South Metro Development Outlook 5

A Conversation with Founder Michael Hightower

  • Tell me a bit about South Metro Development Outlook (SMDO)?

South Metro Development Outlook is a meeting of minds where leaders involved in the growth and development of South Metro convene to share ideas and discuss future opportunities. The conference serves as a platform to convene industry experts, corporate executives, government leaders and elected officials interested in fostering economic growth in Atlanta’s southern crescent.

  • I understand that you are the brainchild of this phenomenal conference.  What prompted you to start in 2001?

The conference was started because of the need to educate and inform the community of the development trends in the area, to provide an economic forecast regarding the state of the economy, and show how these factors impact South Metro Development.

  • The upcoming conference on February 18th marks the 14th year in existence.  
To what do you attribute South Metro Development Outlook’s success?

My successes are attributed to an increase in development opportunities in South Metro, available land, and the need to address market needs and demands in this area.

  • South Metro Development Outlook features the hottest topics in the industry year-after-year.  What are the featured topics for SMDO 2016?

The topics for SMDO 2016 are: 2016 Economic Forecast and Development Update, Atlanta Aerotropolis Alliance Takes Off, Education Legislation and its Impact on South Metro, Millennial Movement, and The Digital Age and South Metro.

  • Each year, a recipient is presented the prestigious Outlook Award during the conference.  Who are some of the past recipients?  What is the selection process?

Some of the past recipients are Wieland, Porsche Cars North America, City of College Park, Georgia Power, and Atlanta Business Chronicle. An advisory board of local industry professionals determines which companies or local government should be honored at the conference.

  • When you reflect on South Metro Development Outlook what are you most proud about?
I am most proud of new development activity, new housing development, additional commercial and retail establishments, and information, education and data that is used by decision makers who are considering South Metro business opportunities.