Feb. 17, 2015
In celebration of Black History Month, RamblinWreck.com will highlight several African-American student-athletes that left their mark on Georgia Tech athletics. Our third profile feature is Mike Anderson, who is now the Senior Vice President of Charitable Giving at Georgia Power Co.
Communications & Public Relations
From the hurdles to the boardroom, Mike Anderson has become a model for student-athletes to follow as they transition from college athletics to the professional ranks.
Anderson was a four-year letterwinner for hall of fame coach Buddy Fowlkes from 1976-79. At the time, Georgia Tech only offered partial track scholarships. He would go on to hold the school records in high hurdles, intermediate hurdles and the mile relay.
Some find it hard to imagine, but at one time, the track was a hard asphalt surface that enclosed the football field and even went underneath the north stands.
“It was a good program that taught me a lot about myself, my abilities and how to work with others,” Anderson said in a 2014 Q&A for the letterwinners’ newsletter. “It was an interesting time at Georgia Tech. When I was in school, the lion’s share of attention was on football, but there was good camaraderie amongst all the student-athletes.
“We were all in the same locker room, which was underneath the east stands of Bobby Dodd Stadium. We didn’t have a ton of resources, but as I transitioned through Georgia Tech, things got better.”
The Atlanta native graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in industrial and systems engineering in 1979.
That same year, Anderson began his professional career at Georgia Power, where he currently serves as Senior Vice President of Charitable Giving for the company, as well as CEO of the Georgia Power Foundation and Southern Company Corporate Foundation. Prior to his current rule, Anderson served as Vice President of Corporate Services, overseeing corporate safety, labor relations, and workforce development and training.
Since beginning his career with Georgia Power, he has held numerous leadership positions in a variety of areas, including capital budgeting, system planning, marketing and external affairs. He was recruited from Dallas-based Texas Instruments, where he was responsible for the quality control component testing of nuclear warhead guidance systems.
“I can remember early in my career, the first time I had to hit the road for a track meet, I had an exam on the day of the meet. I went to inform my professor that I’d be out of town and needed to arrange an alternative time to take the exam. The first thing he said to me was, ‘Well Mr. Anderson, I guess you need to decide whether you want to be a track athlete or an engineer.’
“That really hit me like a ton of bricks,” Anderson recalled. “The good news is that I had the GTAA support system to help me get the exam rescheduled. If you set your mind to something, you’ll find people who are willing to help and support you.”
Anderson has also been the recipient of many honors, including the Atlanta Area Council of Boy Scouts of America Silver Beaver and Whitney M. Young awards, the Chauncey Davis Foundation’s Man of the Year Award, the Atlanta Business League Men of Distinction Award, and the Georgia Tech’s Total Person Alumnus Award (2010).
He is an active member of several Georgia Tech boards, including the Advisory Board (GTAB), the Athletic Association (GTAA), Alexander-Tharpe Fund, and Industrial & Systems Engineering (ISyE). Anderson, who also earned his MBA from Emory University, and his wife Andreane have one son, Christopher, who is also a Georgia Tech graduate.