Austria is keeping its Atlanta honorary consulate in the family.
Ferdinand Seefried, a commercial real estate developer who had represented his native country in Georgia, Alabama and Tennesee for 31 years, passed the torch to his son, Paul, earlier this month upon his retirement.
Paul Seefried has already been cleared by the Austrian government and formally appointed as honorary consul by Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen, the Austrian embassy in Washington said in a statement Dec. 3.
Reflecting on his more than three decades of service, Ferdinand Seefried said the post was “interesting and gratifying” thanks to Atlanta’s growth, both in population and in global standing, since he ascended to the position five years after starting a real estate company here.
“During my term the business, the cultural and the academic ties between Austria and the Southeast have become close, and I believe this trend will continue due to the attractiveness of the region,” he said in the statement.
Arriving here as a representative of a European real estate advisory group, Mr. Seefried founded Seefried Properties Inc. in Atlanta in 1984, targeting developing areas near airports and other logistical infrastructure. Since then, the company has developed more than 75 million square feet of industrial space.
Mr. Seefried has used connections with freight forwarders, European investors and retailers to become a key developer of warehouses around the South and beyond, now managing more than 27 million square feet of warehouse space across the country. The firm remains privately owned.
Paul Seefried also joined the firm in 2011 and now serves as senior vice president of the Florida region. He has experience in the e-commerce space, having helped build regional distribution centers for Amazon.com in four states. Seefried Properties was announced in July 2019 as the developer on a 1,000-job Amazon distribution center straddling Gwinnett and DeKalb counties. Paul also serves on the board of the Georgia Cities Foundation.
Ferdinand Seefried has often opened his home for diplomatic engagements, including pan-European functions as well as multiple visits from multiple Austrian ambassadors over the decades. Global Atlanta’s archives first reference such a visit in 2000. They have continued steadily, often aligning key events like the Habsburg Splendor exhibition at the High Museum in 2015 and more recently, former ambassador Wolfgang Waldner’s 2018 visit to kick off a European trade forum at Georgia Tech.
Advantage Austria, the country’s trade commission, has also had a consistent presence in Georgia through Angelika Heitzmann, whom Mr. Seefried thanked for more than 20 years of administrative help with the honorary consulate.
Monique Seefried, Ferdinand’s wife, is also influential in the city, boasting a wide-ranging career in international education and serving as a federal appointee on the World War I Centennial Commission and its state-level counterpart.
Ferdinand Seefried is a member of the Capital City Club Atlanta, the U.S. Austria Chamber of Commerce New York and holds a director position in the Stonebranch Software Company. He is also a member of the Emory University Department of German Studies advisory council.
Read Global Atlanta’s first-ever reference to Mr. Seefried from 1996, when Seefried Properties was already being recognized for its work facilitating trade around the airport: Clayton County to Honor International Firm and Executive
Learn more about Ferdinand Seefried in this New Austria Information interview.
Contact the honorary consulate at firstname.lastname@example.org or learn more about Austrian honorary consulates in the U.S. at www.austria.org/honoraryconsulates.