The Political Powerhouses 5

Cassius Butts and Rashad Richey

Cassius F. Butts

CEO Capital Fortitude Business Advisors

Chairman, Fort McPherson Local Redevelopment Authority

Accomplishments: Appointed in 2018 by Georgia Governor Nathan Deal as chairman to the McPherson Implementing Local Redevelopment Authority; served as executive in residence at the Robinson College of Business within Georgia State University; appointed by President Barack Obama in 2011 as Regional Administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

What lessons have you learned along the way? In this order: Follow your passion in all that you do; build relationships before you need them; tomorrow is not promised; and today is a gift, live the rest of your life without regrets.

What makes South Fulton a viable place to live and work? South Fulton is comprised of some of the most accomplished families in Georgia. It is one of few places in metropolitan Atlanta that has large sums of space that is attractive for large, mid-size and small businesses. Its proximity to the world’s busiest airport also makes it a gem for all communities, businesses and government.

Dr. Rashad Richey   Radio Personality, 1380 WAOK; Social/Political Analyst for V-103, Professor at Beulah Heights University, and guest lecture at CAU.

What lessons have you learned along the way? I teach all of my college students a basic dynamic: Be your authentic self. No one can beat you at being you! It is this realization that helped me to become the media juggernaut. Additionally, I was in and out of foster homes as a kid but have a very strong relationship with my dad today. He’s a remarkable man who had struggles in his past like many of us. I am an advocate for foster children and at-risk youth through mentorship and guidance. I care deeply about creating pathways for others to experience their full potential in life, (including) my 13-year-old daughter, Sabrina, the love of my life. She’s brilliant with a giving heart.

What makes South Fulton a viable place to live and work? South Fulton has a remarkable mix of live, work and play elements. From eateries to the nightlife and even the emerging housing developments and everything in between, it’s difficult to find any region in the Metro comparable with this much untapped promise and thriving business success. This is precisely why I chose to hold my annual birthday party, which is always a well-attended event, in South Fulton.

Named the 2018 Best Talk Show Radio Personality by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the first African-American so honored. How do you value your role in the media? I see media as a place where you have an opportunity to do more than tell the true story; you get to tell the right story.

Ozzie Areu

Owner, Areu Brothers Studio

Ozzie Areu’s start in the film industry had nothing to do with movies; he was a security guard at the gate of Warner Brothers Studios, a summer job as he waited to enter the police academy.

Twenty-five years later, the Cuban-American reigns as owner of the Areu Bros. Studios in Southwest Atlanta with an unprecedented progressive vision of building an “entertainment hub” via “an ecosystem” that produces films and television shows that focus on Latinos, women, African-Americans and other minorities.

As part of his grand design, Areu Bros. Studios will generate relevant content that offers rare insight into how a studio operates; provide an incubator so local students can learn the industry in various facets; and, with legend Gloria Estefan as a partner, cultivate young musical talent through a record label that will have a strong focus on content development and a distribution component.

This is a far cry from the young man who guarded the gate and then, at 22, worked security the first year of the hit television series “Friends.” He went on to serve as assistant to Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt and later for Ellen DeGeneres. In 2006, he began as Perry’s assistant.

A year later, Perry called Areu into his office. “He told me to stand up,” he recalled. “He said, ‘I want everyone to congratulate Ozzie. He’s the president of the company.’”

Everyone, especially Areu, was stunned. But he had shown an unrelenting work ethic and admirable character. “(Perry) said, ‘I know you don’t have all these skills yet, but you will learn what you need to know.’ I love the man.”

For 13 years, Areu was “a sponge,” learning from Perry with his brother Willie Areu second in charge and brother Mario on board as well. After Perry relocated his studios, Ozzie Areu made the gut-wrenching decision to leave Tyler Perry Studios to build his project.Perry hugged Areu in support, and in December, with the aid of visionary investors, Areu purchased for $18.5 million the 60,000-square-foot former Tyler Perry Studios. It made sense to Areu to build a legacy there, as Perry had.