President, Central Atlanta Progress and the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District
A.J. Robinson is President of Central Atlanta Progress (CAP) and the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District (ADID). CAP is a private business association started in 1941, and remains one of the most effective advocacy organizations in the City, and State.Robinson manages the overall strategic functions of CAP and ADID, two groups committed to making the Atlanta community and specifically Downtown, more livable, appealing, vital and diverse.
CAP has created and spun off a number of organizations such as Trees Atlanta, Research Atlanta, Centennial Olympic Park Area, Inc., the Midtown Alliance, the National Center for Civil and Human Rights and GeorgiaForward. In 1995, CAP created the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District and the Ambassador Force to address public safety, cleaning concerns, and to stimulate capital investment. Today, the organizations’ key initiatives focus on economic development, planning, public safety, and overall marketing of Downtown Atlanta. CAP is funded through membership dues and grants from many of Atlanta’s major corporations, as well as organizations and foundations committed to the development of Downtown. ADID is funded by downtown property owners. Over the past decade, A.J. has consistently been recognized as one of Georgia Trend’s 100 Most Influential Georgians, as well as one of the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s 100 Most Influential Atlantans’, and has been a part of many local, state, and national task forces and projects.
Before joining CAP, Robinson was President of the multi-dimensional real estate company Portman Holdings, where he managed all aspects of the firm’s real estate development processes, including property and asset management of SunTrust Plaza, AmericasMart, Atlanta Decorative Arts Center, Peachtree Center, Westin Charlotte, Westin Warsaw and Shanghai Centre, among others.
Prior to his 22-year career at Portman Holdings, in 1980 Robinson participated in the U.S. Department of Commerce’s historic creation of China’s first business school under a protocol signed by President Jimmy Carter and the Chinese Department of Education. During that time, Robinson researched, wrote and taught case studies in Dalian, China, and traveled extensively throughout the Chinese cities.
Robinson received his MBA in 1980 from Harvard School of Business, and he received his undergraduate accounting degree from Emory University in 1977. He has traveled extensively in the U.S. and internationally, and his special interests include American history and sports. Robinson’s articles have been published in The Wall Street Journal, Asian Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Atlanta Business Chronicle, and National Real Estate Investor. He served over 20 years on the Board of AmericasMart, which recently sold for over $1 billion to a Blackstone affiliate. Other current Boards include, The University Financing Foundation, Atlanta Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, the College Football Hall of Fame, GeorgiaForward, CoC Governing Council and the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta. A native of Knoxville, Tennessee, he is married to Dr. Nicole Ellerine, a pediatrician, and they reside in Atlanta. They have three children, Micaela, Ethan and Nathaniel.