter of the Year Award -- From 2000 to 2009 the national office of AABE awarded this honor to chapters excelling in membership, programs, scholarships and community service activities. The Atlanta Chapter earned this recognition for every year this designation was awarded!
Presidents of Atlanta Chapter: