Commissioner Jeff Rader, District 2, DeKalb County Georgia

Jeff Rader - A Career in Community Service

Commissioner Jeff Rader
Taking a key role in solving some of the most pressing public policy problems in our region, Jeff Rader has made a career of helping to keep our community the envy of the nation.

After growing up in suburban Roswell in the 1970s, a degree in Economics from the University of Georgia, and a tour in the U.S. Navy, Jeff became an early part of the movement back to the city. In the process of renovating a rambling old house in Midtown and navigating the Byzantine regulatory process, he became fascinated in the science of building communities. Enrolling in the graduate program in City Planning at Georgia Tech, Jeff focused on urban redevelopment and transportation.

Upon graduation, Jeff worked for county planning departments in Cobb and Fayette Counties, and saw the weight of private interests on public policy. To leverage that weight, Jeff joined the staff of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, which soon became a national leader in progressive transportation policy.

During his tenure as Vice President of Transportation Programs, the Chamber became the first business organization in the country to support multi-modal transportation with local control (ISTEA, 1991), a stance that helped the region to respond effectively to the air quality crisis of the mid 1990s. As a proponent of balanced transportation, Jeff contributed the concept of a new "union station" linking rail, bus and transit in the heart of Atlanta. Because of this work, Jeff was named an Environmental Fellow by the German Marshall Fund of the United States, and the Georgia Citizen Action Citizen of the Year.

When Governor Barnes created the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority, Jeff became its first Director of Planning, pioneering the agency's role in linking transportation and land use. Later, as Executive Director of the Regional Business Coalition, Jeff helped to bring the Region's continuing water resources crisis to the attention of business leaders, contributing to the formation of a Water Planning District.

Jeff helped the Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association reform the way that industry looks at itself, placing a greater emphasis on education, customer service and professionalism. Guiding the Association's collaboration with Southface Energy Institute in creating the EarthCraft Communities Program, Jeff advanced a new environmental ethic to the practice of land development.

As a member of the Metro Atlanta Quality Growth Task Force, Jeff was and continues to be an advocate for smart growth and an increased emphasis on affordable lifestyles (housing). As a director of the Mixed Income Communities Initiative, he has been active in linking jobs to homes for all, shortening commutes, and building stronger neighborhoods. Part of an expert team, Jeff helped write the Trust for Public Land plan that will add over a thousand acres of park space to the Belt Line.

Now a planner with multinational Jacobs Engineering, Jeff consults on projects across the country. A resident of the Fernbank/Druid Hills neighborhood, Jeff has served his civic association on the Board and as President, and has contributed to the dialog on the future of the burgeoning Clifton Corridor.

He served two years as a business partner on the Brockett Elementary School Council. He is a Founding Board Member of the Regional Atlanta Civic League. Their three children attend public schools in the neighborhood.

Jeff is a Founding Board Member of the Regional Atlanta Civic League.  His wife Carolyn is equally committed to building better communities through her work with the Atlanta Regional Commission Area Council on Aging in her capacity as Principal Program Specialist for Community Development.  They have three wonderful children: Olivia, Thomas and Audrey.