The Harry West Visionary Leadership Award was established in 2014 to honor ARC’s longest-serving executive director, who exemplified courageous and visionary leadership during his entire career in the public, private and university sectors. Each summer, the Atlanta Regional Commission accepts nominations for individuals who exemplify outstanding community service, inspired leadership and commitment to the Atlanta region.
The chosen nominee is recognized at ARC’s annual State of the Region event.
2023 Harry West Visionary Leadership Award Recipient, Joe Bankoff
The 2023 Harry West Visionary Leadership Award was presented to longtime civic leader Joe Bankoff in recognition of more than 40 years of leadership, dedication, and achievement that have left an indelible mark on the Atlanta region.
From being a champion for children through the National Court Appointed Special Advocates, to supporting the arts as the chair of the Fulton County Arts Council, Joe Bankoff stands apart for his ability to tackle civic and community challenges across a broad spectrum of issues.
Bankoff’s involvement in Atlanta’s arts community has been transformational. He left his position as senior partner at King & Spalding to become President & CEO of Atlanta’s Woodruff Arts Center in 2006. Prior to that, he played a pivotal role in bringing the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra to the Olympic Games, commissioning the iconic Olympic theme music that the ASO played at the opening ceremonies in 1996.
Perhaps most importantly, Joe has spent countless hours mentoring and guiding upcoming regional leaders. His knack for nurturing the potential in others will continue to shape our community for generations to come.
Harry West Recipients
Shirley Franklin, 2022 Harry West Award Recipient.
Doug Hooker - 2021 Harry West Award recipient.
Charlotte Nash - 2020 Harry West Award Winner
Clara Axam, 2019 Harry West Award Winner
Governor Nathan Deal, 2018 Harry West Award Recipient.
Alicia Philipp, 2017 Harry West Award Recipient.
Craig Lesser, 2016 Harry West Award Recipient.
Bill Bolling, 2015 Harry West Award Recipient.
Harry West Award Application
Individual nominees may work in any sector – public, private or non-profit – and must:
- Demonstrate leadership in addressing important regional issues or opportunities.
- Exhibit vision in communicating how change can occur in the Atlanta region.
- Work collaboratively with others in addressing regional challenges.
- Inspire actions that will create long-term benefits for the region and its citizens.
- Live in Atlanta, Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry or Rockdale counties.