ATLANTA — The Georgia Historical Society has announced that David Abney of Atlanta and Mark Burns of Savannah were recently elected to the GHS Board of Curators and that Chairman Emeritus Robert S. Jepson Jr. of Savannah will return to the board. The new additions were elected at the spring 2021 meeting of the Board of Curators held virtually in keeping with COVID-19 pandemic protocols.
The meeting was led by Thomas M. Holder of Atlanta, the chairman and CEO of Holder Construction Co., who kicked off his second year as chairman of the board. Other officers for the year are W. Todd Groce, president and CEO of Savannah; H. Jerome Russell, treasurer, of Atlanta; and Douglas Hertz, secretary, also of Atlanta. The position of vice chairman, vacated by the recent death of Alston D. “Pete” Correll, will be filled at an upcoming meeting of the curators.
“GHS is blessed to have on its board many of the most influential leaders in the state,” Groce said. “These three outstanding additions will further strengthen our team and help us to fulfill our vital educational and research mission.”
Abney is the former executive chairman of the UPS Board of Directors. He served as CEO of UPS from 2014 to May 2020 and was appointed chairman of the board in 2016. Prior to his role as chairman and CEO, Abney served as the company’s Chief Operating Officer, overseeing logistics, sustainability, engineering, and all facets of UPS’s global transportation network. He began his UPS career in 1974 as a part-time UPS package loader while attending Delta State University.
Abney serves as a trustee of the UPS Foundation and the Annie E. Casey Foundation and is a member of the World Affairs Council of Atlanta as well as the Business Roundtable. In 2019, he received the Horatio Alger Award for perseverance, integrity, and a commitment to excellence. He also served as chairman of the Metro Atlanta Chamber, as well as on the boards of Macy’s Inc., Northrop Grumman Corporation, and Catalyst, an organization working to accelerate and advance women into senior leadership and board positions.
Burns was named president of Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. in July 2015 after spending more than seven years as the leader of the company’s customer support organization. Since February 2014, he has also served as a vice president of Gulfstream parent company General Dynamics.
Burns has spent more than 35 years with Gulfstream, joining the organization in 1983 as a computer-aided design operator. He then became involved in engineering for the GIV flight test program. In 2008 he was named customer support president, vice president of the Savannah service center for four years and vice president of completions engineering for two years.
In 2018, Burns earned the National Aeronautic Association’s Wesley L. McDonald Distinguished Statesman of Aviation Award for his significant contributions to aeronautics. Additionally, he serves on the board of directors for the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, Georgia Power, and the Corporate Angel Network. He is chairman for the World Economic Forum Aerospace Governors, a part of the associate member advisory council of the National Business Aviation Association, a board member of the National Air and Space Museum, and a member of the Kennedy National Committee for the Performing Arts.
Jepson returns to the board after previously serving as Chairman of the Board of Curators from 2014–2016.
He is chairman and CEO of Jepson Associates Inc., a private investment firm headquartered in Savannah. Jepson and his wife, Alice Andrews Jepson, focus much of their philanthropy on higher education. The Georgia Historical Society’s Jepson House Education Center, the institution’s administration and education building, recognizes the Jepsons’ roles as principal benefactors of the facility. Their support also made possible the renovation and expansion of the GHS Research Center.
Among their most notable contributions is the University of Richmond Jepson School of Leadership Studies, founded in 1992. The school is the only one of its kind in American academia. Recently, Jepson established the Jepson Scholars Foundation at the University of Richmond, a program that advances global leadership by providing graduating seniors with a one-year master’s degree from the University of Oxford in England.
He previously served on the boards of the Georgia Ports Authority and Dominion Resources, and currently serves as an honorary Trustee of the Telfair Museums and as former Chairman of the Board of Visitors of the Savannah College of Art and Design. He has been recognized by Georgia Trend Magazine among the 100 Most Influential Georgians.
In addition to the board leadership, Abney, Burns and Jepson join Frank S. Blake of Atlanta, James H. Blanchard, ex-officio, of Columbus, Ellen B. Bolch of Savannah, W. Paul Bowers of Atlanta, Shan Cooper of Atlanta, Reed Dulany III of Savannah, Larry Gellerstedt III of Atlanta, John F. McMullan, ex-officio, of Atlanta, John Morgan of Hilton Head, Sam Nunn, honorary, of Atlanta, Kessel D. Stelling Jr. of Atlanta, Larry D. Thompson of St. Simons Island, Clyde C. Tuggle of Atlanta, and Philip Wilheit Sr. of Gainesville on the Board of Curators.
For more information on the Georgia Historical Society Board of Curators, contact Patricia Meagher at (912) 651-2125, extension 153, or by email at pmeagher@GeorgiaHistory.com.