In conjunction with the Governor’s Office, the Georgia Historical Society reestablished the Georgia Trustees as a way of recognizing Georgians whose accomplishments and community service reflect the highest ideals of the founding body of Trustees. The original Georgia Trustees, a governing body chartered and appointed by His Majesty King George II of England in 1732 to establish a new colony in North America, founded Georgia upon the principle of Non Sibi, Sed Aliis, “Not for Self but for Others.” GHS and the Governor’s Office reestablished the Trustees in 2008. The Governor annually appoints new Trustees whose history-making accomplishments and service reflect the original Trustees’ ideals.
The Office of the Governor and the Georgia Historical Society (GHS) named Robert L. Brown, Jr. and Robert S. Jepson, Jr. the 2021 Georgia Trustees, the highest honor the State of Georgia can bestow. Their induction took place on February 15, 2020 at the Trustees Gala.
The 2021 Georgia Trustees
David Abney is the Executive Chairman of the UPS Board of Directors. He served as CEO of UPS from 2014 until May 2020 and was appointed Chairman of the Board in 2016. Prior to his role as Chairman and CEO, Abney served as the company’s Chief Operating Officer, overseeing logistics, sustainability, engineering, and all facets of UPS’s global transportation network. Abney began his UPS career in 1974 as a part-time UPS package loader in a small facility in Greenwood, Mississippi, while attending Delta State University.
Abney serves as a Trustee of the UPS Foundation and the Annie E. Casey Foundation and is a member of the World Affairs Council of Atlanta as well as the Business Roundtable. In 2019, Abney received the prestigious Horatio Alger Award for perseverance, integrity and a commitment to excellence. During that same year he was elected and served as Chairman of the Metro Atlanta Chamber. He also serves on the boards of Macy’s, Inc., Northrop Grumman Corporation, and Catalyst, an organization working to accelerate and advance women into senior leadership and board positions.
A native of Greenwood, Mississippi, Abney earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Delta State University, where he and his wife, Sherry, sponsor the school’s annual symposium on international business.
Juanita Powell Baranco
Lawyer and entrepreneur Juanita Powell Baranco was born in the District of Columbia. Raised in Shreveport, Louisiana, Baranco earned her B.S. and J.D. from Louisiana State University. Before turning to business, Baranco had a successful law career, including serving as Assistant Attorney General for the State of Georgia. She is the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Baranco Automotive Group, which she co-founded with her husband, Gregory Baranco, in 1978. Baranco Automotive Group was one of the first African-American-owned car dealerships in the metropolitan Atlanta area. The Barancos also own several other car dealerships including Mercedes-Benz and Acura.
Baranco’s extensive involvement in education has led her to serve as the Chairman of the DeKalb County Education Task Force and as a member of the Georgia State Board of Education from 1985 to 1991. She was appointed by Governor Zell Miller to the Board of Regents and in 1995 became the first African-American woman to chair the board. She served on the Board of Trustees of Clark Atlanta University for twenty years, including ten years as board chair. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of Southern Company and previously served on the Board of Directors of Georgia Power Company.
Her business and community activities have been recognized with numerous awards including recognition by the Dow Jones Company for entrepreneurial excellence; the first Trumpet Award from Turner Broadcasting System for entrepreneurial excellence; Entrepreneur of the Year by the Atlanta Business League; the DECCA Award from the Atlanta Business Chronicle; the YWCA’s Women of Achievement Award; and most recently the Blanchard Award for Outstanding Stewardship and Ethics in Business. Baranco has been featured in Essence magazine as one of best businesswomen in Atlanta and was also a finalist for the 2003 Time magazine Quality Dealer Award. She is a member of the American Bar Association and the State Bar Associations of Georgia and Louisiana.
The 2020 Georgia Trustees
Robert L. Brown, Jr.
Robert L. Brown, Jr. FAIA has compiled an exemplary record of public service during his career, impacting how the entire profession of architecture is practiced in Georgia. Mr. Brown earned his architecture degree from Tuskegee University and established his firm R L Brown & Associates in 1984.
His role as a true Citizen Architect includes leadership positions with the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education, Citizens Trust Bank and Agnes Scott College. He is Chairman Emeritus of the Board of Curators of the Georgia Historical Society. But perhaps his most significant contribution has been in setting the direction of the Georgia Department of Transportation, serving as its Chair in 2016-17 and on the Board for more than a decade.
Highlights of his design portfolio include iconic work on the campuses of Morehouse College and Tuskegee University as well as Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. Mr. Brown was elevated to the AIA College of Fellows in 1999. He is also widely respected for a commitment to mentoring upcoming generations of architects, with many of them now in important leadership roles in the profession in Georgia.
For these reasons – a commitment to civic leadership, education, and mentorship, he received the 2017 AIA Georgia Bernard B. Rothschild award, the highest honor the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Georgia can give to an architect.
Robert S. Jepson, Jr.
Robert Jepson is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Jepson Associates, Inc., a private investment firm that he founded in 1989. He founded and was Chairman and CEO of the Jepson Corporation, a Fortune 500 diversified manufacturing conglomerate, listed on the NYSE, which he sold in 1989. In 1993, he became Chairman and CEO of Kuhlman Corporation, also a NYSE-listed diversified manufacturing company, where he engineered a restructuring that resulted in the successful sale of the company in 1999.
Mr. Jepson and his wife, Alice Andrews Jepson, are active philanthropists and direct the main focus of their giving to the arts and to the field of higher education. Among their most notable contributions is the University Of Richmond Jepson School Of Leadership Studies, which he conceived and created in I992. The School is the only one of its kind in American academia. Mr. Jepson earned two degrees from the University of Richmond: a B.S.B.A. in 1964 and an M.S. in Commerce in 1975. The University awarded him an honorary Doctor of Commercial Science degree in 1987, the Alumni Award for Distinguished Service in 1992, the Trustees Distinguished Service Award in 1994, and the President’s Medal in 2002. In May 2014, Mr. and Mrs. Jepson were presented with the School of Leadership Studies Leadership Award. He has also been awarded honorary degrees by ten other American institutions of higher education.
Mr. Jepson serves on the Georgia Historical Society’s Endowment Trust and is Chairman Emeritus of the GHS Board of Curators. He also serves on the Board of the Georgia Research Alliance. Mr. Jepson is Chairman Emeritus of the Board of the Georgia Ports Authority and former Chair of the Board of Governors of the Lucas Theatre for the Arts. Mr. and Mrs. Jepson, in co-partnership with Mr. & Mrs. John C. Kane and Mr. & Mrs. Curtis G. Anderson, founded the Savannah Educational Alliance, a scholarship program that provides full scholarships at Savannah State University for 24 graduates of the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System. In addition, Mr. and Mrs. Jepson have provided scholarships and professional stipends at Gonzaga University for the past 30 years.
Mr. Jepson has served on the Boards of numerous NYSE listed companies, including Dominion Resources, Inc., Richmond, Virginia, Washington Water Power Company, Hecla Mining Company, and AGL Resources, Inc. He has also served on the Boards of local and state charities in Georgia, including the Georgia Cancer Coalition. He also founded and served as Chairman of the Board of Visitors of the Savannah College of Art Design. He has received numerous other awards, including Georgia’s Most Respected Business Leader by Georgia Trend magazine, the Blanchard Award for Outstanding Stewardship and Ethics in Business the United Way Spirit of Community Award, and the J.W. Fanning Award from Leadership Georgia & the Georgia Chamber of Commerce.
- Frank Blake, Retired Chairman and CEO of The Home Depot
- John Schuerholz, Vice Chairman Emeritus of the Atlanta Braves
- Edward H. Bastian, CEO of Delta Air Lines
- W. Paul Bowers, Chairman, President, and CEO of Georgia Power
- F. Duane Ackerman, Retired Chairman of the Board and CEO of BellSouth
- A.D. “Pete” Correll, Retired CEO of Georgia-Pacific
- James H. Blanchard, Retired Chairman of the Board and CEO of Synovus
- Muhtar Kent, Chairman of the Board and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company
- Alana Smith Shepherd, Co-founder of the Shepherd Center
- Paula S. Wallace, President and Co-founder of the Savannah College of Art and Design
- Arthur M. Blank, Co-founder of The Home Depot, Owner of the Atlanta Falcons
- William Porter “Billy” Payne, Former Chairman of the Augusta National Golf Club, Chairman of Centennial Holding Company, LLC
- Tom Cousins, Founder of Cousins Properties, Inc., Founder of Purpose Built Communities
- Andrew Young, Former UN Ambassador and Mayor of Atlanta
- Henry “Hank” Aaron, Baseball Legend
- Robert Edward “Ted” Turner, Founder of CNN, Chairman of Turner Enterprises, Inc.