City of Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens to Headline SMDO23 Conference


City of Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens; Collie Greenwood, General Manager & CEO of MARTA; and Balram “B” Bheodari, General Manager of Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport are some of the keynote speakers scheduled to headline this year’s Annual South Metro Development Outlook (SMDO23) Conference.

In its 21st season, the annual conference, presented by Amazon, is the largest networking economic development summit in South Metropolitan Atlanta and has hosted over 10,000 community leaders and citizens for more than two decades. Additional key sponsors include ATL Airport CID, HNTB, and The Collaborative Firm.
This year, over 30 of the South Metro Region’s most notable civic leaders, industry experts, and corporate executives will convene for critical discussions and cutting-edge strategies on economic growth, technological innovation, workforce development, and transportation that impact the future trajectory of the Southern Crescent. More than 600 attendees are expected.

“The caliber of leaders participating with this year’s SMDO23 is a testament to the tremendous developments and accomplishments occurring on the Southside,” said Michael Hightower, Managing Partner of The Collaborative Firm and host of SMDO2023.

“Transforming for the Future” is this year’s theme, with program highlights including Economic Forecast & Regional Growth; Exploring Georgia’s Political Landscape Today; Impact of Innovative and Emerging Technology; MARTA On the Move in South Metro; among others.

The 21st Annual South Metro Development (SMDO) Conference will be held Wednesday, March 8, 2023, from 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Georgia International Convention Center (GICC), 2000 Convention Center Concourse College Park, GA.

Some of the confirmed speakers include:

Mayor Andre Dickens- City of Atlanta

Teretta Rodgers- Head of Community Affairs, Atlanta Region Amazon

Tharon Johnson, Founder, Paramount Consulting Group

Dr. Roger Tutterow, Economist & Professor, Kennesaw State University

Jeffrey E. Turner, Chairman, Clayton County Board of Commissioners

Collie Greenwood, CEO & General Manager, MARTA

Darius Broughton, Group Director, Municipal/Transit/Aviation/DBE

Keith Parker, President & CEO, Goodwill of North Georgia

Glenn Halliday, Manager of Electronic Transportation, Georgia Power

Dr. Georj Lewis, President, Clayton State University

T. Dallas Smith, Founder & CEO, T. Dallas Smith & Company

Veronica Maldonado-Torres, President & CEO, Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

For more than two decades, The Collaborative Firm (TCF), the largest minority-owned planning firm in the Southeastern United States founded by Michael Hightower, has hosted SMDO to convene some of the South Metro Region’s most reputable subject matter experts, civic leaders, and policy professionals to provide economic development forecasts, education, and innovative initiatives on a variety of topics.

Standard registration is $80 (ends March 3rd), and on-site registration is $90. For more conference details or to purchase tickets visit

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