H. Eric Hilton grew up in Arlington, Va., the son of two career federal government employees. His mother worked for the U.S. Department of Transportation, his father, Housing and Urban Development. He went to college at Hampton University, a historically black institution founded in 1868 on the banks of the Virginia Peninsula in the southeastern part of the state. He returned to Washington for law school at George Washington University.

This spring, at 38, he was named vice president for legal affairs of the largest black-owned construction business in the country — H.J. Russell & Co. It’s also one of the largest minority-owned businesses of any kind in the country. With revenue in the neighborhood of $370 million, it’s among the biggest private companies in Atlanta. Evidence of Russell’s work can be seen in signature buildings all over the city: Philips Arena, the Georgia Dome, Turner Field, the Coca-Cola headquarters, Lakewood HiFi Buys Amphitheatre, the Georgia-Pacific Center and Atlanta Life headquarters.

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