The American Heart Association’s 2022 Greater Atlanta Heart Walk will take place on Saturday, September 10 at 8:30 a.m. at the Battery Atlanta, and more than 7,500 Atlantans are expected to raise heart health awareness and funds at the event.
Jeff Buzzelli, Senior Vice President of Comcast Business, will be the chair of the event. Comcast Business will serve as the event presenting sponsor for the second year.
Other sponsors include Wellstar Health System, Northside Hospital, ADP, Southern Company, Emory Healthcare, Home Depot, SA White Oil Company, and Burns and McDonnell.
The Courier spoke with Buzzelli about the walk and about his role and the role of Comcast in the event.
When asked to describe his role at Comcast, Buzzelli said, “I run the Comcast business division, based here in Atlanta. Truist Park is our division headquarters.”
“And the Comcast business group that I’m responsible for provides Internet, phone and other highly tactical telecom and other services to small businesses, all the way up to Fortune 500 companies.”
“So we have big customers like NCR, Delta Airlines, in addition to kind of the average small business: doctor’s offices, auto, auto shops, things of that nature,” he said. “And we’ve grown significantly.”
“We’re about 15 years old as a division within Comcast,” Buzzelli said. “So we’re one of the newer businesses when we got into the commercial space.”
“And we’ve been really in high growth mode, on a run rate close to about $10 billion in revenue to really making a difference from a growth perspective in the marketplace, and a big part of the growth within the Comcast company overall,” he said.
About the American Heart Association’s Greater Atlanta Heart Walk and his role within the event, Buzzelli said, “I joined the board about five years ago, we had done some things with the American Heart Association, but they had a focus on getting more of the big strategic companies within the Atlanta DMA (Designated Market Area) to kind of come on board and be more participative in a lot of the efforts that the American Heart Association is doing and benefiting citizens of Georgia with.”
He said that when the heart association approached him he saw it as a great opportunity, since one of the verticals Comcast was involved in was medical.
“We’re seeing massive growth in that segment,” Buzzelli said. “And so I have an interest there.”
“But also it fits with our mantra about delivering healthy lifestyles for our employees, and we pride ourselves on great benefits, but living a healthy lifestyle is one of the things we talk about a lot with our employee groups.”
“And so the Heart Association … they stand for that big time, the heart health, the stroke health and all the things they’re doing in the market with research and awareness to help people avoid these really catastrophic kind of illnesses.”
“It just was a good match for me, and I was looking to figure out a way to help make a difference in the community,” he said.
The Courier asked what participants in the walk could expect on the day of the event.
He said that a really big turnout was expected.
“Obviously, the last few years with the pandemic, we had to move to more hybrid or virtual events,” he said. “This event we think, will get back to kind of, you know, 2018, 2019 time period where we had large groups of employees representing their companies.”
“So there’s a lot of company pride that different companies come in with their T shirts, and they get everybody ready in the morning,” he said. “So we’re expecting a big crowd from the Comcast team.”
“One of the things a lot of folks don’t realize is there’s even things that the Heart Association does around food safety and food security for families in need,” Buzzelli said. “A lot of the money raised for the Heart Walk goes to things like that, in addition to all the heart and stroke care research.”
Buzzelli said that on a personal note, his wife had required critical heart care because of a blood clot, and her treatment was done at Northside Hospital and Emory Health Care.
“The Heart Association supporting the research and the support for those organizations is so critical,” he said. “My wife got just phenomenal care from the Emory team.”
“They saved her life actually, because she had a really urgent kind of situation,” said Buzzelli. “And it just gave me a new appreciation of how important this is in the community.”