Atlanta attorney John W. Stephenson, Jr., has been named president and chief executive officer of Atlanta Hall Management, Inc., the Georgia not-for-profit corporation tasked with constructing and operating the national College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.
In late January, the Atlanta Hall Management Board of Directors unanimously approved Stephenson, who has served as interim leader of the College Football Hall of Fame project since December 2011.
“John’s leadership of the Hall of Fame project has been nothing short of phenomenal,” said Archie Manning, chairman of the board of the National Football Foundation. “His guidance has taken a shared vision and ushered it to the point where we can all see the finish line. There is no question in my mind that he is the right man to continue leading this endeavor.”
Stephenson has been a corporate attorney at Troutman Sanders LLP since graduating from the University of Georgia School of Law in 2000. He has been a partner at the firm since 2007. Having served as counsel to a number of clients in the hospitality, sports and entertainment industry, Stephenson was retained by project organizers in 2009 to assist with efforts to move the Hall to Atlanta.
Troutman Sanders has served as counsel to the Hall project ever since, ultimately “loaning” Stephenson out as the interim chief in 2011.
“John’s talents have been and will continue to be sorely missed at Troutman Sanders, but we are proud of the hard work and determination he has put into making the College Football Hall of Fame a success,” said Stephen E. Lewis, Troutman Sanders’ managing partner. “He is the best and most logical choice to lead the effort in these crucial, early years.”
William Pate, president of the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau, said Stephenson “has shown extraordinary leadership and generated an excitement that has enabled us to attract sponsors and motivate our business, public sector and political communities.”
“As a member of the AHM board of directors, we are ecstatic that he has agreed to join the team on a permanent basis, helping us to complete this remarkable project that will bolster the thriving tourism and business travel district in the heart of Atlanta,” Pate added.
As President and CEO of Atlanta Hall Management, Stephenson will be responsible for guiding the broader efforts to construct and operate the Hall attraction, slated to open in 2014. He will oversee a $66.5 million development that is poised to solidify Atlanta as the premier destination for college football fans nationwide, delivering a highly immersive, interactive and engaging experience for its visitors.
“I’m honored to have this opportunity, and I’m blessed to be surrounded by a remarkable team of stakeholders and partners that have never wavered in their commitment to bring the Hall to Atlanta,” said Stephenson. “We have a lot of work to do, but I’m thrilled to be part of such an exciting project here in my hometown. Everyone involved is focused on ensuring that this facility exceeds expectations as the Hall’s home, as a marketing and community asset for the city and state, and most importantly as an unforgettable experience for fans from across the country.”
In addition to his law degree, Stephenson also holds his undergraduate degree from the University of Georgia and lives in Atlanta with his wife, Megan, and children, May and Jack.