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Community Service is Top Priority for Buckhead Business Association President

Attorney Brian E. Daughdrill is BBA president for 2013.

Buckhead attorney Brian E. Daughdrill, takes over the presidency of the Buckhead Business Association this year.

Daughdrill, who is a principal in Roberts & Daughdrill, said for 2013, his top priorities include a greater commitment to community service.

That entails both financial and physical commitments, he said in an interview with Buckhead Patch.

Specifically, he wants focus on four key areas he says will strengthen not only the business vitality of the greater Buckhead area, but also the quality of life for its residents.

As he sees it, greenspace, education, arts and leadership are the things to tackle for the betterment of the 175-year-old community.

All four, he said, are critical for the long-term viability and continued economic strength of the neighborhood.

On greenspace, he noted the neighborhood isn't as green in terms of public parks relative to other parts of the city.

"Buckhead as a community has the least amount of greenspace per capita," Daughdrill said.

"The greenspace that we do have is typically small, pocket parks in subdivisions that may or may not be public."

The idea isn't necessarily to find tracts of land to assemble into park space. Rather, it's about finding patches across the neighborhood where there are opportunities to make it more green by planting trees and other plants in the short-term, he said.

"You don’t have to change the whole city to change a corner of it," he said.

Long-term, he wants to strengthen strategic partnerships between the BBA and the Buckhead Community Improvement District and Livable Buckhead for more comprehensive projects.

Education, of course, is an important issue across the city. For Buckhead, maintaining the quality and achievement results of the public schools in its cluster is critical, as it is a factor for executives with families when looking for places to live.

That means recruiting more BBA members to give of their time by reading to kids, tutoring and mentoring students, Daughdrill said.

"There's not a school out there that doesn't need assistance," he said. "The better our schools are, the more attractive our community is, and to the extent that the business community can help do that, we will."

The arts may not seem to be an obvious choice, but cultural development is a part of business attraction, too, he said.

"Arts has not been historically something we spent as much time on as I would have liked," he said. "Georgia has an awful track record in supporting the arts and that's a shame because we've got some strong arts programs."

There, he'd like to support more arts initiatives through existing arts programs and encouraging more corporate sponsorships, which already heavily support the arts.

"You cannot overstate the importance of art to the development and growth of the city."

The final piece is leadership, specifically, developing a leadership pipeline for both in the civic and business arenas.

"You have the Sam Massells," he said, referring to Sam Massell, the former Atlanta Mayor who also is known as the mayor of Buckhead. "But who is going to take up after him?"

Strategically, he wants to develop a three-year to five-year plan that identifies future leaders and gets them involved in the BBA and other neighborhood organizations, as well as growth and mentoring groups such as Leadership Buckhead.

Daughdrill, who has been on the BBA board for six years and previously served as vice president of public safety and executive secretary sought to dispel the perception that Buckhead gets whatever it wants from the city.

"There might be a misconception that Buckhead gets stuff handed to it as opposed to recognizing the sheer number of organizations working in Buckhead to keep Buckhead improved," he said.

"Buckhead works really hard for what it has."

And he noted that Buckhead is a strong economic engine for the city.

Indeed, 51 percent of the neighborhood's residents are executives and professionals, according to an OliverMcMillan study.

That same study found that fully 40 percent of the homes in Atlanta valued at $500,000 or more are in Buckhead.

The neighborhood boasts some 12 million square feet of office space and 7.7 million square feet of retail space, and household income is an average of $105,000, the OliverMcMillan study shows.

That economic prowess has led to off and on chatter over the years about whether Buckhead should become its own city.

Daughdrill doesn't see that happening, though, and he said the BBA's official stance is for Buckhead to remain part of Atlanta.

"It has been the Buckhead Business Association's position that Buckhead should not ever separate from the city of Atlanta," he said.

"Where one goes, the other one goes. Our goal is to make the city as spectacular as we can."

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