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Leaders in construction, law, social media among newest members of School’s External Advisory Board

Tuesday, November 8, 2016
Jim Anderson, CEO of SocialFlow
Jim Anderson
BCE 1988, MSCE 1989
Chief Executive Officer, Social Flow
John Kelley, partner and vice president of development at North American Properties
John Kelley
BCE 1992
Partner & Vice President, Development, North American Properties
Edward Metzger, Georgia national accounts manager for Trane
Edward Metzger
BCE 1980
National Accounts Manager, Trane
Stephen Mulva, director of the Construction Industry Institute
Stephen Mulva
Ph.D. 2004
Director, Construction Industry Institute, University of Texas at Austin
Frank Rucker, assistant general manager of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
Frank Rucker, P.E.
BCE 1979
Assistant General Manager, Planning and Development, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
Deborah Staudinger, partner at Hogan Lovells
Deborah Staudinger
BCE 1978
Partner, Hogan Lovells

The School of Civil and Environmental Engineering’s alumni advisory board has installed six new members, adding experience in finance law, social media, airport operations, and real-estate development as well as engineering.

The new members of the External Advisory Board graduated from the late 1970s to the 2000s and join two dozen other alumni who help guide the School’s leadership on everything from academics to fundraising.

“[Joining the board] gives me a chance to reconnect with Tech and to give back to an institution that gave me so much,” said Deborah Staudinger, BCE 1978.

Staudinger started her career as a practicing civil engineer but eventually went to law school and now works in the banking group at international law firm Hogan Lovells, where she’s a partner.

She said studying civil engineering “helped me develop intellectual discipline and taught me how to think logically about problem solving. That is a skill that is useful in so many fields, including law. Georgia Tech is also such a respected and well-known institution that a degree from Tech is an immediate boost to one’s credibility.”

Jim Anderson, BCE 1988, MSCE 1989, runs SocialFlow, a software platform used by the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and other media companies to share their content on social media. He said his work still echoes his days as a geotechnical engineer.

“At SocialFlow, [we focus on] helping media companies use these new and amazing social networks to more effectively distribute their content,” he said. “It’s not as tangible as a road or building, but it is important to a functioning society — and very rewarding to work on.”

The idea of bettering society weaves through several of the new board members’ careers and their approach to their work.

Stephen Mulva, Ph.D. 2004, helps the construction industry build better roads and structures as the director of the Construction Industry Institute at the University of Texas at Austin.

“There is no more noble business than construction [and] capital projects,” he said. “Civilization and improving the standard of living for the world’s 7 billion people depends on first having a construction project — energy, transportation, education, healthcare, etc., all require construction projects.”

Mulva said he wanted to give back to his alma mater because it’s an important community.

“Georgia Tech is uniquely positioned to impact the world because it goes beyond just ‘doing good.’ It creates innovations that enable the most good to happen in the most efficient way possible.”

John Kelley, BCE 1992, and Frank Rucker, BCE 1979, use their engineering skills to manage projects that aim to improve society.

“A CEE degree gives you a broad knowledge base to manage all types of projects,” said Rucker, who is assistant general manager of planning and development at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. He oversees the just-underway $6 billion capital improvement plan for the world’s busiest airport.

“I have an engineering background, and I still I use that every day,” said Kelley, partner and vice president of development for North American Properties in Atlanta. “It’s not so much the technical engineering, but the skill set you learn as an engineer to be a project manager.”

Kelley’s work spans some of metro Atlanta’s most innovative mixed-use developments, including Avalon in suburban Alpharetta and the redevelopment of Colony Square in Midtown Atlanta.

Edward Metzger takes the concept of making lives better to a very literal end in his work as the Georgia national accounts manager for Trane, providing total heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems and support to businesses of every size.

“A true engineer is always looking for ways and solutions to improve the environment we live and work in,” he said. “Whether it is in business, looking for efficiency improvements, or in life, [improving] life enjoyment, we all look for ways to improve our quality of life.”

Metzger said he’s looking forward to working with his fellow board members and renewing old friendships.

“I love sharing ideas and experiences with others and look forward to doing so with members of the advisory board,” he said. “I have a couple of fraternity brothers who are also on the advisory board, and I look forward to rekindling our relationship.”

Learn more about the School’s other alumni advisers here, here and here.