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Arthur Blank
Owner and Chairman of Atlanta Falcons

Biography

Championship pedigrees in the National Football League are earned through hard work, attention to the smallest details, and a burning desire to continuously raise the bar.

Atlanta Falcons Owner & Chairman Arthur Blank not only understands these facts of life in today’s NFL, he embraces them.

Driven by the tireless pursuit of a Super Bowl championship for the city of Atlanta and his Falcons, Blank, now in his 12th season as an NFL owner, has shaped his club into one of the most successful organizations in professional sports both on and off the field.

Taking control of a franchise in 2002 that had made the playoffs just six times over 36 seasons (17 percent), the Falcons have now become perennial post-season contenders, earning playoff berths in 6 of his 11 years as owner (55 percent), including consecutive playoff appearances in the last three seasons. In addition, since 2008, the Falcons not only recorded its first back-to-back winning seasons, but have a streak of five consecutive winning seasons, leading the NFC in number of wins during the same period (56).

Atlanta’s 31-18 victory over the Detroit Lions in a nationally-televised game on FOX late in 2012 marked the 100th career victory for Blank as owner of the Falcons. His club would go on to post a 13-3 record en route to earning its first playoff victory since 2004 with a thrilling 30-28 come-from-behind win over the Seattle Seahawks in an NFC Divisional Playoff Game at the Georgia Dome.

Blank’s Falcons have enjoyed unprecedented success since the 2008 season when he hired the dynamic duo of General Manager Thomas Dimitroff and Head Coach Mike Smith. Dimitroff was a long-time scout and talent evaluator for the New England Patriots; Smith was a career assistant coach in the college and, more recently, professional ranks with Baltimore and Jacksonville.

Several NFL observers publicly wondered whether Blank had gambled on the rookie tandem. Five years later, Blank’s calculated gamble is a prototype for a number of other NFL clubs that have followed Atlanta’s model to recalibrate their football front offices.

Atlanta’s sound formula of drafting and acquiring skilled players who are then groomed by a veteran coaching staff has produced a Falcons team that will enter the 2013 season with high expectations.

“The currency of the NFL is winning,” Blank said. “We’ve won a lot of games, but they are steps toward our ultimate goal. Our ultimate goal is to have a parade down Peachtree Street with the Lombardi Trophy in hand.”

To accomplish this goal, Blank has empowered and supported Dimitroff and Smith, who have turned the Falcons into one of the NFL’s top teams. Since 2008, the Falcons hold a 32-15 record (.681 winning percentage) against teams on their 2013 schedule. Several national sports publications have predicted the Falcons will once again be one of the League’s most dominate teams in the 2013 season based on the club’s productive offseason, which included solid moves in the draft and free agency.

Dimitroff, who earned Executive of the Year honors from Sporting News in two of his first five seasons as Atlanta’s general manager, is the supremely talented personnel point man for an organization whose roster is filled with current Pro Bowl players and future All-Pro performers. Dimitroff and his astute personnel department have built Atlanta’s roster through the draft, bolstering it with a series of strategic player acquisitions in free agency and through trades.

As proof, franchise cornerstones selected through the draft since 2008 include QB Matt Ryan, WR Julio Jones, LB Sean Weatherspoon, LT Sam Baker, S Thomas DeCoud and S William Moore. Ryan, Jones, DeCoud, and Moore were all named to the NFC’s Pro Bowl team in 2012.

It’s a roster built to last. Of the 46 players selected in the draft from 2008 through 2012, a remarkable 34 draftees remain on the Falcons roster entering the 2013 season, and 39 – or 85 percent – remain active players in the NFL.

Whether it is selecting players in the draft or acquiring them through free agency, the Falcons believe in being collaborative.

“Thomas and Mike work very well together,” Blank said. “These two men may not always have the same opinions, but they share a common vision of success for our club. Combined with team President & CEO Rich McKay, who provides strong support to Thomas and Smitty and heads up our front office operations, we have a strong leadership team that is second to none in the League.”

Atlanta’s players are led by Coach Smith, the fiery head coach who in 2012 became the first coach in franchise history to reach 50 wins – and the third fastest since the NFL merger in 1970 to reach 50 wins – accomplishing the feat in 71 games. Smith is a three-time Coach of the Year winner from Sporting News (2008, 2010, and 2012) and a two-time Coach of the Year recipient from the prestigious KC 101 Club following the 2008 and 2010 seasons. His 56-24 regular season record is the fifth-best mark in the NFL since 2008.

Smith’s 56 wins in his first five seasons are also the second-most among any first time head coach in NFL history, behind only George Seifert (San Francisco, 62-18, 1989-1993). Aided by core principles built around playing fundamentally sound football in all three phases of the game, since 2008 the Falcons have posted a 44-2 record in games where they lead at halftime, and a 42-1 record in contests where they hold the lead at the beginning of the fourth quarter.

One of Smith’s key elements to being a relevant franchise year after year is winning at home. Since 2008, the Georgia Dome has become a “House of Horrors” for visiting NFL clubs as the Falcons have produced a dominating 33-7 home record (.825 winning percentage), the best home record in the NFC and tied with the Baltimore Ravens for the second-best record in the NFL.

The sustainability and relevance of the Falcons has provided numerous opportunities for the franchise and city of Atlanta to be showcased on national television. During the 2013 season, the Falcons will be spotlighted in five prime time national games, adding to the four national games played in each of the past two seasons.


BLANK'S NFL SUCCESS


Atlanta’s success under Blank isn’t all that surprising or unexpected. The Falcons have become a model franchise in the eyes of the national media based on winning games on the field and being good citizens in the community off the field. Both of those factors speak directly to Blank’s focus and leadership.

"I see the inner-workings of many NFL teams during my travels covering the League,” said ESPN National NFL Columnist Ashley Fox. “The Falcons are one of the best run franchises in the entire NFL and it all starts with Mr. Blank. He scored big when he hired Thomas Dimitroff and Mike Smith, who have turned the Falcons into consistent winners. The Falcons are among the NFL’s elite because Arthur Blank gets it.”

Blank understands that consistency is at the forefront of becoming a perennial winner in the ultra-competitive world of the NFL. He also knows that in spite of all of the success his club has enjoyed over the past five seasons, there sometimes will be setbacks.

“Nobody was happy with the result of our final game of the 2012 season,” Blank said. “We had a great season, but we came up short. The NFL isn’t easy. It’s a tough league, but our coaching staff and our players are up to it. We’ve had a very productive offseason, and I think we’ll be a better team in 2013 than we were in 2012.”


NEW ATLANTA STADIUM


Even as the Falcons prepare for the 2013 season, Blank and his front office leadership team are preparing for the long-term future of the club. Early in 2013, the Falcons reached an agreement with the Georgia World Congress Center Authority and the city of Atlanta for the construction of a new multi-purpose stadium that will be located in downtown Atlanta.

The state-of-the-art facility is being designed by 360 Architecture and its joint venture partners, and will be constructed by the Holder Hunt Russell Moody joint venture.

“Our goal for the new Falcons stadium is to re-imagine the entire game day experience and create a stadium that will become an iconic destination for sports fans and visitors from all over the world,” 360 Senior Principal Bill Johnson said.

Construction for the retractable roof stadium will begin in 2014, and the Falcons will begin playing in the new stadium in the 2017 season. In addition to Falcons games, the new stadium will host other events currently held in the Georgia Dome, as well as potentially host new marquee events such as the Super Bowl, FIFA World Cup, and the College Football National Championship Game – all of which are significant economic impact generators for the city and state.

“Governor Deal and Mayor Reed have a vision that provides for the long-term health and prosperity of our city and state,” Blank noted. “We appreciate the spirit of collaboration demonstrated by these two men, along with a host of other government and community leaders, in building a successful public-private partnership that will benefit the city, region, and state for many years to come.”


COMMITMENT TO FANS


Whether it’s The Home Depot – the company Blank co-founded and led until his retirement as co-chairman in 2001 – or the Atlanta Falcons, Blank has always subscribed to the idea of hiring the best and brightest people and providing an environment for collaboration, creativity, and continuous improvement.

Blank also understands people and he believes that listening is what matters most. Whether it is customers, fans, players, coaches, or associates, Blank listens, seeks to understand, and responds to all of them and expects all of his associates to do the same.

“Winning is a critical element of the game day experience for our fans,” Blank said. “However, it’s important that we offer everything our fans need from the time they leave their driveway to the time they arrive in ours. We want to make the total game day experience for our fans the best in the NFL.”

The Falcons’ “Rise Up” mantra provides a centerpiece. Four years ago, Blank challenged a team of his front office leadership staff to create a new standard and tradition for the Falcons brand and to put in place innovative brand policies designed to expand the club’s overall image both in Atlanta and nationally. What Blank’s team came up with is the successful “Rise Up” campaign that was introduced by A-list Hollywood actor Samuel L. Jackson.

The campaign, which focuses on a team, an organization, a fan base, and a community rising up together to try to win a championship, was unveiled in the spring of 2010. Jackson’s impassioned call for Atlanta and the Falcons to “Rise Up” together quickly became a rallying cry, as well as a show of solidarity inside and outside the Georgia Dome.

Since its introduction in 2010, the campaign elements have expanded to include local celebrities; government, civic and sports industry leaders; and Falcons fans. The 2013 season will bring a new and exciting twist to “Rise Up” as the Falcons respond to fans’ strong desire to continue the tradition.


COMMITMENT TO COMMUNITY


One of the hallmarks of Blank’s philosophy is giving back to the community. The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation and Atlanta Falcons have a long history of investing in projects that help others in need, enhance neighborhoods, and improve the quality of life throughout Atlanta.

Since its inception in 1995, The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation has granted nearly $300 million to non-profit organizations, with approximately $200 million of the total focused on metro Atlanta, including the Vine City and English Avenue neighborhoods near the Georgia Dome and the new stadium.

Blank has publicly committed to making further significant investments in these communities. Earlier this year, the Blank Foundation announced plans for the creation of the Blank Foundation Neighborhood Prosperity Fund for the purpose of igniting positive change and improving the quality of life in the neighborhoods surrounding the new stadium. This fund will seek to co-invest with an additional $15 million committed to the neighborhoods by Invest Atlanta, the economic development authority for the City of Atlanta.

The Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation invests in innovative approaches to improve youth fitness and reduce childhood obesity across Georgia. Since 2002, the foundation has awarded more than $20 million in grants to more than 900 non-profit organizations. In 2005, the Falcons Youth Foundation launched its Falcons Fitness Zones where, through grant partners, the Foundation engages more than 10,000 kids a year in more than one million hours of physical activity.

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

"It’s important to the franchise and it’s important to me that everyone associated with our organization embraces our commitment to the community,” Blank said. “Not only do I want our players to perform on the field, I want everyone to be good citizens in the community, as well.”

One of the most important days of the year for Blank’s Family of Businesses is All Associates Day – a day when associates from across Blank’s various businesses come together to tackle designated community projects in the Metro Atlanta area.

Earlier this year, Blank and approximately 180 of his associates gathered at KIPP WAYS Academy in the Washington Park community of Atlanta for a day of painting and landscaping. In addition, they participated in Atlanta Habitat for Humanity’s “Brush With Kindness” program, repairing and painting the exteriors of five homes in the English Avenue neighborhood.

Blank’s other businesses, which include PGA TOUR Superstore and Mountain Sky Guest Ranch, also support the communities surrounding their locations through non-profit grants and community outreach.

Blank’s dedication and commitment to the community can also be traced back to his days at The Home Depot. During his tenure, the company donated more than $113 million to the communities it served. In addition, associates provided hundreds of thousands of hours of personal volunteer time on various charitable and community activities.


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. He 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 nation 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. 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 2008, Blank received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the University of South Carolina-Bluffton. 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 degree of Doctor of Humanities 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. Among other previous honors, Babson College inducted Blank into its Academy of Distinguished Entrepreneurs in 1995 and conferred on him an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in 1998.

Blank serves on a number of boards including the Board of Trustees of The Carter Center, Inc.; the Board of Trustees of The Cooper Institute; and the boards of Cox Enterprises, Inc., and Staples, Inc.

Blank has six children and three grandchildren. A strong believer in work-life balance, Blank still makes time daily for working out and spending time with his family.

Championship pedigrees in the National Football League are earned through hard work, attention to the smallest details, and a burning desire to continuously raise the bar.

Atlanta Falcons Owner & Chairman Arthur Blank not only understands these facts of life in today’s NFL, he embraces them.

Driven by the tireless pursuit of a Super Bowl championship for the city of Atlanta and his Falcons, Blank, now in his 12th season as an NFL owner, has shaped his club into one of the most successful organizations in professional sports both on and off the field.

Taking control of a franchise in 2002 that had made the playoffs just six times over 36 seasons (17 percent), the Falcons have now become perennial post-season contenders, earning playoff berths in 6 of his 11 years as owner (55 percent), including consecutive playoff appearances in the last three seasons. In addition, since 2008, the Falcons not only recorded its first back-to-back winning seasons, but have a streak of five consecutive winning seasons, leading the NFC in number of wins during the same period (56).

Atlanta’s 31-18 victory over the Detroit Lions in a nationally-televised game on FOX late in 2012 marked the 100th career victory for Blank as owner of the Falcons. His club would go on to post a 13-3 record en route to earning its first playoff victory since 2004 with a thrilling 30-28 come-from-behind win over the Seattle Seahawks in an NFC Divisional Playoff Game at the Georgia Dome.

Blank’s Falcons have enjoyed unprecedented success since the 2008 season when he hired the dynamic duo of General Manager Thomas Dimitroff and Head Coach Mike Smith. Dimitroff was a long-time scout and talent evaluator for the New England Patriots; Smith was a career assistant coach in the college and, more recently, professional ranks with Baltimore and Jacksonville.

Several NFL observers publicly wondered whether Blank had gambled on the rookie tandem. Five years later, Blank’s calculated gamble is a prototype for a number of other NFL clubs that have followed Atlanta’s model to recalibrate their football front offices.

Atlanta’s sound formula of drafting and acquiring skilled players who are then groomed by a veteran coaching staff has produced a Falcons team that will enter the 2013 season with high expectations.

“The currency of the NFL is winning,” Blank said. “We’ve won a lot of games, but they are steps toward our ultimate goal. Our ultimate goal is to have a parade down Peachtree Street with the Lombardi Trophy in hand.”

To accomplish this goal, Blank has empowered and supported Dimitroff and Smith, who have turned the Falcons into one of the NFL’s top teams. Since 2008, the Falcons hold a 32-15 record (.681 winning percentage) against teams on their 2013 schedule. Several national sports publications have predicted the Falcons will once again be one of the League’s most dominate teams in the 2013 season based on the club’s productive offseason, which included solid moves in the draft and free agency.

Dimitroff, who earned Executive of the Year honors from Sporting News in two of his first five seasons as Atlanta’s general manager, is the supremely talented personnel point man for an organization whose roster is filled with current Pro Bowl players and future All-Pro performers. Dimitroff and his astute personnel department have built Atlanta’s roster through the draft, bolstering it with a series of strategic player acquisitions in free agency and through trades.

As proof, franchise cornerstones selected through the draft since 2008 include QB Matt Ryan, WR Julio Jones, LB Sean Weatherspoon, LT Sam Baker, S Thomas DeCoud and S William Moore. Ryan, Jones, DeCoud, and Moore were all named to the NFC’s Pro Bowl team in 2012.

It’s a roster built to last. Of the 46 players selected in the draft from 2008 through 2012, a remarkable 34 draftees remain on the Falcons roster entering the 2013 season, and 39 – or 85 percent – remain active players in the NFL.

Whether it is selecting players in the draft or acquiring them through free agency, the Falcons believe in being collaborative.

“Thomas and Mike work very well together,” Blank said. “These two men may not always have the same opinions, but they share a common vision of success for our club. Combined with team President & CEO Rich McKay, who provides strong support to Thomas and Smitty and heads up our front office operations, we have a strong leadership team that is second to none in the League.”

Atlanta’s players are led by Coach Smith, the fiery head coach who in 2012 became the first coach in franchise history to reach 50 wins – and the third fastest since the NFL merger in 1970 to reach 50 wins – accomplishing the feat in 71 games. Smith is a three-time Coach of the Year winner from Sporting News (2008, 2010, and 2012) and a two-time Coach of the Year recipient from the prestigious KC 101 Club following the 2008 and 2010 seasons. His 56-24 regular season record is the fifth-best mark in the NFL since 2008.

Smith’s 56 wins in his first five seasons are also the second-most among any first time head coach in NFL history, behind only George Seifert (San Francisco, 62-18, 1989-1993). Aided by core principles built around playing fundamentally sound football in all three phases of the game, since 2008 the Falcons have posted a 44-2 record in games where they lead at halftime, and a 42-1 record in contests where they hold the lead at the beginning of the fourth quarter.

One of Smith’s key elements to being a relevant franchise year after year is winning at home. Since 2008, the Georgia Dome has become a “House of Horrors” for visiting NFL clubs as the Falcons have produced a dominating 33-7 home record (.825 winning percentage), the best home record in the NFC and tied with the Baltimore Ravens for the second-best record in the NFL.

The sustainability and relevance of the Falcons has provided numerous opportunities for the franchise and city of Atlanta to be showcased on national television. During the 2013 season, the Falcons will be spotlighted in five prime time national games, adding to the four national games played in each of the past two seasons.


BLANK'S NFL SUCCESS


Atlanta’s success under Blank isn’t all that surprising or unexpected. The Falcons have become a model franchise in the eyes of the national media based on winning games on the field and being good citizens in the community off the field. Both of those factors speak directly to Blank’s focus and leadership.

"I see the inner-workings of many NFL teams during my travels covering the League,” said ESPN National NFL Columnist Ashley Fox. “The Falcons are one of the best run franchises in the entire NFL and it all starts with Mr. Blank. He scored big when he hired Thomas Dimitroff and Mike Smith, who have turned the Falcons into consistent winners. The Falcons are among the NFL’s elite because Arthur Blank gets it.”

Blank understands that consistency is at the forefront of becoming a perennial winner in the ultra-competitive world of the NFL. He also knows that in spite of all of the success his club has enjoyed over the past five seasons, there sometimes will be setbacks.

“Nobody was happy with the result of our final game of the 2012 season,” Blank said. “We had a great season, but we came up short. The NFL isn’t easy. It’s a tough league, but our coaching staff and our players are up to it. We’ve had a very productive offseason, and I think we’ll be a better team in 2013 than we were in 2012.”


NEW ATLANTA STADIUM


Even as the Falcons prepare for the 2013 season, Blank and his front office leadership team are preparing for the long-term future of the club. Early in 2013, the Falcons reached an agreement with the Georgia World Congress Center Authority and the city of Atlanta for the construction of a new multi-purpose stadium that will be located in downtown Atlanta.

The state-of-the-art facility is being designed by 360 Architecture and its joint venture partners, and will be constructed by the Holder Hunt Russell Moody joint venture.

“Our goal for the new Falcons stadium is to re-imagine the entire game day experience and create a stadium that will become an iconic destination for sports fans and visitors from all over the world,” 360 Senior Principal Bill Johnson said.

Construction for the retractable roof stadium will begin in 2014, and the Falcons will begin playing in the new stadium in the 2017 season. In addition to Falcons games, the new stadium will host other events currently held in the Georgia Dome, as well as potentially host new marquee events such as the Super Bowl, FIFA World Cup, and the College Football National Championship Game – all of which are significant economic impact generators for the city and state.

“Governor Deal and Mayor Reed have a vision that provides for the long-term health and prosperity of our city and state,” Blank noted. “We appreciate the spirit of collaboration demonstrated by these two men, along with a host of other government and community leaders, in building a successful public-private partnership that will benefit the city, region, and state for many years to come.”


COMMITMENT TO FANS


Whether it’s The Home Depot – the company Blank co-founded and led until his retirement as co-chairman in 2001 – or the Atlanta Falcons, Blank has always subscribed to the idea of hiring the best and brightest people and providing an environment for collaboration, creativity, and continuous improvement.

Blank also understands people and he believes that listening is what matters most. Whether it is customers, fans, players, coaches, or associates, Blank listens, seeks to understand, and responds to all of them and expects all of his associates to do the same.

“Winning is a critical element of the game day experience for our fans,” Blank said. “However, it’s important that we offer everything our fans need from the time they leave their driveway to the time they arrive in ours. We want to make the total game day experience for our fans the best in the NFL.”

The Falcons’ “Rise Up” mantra provides a centerpiece. Four years ago, Blank challenged a team of his front office leadership staff to create a new standard and tradition for the Falcons brand and to put in place innovative brand policies designed to expand the club’s overall image both in Atlanta and nationally. What Blank’s team came up with is the successful “Rise Up” campaign that was introduced by A-list Hollywood actor Samuel L. Jackson.

The campaign, which focuses on a team, an organization, a fan base, and a community rising up together to try to win a championship, was unveiled in the spring of 2010. Jackson’s impassioned call for Atlanta and the Falcons to “Rise Up” together quickly became a rallying cry, as well as a show of solidarity inside and outside the Georgia Dome.

Since its introduction in 2010, the campaign elements have expanded to include local celebrities; government, civic and sports industry leaders; and Falcons fans. The 2013 season will bring a new and exciting twist to “Rise Up” as the Falcons respond to fans’ strong desire to continue the tradition.


COMMITMENT TO COMMUNITY


One of the hallmarks of Blank’s philosophy is giving back to the community. The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation and Atlanta Falcons have a long history of investing in projects that help others in need, enhance neighborhoods, and improve the quality of life throughout Atlanta.

Since its inception in 1995, The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation has granted nearly $300 million to non-profit organizations, with approximately $200 million of the total focused on metro Atlanta, including the Vine City and English Avenue neighborhoods near the Georgia Dome and the new stadium.

Blank has publicly committed to making further significant investments in these communities. Earlier this year, the Blank Foundation announced plans for the creation of the Blank Foundation Neighborhood Prosperity Fund for the purpose of igniting positive change and improving the quality of life in the neighborhoods surrounding the new stadium. This fund will seek to co-invest with an additional $15 million committed to the neighborhoods by Invest Atlanta, the economic development authority for the City of Atlanta.

The Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation invests in innovative approaches to improve youth fitness and reduce childhood obesity across Georgia. Since 2002, the foundation has awarded more than $20 million in grants to more than 900 non-profit organizations. In 2005, the Falcons Youth Foundation launched its Falcons Fitness Zones where, through grant partners, the Foundation engages more than 10,000 kids a year in more than one million hours of physical activity.

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

"It’s important to the franchise and it’s important to me that everyone associated with our organization embraces our commitment to the community,” Blank said. “Not only do I want our players to perform on the field, I want everyone to be good citizens in the community, as well.”

One of the most important days of the year for Blank’s Family of Businesses is All Associates Day – a day when associates from across Blank’s various businesses come together to tackle designated community projects in the Metro Atlanta area.

Earlier this year, Blank and approximately 180 of his associates gathered at KIPP WAYS Academy in the Washington Park community of Atlanta for a day of painting and landscaping. In addition, they participated in Atlanta Habitat for Humanity’s “Brush With Kindness” program, repairing and painting the exteriors of five homes in the English Avenue neighborhood.

Blank’s other businesses, which include PGA TOUR Superstore and Mountain Sky Guest Ranch, also support the communities surrounding their locations through non-profit grants and community outreach.

Blank’s dedication and commitment to the community can also be traced back to his days at The Home Depot. During his tenure, the company donated more than $113 million to the communities it served. In addition, associates provided hundreds of thousands of hours of personal volunteer time on various charitable and community activities.


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. He 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 nation 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. 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 2008, Blank received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the University of South Carolina-Bluffton. 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 degree of Doctor of Humanities 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. Among other previous honors, Babson College inducted Blank into its Academy of Distinguished Entrepreneurs in 1995 and conferred on him an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in 1998.

Blank serves on a number of boards including the Board of Trustees of The Carter Center, Inc.; the Board of Trustees of The Cooper Institute; and the boards of Cox Enterprises, Inc., and Staples, Inc.

Blank has six children and three grandchildren. A strong believer in work-life balance, Blank still makes time daily for working out and spending time with his family.