Philip and Gail Headshots

Founders – Philip & Gail Ross

Bright Futures Atlanta focuses on helping youth of limited resources on Atlanta’s Westside by providing the spiritual, educational and familial support that helps them become productive members of society and role models to their peers. Bright Futures Atlanta was formed in 2002 in order to promote the spiritual, academic and physical growth of its youth participants and their families through year-round programs.  Read more

Board of Directors


Michael Andreas, CFA CMT (Chairman)
Director, Fixed Income Sales and Trading

Michael is a director at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey in their fixed income sales and trading group with an emphasis on mortgage backed securities. Michael works with institutional investors to find investment solutions in the collateralized mortgage obligation (CMO) market. He earned a Masters in Finance from the University of Florida and is a holder of the Chartered Financial Analyst® designation and Chartered Market Technician® designation. He has served as a volunteer at Bright Futures for eight years in numerous roles including athletic coach, academic tutor, and board member.


Rob Metcalf (Immediate Past Chairman)
International Director, JLL

Rob leads the Atlanta Region for JLL Brokerage. He provides real estate solutions that create maximum value for his clients. His twenty-seven years’ of experience in the industry coupled with transactions totaling more than 15 million square feet allow him to exceed his client’s expectations, regardless of market conditions. Rob graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in Finance and from Georgia State with a Masters in Real Estate. He has written numerous articles for the National Real Estate Investor and the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Rob has been recognized in numerous capacities for his success including; Atlanta Commercial Board of Realtors Top 10 Producers, Coldwell Colbert Circle, and CoStar Power Broker Award.


Millard Choate
President and CEO, Choate Construction

Millard Choate founded Choate Construction Company, Inc. in 1989 and has served as its President for almost 40 years. Since March of 2017 he has transitioned to Chairman of the Board and CEO of the company. He has also been previously chosen as an Entrepreneur of the Year, sponsored by Ernst & Young, Inc. Magazine, and Merrill Lynch, Volunteer of the Year by Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and was inducted into Clemson University’s Construction Science and Management Department Hall of Fame. He is active in several charitable organizations including Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Special Olympics Georgia and Homestretch.


Mark DeNyse
President, DeNyse Companies

After Mark graduated from the University of West Georgia with a degree in Business Administration, he continued his work at DeNyse Companies, Inc working in every department before taking over as President.  Mark started working at 14 years old he began sweeping floor and weeding vinyl. DeNyse Companies has diverse product offering in markets nationwide.   As a family-owned Certificated Woman Owned Business, DeNyse takes pride in promoting strong lasting relationships with our customers as well as our employees.  DeNyse has received several awards and recognitions recently.  These include Large Company of the Year in Douglas County by the Chamber of Commerce and Coles College of Business Manufacturing Family of the Year.  Mark is married to Shae and has two boys, Asher and Dax, and lives in Powder Springs, GA.


John Fitzpatrick
President and CEO, Force Marketing

John co-founded Force Marketing in 2007, and since then, has led the company to become the leading provider of ROI-driven and tech-enabled multi-channel automotive marketing services to clients throughout North America. Its clients include large dealer groups, Tier II ad associations and OEMs. Today, he leads a team of more than 100 marketing professionals in Force Marketing’s Atlanta headquarters. For the past seven consecutive years, Force Marketing has earned a spot on the Inc. magazine 500|5000 list of the fastest-growing private companies in the U.S. Other accolades include the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Pacesetter Award in 2012, 2014 and 2015; a spot on the list of the 101 Best & Brightest Companies to Work For in Atlanta in 2014 and 2015; and a spot on the list of the Best & Brightest Companies to Work For in the U.S. in 2015. John graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in Political Science and Entrepreneurship.


Juli Gilyard
High School Initiatives Coordinator, Atlanta Technical College

Juli is an educational leader who collaborates with area secondary schools to offer dual enrollment –earning college and high school credit for college courses – to local high school students, grades 9 through 12. Juli graduated from Xavier University of Louisiana with a degree in English. She has twenty years of experience in secondary and postsecondary education, with particular emphasis on Career and Technical Education (CTE).  Juli has been recognized at the local, state and national levels for her work in the field.


Matthew Hartnett, CFP (Secretary)
Vice President, Merrill Lynch

Matthew is a Vice President with Merrill Lynch Wealth Management. His primary function is to provide financial advice and guidance to families and corporate executives. Matt completed his Bachelor of Arts at Hamilton College in Clinton, NY prior to joining Merrill Lynch in 2006. In 2010, Matt successfully completed the Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor program; in 2011, he attained the designation of Certified Financial Planner ™. Matt has served as a volunteer with Bright Futures Atlanta since 2014, utilizing his financial expertise and business experience to help with strategic decisions.


David Kinsey
Owner, Veritas Classical Schools

David is the owner and director of Veritas Classical School, a home schooling method that emphasizes the classical Christian model of education. He graduated from Bryan College in 1973 with a BA in Bible, and from Reformed Theological Seminary in 1988, with a MA in School Administration. He has over 30 years of experience as an educator, with 23 of those years in school administration. As a teacher, David taught 6th – 10th grade level math courses, Spanish and history. Dave served for 15 years as the Headmaster at Fellowship Christian Academy in Roswell, during which time the school grew from 160 students to over 600 in the K – 12 programs. He was also instrumental in the formation of the school at Perimeter Presbyterian Church in Duluth. David’s extensive education background makes him a valuable consultant to Bright Future Atlanta.


Ross Lautenbach
Founder and CEO, Freightline

Ross founded Freightline, a transportation and logistics company that connects businesses and carriers to move freight more efficiently across North America. His unique platform optimizes supply chain networks by utilizing assets from a multitude of carriers. Prior to starting his own company, Ross was an assistant vice president and regional sales manager with the Hub Group, an industry leader in the transportation management industry. Ross graduated from Grand Valley State University with a dual degree in Economics and Finance. Ross has been involved with Bright Futures Atlanta for over a decade and is involved in all major operating initiatives.


Sarah Metcalf
Manager of Strategy and Integration, Inspire Brands

Sarah serves as Manager of Strategy and Integration at Inspire Brands, a multi-brand restaurant company whose portfolio
includes more than 11,100 Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, SONIC Drive-In, Rusty Taco, and Jimmy John’s locations worldwide. She is responsible for identifying and integrating strategic additions to Inspire’s portfolio as well as building Inspire’s multi-brand commercial platform. Sarah is an alumna of the University of Georgia where she received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in
Finance. She also serves on the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business Young Alumni Board.


Brandon Powell
Founder and CEO, HatchWorks

Brandon founded HatchWorks, a digital technology firm that empowers clients to thrive in a market that is connected, measured, and instantaneous. Their strategy is to partner with clients to help them advance their technology, products, and experiences so that they are quickly able to evolve and grow in today’s digital market. Prior to starting his own company, Brandon was the Head of Products at Cricket Wireless, a fully owned subsidiary of AT&T. His team was accountable for defining and delivering the entire product portfolio strategy, vision and road map for the company. Brandon graduated from The University of Georgia with a degree in Management Information Systems and from Harvard Business School’s Program for Leadership Development.


Renette Rier
Customer Development Director, Georgia-Pacific LLC

Renette Rier is a strategist, leader, and driver of innovation. With over 20 years of business experience, she currently works as Customer Development Director at Georgia-Pacific. Renette has a passion for organization and strategy that she uses in both professional and voluntary opportunities. Her expertise in strategy, marketing, and analytics has been helpful to a variety of organizations including Cornerstone Church, Junior League of Atlanta, and Bright Futures Atlanta. She is passionate about solving the problems of today by both tried and true and creative means. She has an MBA from Emory University and a BS in Chemical Engineering from Florida A & M University. She is married to Paul Rier, III and has three sons, Paul IV, Asa and Justus.


Tony Van Gelder (Treasurer)
Owner/Advisor, Van Gelder Financial

Tony is the Owner and lead Financial Advisor at Van Gelder Financial (formerly ETI Financial Group). Van Gelder Financial focuses on providing holistic financial planning and wealth management solutions to individuals and families with the three key components of wisdom, consistency, and integrity guiding their work. Prior to this role, Tony spent ten years working in Asia and Australia where he held various corporate finance roles for global healthcare companies. Tony holds a bachelors degree in Finance and Operations Management from Indiana University and his MBA from Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. Tony has held various volunteer positions with organizations across the world, but he is most passionate about using his experience and knowledge to bring financial literacy to the youth of Bright Futures Atlanta.


Craig Viergever, SIOR 
Executive Vice President and Principal, Lee & Associates

Craig has thirty years experiences in commercial real estate with an emphasis on the industrial sector. He specializes in representing owners/sellers as well as tenants/buyers primarily in Atlanta. Most recently, he has focused on representing a number of manufacturing and e-commerce companies with growth and consolidation needs. He joined SIOR in 2006 which represents the highest level of professionalism in his industry. Craig graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in Economics and Political Science. Craig was awarded the Commercial Board of Realtor’s Community Service Award in 2011 for his continued service to Bright Futures Atlanta.