Georgia Historical Society Elects David Abney, Mark Burns, & Robert Jepson to Board of Curators

Staff Report

Thursday, July 8th, 2021

The Georgia Historical Society has announced that David Abney (Atlanta) and Mark Burns (Savannah) have recently been elected to the GHS Board of Curators and that Chairman Emeritus Robert S. Jepson, Jr. (Savannah) will be returning 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 (Atlanta), Chairman and CEO of Holder Construction Company, who begins his second year as Chairman of the Board. Other officers for the year are Dr. W. Todd Groce, President and CEO (Savannah); H. Jerome Russell, Treasurer (Atlanta); and Douglas Hertz, Secretary (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,” said W. Todd Groce, President and CEO. “These three outstanding additions will further strengthen our team and help us to fulfill our vital educational and research mission.”
David 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, Mr. 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.

Mr. 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 prestigious 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.

Mark 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.

Mr. Burns has spent more than 35 years with Gulfstream, joining the organization in 1983 as a computer-aided design (CAD) 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, Mr. Burns earned the National Aeronautic Association’s Wesley L. McDonald Distinguished Statesman of Aviation Award for his significant contributions to aeronautics. Additionally, Mr. Burns serves on the board of directors for the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), 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 (NBAA), a board member of the National Air and Space Museum, and a member of the Kennedy National Committee for the Performing Arts.

Returning to the GHS Board this year is Robert S. Jepson, Jr., who previously served as Chairman of the Board of Curators from 2014–2016.

Mr. Jepson is Chairman and CEO of Jepson Associates, Inc., a private investment firm headquartered in Savannah. Mr. 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’ role 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, Mr. 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 as among the 100 Most Influential Georgians.

In addition to the Board leadership, Abney, Burns, and Jepson join Frank S. Blake (Atlanta), James H. Blanchard, Ex-Officio (Columbus), Ellen B. Bolch (Savannah), W. Paul Bowers (Atlanta), Shan Cooper (Atlanta), Reed Dulany III (Savannah), Larry Gellerstedt III (Atlanta), John F. McMullan, Ex-Officio (Atlanta), John Morgan (Hilton Head), Sam Nunn, Honorary (Atlanta), Kessel D. Stelling, Jr. (Atlanta), Larry D. Thompson (St. Simons Island), Clyde C. Tuggle (Atlanta), and Philip Wilheit, Sr. (Gainesville) on the Board of Curators.

For more information on the Georgia Historical Society Board of Curators please contact Patricia Meagher at 912.651.2125, ext. 153 or by email at [email protected].