Clayton State University announces commencement speakers for the Fall 2016 Commencement ceremony on Dec. 10.
Senior Vice President, Georgia Power Metro Atlanta Region
A 20-year veteran of the energy industry, Pedro Cherry serves as the senior vice president of Georgia Power’s Metro Atlanta Region. Cherry leads operations, sales, customer service, economic and community development and external affairs for 1.2 million customers across 29 counties in metro Atlanta.
Under Southern Company, Cherry has served as served as finance manager for Southern Generation/Southern Power, assistant to the chief financial officer of Southern Company and Metro West Region manager for Georgia Power, serving 175,000 customers in Cobb, Cherokee, Douglas, Paulding counties, and parts of Fulton County.
Most recently, Cherry served as vice president of community and economic development for Georgia Power, directing the company’s efforts to recruit new industry to Georgia and improve the marketability of communities in the state. The division has generated more than 121,000 new jobs and $24 billion in capital investment over the past decade.
Before joining Southern Company, Cherry worked as an engineering and business analyst for Carolina Power and Light Corp.
Cherry is a member of several community and economic development boards, including the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority, the Georgia Transportation Alliance, the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Latin American Association.
He is also an adviser to the board of directors for the Georgia Department of Economic Development, and is on the board of directors for Junior Achievement of Georgia, Great Promise Kids and the State of Georgia Children’s Cabinet.
Cherry received a bachelor’s in Industrial Engineering and a MBA in Finance and Management from Auburn University.
Judge Michael Baird
Judge, Department of Justice, Executive Office for Immigration Review-Atlanta Immigration Court
Atlanta native, Judge Michael P. Baird, is a longtime member of the Clayton State University family. He is a 1989 graduate of Clayton State University where he earned a Bachelor’s of Business Administration in Management. He also taught business law at the University as an assistant professor.
He received his juris doctorate from Georgia State University’s College of Law in 1992.
Baird was appointed to serve as an immigration judge in April 2009 by Attorney General Eric Holder. In his current role, Judge Baird sits on the Atlanta Immigration Court, a component of the Executive Office for Immigration Review. The independent agency is responsible for interpreting immigration laws in administrative hearings, as well as conduct appellate review hearings on a variety of immigration issues.
Baird served as a senior assistant solicitor general in the Clayton County Solicitor’s Office from 1993 to 1995 and later as assistant district attorney in the Appalachian Judicial Circuit in Georgia.
He was first elected to the bench in 1996. He served in a number of judicial roles over the years including Chief Magistrate Court judge in Clayton County and Municipal Court judge in the cities of Jonesboro and Forest Park in Georgia.
Baird also served as a police officer with the Lake City Police Department. He is a member of the Georgia Bar.