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Arthur Blank
Owner and Chairman of Atlanta Falcons

Biography

The 2016 season will mark the 15th for Arthur Blank as Owner & Chairman for the Falcons. Blank, the co-founder of the world’s largest home improvement retailer, The Home Depot, has established his franchise as one of the tops in the NFL. His impact and leadership can be identified by the individuals he has hired to guide the organization.

During 2015, Blank added new leaders both on the field and off the field by hiring Head Coach Dan Quinn, as well as Steve Cannon as CEO of the Blank Family of Businesses. The two passionate leaders have been charged with leading his organizations to the next level and ensure that Blank’s brands continue to win on and off the field.

Quinn’s exuberance and passion was immediately felt within the organization and it was easy to tell why he was the top target for every team looking to fill their coaching vacancy, but it took a visionary like Blank to land Quinn here in Atlanta.

“This is an exciting day for the Atlanta Falcons franchise and our fans,” Blank said at Quinn’s introductory news conference. “Dan is a talented football coach who has a deep and diverse history in the game, which will serve us well. As we got to know Dan during the interview process, it became clear that he has a definitive plan for our football team and what it will take to win on a consistent basis.”

“He also has a proven ability to develop players by maximizing their individual strengths. For these and many other reasons, Dan was our top pick, and I’m confident our players, staff, fans and community will be proud to have him represent the Falcons.”

Quinn was the architect of Seattle’s top-ranked defense which helped propel the Seahawks to back-to-back Super Bowl appearances including a 43-8 rout of the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII. There were four things that were clear characteristics Quinn wanted his team to embody; play fast and physical, be relentless, have regard for the ball and develop a strong brotherhood.

His first season at the helm of the Falcons finished with an 8-8 record, a two-win improvement from 2014. It was a year that saw the team start 6-1 and win two of its final three games, including one against the then undefeated Carolina Panthers. The strong end to the season coupled with the vision of Quinn and General Manager Thomas Dimitroff, has laid the foundation for Blank’s team to return to the playoff conversation very soon.

Since Quinn’s arrival in February of 2015, Atlanta has signed, re-signed or tendered 39 players during free agency. The determination of Blank to build a consistent winner for this city and provide the fan base in Atlanta a team they can be proud of and call their own is unmatched in sports. Atlanta’s impressive six year run from 2008-2012 included two number one seeds in the NFC playoffs (2010, 2012), a team-record three consecutive playoffs berths (2010-12), four double-digit winning seasons (2008, 2010-12), two 13-wins seasons (2010, 2012),  and two NFC South Division championships (2010, 2012). Blank’s expectations are to surpass that run and bring a championship to the city and the franchise.

In December of 2015, Blank hired Steve Cannon to be the CEO of AMB Group. Cannon was hired to lead all business operations of the National Football League’s Atlanta Falcons; Atlanta United FC of Major League Soccer; Atlanta Falcons Stadium Company, the developer of Mercedes-Benz Stadium that is scheduled to open in 2017; PGA TOUR Superstore; and Mountain Sky Guest Ranch.

“Steve is a dynamic leader with a value system and ethic that aligns very well with mine, which is important to ensuring our culture and values continue to thrive in a fast-paced, growing environment,” said Blank. “He is a proven, results-driven executive who understands how to build and deliver a premium customer experience. That, along with his high-energy approach and experience will translate very well to all of our businesses. I couldn’t be more thrilled to have a leader of Steve’s stature take on this very important role moving forward.”

The pieces are in place for Blank and his franchise to reach the pinnacle and with his guidance and a Mercedes-Benz Stadium opening up in 2017, the Falcons are poised to again reach the elite of the NFL.

IT TAKES A TEAM
Since Blank acquired the Falcons in 2002, the team has made the playoffs six times in 15 seasons. Under Blank’s leadership, the Falcons front office has also seen unprecedented success. Three years before Blank purchased the Falcons, the club averaged about 37,000 season ticket holders per year. Since 2002, the Falcons have never sold fewer than 50,000 season tickets in any year. Additionally, during the same period of time, the club has sold out 110 of 112 regular season games and is currently riding a streak of eight consecutive sellout seasons.

“I have been blessed here with a great team of people,” Blank said. “I have always believed in bringing the best people together, creating the right environment, giving them the resources they need, being a cheerleader for them and making sure the culture is set in place before getting out of the way and allowing them to do what they need to do.”

Blank is also a key contributor to many of the NFL’s major committees. He currently chairs the NFL Audit Committee and Compensation Committee, and he is a member of the league’s Finance, Legislative, and Workplace Diversity committees.

The increasing relevance of the Falcons has provided numerous opportunities for the franchise and city of Atlanta to be showcased on nationally-televised games. With two prime time games on national television this season, Atlanta will have participated in 17 prime time regular season games over the past five years.

“Our exposure through prime time games over the years speaks directly to the outstanding performances of our players and coaches,” Blank said. “Make no mistake, however, that our larger goal remains to perform under the worldwide spotlight of the Super Bowl. There are 31 other teams out there that want the Lombardi Trophy just as much as we do, so we have to stay diligent to remain a relevant team.”

MERCEDES-BENZ STADIUM

In May 2014, Blank and the Falcons broke ground on Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which is set to open in 2017. In addition to being a new home for the Falcons, the stadium will also be home to Atlanta United FC, the new Major League Soccer team that was awarded to Blank in April 2014 and will begin play in 2017. The facility will also host other premier sports and entertainment events throughout the year.

“Our goal is for the new building to become a destination site for sports and entertainment guests from all over the world,” Blank stated. “We not only want Mercedes-Benz Stadium to become a landmark for the city of Atlanta and the state of Georgia, we want it to be a game changer when it comes to stadium design and the guest experience inside the building where friends and families can come together and create special memories.”

Mercedes-Benz Stadium has already been successful in attracting marquee events to the city of Atlanta, such as the 2018 College Football National Championship, the 2019 Super Bowl, and the 2020 NCAA Final Four among many others, including the National Semifinals of the College Football Playoffs.

MAKING A DIFFERENCE/IMPROVING LIVES

Starting with The Home Depot and continuing with his current businesses – the Falcons, PGA TOUR Superstore, Mountain Sky Guest Ranch, Atlanta United and The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation– Blank’s business and personal values underscore the importance of giving back and becoming part of the community.

During his 23 years with The Home Depot, the company donated more than $113 million to communities, and Home Depot associates provided hundreds of thousands of hours of personal volunteer time.

Since its inception in 1995, The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation has granted more than $300 million to charitable organizations, with approximately two-thirds of the total focused on metro Atlanta, including the Historic Westside neighborhoods of Vine City, English Avenue and Castleberry Hill.

In 2013, Blank publicly committed to making further significant investments in these communities by creating the Westside Neighborhood Prosperity Fund, which will invest in catalytic projects that ignite positive change and improve the quality of life in the neighborhoods surrounding Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The foundation has pledged $15 million to contribute to large-scale transformational projects that result in lasting impact for community residents.

In 2014, Blank’s foundation launched its first major project, Westside Works, a long-term neighborhood-based program focused on creating job training and employment opportunities for residents. Westside Works placed nearly 200 men and women in living wage jobs in construction, health care, culinary arts and auto technician sectors during its first 12 months of operation.

“We’ve been committed to the Westside neighborhoods for many years,” Blank noted. “Building a new stadium is the relatively easy part of our overall project in that area; the larger challenge is in having a positive and meaningful impact on the surrounding communities in the process. My family, along with the Falcons, feels a sense of responsibility to be part of that positive change.”

Community engagement is a priority for the Falcons, as well. The Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation invests in innovative approaches to increase time kids spend in physical activity, and to give more children access to healthy foods. Since 2002, the foundation has awarded more than $20 million in grants to nonprofit organizations serving children across Georgia. As a leader in the Georgia SHAPE initiative, the youth foundation is helping Georgia elementary schools reach more than 350,000 students through the Power Up for 30 program, which adds 30 minutes of physical activity during the school day. The foundation also has donated $730,000 worth of equipment to 131 groups in 46 counties across Georgia, expanding opportunities for 68,000 youth to be physically active.

In addition, Atlanta Falcons players, coaches, cheerleaders, associates and their spouses remain among the most active community citizens in the NFL, contributing an average of 3,000 hours of their collective time each season. Much of this time is spent participating in Atlanta Falcons community relations programs and initiatives that support a variety of issues and activities, including health and fitness, breast cancer awareness, combating hunger, the development of youth/prep football, Salute to Service and outreach in underserved communities.

“It’s important that everyone in our family of businesses understands our collective responsibility to contribute to the communities in which we all live and work,” Blank stressed.

HOW IT ALL BEGAN

A native of Flushing, N.Y., Blank attended Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan, where he competed on the football, baseball and track teams. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in business administration with distinction from Babson College, where he was active in a variety of extracurricular activities. Blank co-founded The Home Depot in 1978 and retired from the company as co-chairman in 2001. At the time of his retirement, The Home Depot was a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average and one of Fortune magazine’s “Global Most Admired Companies.” During Blank’s last year as CEO of the company, The Home Depot ranked first in social responsibility in an annual survey conducted by Harris Interactive, Inc.

Blank is recognized throughout the country for his personal and professional achievements. In 2012, he received an honorary doctor of laws degree from the University of Georgia. In 2011, he was the recipient of the Freeing Voices, Changing Lives Award from the American Institute for Stuttering, and in 2010, he was recognized by the Council for Quality Growth for his philanthropic endeavors as well as his significant contributions to economic development and quality of life. In 2006, he was named a Distinguished American by the Walter Camp Football Foundation, which annually recognizes an individual who has utilized his or her talents to attain great success in business, private life or public service.

Also in 2006, Blank was inducted into the Junior Achievement U.S. Business Hall of Fame, and was awarded an honorary doctor of humanities degree from Furman University. In 2005, he was named National Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young. In 2003, for the second time in three years, Blank was named Georgia’s Most Respected CEO by Georgia Trend magazine, and in 2002, he was inducted into Georgia State University’s Business Hall of Fame. The Georgia Army National Guard Infantry Regiment appointed Blank as an honorary commander on July 16. Individuals are selected as honorary commanders because of their position or influence in the community, and their ability to foster awareness and public support for the military and its service members.  

Blank serves on the board of trustees of The Carter Center, Inc., and The Cooper Institute.

Arthur and Angie Blank’s marriage in June of 2016 brought together their respective families, including nine children and five grandchildren. A strong believer in work-life balance, Blank makes time daily for physical activity and spending time with family.
The 2016 season will mark the 15th for Arthur Blank as Owner & Chairman for the Falcons. Blank, the co-founder of the world’s largest home improvement retailer, The Home Depot, has established his franchise as one of the tops in the NFL. His impact and leadership can be identified by the individuals he has hired to guide the organization.

During 2015, Blank added new leaders both on the field and off the field by hiring Head Coach Dan Quinn, as well as Steve Cannon as CEO of the Blank Family of Businesses. The two passionate leaders have been charged with leading his organizations to the next level and ensure that Blank’s brands continue to win on and off the field.

Quinn’s exuberance and passion was immediately felt within the organization and it was easy to tell why he was the top target for every team looking to fill their coaching vacancy, but it took a visionary like Blank to land Quinn here in Atlanta.

“This is an exciting day for the Atlanta Falcons franchise and our fans,” Blank said at Quinn’s introductory news conference. “Dan is a talented football coach who has a deep and diverse history in the game, which will serve us well. As we got to know Dan during the interview process, it became clear that he has a definitive plan for our football team and what it will take to win on a consistent basis.”

“He also has a proven ability to develop players by maximizing their individual strengths. For these and many other reasons, Dan was our top pick, and I’m confident our players, staff, fans and community will be proud to have him represent the Falcons.”

Quinn was the architect of Seattle’s top-ranked defense which helped propel the Seahawks to back-to-back Super Bowl appearances including a 43-8 rout of the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII. There were four things that were clear characteristics Quinn wanted his team to embody; play fast and physical, be relentless, have regard for the ball and develop a strong brotherhood.

His first season at the helm of the Falcons finished with an 8-8 record, a two-win improvement from 2014. It was a year that saw the team start 6-1 and win two of its final three games, including one against the then undefeated Carolina Panthers. The strong end to the season coupled with the vision of Quinn and General Manager Thomas Dimitroff, has laid the foundation for Blank’s team to return to the playoff conversation very soon.

Since Quinn’s arrival in February of 2015, Atlanta has signed, re-signed or tendered 39 players during free agency. The determination of Blank to build a consistent winner for this city and provide the fan base in Atlanta a team they can be proud of and call their own is unmatched in sports. Atlanta’s impressive six year run from 2008-2012 included two number one seeds in the NFC playoffs (2010, 2012), a team-record three consecutive playoffs berths (2010-12), four double-digit winning seasons (2008, 2010-12), two 13-wins seasons (2010, 2012),  and two NFC South Division championships (2010, 2012). Blank’s expectations are to surpass that run and bring a championship to the city and the franchise.

In December of 2015, Blank hired Steve Cannon to be the CEO of AMB Group. Cannon was hired to lead all business operations of the National Football League’s Atlanta Falcons; Atlanta United FC of Major League Soccer; Atlanta Falcons Stadium Company, the developer of Mercedes-Benz Stadium that is scheduled to open in 2017; PGA TOUR Superstore; and Mountain Sky Guest Ranch.

“Steve is a dynamic leader with a value system and ethic that aligns very well with mine, which is important to ensuring our culture and values continue to thrive in a fast-paced, growing environment,” said Blank. “He is a proven, results-driven executive who understands how to build and deliver a premium customer experience. That, along with his high-energy approach and experience will translate very well to all of our businesses. I couldn’t be more thrilled to have a leader of Steve’s stature take on this very important role moving forward.”

The pieces are in place for Blank and his franchise to reach the pinnacle and with his guidance and a Mercedes-Benz Stadium opening up in 2017, the Falcons are poised to again reach the elite of the NFL.

IT TAKES A TEAM
Since Blank acquired the Falcons in 2002, the team has made the playoffs six times in 15 seasons. Under Blank’s leadership, the Falcons front office has also seen unprecedented success. Three years before Blank purchased the Falcons, the club averaged about 37,000 season ticket holders per year. Since 2002, the Falcons have never sold fewer than 50,000 season tickets in any year. Additionally, during the same period of time, the club has sold out 110 of 112 regular season games and is currently riding a streak of eight consecutive sellout seasons.

“I have been blessed here with a great team of people,” Blank said. “I have always believed in bringing the best people together, creating the right environment, giving them the resources they need, being a cheerleader for them and making sure the culture is set in place before getting out of the way and allowing them to do what they need to do.”

Blank is also a key contributor to many of the NFL’s major committees. He currently chairs the NFL Audit Committee and Compensation Committee, and he is a member of the league’s Finance, Legislative, and Workplace Diversity committees.

The increasing relevance of the Falcons has provided numerous opportunities for the franchise and city of Atlanta to be showcased on nationally-televised games. With two prime time games on national television this season, Atlanta will have participated in 17 prime time regular season games over the past five years.

“Our exposure through prime time games over the years speaks directly to the outstanding performances of our players and coaches,” Blank said. “Make no mistake, however, that our larger goal remains to perform under the worldwide spotlight of the Super Bowl. There are 31 other teams out there that want the Lombardi Trophy just as much as we do, so we have to stay diligent to remain a relevant team.”

MERCEDES-BENZ STADIUM

In May 2014, Blank and the Falcons broke ground on Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which is set to open in 2017. In addition to being a new home for the Falcons, the stadium will also be home to Atlanta United FC, the new Major League Soccer team that was awarded to Blank in April 2014 and will begin play in 2017. The facility will also host other premier sports and entertainment events throughout the year.

“Our goal is for the new building to become a destination site for sports and entertainment guests from all over the world,” Blank stated. “We not only want Mercedes-Benz Stadium to become a landmark for the city of Atlanta and the state of Georgia, we want it to be a game changer when it comes to stadium design and the guest experience inside the building where friends and families can come together and create special memories.”

Mercedes-Benz Stadium has already been successful in attracting marquee events to the city of Atlanta, such as the 2018 College Football National Championship, the 2019 Super Bowl, and the 2020 NCAA Final Four among many others, including the National Semifinals of the College Football Playoffs.

MAKING A DIFFERENCE/IMPROVING LIVES

Starting with The Home Depot and continuing with his current businesses – the Falcons, PGA TOUR Superstore, Mountain Sky Guest Ranch, Atlanta United and The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation– Blank’s business and personal values underscore the importance of giving back and becoming part of the community.

During his 23 years with The Home Depot, the company donated more than $113 million to communities, and Home Depot associates provided hundreds of thousands of hours of personal volunteer time.

Since its inception in 1995, The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation has granted more than $300 million to charitable organizations, with approximately two-thirds of the total focused on metro Atlanta, including the Historic Westside neighborhoods of Vine City, English Avenue and Castleberry Hill.

In 2013, Blank publicly committed to making further significant investments in these communities by creating the Westside Neighborhood Prosperity Fund, which will invest in catalytic projects that ignite positive change and improve the quality of life in the neighborhoods surrounding Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The foundation has pledged $15 million to contribute to large-scale transformational projects that result in lasting impact for community residents.

In 2014, Blank’s foundation launched its first major project, Westside Works, a long-term neighborhood-based program focused on creating job training and employment opportunities for residents. Westside Works placed nearly 200 men and women in living wage jobs in construction, health care, culinary arts and auto technician sectors during its first 12 months of operation.

“We’ve been committed to the Westside neighborhoods for many years,” Blank noted. “Building a new stadium is the relatively easy part of our overall project in that area; the larger challenge is in having a positive and meaningful impact on the surrounding communities in the process. My family, along with the Falcons, feels a sense of responsibility to be part of that positive change.”

Community engagement is a priority for the Falcons, as well. The Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation invests in innovative approaches to increase time kids spend in physical activity, and to give more children access to healthy foods. Since 2002, the foundation has awarded more than $20 million in grants to nonprofit organizations serving children across Georgia. As a leader in the Georgia SHAPE initiative, the youth foundation is helping Georgia elementary schools reach more than 350,000 students through the Power Up for 30 program, which adds 30 minutes of physical activity during the school day. The foundation also has donated $730,000 worth of equipment to 131 groups in 46 counties across Georgia, expanding opportunities for 68,000 youth to be physically active.

In addition, Atlanta Falcons players, coaches, cheerleaders, associates and their spouses remain among the most active community citizens in the NFL, contributing an average of 3,000 hours of their collective time each season. Much of this time is spent participating in Atlanta Falcons community relations programs and initiatives that support a variety of issues and activities, including health and fitness, breast cancer awareness, combating hunger, the development of youth/prep football, Salute to Service and outreach in underserved communities.

“It’s important that everyone in our family of businesses understands our collective responsibility to contribute to the communities in which we all live and work,” Blank stressed.

HOW IT ALL BEGAN

A native of Flushing, N.Y., Blank attended Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan, where he competed on the football, baseball and track teams. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in business administration with distinction from Babson College, where he was active in a variety of extracurricular activities. Blank co-founded The Home Depot in 1978 and retired from the company as co-chairman in 2001. At the time of his retirement, The Home Depot was a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average and one of Fortune magazine’s “Global Most Admired Companies.” During Blank’s last year as CEO of the company, The Home Depot ranked first in social responsibility in an annual survey conducted by Harris Interactive, Inc.

Blank is recognized throughout the country for his personal and professional achievements. In 2012, he received an honorary doctor of laws degree from the University of Georgia. In 2011, he was the recipient of the Freeing Voices, Changing Lives Award from the American Institute for Stuttering, and in 2010, he was recognized by the Council for Quality Growth for his philanthropic endeavors as well as his significant contributions to economic development and quality of life. In 2006, he was named a Distinguished American by the Walter Camp Football Foundation, which annually recognizes an individual who has utilized his or her talents to attain great success in business, private life or public service.

Also in 2006, Blank was inducted into the Junior Achievement U.S. Business Hall of Fame, and was awarded an honorary doctor of humanities degree from Furman University. In 2005, he was named National Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young. In 2003, for the second time in three years, Blank was named Georgia’s Most Respected CEO by Georgia Trend magazine, and in 2002, he was inducted into Georgia State University’s Business Hall of Fame. The Georgia Army National Guard Infantry Regiment appointed Blank as an honorary commander on July 16. Individuals are selected as honorary commanders because of their position or influence in the community, and their ability to foster awareness and public support for the military and its service members.  

Blank serves on the board of trustees of The Carter Center, Inc., and The Cooper Institute.

Arthur and Angie Blank’s marriage in June of 2016 brought together their respective families, including nine children and five grandchildren. A strong believer in work-life balance, Blank makes time daily for physical activity and spending time with family.