A perennial member of an exclusive group of iconic BE 100s CEOs, the late Russell forged a legacy as an accomplished businessman and mentor who inspired several generations of leaders in commerce, politics, education, and corporate America. He rose above both societal barriers and personal disadvantages– including a lifelong speech impediment–as he pursued entrepreneurial success. Publisher Graves wrote that “If the late, legendary Mayor Maynard H. Jackson was the prime architect of ‘New South’ Atlanta, Russell was its master builder.” In developing the nation’s
largest Black-owned construction firm, he changed the skylines of American cities
and international hubs and opened doors for African Americans in general contracting,
real estate management, and airport concessions.