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DeKalb Chamber Announces New President & CEO

DECATUR, Ga. – The DeKalb Chamber Board of Directors announces the appointment of Frankie L. Atwater, Sr. as the Chamber’s new President and CEO. An experienced business leader, Mr. Atwater takes the Chamber lead following the departure of former President and CEO, Katarina Taylor, and interim President and CEO, Kenneth Coleman.
“The hiring of Frankie Atwater Sr. constitutes more than just the acquisition of a President and CEO for the chamber membership. The Board of Directors and executive committee were very deliberate in their endeavors to deliver and bring forth to the DeKalb business community, its local government affiliates and the invested citizens of DeKalb a proven leader in strategic development, process analytics and program implementation,” said Trevor Quander, chair of the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. “With over 100 qualified applicants and a stiff array of competition, Frankie’s experience in resource acquisition, planning and development and his passion for community, stood head and shoulders above them all. We are fortunate to have him and stand firm that he will transform the way we deliver services and value to our membership and how his thought leadership will help aid and guide DeKalb County in its pursuits of economic vitality and a more prosperous future.”
Mr. Atwater has more than 25 years of experience leading innovative and transformative changes for non-profit agencies and government entities. He has developed well-conceived strategies and cultivated relationships to advance organizational goals and directives.  
“It is with great pleasure to serve as the new President and CEO of the Dekalb Chamber of Commerce,” said Mr. Atwater. “The DeKalb Chamber is a great asset to DeKalb County and the metro area. As the new President and CEO, it is my goal to continue to incorporate the mission of the Chamber and provide a comprehensive environment to do business and improve the quality of life for our stakeholders. The Chamber believes in the power of DeKalb businesses, the creation/sustainability of jobs, and thriving communities. As the President and CEO, I have the privilege to continue that mission and harness the close relationship our Board of Directors have developed with community leaders and local elected officials.”
Mr. Atwater will utilize his extensive experience to lead the Chamber and its members in exploring new opportunities to unite county-wide businesses of all industries in establishing economic growth, and policy initiatives all designed to help DeKalb County continue to shape its future. 
Mr. Atwater has a long career in community development, including serving as President & CEO of Illinois Association of Community Action Agencies, Director for the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Office of Community Development, and Director of Community Development for Fulton County, Georgia.
As Director for the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Office of Community Development, Mr. Atwater managed more than $500 million in federal and state resources. He stabilized an economic development loan portfolio consisting of $140 million in public funds allocated to 175 local units of government to assist small businesses. He also created capital access to a $130 million economic development loan program for businesses and local government. 
As President and CEO of the Illinois Association of Community Action Agencies, he worked strategically to dissolve two non-profit Political Action Committees (PAC). His actions strengthened the association’s position to advocate state and local legislators for continuous support of community action initiatives. Mr. Atwater was successful in leveraging resources to obtain support for Brownfield/economic development initiatives that have augmented over $50 million in public/private funding for a riverfront project in Illinois. He also worked closely with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to form a collaboration of local governments and nonprofit agencies in Illinois that secured $18 million in funding to preserve jobs and increase the supply of affordable housing. 
Mr. Atwater also directed the creation of a youth summer internship program in Fulton County, Georgia that provided an opportunity for 400 youths to obtain job training and educational opportunities. Mr. Atwater has received national recognition for his work in transforming legacy programs that provided funding for nonprofit agency initiatives.
An accomplished speaker, Mr. Atwater is a graduate of Drake University with a Master of Public Administration and of Iowa State University with a Bachelor of Science in Community Regional Planning.
The DeKalb Chamber of Commerce is a membership-based organization that attracts, supports, and advances business in DeKalb County, Georgia. Our vision includes being the convener of partnerships and facilitator of solutions. We equip business members with information and access to resources; advance education and workforce development, economic development, and public policy; and work to enrich the quality of life in DeKalb County and the metro Atlanta region. For more information on DeKalb Chamber, please visit www.dekalbchamber.org or call 404-378-8000.