Commercial Real Estate Studio

The Diversity Committee of the Atlanta Commercial Board will host the 4th Annual Commercial Real Estate Studio. This event highlights a featured guest from a diverse background that shares their personal experience of building a commercial real estate practice.

Diversity Series | Featuring

Michael Russel

Michael Russell
H.J. Russell & Company, Chief Executive Officer


  • Tuesday, October 3
  • 11:00 am registration | 11:30 - 1:00 pm luncheon / program
  • Atlanta REALTORS® Center

Register Today!

For more information, please contact Amy Geddes, Board Services Director, 404-250-0051  x111.


Dallas Smith
T. Dallas Smith & Company, Founder & President

Sponsored By

Featured Guest

Michael Russell

H.J. Russell & Company
Chief Executive Officer

Michael Russell was promoted to Chief Executive Officer of H.J. Russell & Company in October 2003 succeeding his father, Herman Russell, who founded the company in 1952 and led it for 50 years. A 30-year veteran of the construction and real estate development industry, Michael is charged with leading the company to greater heights as it embarks on its next 50 years. The company’s operational focus is in construction and program management, real estate development and property management.

Known as an innovative thinker and manager who empowers employees to bring fresh perspectives to their jobs, Michael’s talents are well-aligned with the company’s operational management structure, which encourages entrepreneurial efforts.

Michael is also Vice Chairman of Concessions International, an innovator in the airport food and beverage concessions industry. He is actively involved in the strategic direction and growth initiatives of Concessions International. The Russell Companies, which consists of H.J. Russell & Company and Concessions International, employs more than 1,300 individuals with operations in 10 major cities including Atlanta, Dallas, Washington DC, Miami, Raleigh, Seattle, Denver, and the USVI.

Prior to becoming Chief Executive Officer, Michael spent most of his career with H.J. Russell & Company serving in a variety of executive positions, most recently as Executive Vice President where he was responsible for the management and strategic direction of the construction and program management divisions. During his tenure, Michael held a variety of positions from Cost Estimator to Project Manager to head of Business Development.

Michael has been involved in the construction industry since he was a youngster. Early in his career, he worked with renowned Developer and Architect, John Portman. This provided him with invaluable experience in all aspects of the development business, including engineering, field supervision, project management and business development.

Michael received his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Virginia and earned his MBA from Georgia State University.

Michael is very active in the community involved in business and civic organizations. He serves on the boards of various organizations including the Metro Atlanta Chamber, Commerce Club, SunTrust Atlanta Bank Advisory Board, Georgia State University’s J. Mack Robinson College of Business Advisory Board, and University of Virginia Foundation Board. Michael is also a member of the Atlanta Rotary Club and 100 Black Men.

Michael is a native of Atlanta, Georgia. He and his wife, Lovette, have two sons, Michael, Jr. and Benjamin.


Dallas SmithT. Dallas Smith

T. Dallas Smith & Company
Founder & President

As founder of the company, T. Dallas Smith oversees all of our commercial brokerage activity and personally works with select clients. He is licensed in Georgia, Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Maryland. Dallas has over 30 years of experience as a commercial real estate broker. The first 6 years he represented landlords while working for Mr. Thomas W. Tift at the Atlanta Air Center Realty in 1982 and for 25 years plus has represented only Tenants. He has skillfully negotiated over seven million square feet of commercial property and five thousand acres of land acquisitions totaling more than two billion dollars in value. His partial client list include; AT&T, The Coca-Cola Company, Crawford & Company, Federal Express, The Integral Group, Gude Management, General Services Administration, The Urban League of Greater Atlanta and the Atlanta Beltline.

In 1989, Dallas became the first African American to work with Cushman & Wakefield of Georgia, serving local and national companies such as Jostens Learning Corporation, the Georgia Lottery Corporation and the Arthritis Foundation with their office leasing needs. He also pioneered the brokerage division for H.J. Russell & Company in 1995 as Vice President of the Brokerage Division where he worked with such companies as BellSouth, General Motors, Wal-Mart, Target and Lowe's Theaters. An advocate for diversifying the commercial real estate industry, Dallas feels that it is his "Calling" to help nourish and develop diverse talent for an industry that has been very good to him.

Dallas is very involved in the community both locally and nationally. Some of his past and present activities include: Leadership Atlanta Class of 1996, Georgia State University Trustee - Foundation Board (current Chair of the Real Estate Committee), Metro Atlanta Chamber, CoreNet Global (Diversity Council), IDRC (Diversity Council), a founding member of the Atlanta Commercial Board of REALTORS®, a current member of the board of the Atlanta Commercial Board of REALTORS® as Chair of the Commercial Council for the Empire Real Estate Board. He is a frequent speaker and teacher at the Empire Real Estate Board where he developed "CRE-101 by T. Dallas Smith", with insight and humor he preaches the Gospel of Tenant Representation as only he can.

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