Georgia Historical Society Board Members Paul Bowers and Kessel Stelling and GHS President Dr. W. Todd Groce Named to Georgia Trend 100 Most Influential Georgians

Atlanta, Ga., January 3, 2019 – GHS Board members Paul Bowers and Kessel Stelling, along with GHS President and CEO Dr. W. Todd Groce, have been named among the 100 Most Influential Georgians by Georgia Trend magazine.

W. Paul Bowers is president and CEO of Georgia Power, the largest subsidiary of Southern Company, one of the nation’s largest producers of electricity. Mr. Bowers is chairman of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, chair of the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education and vice chair of the Georgia Department of Economic Development. He is also a member of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s energy policy council and a trustee for The Woodruff Arts Center. Mr. Bowers holds a B.S. degree from the University of West Florida, a Master’s degree in management from Troy University, and is a graduate of the Harvard Business School Advanced Management program.

Kessel Stelling was named President and Chief Executive Officer of Synovus in October 2010 and elected Chairman of the Board in January 2012. Under his leadership, the company has been named one of American Banker’s most reputable banks for four consecutive years, including 2017, when it ranked number one. He was appointed to the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia in February 2008 and was Chairman of the Board in 2016. Stelling was elected to the Georgia Power Board of Directors in 2016 and is a longtime member of the Board of Directors of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce where he serves as Chairman. He also serves as a Board member of the Bank Policy Institute, a nonpartisan public policy, research and advocacy group, representing the nation’s leading banks.  

One of the leading public history executives in the nation, W. Todd Groce graduated cum laude and with honors in history from the University of Memphis and earned an M.A. and Ph.D. in history from the University of Tennessee. While in graduate school he taught American history at the University of Tennessee and Maryville College.
In 1990 Dr. Groce began his career in public history. He served five years as executive director of the East Tennessee Historical Society, taking that institution to the next level through the development of a new regional history museum. In November 1994 Dr. Groce was named the executive director of the Georgia Historical Society, and in April 2006 he was elected the institution’s 43rd president. This is the eighth consecutive year for Dr. Groce to make the annual listing of the state’s most powerful and influential citizens who affect the lives and livelihoods of all Georgians. 

“It is an honor to have Georgia Trend recognize two members of our distinguished Board of Curators and our President among the 100 Most Influential People in Georgia,” said Laura García-Culler, Executive Vice President and COO of the Georgia Historical Society. “Their generosity of time and resources to GHS and their leadership and service to our great state and to the industries that they serve is highly commendable. We are proud to see them honored in such a meaningful way.”
The annual selections of the 100 Most Influential Georgians are made through a year-round process by the editorial staff at Georgia Trend and are announced each January. Profiles for all 100 members of the 2019 class can be found in the January 2019 issue of Georgia Trend.


Georgia Historical Society (GHS) is the premier independent statewide institution responsible for collecting, examining, and teaching Georgia history. GHS houses the oldest and most distinguished collection of materials related exclusively to Georgia history in the nation.