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“[Servant leadership] is something I know the military brings and veterans bring to the table every single day.”
Having served in the U.S. Army as a First Lieutenant in West Germany during the fall of the Iron Curtain before transitioning to a longtime career at Mercedes Benz and now the Chief Executive Officer of AMB Sports + Entertainment, Stephen Cannon knows and appreciates who veterans are, what they stand for, and the value that they bring to organizations as employees.
This week, we are honored to welcome Stephen Cannon to the FourBlock Podcast, where he shares details from his own military experience and transition, recounts how he landed his first job out of the military and worked his way up to CEO, and why he continues to give back to the military community, using his platform to “shine a spotlight on the service and sacrifice that goes on every single day.”
Among Atlanta Business Chronicles 2019 Most Admired CEO's, Stephen Cannon serves as the chief executive officer of AMB Sports + Entertainment (AMBSE) assuming the day-to-day leadership of Mercedes-Benz Stadium (MBS), Atlanta Falcons Football Club, United Soccer Properties and PGA TOUR Superstore. AMBSE serves as a for-profit holding group under the Arthur M. Blank Family of Businesses. Prior to joining AMBSE in 2016, Cannon served as president and chief executive officer of Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) and was responsible for leading operations that generated record sales with annual revenues exceeding $20 billion.
Cannon has led the evolution of Mercedes-Benz Stadium (MBS) since its doors opened in August 2017. Home to the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United, MBS has hosted a record-setting number of large sports and entertainment events including Super Bowl LIII in 2019, the College Football Playoff Championship game in 2018 and will host NCAA Men's Final Four in March 2020. Under Cannon's leadership, MBS was the first professional sports stadium in North America to achieve LEED Platinum Certification by the United States Green Building Council and MBS Food & Beverage Experience was honored as Sports Breakthrough of the Year 2018 by Sports Business Journal for its record-breaking, affordable fanfare pricing.
Cannon, the 2020 NFL Salute to Service Award recipient and among the top-three finalist across the 32 NFL teams in 2019, has led efforts to make the Atlanta Falcons' military outreach efforts the benchmark in the NFL. In 2018, Cannon and former Falcons Head Coach Dan Quinn, spearheaded the first NFL team-directed USO Tour, visiting soldiers at various bases throughout Iraq and Kuwait. A tireless supporter of America's military and military families, Cannon alongside his fellow West Point classmates, founded the Johnny Mac Soldiers fund in 2014. The organization honors military service and sacrifice by providing scholarships to veterans and military family members, particularly children of our nation's fallen and disabled. What began as a small effort to help one fallen classmate's family has grown into an organization that has raised more than $17 million. Cannon also serves on the national board of directors for TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors).
Cannon graduated with honors from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1986 and was Airborne Ranger qualified and served as First Lieutenant in West Germany during the fall of the Iron Curtain. During his time in the Army, he also served five years as an artillery officer. A two-time lettered wrestler at West Point, The National Wrestling Hall of Fame named Cannon the 2019 Outstanding American, an honor given to leaders who have used the disciplines of wrestling to launch distinguished careers in other walks of life.
Cannon and his wife, Ann, reside in Atlanta and are the parents of nine children.
Welcome to the FourBlock Podcast, a show that examines veteran career transition and the military-civilian divide in the workplace. General Charles Krulak coined the term “Three Block War” to describe the nature of 21st-century military service defined by peace-keeping, humanitarian aid, and full combat. But what happens next? Veterans are often unprepared to return home and begin new careers. We call this the Fourth Block.
FourBlock is a national non-profit that has supported thousands of transitioning service members across the nation in beginning new and meaningful careers.
Mike Abrams (@fourblock) is an Afghanistan veteran, FourBlock founder, and author of two military transition books. He’ll be representing the military transition perspective. Lindsey Pollak (@lindsaypollak) is a career and workplace expert and New York Times bestselling author of three career advice books. Lindsey will be representing the civilian perspective of this issue.
Veterans, explore new industries and make the right connections. Find a career that fits your calling. Join us at fourblock.org. Sponsor our program or host a class to equip more of our veterans at fourblock.org/donate.