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Arthur Blank
Owner and Chairman of Atlanta Falcons

Biography

Falcons Owner & Chairman Arthur Blank, widely known in the business community for building the world’s largest home improvement retailer as co-founder of The Home Depot, employed the same business skills that made Home Depot a success during his 2015 offseason recalibration of the Falcons football team.

After releasing former Head Coach Mike Smith from the final year of his contract, Blank and key members of his executive team embarked upon a 36-day search for a new head coach. Blank emerged from that process on February 2 to publicly introduce former Seattle Seahawks Defensive Coordinator Dan Quinn as the Falcons’ 16th head coach as the club enters its 50th season of football.

“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, 44, 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. He rolled into Atlanta armed with three key components all coaches in professional football must have – confidence, commitment and a plan for success.

The affable and charismatic Quinn, a disciple of Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll, quickly went to work in Atlanta to retool every facet of his Falcons team.

“I’m about finding all of the unique stuff our players have, and it’s our job as a coaching staff to find ways to feature each player,” Quinn said. I am not interested in what a guy can’t do; I am interested in what he can do, and that’s going to be our approach as we move our program forward.”

Quinn, Falcons General Manager Thomas Dimitroff and their staffs spent the offseason together evaluating and planning the roster for the 2015 season.

“I can’t tell you how pleased I am with how well Thomas and Dan and their respective staffs worked together this offseason in evaluating our roster and adding players via free agency and the draft,” Blank said at the club’s state of the franchise event in June. “There was a real spirit of collaboration among both groups, and I thought the outstanding results of our 2015 draft class clearly reflected that.”

In just four months, Quinn, dubbed by several of his players as “the coolest coach in the NFL” has created an intensely competitive environment in Flowery Branch where energy, enthusiasm and competition are now hallmarks of Falcons football.

“We’ve got three rules here for everyone associated with our football team,” Quinn said. “First and foremost, we are always going to protect the team and you do that by being a good teammate. Second, we will offer no excuses and no explanations. And third, we will all be on time. Those are our rules and we all will follow them.”

One of Quinn’s immediate tasks is rebuilding a Falcons defensive unit that finished at or near the bottom in most NFL defensive statistical categories last season. He brings to Atlanta a proven 4-3 under front seven scheme aided by a three-deep secondary and a movable chess piece in the strong safety. Quinn’s defenses in Seattle were aggressive and attacking units that emphasized stopping the run and affecting the quarterback. The Seahawks were one of the NFL’s best at forcing turnovers and giving the football back to their offense.

“The roster is different here in Atlanta, but the emphasis will remain the same,” Quinn said. “When our fans watch us play, I want them to walk away saying that we are a fast team, we are a physical team, and we are a team that understands how to finish games.”

Prior to the 2013 and 2014 NFL seasons, the Falcons had been a team that definitely knew how to successfully close out and win tight games. From 2008-12 and before a rash of bad breaks and injuries led to a cumulative 10-22 record in 2013 and 2014, Atlanta was one of the NFL’s elite teams at closing out opponents when holding the lead over three quarters.

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), two NFC South Division championships (2010, 2012), and 20 players named to the NFC Pro Bowl team.

“This is a tough and competitive league,” Blank said. “No one connected with our organization was happy about how things transpired for our team last season. We didn’t perform very well for a variety of reasons, including injuries player assessment miscalculations, and we needed to make some significant changes.

“We’ve been one of the top teams in the league,” Blank added. “We’ve been a big part of playoff discussions that are reserved for the NFL’s elite teams. We’ve got the internal infrastructure in place to quickly get back to where we belong. I will make no predictions, but I like the direction our team is headed in for the 2015 season.”

IT TAKES A TEAM
Since Blank acquired the Falcons in 2002, the team has made the playoffs six times in 13 seasons. Under Blank’s leadership, the Falcons front office has also seen unprecedented success. Three years before he 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 102 of 104 regular season games and is currently riding a streak of seven 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.”

NEW ATLANTA STADIUM
In May 2014, Blank and the Falcons broke ground on a new retractable roof stadium that will open in 2017. In addition to being a new home for the Falcons, the stadium will also be home to Atlanta United FC, a 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 the new 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.”

The new stadium provides an enhanced opportunity to attract new marquee events to the city of Atlanta, such as the FIFA World Cup, College Football National Championship Game and, of course, a Super Bowl.

“Atlanta has all of the attributes needed to successfully host a Super Bowl,” Blank said. “The new stadium adds another premier element to a successful bid for a future game.”

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, The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation and Atlanta United – 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 the new Atlanta 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 to 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.

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

Blank has six children and four grandchildren. He is engaged to Angie Macuga, who has three children. A strong believer in work-life balance, Blank makes time daily for physical activity and spending time with family.

Falcons Owner & Chairman Arthur Blank, widely known in the business community for building the world’s largest home improvement retailer as co-founder of The Home Depot, employed the same business skills that made Home Depot a success during his 2015 offseason recalibration of the Falcons football team.

After releasing former Head Coach Mike Smith from the final year of his contract, Blank and key members of his executive team embarked upon a 36-day search for a new head coach. Blank emerged from that process on February 2 to publicly introduce former Seattle Seahawks Defensive Coordinator Dan Quinn as the Falcons’ 16th head coach as the club enters its 50th season of football.

“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, 44, 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. He rolled into Atlanta armed with three key components all coaches in professional football must have – confidence, commitment and a plan for success.

The affable and charismatic Quinn, a disciple of Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll, quickly went to work in Atlanta to retool every facet of his Falcons team.

“I’m about finding all of the unique stuff our players have, and it’s our job as a coaching staff to find ways to feature each player,” Quinn said. I am not interested in what a guy can’t do; I am interested in what he can do, and that’s going to be our approach as we move our program forward.”

Quinn, Falcons General Manager Thomas Dimitroff and their staffs spent the offseason together evaluating and planning the roster for the 2015 season.

“I can’t tell you how pleased I am with how well Thomas and Dan and their respective staffs worked together this offseason in evaluating our roster and adding players via free agency and the draft,” Blank said at the club’s state of the franchise event in June. “There was a real spirit of collaboration among both groups, and I thought the outstanding results of our 2015 draft class clearly reflected that.”

In just four months, Quinn, dubbed by several of his players as “the coolest coach in the NFL” has created an intensely competitive environment in Flowery Branch where energy, enthusiasm and competition are now hallmarks of Falcons football.

“We’ve got three rules here for everyone associated with our football team,” Quinn said. “First and foremost, we are always going to protect the team and you do that by being a good teammate. Second, we will offer no excuses and no explanations. And third, we will all be on time. Those are our rules and we all will follow them.”

One of Quinn’s immediate tasks is rebuilding a Falcons defensive unit that finished at or near the bottom in most NFL defensive statistical categories last season. He brings to Atlanta a proven 4-3 under front seven scheme aided by a three-deep secondary and a movable chess piece in the strong safety. Quinn’s defenses in Seattle were aggressive and attacking units that emphasized stopping the run and affecting the quarterback. The Seahawks were one of the NFL’s best at forcing turnovers and giving the football back to their offense.

“The roster is different here in Atlanta, but the emphasis will remain the same,” Quinn said. “When our fans watch us play, I want them to walk away saying that we are a fast team, we are a physical team, and we are a team that understands how to finish games.”

Prior to the 2013 and 2014 NFL seasons, the Falcons had been a team that definitely knew how to successfully close out and win tight games. From 2008-12 and before a rash of bad breaks and injuries led to a cumulative 10-22 record in 2013 and 2014, Atlanta was one of the NFL’s elite teams at closing out opponents when holding the lead over three quarters.

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), two NFC South Division championships (2010, 2012), and 20 players named to the NFC Pro Bowl team.

“This is a tough and competitive league,” Blank said. “No one connected with our organization was happy about how things transpired for our team last season. We didn’t perform very well for a variety of reasons, including injuries player assessment miscalculations, and we needed to make some significant changes.

“We’ve been one of the top teams in the league,” Blank added. “We’ve been a big part of playoff discussions that are reserved for the NFL’s elite teams. We’ve got the internal infrastructure in place to quickly get back to where we belong. I will make no predictions, but I like the direction our team is headed in for the 2015 season.”

IT TAKES A TEAM
Since Blank acquired the Falcons in 2002, the team has made the playoffs six times in 13 seasons. Under Blank’s leadership, the Falcons front office has also seen unprecedented success. Three years before he 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 102 of 104 regular season games and is currently riding a streak of seven 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.”

NEW ATLANTA STADIUM
In May 2014, Blank and the Falcons broke ground on a new retractable roof stadium that will open in 2017. In addition to being a new home for the Falcons, the stadium will also be home to Atlanta United FC, a 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 the new 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.”

The new stadium provides an enhanced opportunity to attract new marquee events to the city of Atlanta, such as the FIFA World Cup, College Football National Championship Game and, of course, a Super Bowl.

“Atlanta has all of the attributes needed to successfully host a Super Bowl,” Blank said. “The new stadium adds another premier element to a successful bid for a future game.”

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, The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation and Atlanta United – 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 the new Atlanta 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 to 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.

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

Blank has six children and four grandchildren. He is engaged to Angie Macuga, who has three children. A strong believer in work-life balance, Blank makes time daily for physical activity and spending time with family.