David Connell, President & CEO
David joined the Cobb Chamber of Commerce in November 2010. Today, the Cobb Chamber is recognized as one of the most influential business advocacy organizations in Georgia, the 7th largest Chamber in the Southeastern United States (approximately 2,600 businesses), and a 5 Star Accredited – a designation of distinction (top one percent) by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. During 2012 and 2013, the Cobb Chamber was named as one the top 10 fastest growing Chambers in the U.S. At its Annual Conference in July 2013, the ACCE named the Cobb Chamber as one of the top 3 Chambers in the nation in the largest chamber category.
David’s focus is to strengthen the economy and quality of life so Cobb’s 56,000 plus businesses and a community of over 740,000 citizens. The Cobb Chamber’s Board of Directors has charged David and his team with providing strong leadership to focus the Chamber’s resources to achieve five major outcomes:
- Create jobs and drive economic development to new levels.
- Strengthen the community and the region so Cobb is a great place to live, work, play, and learn.
- Grow member businesses by providing direct member services and enhancing the overall business climate in Cobb and the region.
- Nurture leadership in the private, public and non-profit sectors.
- Build unity in Cobb and the region by connecting and convening business, government, non-profits and the community in general.
Under his leadership, the Chamber played a leading role in new businesses locating in Cobb such as Vonage, Greenway Technologies, the Atlanta Braves, Atlanta United, Atlanta Blaze, HD Supply, HD Supply, Comcast, Arron’s, Synovus/Bank of North Georgia, and major expansions for Home Depot (IT Center and on-line sales organization), Genuine Parts, RaceTrac, GLOCK, and many others.
Previously, David served as the regional executive for Georgia Power’s Metro West Region (Cobb, Cherokee, Paulding, and Douglas counties). David retired November 2010 to assume his current role after a 40 year career with Southern Company and its subsidiaries, which included serving four years as a base civil engineering officer in the United States Air Force. In addition to Georgia Power, David has held senior positions at Alabama Power, Southern Company and Southern Company Services.
David has served and chaired dozens of non-profit Boards and initiatives including the Board of Chattahoochee Technical College, Cobb County Public Schools Educational Foundation, United Way, The Center for Family Resources, Atlanta Chapter - Boy Scouts of America, WellStar Health System Foundation, Theatre in the Square, etc. David currently serves on the Board of the Council for Quality Growth, the President’s Advisory Council at Kennesaw State University as Chairman, and the state-wide Department of Driver Services (DDS) Board to which he was appointed by Governor Perdue in 2007. In 2015, Governor Deal appointed David to Chairman of the DDS Board.
He has received numerous awards for his civic involvement, including the Ernest Barrett Award (2001), the Len Gilbert Award (2002), the Mack Henderson Public Service Award (2004), the East Cobb Citizen of the Year (2004), the Boy Scouts of America’s Silver Beaver Award, their highest award for a volunteer (2005), the NAACP’s Presidential Award (2006 and 2008), the Secretary of State’s Outstanding Georgia Citizen (2006), the U.S. President’s Volunteer Service Award (2008), the Leaders and Legends Award in 2013 (Cobb County School System), and was named to James Magazine’s Most Influential list in 2012 and 2014. He was also named to the Georgia Trend’s 100 Most Influential Georgians list for 2012, 2013, 2015, and 2016. Finally, in 2015, he was recognized by Dobbins ARB and the 22nd Air Force with the “Best of the Best” award, the only civilian to receive this special designation for what was described as “unparalled support for Dobbins ARB.”
David is a graduate of Leadership Cobb, Honorary Commanders, The Executive Accounting and Finance Program at the Wharton Business School (University of Pennsylvania), and the Regional Leadership Institute (RLI). David has an engineering degree from Auburn University and advanced business degrees from the University of Southern Mississippi and Harvard University.
Born and raised in Nashville, Ga., David is married to the former Pam Cotten of Nashville, TN. Pam and David have four children and four grandchildren. David attends the East Cobb Church of Christ, where he and Pam are actively involved.