Metro Atlanta’s new regional transit link authority is beginning to take shape after four of the authority’s 16-member board positions were filled today with some of metro Atlanta’s heavy-hitters in the areas of development, government and business.

Gov. Nathan Deal, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and House Speaker David Ralston today named their picks for the Atlanta-region Transit Link Authority also known as The ATL. Deal appointed Charlie Sutlive to serve as the board chairman. Cagle appointed Teddy Russell and Mark Toro. Ralston appointed Charlotte J. Nash and Rep. Earl Ehrhart. All of the appointments are effective immediately except for Ehrhart, who will become a member of the board  at the conclusion of his term in the state legislature in January.

The ATL was established by HB 930, the transit bill, to provide structure for coordinated transit planning and funding for the 13-county metro Atlanta region. The ATL is responsible for developing a regional transit plan, as well as identifying and prioritizing the projects and initiatives required to develop region-wide transit.

“By 2040, the metro Atlanta area is projected to add another 2.5 million residents and the ATL is a significant step towards providing a coordinated, streamlined and unified approach to prepare for the future of metro Atlanta and the surrounding communities,” Deal said. “The ATL board members will work to ensure that our modes of transit and mobility are worthy of the No. 1 state for business and I look forward to their work to provide new options for Georgians to get to jobs, community activities and homes to spend time with family more quickly and efficiently.”

The ATL is governed by a 16-member board and attached to the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority for shared administrative resources.

“Transit is an integral part of our efforts to reduce traffic congestion, improve freight logistics and create more jobs by attracting more businesses to metropolitan Atlanta,” said Ralston. 

Below is the background information on the board members who were appointed today.

Who is Charlie Sutlive?
Sutlive is the director of corporate communication at Georgia Power. In this role, he provides strategic support for the company’s external and internal communications. Sutlive was previously the vice chancellor for communications and governmental affairs for the University System of Georgia and led the development and execution of communications, public affairs and economic development plans for the system’s 26 colleges and universities. He has held multiple leadership positions for some of the largest and most recognizable companies in the world, including MCI, which is now part of Verizon Communications, McKesson and Coca-Cola North America.

Sutlive sat on the boards of Leadership Georgia, the REACH Georgia Foundation, the Jekyll Island Foundation and the Smithgall Woods Foundation. He is also a graduate of Leadership Georgia. Sutlive earned a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations from the University of Georgia.

Who is Teddy Russell?
Russell is a co-owner and the president of Russell Landscape. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia. Russell and his wife, Courtney, have three children and reside in Atlanta.

Who is Mark Toro?
Toro is a co-founder of North American Properties’ Atlanta office. He previously served in several leadership positions with Faison and Cousins Properties.

Toro was the driving force behind Atlantic Station in Atlanta and Avalon in Alpharetta.

Toro has acquired, developed or redeveloped more than 70 projects totaling almost 30 million square feet. He attended Rutgers University. Toro and his wife, Nancy, have two children and three grandchildren.

Who is Charlotte J. Nash?
Nash is the chair of the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners. She was elected countywide to this position in March 2011 and was reelected in 2012 and 2016.  Nash previously worked for the Gwinnett County government for 28 years and retired as the county manager in 2004. She sits on the Atlanta Regional Commission Board and chairs the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District Board.

Nash is a former president of the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia. She and her husband, Michael, have two children and two grandchildren. They reside in Dacula.

Who is Rep. Earl Ehrhart?
Ehrhart is the CEO of Taylor English Decisions. He was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1988 and will conclude his service as a member of the General Assembly in January 2019. As a member of the House, Ehrhart served as the Minority Whip, Chairman of the Rules Committee and Chairman of Higher Education Appropriations Committee.

A businessman and entrepreneur, he was previously the executive vice president of the Facility Group and CEO of LakePoint Sports Development Group. Ehrhart and his wife, Ginny McCormack Ehrhart, have six children between them.