The BeltLine is one of the most exciting initiatives in Atlanta, and in today’s Four on Friday, we chat with Lisa Gordon, chief operating officer at Atlanta BeltLine Inc. Lisa talks about the ongoing project and her career in public service — and discusses the rejuvenating powers of a day at the spa and a round of golf.
Many thanks to Lisa for her time.
Gordon: As the vice president and chief operating officer, my job is to ensure that our team has all of the resources they need to implement the Atlanta BeltLine on time, on budget and in the most effective, innovative way possible. My goal is to make sure that our design, transportation, engineering, housing, real estate and economic development departments are integrated seamlessly day-to-day and to jump in where needed. I also provide back-up to the president and CEO as needed.
This is a broad question, but what to you is the most exciting thing about how the BeltLine has unfolded so far, and what excites you most about its future?
Gordon: While it is incredibly exciting to see progress with six completed parks and four completed trails, it is especially rewarding to watch the community embrace the program and enjoy the new amenities. In the future, I look forward to connecting the whole loop and adding transit to the growing roster of parks and trails. I am focused on implementation, so I want to see it get done!
With the high standards we set for everything that we build, I know this amenity will be here for years for the city, state and country to enjoy. I want people to say, “You have to go to Atlanta to experience the BeltLine.”
You’ve held several positions in public service and local government. What drew you to pursue a career in the public sector?
Gordon: Both of my parents were public servants (my father worked in the Federal Aviation Administration, and my mother was a nurse within the state’s healthcare system). Watching how they helped other people always fueled my desire to help others.
I got involved at a young age with volunteering, which continued through my fellowship from the Sloan Foundation/AAPAM to pursue my master’s in public administration. I didn’t realize before then that it was possible to work in the public sector the way I do now. It’s exciting to realize a dream of doing something with lasting significance. I always seek to make a difference.
What's your idea of perfect relaxation?
Gordon: A whole day of the full spa experience. It’s also wonderful to completely unplug and read a good book — even better if it is by the beach. If time permits, I also enjoy a round of golf with my husband Rick. I find eating good food to be completely relaxing, too.