Atlanta Business League Honors CQG Members Clyde Higgs & T. Dallas Smith with CEO Awards

Each year the Atlanta Business League (ABL) recognizes local chief executive officers (CEO) for outstanding participation in minority vendor development and community activities. In addition to CEOs the Atlanta Business League has recognized a number of individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions in the development of minority business in the metro Atlanta area. To watch the awards ceremony, please click here.

This year, ABL recognized Council for Quality Growth Board members Clyde Higgs, CEO & President at Atlanta Beltline Inc. with the Visions of Excellence Award and T. Dallas Smith, President & CEO at T. Dallas Smith & Company with the Entrepreneur of the Year Award. The Council applauds Clyde and T. Dallas for their leadership and commitment to quality growth and development in metro Atlanta region.

As one of the largest, most wide-ranging urban redevelopment programs in the United States, the Atlanta Beltline is building a more socially and economically resilient Atlanta through job creation, inclusive transportation systems, affordable housing, and public spaces for all. Clyde lends his leadership to establishing and expanding strong working relationships with private and public partners across the region, state and nation.

Dallas is an innovator and thought leader in the commercial real estate community and is intentional about cultivating and developing diverse talent to help shape the commercial real estate industry.

Additional award recipients include: 

  • Ernest Greer, Co-President at Greenberg Traurig received the CEO of the Year Award
  • Lonnie Johnson, President & CEO at Johnson Research & Development received the Trail Blazer Award
  • Dr. Eloisa Klementich, President & CEO at Invest Atlanta received the Catalyst Award
  • Gretchen Fuller, President and Chief Financial Coach at Warner Fuller Consulting received the League Leadership Award


Is the most prestigious recognition any CEO can receive. This award recognizes the true measure of a CEOs’ success — commitment and fairness to people — while maximizing shareholder profits. In today’s world, that is very challenging. The CEO of the Year has an unparalleled commitment to fairness as demonstrated by his/her commitment to minority business enterprise programs even when it is unpopular amongst many of his corporate colleagues.


Recognizes an outstanding minority business owner who is a proven leader within his industry which is evidenced by financial success and commitment to community service. Business savvy and tenacity are key components of this CEOs’ success.


Recognizes an individual who has demonstrated pioneering attributes in providing opportunities for Minority Business Enterprises and the minority community at large; has reached the top in his/her profession; and has made an impression on the Atlanta community through business and civic leadership.


Recognizes the contributions of an elected official for his/her effort in enhancing opportunities for minority business. The Atlanta Business League understands and appreciates the personal sacrifice people working to serve the public make and recognize the vision and unwavering dedication needed to be successful in that role.


Recognizes an individual who has distinguished him/her self as both a community and civic leader in Atlanta and throughout the nation.


Is the ultimate badge of honor for an Atlanta Business League member. This award recognizes the ABL volunteer who continuously makes significant contributions to the mission and goals of the League.


Recognizes an individual within our community who is committed to a vision for Atlanta and surrounding communities. It is vision of harmony, safety and is responsive to the needs of all citizens with fair and just economic parity. In order to understand this, one must be able to envision the dream — believe it possible — and be an active participant & developer in the realization of it.