MICHAEL B. RUSSELL
Chief Executive Officer
Vice President of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Vice President of Program
Vice President of
YASMINE S. MURRAY, ESQ.
COO & General Counsel
MICHAEL L. SWICK
Vice President of
Vice President of
MICHAEL RUSSELL – Chief Executive Officer
EDUCATION: B.S., Civil Engineering, University of Virginia. M.B.A., Georgia State University
Michael Russell was promoted to Chief Executive Officer of H. J. Russell & Company in October 2003 succeeding his father, Herman Russell, who founded the company in 1952 and led it for 50 years. A 28-year veteran of the construction and real estate development industry, Michael is charged with leading the Company to greater heights as it embarks on its next fifty years. The Company’s operational focus will be in construction and program management, real estate development and property management.
Michael is also Vice Chairman of Concessions International, an innovator in the airport food and beverage concessions industry. He is actively involved in the strategic direction and growth initiatives of Concessions. The Russell Companies, which consists of H. J. Russell & Company and Concessions International, employs more than 2,000 individuals with operations in 10 major cities including its Atlanta headquarters, Dallas, Washington DC, Miami, Raleigh, Seattle, Denver, and the USVI.
Michael is very active in the community involved in business and civic organizations. He serves on the boards of various organizations including the Metro Atlanta Chamber (Executive Committee), Commerce Club, SunTrust Atlanta Bank Advisory Board, Georgia State University’s J. Mack Robinson College of Business Advisory Board, and University of Virginia Foundation Board. Michael is also a member of the Atlanta Rotary Club and 100 Black Men.
H. JEROME RUSSELL, JR. – President
EDUCATION: B.S., Business Administration and Management, Georgia State University
H. Jerome Russell, Jr. moved through the professional ranks of H. J. Russell & Company’s construction and real estate development operations to his current position as President of H. J. Russell & Company and Russell New Urban Development®. His focus is on the firm’s strategic direction, enhancing value in the family’s real estate holdings and the development of Herman J. Russell Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (RCIE). Jerome has been involved in the beverage distribution, aviation interior, consumer marketing, banking, construction and real estate development business for over 30 years.
Like his father, Herman J. Russell, Sr., Jerome has an entrepreneurial flair, a firmly placed future orientation, and a dedication to his community. His latest endeavor is repositioning of the vast real estate portfolio of the Russell family and leading the initiative of turning the 504 Fair Street building into The Russell Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center. He also serves on the board of H. J. Russell & Company, Concessions International, Chairman of the Loan Committee at Citizens Trust Bank, Metro Atlanta YMCA, Georgia Historical Society, and Central Atlanta Progress. He is a member of the Urban Land Institute, Atlanta Rotary, Atlanta Chamber of Commerce the Young President Organization, and the 100 Black Men of Atlanta.
BARRY COMPTON – Vice President of Construction
EDUCATION: B.S., Building Construction, Georgia Institute of Technology. M.B.A., Finance, University of Houston
Serving as Vice President of Construction, Barry oversees some of the firm’s largest and complex projects, which can reach as high as $1.6 billion. From hotels and stadiums to hospitals and office buildings, Barry’s 40 years of construction and program management experience have crossed numerous industries. This has resulted in his ability to think “outside of the box” when solving clients’ most difficult challenges.
In addition to being respected for his expertise, Barry has a friendly, collaborative work style that promotes a positive partnership between clients, designers, and contractors, as he is actively engaged throughout design, preconstruction, construction, turnover, and warranty period efforts.
Barry was an adjunct professor of construction at his alma mater, the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he graduated with a Bachelor’s in building construction and currently assists with graduate level group projects and mentoring programs.
BRYAN JACKSON – Vice President of Program Management
EDUCATION: Advanced Level Economics and Geography, St. John’s College administered by the University of Cambridge, Harare, Zimbabwe
As Vice President of Program Management, Bryan is responsible for the overall management and growth of the Program Management Division, providing clients a full range of design and construction management services through all phases of projects and programs.
With more than 23 years of experience in the program management and construction space, both locally and abroad, Bryan’s experiences bring a wealth of knowledge to our executive team. Also, his project experience across various business sectors are valuable in helping Russell expand as we explore new industries and close new business opportunities.
Prior to joining Russell, Bryan ran Construction Concepts, (Pvt) Ltd., his own construction company in his hometown of Harare, Zimbabwe. Prior to that, he held leadership positions, working out of Atlanta, with Cumming Construction Management and Faithful+Gould between 1996 and 2013.
Originally from Harare, Zimbabwe, Bryan attended and graduated from St. John’s College in Harare with advanced level economics and geography, administered by the University of Cambridge, with further education in quantity surveying and construction management.
YASMINE S. MURRAY, ESQ. – Chief Operating Officer, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary
EDUCATION: B.S., Legal Studies, Magna Cum Laude, Bay Path University. J.D. with honors, University of Georgia School of Law
CERTIFICATIONS: Certified Professional of Occupancy (CPO) and Specialist in Housing Credit Management (SHCM)
As COO, General Counsel as well as Corporate Secretary, Yasmine S. Murray, Esq. directs and coordinates the activities of the H. J. Russell & Company’s various departments and collaborates with the CEO to formulate and administer the company’s policies across the organization and externally. She also ensures that Russell’s vision and goals are successfully executed. As the company’s General Counsel, she manages the firm’s legal affairs and works diligently to mitigate risk company-wide, with particular attention within the realm of real estate development and construction.
Yasmine brings a strong commitment to Russell’s core values and a deep understanding of the unique legal issues it faces. She joined the company more than a decade ago moving up the ranks to assume the role as Corporate Counsel and Risk Manager before becoming General Counsel and Corporate Secretary. Having had the responsibility for real estate development and property management within the organization, She has provided successful leadership on developments totaling more than 2,500 housing units and the management, acquisition and sale of a portfolio with more than 3,300 units.
Yasmine is a member of the American Bar Association, Association of Corporate Counsel, Atlanta Business League, Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys, Minority Corporate Counsel Association, National Association of Professional Women, State Bar of Georgia, and the Urban Land Institute. Also, she served on the Council for Quality Growth’s 2019 Government Affairs Task Force and was honored among the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s 2021 Corporate Counsel Diversity Champion, “Women Who Mean Business” for 2020, and 2018 Who’s Who in Black Atlanta “Game Changer.” Lastly, she serves on the Georgia Budget & Policy Institute’s board of directors.
Yasmine earned her B.S. in legal studies, with a concentration in business administration, from Bay Path University and her J.D. from the University of Georgia School of Law.
MITCHELL POWELL, CPA – Chief Financial Officer
EDUCATION: B.S., Accounting, University of South Florida. M.S., Real Estate, New York University
As Chief Financial Officer, Mitchell Powell is responsible for planning, implementing, managing and controlling matters of the company’s financial functions. This includes budgeting, accounting, financing, forecasting, strategic planning, compliance, reporting, and more.
With over 30 years of experience and leadership in finance and accounting, Mitchell possesses a wealth of knowledge to help lead H. J. Russell & Company’s financial interests as the company grows and explores existing and new industries. Ensuring Russell has a solid financial infrastructure is key as the firm moves forward with future endeavors.
Prior to joining Russell, Mitchell served for more than 10 years as the CFO at the Integral Group, LLC in Atlanta and as the Vice President of Asset Management at Rockwood Capital Corporation in San Francisco. He is a board member and treasurer of the Real Estate Investment Advisory Council and has served as a panelist at the Chief Financial Officer Conference in New York discussing the implementation of financial technology. Mitchell is a licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA).
MICHAEL L. SWICK – Vice President of Operations
EDUCATION: Mechanical Engineering, Boston University. A.A.S., Construction Management, Wentworth Institute of Technology
Michael Swick has over 22 years of construction experience across commercial and residential sectors. He serves Vice President of Operations for H. J. Russell & Company’s construction division and is responsible for the overall leadership and growth of Russell’s construction group.
Before joining Russell, Michael was Director of Sustainability and Senior Project Manager for Choate Construction Company, a commercial general contracting firm with offices throughout the southeast and annual gross revenues in excess of $1B. As Senior Project Manager, he completed over $350M and 2.6M square feet of construction projects across a wide variety of industry sectors, including hospitality, apartment, senior living, student housing, office, warehouse, public works, athletic facilities, and retail.
Michael has held several civic leadership roles. He was elected president of the U.S. Green Building Council of Georgia in 2014 and 2015 and served as Chair of Atlanta’s Neighborhood Planning Unit-C from 2012 through 2015. He has received many awards, most notably the recipient of Engineering News-Record’s Top 20 Under 40.
Lastly, Michael studied mechanical engineering at Boston University and has an A.A.S. in construction management from Wentworth Institute of Technology. He also studied preservation carpentry at the North Bennett Street School in Boston. He is a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), Accredited Professional.
TIFFANIE LEWIS – Vice President of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
EDUCATION: B.S., Computer Information Systems, University of West Georgia. M.S., Information Management, Walden University
Tiffanie began her career with H. J. Russell & Company as a high school student working in the mail room. For 25 years, she progressed during her tenure with the company and now serves as Vice President of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I).
In her role, Tiffanie leads Russell’s DE&I program, where she works with her team in developing, implementing, and monitoring corporate DE&I initiatives to help cultivate a diverse and inclusive culture across the organization as well as on construction and program management projects. Reporting directly to Yasmine S. Murray, Esq., Chief Operating Officer, Tiffanie works to increase the department’s capacity to help make an impactful difference within and outside of the organization.
An Atlanta native, Tiffanie graduated from the University of West Georgia with a Bachelor of Science degree and she received her master’s degree from Walden University. She also has a graduate certificate in College Teaching and Learning and a graduate certificate in Leadership. Her business affiliations include membership in the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics (SCCE) among many others.
Tiffanie is a 2020 Who’s Who in Black Atlanta honoree and Atlanta Tribune: The Magazine and AtlantaDailyWorld.com’s 2019 Woman of Excellence. Also, she was elected into the 100 Women of Influence Class of 2018 by the Atlanta Business League.
ELAINE UBAKANMA, PHR, SHRM-CP – Vice President of Human Resources
EDUCATION: B.S., Human Resources, Summa Cum Laude, Walden University
Vice President of Human Resources Elaine Ubakanma, has been with H. J. Russell & Company since 1989. During her tenure with Russell, she served as an administrative assistant on the auditing, risk management, finance and human resources teams. Once finding her true passion in human resources, she became our HR Administrator, HR Manager, and Director of Human Resources before taking on her current position.
Elaine provides leadership as a strategic business partner, change agent and champion, coach, as well as training and development counselor for the company’s senior leaders, managers and supervisors. She continues to focus on making sure employees have a voice, ensuring they are not just listened to but that their needs are also met. In addition, she works with external business partners to ensure that those relationships help Russell contain its benefits costs, streamline processes and procedures, as well as improve employees’ value-added benefits, systems solutions and improvements.
Elaine holds a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and Society for Human Resource Management Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) designations. She is a member of the Society for Human Resources (SHRM), World Employee Benefits (WEB-Atlanta), and the National Association of African Americans in Human Resources (NAAAHR).
PAUL BRYANT – Vice President of External Affairs
EDUCATION: B.A., General Studies, University of Nebraska at Omaha. M.A., Urban Studies and M.A., Urban Education, University of Nebraska at Omaha
Paul Bryant serves as Vice President of External Affairs at H. J. Russell & Company, where he is responsible for supporting business development for existing and potential clients, providing a consistent voice for the company that enhances and protects the Russell brand, and representing the company on behalf of the leadership team and employees at community events. Also, he leads the Russell CARES Employee Giving Committee, a select group of Russell employees that have the responsibility of reviewing and selecting contribution recipients.
Prior to joining Russell, Paul was the founder of Atlanta-based Leadership Institute for Urban Education, where he trained more than 250 leaders in Fortune 500 companies and wrote a 2009 Pulitzer Prize nominated book, “The Purpose-Living Leader.” Prior to that, Bryant held such positions as adjunct professor at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, executive director of The United Methodist Community Center, business banker at Wells Fargo Bank, interim president/CEO of the Urban League of Nebraska, senior vice president of The Gallup Organization, and business development officer at First National Bank of Omaha.