5th Annual Bridge Builder Awards
May 4, 2006
2006 Builder Co-Hosts
J. Veronica Biggins is a Senior Partner of Heidrick & Struggles. Based in Atlanta, Veronica is Managing Partner of the firm’s Diversity Services Practice, and is an active member of the Board of Director functional practice and the Global Financial Services industry practice.
Prior to joining Heidrick & Struggles, Veronica served as Assistant to the President of the United States and Director of Presidential Personnel. She was responsible for the selection and hiring of all political appointees within the federal government. In this role, she worked directly with the President of the United States on appointments at all levels of the administration, including the placement of agency heads, ambassadors, and members of presidential boards and commissions. Veronica served as Vice Chairman of the United States Delegation to the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China. She continues to serve her country as Chairman of the Czech Slovak American Enterprise Fund.
Veronica’s background includes 20 years of experience with NationsBank (now Bank of America) and its predecessor, The Citizen and Southern Bank. She began her work at the bank as a Management Trainee. Veronica received a series of promotions, including serving as Executive Vice President and Director of Human Resources for the Georgia Bank, before becoming Executive Vice President for Corporate Community Relations. As part of the Corporate Community Relations position, Veronica was responsible for the NationsBank Foundation. When Veronica left NationsBank to join the White House, she was one of the highest-ranking female bankers in the country.
Veronica serves on the boards of AirTran Airways and Avnet. She also serves on the trustee boards for the Boys & Girls Club, Southeast Region; Woodruff Arts Center; the Downtown Atlanta Rotary; and the International AIDS Fund.
Veronica holds a master’s degree from Georgia State University and a bachelor’s degree from Spelman College. She is a member of the International Business Fellows.
DR. BERNIE MULLIN
Dr. Bernie Mullin has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Atlanta Spirit, LLC since April, 2004. In this role, he is in charge of guiding all facets of the Spirit's operations, including overseeing all team and business operations for the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Atlanta Hawks and National Hockey League’s (NHL) Atlanta Thrashers and management of the world-class Philips Arena. In just one year under Mullin's leadership, Atlanta Spirit has significantly improved its economic stability and the teams’ on-court and on-ice products. Attendance at Hawks and Thrashers games is steadily improving and the in-arena experience for fans and guests at Philips Arena has been significantly upgraded.
Prior to Mullin coming to Atlanta, he served as the NBA's Senior Vice President, Marketing and Team Business Operations for almost four years where his responsibilities included managing and marketing the NBA, WNBA and NBDL brands and directing the Team Marketing and Business Operations group that provides consulting services to teams on all business and revenue generating initiatives, most specifically ticket sales and sponsor sales, plus advising on all marketing, advertising, branding and promotional strategies.
Mullin has 28 years of experience in the sport management industry, involving executive positions with professional teams and leagues, in intercollegiate athletics, and with sports facilities. He began his professional sports team career in 1986, serving as Senior Vice President of Business for the Pittsburgh Pirates taking the team's attendance and business revenues to all-time franchise record levels and turned around a perennial losing team. In 1991, Mullin joined the expansion Colorado Rockies as Senior Vice President of Business Operations where he designed the team's business and marketing plans, and then oversaw the execution of all business and marketing initiatives that produced the MLB all-time attendance record of just under 4.5M fans in one season, that still stands today.
2006 Builder Honorees
JOHNNY FURR, JR.
Johnny Furr, Jr., is Vice President, Urban Marketing and Community Affairs for Anheuser ¬Busch, Inc., nation's largest brewer. In this role, Furr leads the development of objectives, strategies and action focused on sales in Urban and African-American markets. In addition, his responsibilities include leading the company's community affairs and community outreach departments, which develop programs, partnerships and cause-marketing initiatives with community ¬based organizations across the nation.
In 27 years with Anheuser-Busch, Furr's career began in sales and marketing, where he held a variety of key beer sales management positions, including Region Administrator, Manager of National Sales Operations, and Division Sales Manager. In 1995, he used those skills to build a solid portfolio of programs and initiatives as Director of Wholesaler & Retailer Development in the Consumer Awareness and Education Department of Anheuser-Busch, which is responsible for implementing community-based programs to help fight alcohol abuse. From 1998 to 2000, he also served on Anheuser-Busch's Management Development Panel, an exclusive group of corporate executives who work directly with the company's most senior officers. In 2000, he was named Vice President, Corporate Affairs, for Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc.. In 2002 he was named Vice President, Sales development and Community Affairs, a post he held until being named to his current position.
Furr is a corporate officer and board member of Anheuser-Busch, Inc. As native St. Louisan, he is a graduate of Sumner High School and received a bachelor's degree in communications and marketing ITom Saint Louis University. In various leadership roles he has served as co-chair of the United Way of Greater St. Louis' Charmaine Chapman Society; chair of the National Council of Negro Women's "Uncommon Height" fundraising gala; chair of the St. Louis American Foundation's Salute to Excellence in Education fundraising event; chair of the Gateway Classic Foundation's awards gala; and vice chair of the national United Negro College Fund's Presidential Gala.
As President of BellSouth Community Technologies, Phil Jacobs leads the development and implementation of BellSouth's competitive sales and distribution strategy focused on multi-dwelling units, such as apartments and condominiums, and master planned communities.
Phil began his 32-year career at BellSouth in marketing and consumer services before being named Marketing Manager for Atlanta in 1979. In 1983, he was named Operations Manager of Strategic Planning in the newly-formed BellSouth Corporation. Moving back to sales in 1984, he was appointed Regional Sales Manager of BellSouth Advanced Systems, where he was responsible for the Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina operations until he was promoted to Vice President.
Phil was elected an officer of the corporation in 1993, assuming control of BellSouth Business Systems, the $4 billion multi-state large business services marketing unit. In 1996, Phil was named Chief Operating Officer of Optus Communications, a local competitive telephone company headquartered in Sydney, Australia. At Optus he was responsible for overseeing all operations of the $3 billion Australian company of which BellSouth owned 24.5%. Upon returning to Atlanta with the sale of Optus in 1998, Phil was named President of Georgia Operations, a position he held until 2005. A native of Washington, D.C., Phil received his undergraduate degree from Denison University located in Granville, Ohio.
For his leadership in BellSouth and extensive community involvement, Georgia Trend magazine named Phil the Most Respected CEO in Georgia for 2005. Phil currently serves on Boards for the Georgia Department of Economic Development as Board Chair, Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education as Board Chair, the CDC Foundation as Board Chair, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, the United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta, Georgia Aquarium, and the Woodruff Arts Center Board of Trustees. He previously served on the Boards of the High Museum of Art, Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership, Smart Start Georgia, the Governor's Task Force on Tourism, and as Honorary Chairman for the 1998-2001 Empty Stocking Fund Campaigns as well as the 1999-2001 UNCF Corporate Campaign Chair.
Vicki Palmer is a 22-year veteran of The Coca-Cola System. Mrs. Palmer joined The Coca-Cola Company in 1983 as its manager of pension investments and worked there until 1986 when she joined the newly formed Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) as assistant treasurer. In 1992, she was elected Corporate Vice President and Treasurer; Senior Vice President and Special Assistant to the CEO in 2000, and Executive Vice President in 2004. Coca-Cola Enterprises is the World’s largest bottler of products of The Coca-Cola Company with operations in 46 states in the United States, all 10 provinces in Canada and 5 Countries in the European Union with total revenues of approximately $18 billion.
Today, Mrs. Palmer oversees the Treasury Department, which manages the company’s $11 billion multicurrency debt portfolio and its $3 billion pension plan and 401(k) plan investments; Internal Audit, Risk Management and the Ombuds office. Mrs. Palmer also directs the company’s corporate affairs and is involved in setting the strategic direction of CCE’s organizational development. In addition, she serves on the company’s Senior Executive Committee.
Mrs. Palmer has been recognized by Black Enterprise magazine as one of the nation’s “20 Women of Power and Influence” and as one of the “Top 75 Blacks in Corporate America.” The Atlanta Business League saluted her with its prestigious Millennium Pacesetter Award. She was named an Outstanding Georgia Citizen by Georgia’s Secretary of State and Women Looking Ahead magazine named her one of “Georgia’s 100 Most Powerful Women.”
Atlanta and Georgia are not the only geographies to single out Mrs. Palmer for distinction. In her home town of Memphis, Mrs. Palmer was named to the inaugural group of inductees into the Memphis City Schools’ Alumni Hall of Fame and received the “Distinguished Alumna Award for Achievement” from the University of Memphis Alumni Association.
Outside CCE, Mrs. Palmer is Secretary of the Spelman College Board of Trustees; is a member of the Executive Committee for the Rhodes College Board of Trustees and is also a member of the Executive Committee for Woodward Academy’s Board of Governors.
AMBASSADOR ANDREW YOUNG
Ambassador Young is a founding principal and Chairman of GoodWorks International. He has brought his long-held mission of facilitating economic development in the Caribbean and in Africa to an active role in GoodWorks. Ambassador Young has held a wide variety of leadership positions over the past several decades. Beginning his career as an ordained minister and top aide to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the civil rights movement, he went on to be elected to three terms as a United State Congressman before being appointed as the United States’ Ambassador to the United Nations. Subsequently, he served two terms as the Mayor of Atlanta and assumed a leadership position as Co-Chairman of the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games. In 1994, President Bill Clinton appointed Ambassador Young as Chairman of the $100 million Southern Africa Enterprise Development Fund.
Ambassador Young remains active in community matters. He often sets time aside to talk to various schools and universities on a range of issues. He participates in events that foster sound public policy, economic development, human rights and education.
Ambassador Young travels extensively to meet with officials and other individuals interested in improving the economic situation in Africa and the Caribbean. He has headed numerous missions to the continent of Africa and continues to use his extensive network to facilitate new business developments. His interest in international affairs is not limited to Africa and the Caribbean. He speaks and attends conferences focusing on global affairs.
Ambassador Andrew Young serves as member of the Board of Directors of numerous businesses and organizations, including Atlanta Market Center, Atlanta Falcons, Cox Communications, Diversapack, Council on Foreign Relations, Barrick Gold, The Martin Luther King Center for Nonviolent Social Change, Independent News and Media and The United Nations Foundation. He serves on the Advisory Board of Delta Airlines.