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Curated Collection Of The Best Interviews From Our Midtown Studio

Nelson Mullins and City of Atlanta Department of Procurement

Nelson Mullins

Ann Murray of Nelson Mullins

Nelson Mullins

Adam Smith, ATL Chief Procurement Officer

Nelson Mullins and City of Atlanta Department of Procurement

We talked about important business considerations regarding ACA requirements this year, along with the opportunities to do business with the City of Atlanta through the Department of Procurement.  I was joined in the studio by Ann Murray, attorney with Nelson, Mullins, Riley, and Scarborough, and Chief Procurement Officer for the City of Atlanta, Adam Smith.

The ACA business mandates have begun to be implemented on larger scales over the past two years.  As we know, some of the requirements have been pushed back a couple of times, delaying their impact.  But those times are behind us and business owners need to be spending time with legal experts such as those at Nelson Mullins, to assess what their obligations will be regarding providing health insurance benefits to some or all of their employees.

Ann explained the basics of some of these requirements around health benefits for the small business.  She also discussed new reporting requirements that business owners must compile from multiple sources to be in full compliance with the law.

Murray talked about the fact that many business operators mistakenly think they’re exempt from the law’s requirements, failing to see that being a small unit that is part of a larger whole, as in the case of some multi-site businesses, potentially exposes them to have to offer benefits.  Failure to comply can result in significant financial penalties that could literally threaten the business’s viability.

Atlanta’s Chief Procurement Officer, Adam Smith stopped by to share information about the upcoming Business Expo at the Georgia World Congress Center March 31st.  This free-to-the-public event will feature a wealth of information about the numerous needs the city has for a wide variety of goods and services to operate the city’s 15 departments, including the Atlanta airport.

The expo will have sessions where small business owners can learn what is required to be able to bid on these opportunities, as well as how to fully complete the necessary documents contained in a bid to have their bid received and considered.

Adam explained that the city’s needs range from culinary services at the airport, to commodity supplies such as paper, pens, cleaning supplies, etc.  Additionally, the city is looking for engineering services, cleaning services, construction, and numerous others as well.

Smith also talked about certifications available to disadvantaged business enterprises that once obtained, provides these businesses with access to opportunities ear-marked for diversity suppliers.  He went on to distinguish these certifications businesses may obtain from county or state governments, as well as other certification bodies such as GMSDC.

Register for the upcoming Business Expo, hosted by Atlanta’s Department of Procurement at the Georgia World Congress Center, MARCH 31st HERE

Special Guests:

Ann Murray, Attorney with Nelson Mullins  facebook_logo_small3  linkedin_small1  feed logo  twitter_logo_small  

nelson mullins

  • JD, LL.M. Tax, Tax Law, University of San Diego School of Law
  • Author, numerous published articles on business law topics
  • Rated “AV Preeminent” by Martindale-Hubbell
  • Recognized as “Georgia’s Legal Elite” by Georgia Trend magazine

Adam Smith, Chief Procurement Officer at City of Atlanta  facebook_logo_small3  youtube logo  twitter_logo_small  linkedin_small1  

nelson mullins

Talking IT Strategy with Atlanta’s CIO Samir Saini


IT Strategy in Atlanta

This week I had the special treat of sitting down with a long-time acquaintance of mine, Samir Saini, Atlanta’s recently-appointed CIO (2014).  He shared the story of his professional journey, beginning as an IT program manager with General Electric and his experience of successful completion of their 2 yr leadership training program.
He spent 10 years with this well-respected organization before accepting the opportunity to step into the role of VP, Corporate Strategy in IT for the MGM International Resorts in Las Vegas.  They were in the middle of tackling the IT challenges that come with acquiring several established companies into an existing enterprise, in this case, several well-known hotels.

He was able to successfully lead them through the process of moving the hotels onto a common platform, allowing the company to begin to leverage their company’s size through its expanded buying power and maximize efficiencies in numerous other areas.

Samir returned to Atlanta several years ago, this time bringing his leadership and IT expertise to bear in the public sector, taking a role with Atlanta’s Housing Authority.  Four years later he was appointed to be the new CIO for the City of Atlanta by Mayor Kasim Reed.

We talked about the challenges a municipality the size of Atlanta faces, balancing budgetary constraints against a myriad of government agencies, the world’s busiest airport, large population and infrastructure necessary to support them, along with a fast-growing business sector.

Samir discussed several of the tech solutions he and his team are working on and several that are already implemented to the benefit of Atlanta residents.  Until we spoke I wasn’t aware that the city provides free Wi-Fi access in Piedmont Park, Grant Park, and numerous other hotspots (with more coming).

He shared the city’s plans to update the fiber optic network to allow for numerous tech upgrades such as synchronized traffic lights to alleviate gridlock, applications that allow drivers to easily locate available parking, and more.  I also had the chance to ask him about the priorities he has laid out for the city going forward to address the enormous tech needs of our city to prepare us for the years to come that will make the city a better place to live as a resident and a solid choice for businesses looking for a place to plant their flag.

Special Guest:

Samir Saini, CIO, Commissioner, City of Atlanta  facebook_logo_small3  linkedin_small1  twitter_logo_small  feed logo  youtube logo


  • BS, Civil Engineering, New Jersey Institute of Technology
  • Previous Director, ERP, General Electric Energy Services
  • Former VP, Corporate Services, MGM International Resorts
  • Past SVP/CIO, Atlanta Housing Authority