Sam Massell

2012 Recipient
Buckhead Coalition President and Former Atlanta Mayor

Sam Massell, a life-long resident of Atlanta, has had successful careers in real estate brokerage, elected office, the field of tourism and association management. While in real estate, Massell became extensively active in a wide range of civic work, which eventually led to the political arena. He served twenty-two years in elected offices, including eight as President of Atlanta’s Board of Alderman (now known as the City Council) and four as the Mayor of Atlanta.

Massell spent twenty years as a realtor, becoming Vice President of Allan-Grayson Realty Company, then one of the city’s largest commercial brokerage firms. During that time, he was elected a charter member of the Atlanta Real Estate Board’s Million Dollar Club and was honored three times by the Georgia Association of Real Estate Boards for creating the “Outstanding Transaction of the Year.”

During his tenure as Mayor, he was also chosen as President of the 15,000-member National League of Cities. In addition, he has served a four-year term on the Board of the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, and was a board member of the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games.

Among other achievements, his administration as Mayor is credited with establishing MARTA (Atlanta’s mass transit program), with developing the city’s first enclosed arena (the Omni Coliseum), and with providing the “Five Points” Central City Woodruff Park, all with no call on ad valorem taxes. He also pioneered minority opportunities in city government, appointing the first female to Atlanta’s City Council and the first African Americans as City Department heads.

After leaving full-time public service, he entered the tourism business in Buckhead where he operated for thirteen years under the name of Your Travel Agent Sam Massell. He is a Certified Travel Counselor (CTC), and a former President of the Travel Industry Association of Georgia.

Mayor Massell now manages a nonprofit civic organization as founding President of the Buckhead Coalition. This is a prestigious association of chief executive officers of major businesses in this area on the north side of Atlanta who have pooled their strengths to nurture the quality of life and guide the orderly growth of Buckhead.

He is also on numerous boards, including Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau, Atlanta Historical Society and Atlanta Speech School. In addition, he is in the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau “Hospitality Hall of Fame”; International Civil Rights King Center “Walk of Fame”; Georgia State University Robinson College “Business Hall of Fame”, and Georgia Trend Magazine “Most Influential Georgian’s Hall of Fame.”

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