Member Biographies

ASIF JESSANI
Asif Jessani is a Marketing and Technology Consultant from Lawrenceville who has lived in Gwinnett County for six and a half years. Asif’s community involvement includes the Gwinnett Chamber’s HYPE for Young Professionals, the Georgia Charter School Association, Lilburn Business Association, Aga Khan Youth and Sports Board, Jubilee Monuments Corp, Camp Mosaic, and the Ismaili Council for Southeastern United States. He also contributes his time as a volunteer Pre-School Teacher and Scoutmaster. Asif stays involved in the community through volunteer work with organizations that help him gain a better understanding of local resource and service needs, such as Engage Gwinnett. Asif Jessani chose to serve on the Engage Gwinnett Committee to help provide feedback on the services Gwinnett provides and bring a fresh perspective to the many facets of the current discussions.

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CAROL HASSELL
Carol Hassell of Suwanee, is the Executive Director of the Georgia Piedmont Land Trust and has lived in Gwinnett County for over 34 years. Carol has been involved with organizations such as Suwanee’s Harvest Farm Community Garden Founders, Atlanta Audubon Society, Institute for Georgia Environmental Leadership, and Leadership Gwinnett. Carol has served on City Council in Suwanee and has many years of experience in local environmental efforts such as chairing the Tree Advisory Committee, and serving on the Development Advisory Committee and the Growth Issues Steering Committee. She has also been an active participant in previous comprehensive plan updates. Carol Hassell chose to serve on the Engage Gwinnett Committee because she believes citizen participation is critical and because she believes environmental concerns and protection is key to a healthy community and should be factored into any service or budget assessment.

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ERIK RICHARDS
Erik Richards is a US Army All American Bowl Director from Duluth and has lived in Gwinnett County for 35 years. Erik is President of the Gwinnett Football League, as well as on the Gwinnett Lacrosse League Executive Board. He visits Gwinnett’s parks daily and between football, cheerleading and lacrosse he serves over 12,000 kids throughout our community. Erik Richards chose to serve on the Engage Gwinnett Committee to assist in making Gwinnett County services as great and efficient as possible.

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BOB GRIGGS
Bob Griggs of unincorporated Loganville-Grayson is an entrepreneur who owns his own company, Web Publisher, and also serves as a designated agent of E-Verify. Bob has lived in Gwinnett County for 12 years. He served in local and federal law enforcement for 10 years and was the Chairman of the Board of Equalization in Newton County handling property tax appeals. Bob is politically active in the community and has been involved in numerous campaigns at the local and state level. Bob Griggs chose to serve on the Engage Gwinnett Committee because he realizes Gwinnett is at a critical point in its maturation process and wanted to be involved in moving his home county in the right direction.

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NORWOOD DAVIS
Norwood Davis is Chief Financial Officer for 12 Stone Church. He has lived in Lawrenceville for six and a half years. Norwood’s community involvement includes being an active member of the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Church Business Administrators, the Board of Directors for Street GRACE , World Hope International Board, District Committee for the Apalachee District of Boy Scouts of America, and Georgia Gwinnett College Foundation’s Board of Trustees. A Masters of Business Administration and nearly two decades of business and leadership experience have equipped Norwood with the ability to make decisions to allocate constrained resources in the pursuit of unconstrained vision and aspiration. Norwood Davis chose to serve on the Engage Gwinnett Committee because of his desire to be a part of navigating important decisions that will determine the trajectory for the county over the next 20 years.

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DICK GOODMAN
Dick Goodman is a freelance Marketing/Communications Writer from Suwanee who has lived in Gwinnett for three and a half years. Dick currently serves as a Councilman for the City of Suwanee. As a self-employed writer, he has been exposed to a variety of businesses across a wide range of industries, as well as government bodies. Dick Goodman chose to serve on the Engage Gwinnett Committee to ensure that Gwinnett County remains a quality and affordable place to live.

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DEMETRIUS D. JORDAN
Demetrius D. Jordan is the Director of United Way in Gwinnett/North Fulton and has lived in Gwinnett’s ‘Golden Triangle’ for eight months. Demetrius serves on the Gwinnett Chamber’s Board of Directors, is a graduate of Leadership Gwinnett, is an active Board Member for the Hudgens Center for the Arts, and is involved in the community as a coach for Peachtree Youth Athletic Association as well as a member of Victory World Church. Demetrius’ experience offers to Engage Gwinnett a strong knowledge of community engagement, how to leverage limited resources for maximum impact, and access to many agencies designed to fill gaps of services not provided by the county. Through his work with United Way he is a strong stakeholder who represents 60 different human care agencies throughout Gwinnett serving over 100,000 individuals.

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RICK COST
Rick Cost is the Chief Financial Officer for Gwinnett County Public Schools. He calls Lawrenceville home and has lived in Gwinnett County for 22 years. Rick is a member of the 12 Stone Church and has chosen to serve on the Engage Gwinnett Committee because he feels it is his civic duty as a member of the community to be actively involved in the future success of this county.

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CHARLOTTE NASH
Charlotte Nash is a governmental and public affairs consultant from the Harbins Community in Dacula who has lived in Gwinnett County her entire life- over 50 years. Charlotte is actively involved on local, regional, and statewide levels. Organizations that benefit from her engagement include the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Gwinnett, the Council for Quality Growth, Gwinnett Recreation Authority, Rotary Club of Gwinnett, the Georgia Government Finance Officers Association, the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority, and the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Transportation and Air Quality Committee. Charlotte offers invaluable historical reference to Gwinnett County operations as she has 28 years of experience as an employee of Gwinnett County, including tenure as County Administrator. Charlotte Nash chose to serve on the Engage Gwinnett Committee out of her personal interest in the outcome of the process and Gwinnett County’s future.

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SCOTT LeCRAW
Scott LeCraw is a Real Estate Broker from Suwanee who has lived in Gwinnett for 28 years. Scott’s community involvement includes the Rotary Club of South Gwinnett, as well as the Atlanta Commercial Board of Realtors. As a graduate of Leadership Gwinnett and as a former candidate for County Commission in 2000, Scott has a strong understanding of local issues. Scott LeCraw chose to serve on the Engage Gwinnett Committee to serve his community.

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KOOK-JA LEE
Kook -Ja (“Cookie”) Lee of Norcross is a funeral home director who has lived in Gwinnett County for 26 years. She has served on previous revitalization task forces in Gwinnett and as an active member of the Korean Association of Greater Atlanta, Cookie chose to serve on the Engage Gwinnett Committee to represent the diverse community of Gwinnett.

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KIP STOKES
Kip Stokes of Auburn, is the Vice President of Pond and Company, an Architect, Engineering and Planning firm in Norcross. He has lived in Gwinnett County for 14 years and is very involved at Hebron Baptist Church in the Children’s Ministry and Adult Sunday School, and also serves as a Sports Coach. He is a graduate of Leadership Gwinnett and a member of the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce and Partnership Gwinnett. Kip is also a proud member of the Georgia Sheriffs Association and the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police. Through his profession, Kip has gained experience with county and city governments. Kip Stokes chose to serve on the Engage Gwinnett Committee because of his desire to be an active participant rather than a spectator in his community.

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LAURIE McCLAIN
Laurie McClain is a CPA from Lawrenceville who has called Gwinnett ‘home’ for 35 years. Laurie has been involved as an Ambassador at the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce and the Director of Hi Hope Service Center Board of Directors. As a CPA she brings great accounting and financial analysis skills to the Engage Gwinnett process. Laurie McClain chose to serve on the Engage Gwinnett Committee because she is passionate about making Gwinnett County a premier place to live. She wanted to learn more about how things work so that she could share and apply her skills for the betterment of our county.

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JULIE POST
Julie Post of Dacula, is the Director of Institutional Effectiveness at Gwinnett Technical College and has lived in Gwinnett County for seven years. Julie’s active involvement through her work in higher education has enabled her to serve the community of Gwinnett in many ways. Her civic involvement includes St. Matthew Catholic Church, MS Society, American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, the Gwinnett Coalition for Health and Human Services’ Great Days of Service, and multiple education research organizations. Julie is a citizen who is truly dedicated to Gwinnett. Her ambitious desire to understand the challenges our county faces drives her passion to serve on the Engage Gwinnett Committee. It is her goal to offer her time to help continue to make Gwinnett a great place to live.

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BILL ATKINSON
Bill Atkinson is a retired General Motors executive, a full-time farmer who raises show cattle, and a former Chairman of the Gwinnett County Commission. He is a resident of Lawrenceville and has lived in Gwinnett County for 73 years. He is the Director of the Gwinnett County Fair and a proud graduate of Gwinnett Senior Leadership. Having lived and served in Gwinnett all of his life, there is no one more dedicated and committed to serving the best interest of Gwinnett County citizens than Bill Atkinson. His knowledge of County history is invaluable to Engage Gwinnett. Bill has engaged in this effort out of his genuine concern for the future of Gwinnett County.

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GLEN S. WILLIAMS
Glen S. Williams is a small business owner from Snellville who has lived in Gwinnett County for 12 years. He has served through the years as Co-Executive Director of GCPS’ South Gwinnett Cluster, a Board member of iTgets Better, School Council member at both Rosebud Elementary and Norton Elementary Schools, District 3 Community Liaison, and a member of the Centerville Business Association. Glen Williams serves on Engage Gwinnett because he wants not to ignore or simply complain about the issues and challenges we face, but to be a part of finding solutions.

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MILLICENT CRANFORD
Millicent Crawford of Duluth works in Project Management and has lived in Gwinnett County for four years. She is an active member of the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce and the Gwinnet County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Millicent’s understanding of and expertise in project management, training and facilitation, and volunteer coordination are tremendously valuable to the Engage Gwinnett process. Millicent is involved to ensure that we keep in mind the needs of children, women, and minorities in our County.

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KELLY KELKENBERG
Kelly Kelkenberg is a retired Air Force Officer that served our country for 30 years. He is from Duluth and has lived in Gwinnett County for a decade. He currently works for FEMA. Kelly’s community service includes Duluth Zoning Board of Appeals, Duluth Planning Commission, Duluth Fall Festival Committee, Sentinels of Freedom Gwinnett, American Legion Post 251, the Air Force Association, and the Reserve Officers Association. Kelly offers more than 35 years of leadership at local and federal levels. He has worked for multiple governmental entities, as well as served two terms as a local elected official. He also brings to the table an MBA and the expertise to lead the business side of a 1,500 person regional emergency management agency. Kelly Kelkenberg is involved in Engage Gwinnett to contribute to the future and betterment of our county. He believes strongly that one should not criticize that which they have not tried to help.

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DAVID McCLESKY
David McClesky is from Hoschton and has lived in Gwinnett for 34 years. Both personally and professionally David is a proven advocate for quality education and health care in our community as he has served in many leadership roles at local and state levels. He has worked with the Georgia School Boards Association, Gwinnett County Public Schools, and currently serves on the Gwinnett Hospital System’s Board of Directors. David McClesky serves on Engage Gwinnett because he believes in the Gwinnett community and our ability to address our problems and opportunities to keep Gwinnett a preferred place to live and work.

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KEVIN KOVALCHIK
Kevin Kovalchik is an attorney from Suwanee who has lived in Gwinnett County for 10 years. He is a member of the Gwinnett County Bar Association and the State Bar of Georgia. Kevin embraced the opportunity to be involved in Engage Gwinnett because he works, lives, and plays in Gwinnett County and as he raises his family here he has a strong vested interest in the health and success of our county.

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DANIEL J. KING
Daniel King is from Duluth and has lived in Gwinnett for 25 years. As an attorney he is actively involved in various legal organizations. He is a strong leader in our community and has graduated from both Leadership Gwinnett and Leadership Atlanta. Dan has raised two children through Gwinnett County Public Schools and has been actively involved in educational initiatives for many years. Dan King hopes his involvement in Engage Gwinnett will help to sustain positive growth in Gwinnett.

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JOSE R. PEREZ
Jose R. Perez is a business consultant from Peachtree Corners who has lived in Gwinnett for 26 years. Jose has been involved through the years with the State Board of Education, Gwinnett Planning Commission, the United Peachtree Corners Civic Association Board, Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful, National Association of State Boards of Education Board of Directors, and Georgia Gwinnett College Board of Trustees. Jose has proven invaluable in community engagement efforts through the years as he offers strong problem solving, analytical, demographic assessment, and strategic planning skills. He has stepped forward to help with Engage Gwinnett because he knows Gwinnett to be a dynamic county with a bright future and feels with a little help we can soar through these tough times.

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MARK TIBBETTS
Mark Tibbets is from Dacula and has called Gwinnett ‘home’ for 23 years. He is President and General Manager of Tibs/McDean, a leading electrical engineering, construction, and systems integration firm. Mark personally and professionally serves many organizations throughout the community including Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, Lawrenceville United Methodist Church, BICSI, National Cable Splicing and Certification Board, and Independent Electrical Contractors. Mark is a serious stakeholder in Gwinnett County as a taxpayer and business leader and is involved in Engage Gwinnett because he’s committed to keeping Gwinnett a world-class county we can all be proud of.

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MICHAEL SULLIVAN
Michael Sullivan is an attorney from Lilburn who has lived in Gwinnett for 13 years. His civic and professional involvement includes the State Board of the Technical College System of Georgia, Council for Quality Growth Board of Directors, Chairman of the Gwinnett Water and Sewage Authority, and Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce. As an attorney he is trained to absorb a lot of information, determine what information is important, and to marshal that information to solve the problem before him. Mike is involved in Engage Gwinnett because it is important to the future direction of Gwinnett County.

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KEITH ROCHE
Keith Roche is a retired finance professional from Lawrenceville who has lived in Gwinnett for 25 years. He spent 35 years writing, presenting, and managing operating budgets and working capital across multi-year budgets. He is actively involved in Gwinnett Citizens for Responsible Government. Keith explains that he is glad to help with Engage Gwinnett because Gwinnett has been a great place to live and work and as the County faces serious challenges, he’d like to be involved in finding solutions.

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JACK MASON
Jack Mason has lived in Gwinnett County for 25 years. He has owned businesses in Snellville and Buford and lives in Lawrenceville. Jack has been an employee, a manager, and an entrepreneur who has successfully run three different types of businesses over the past 13 years. Jack has stepped forward to help with Engage Gwinnett because he believes county leaders need outside perspective and guidance on the future of Gwinnett’s operations and budget.

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CHARLES SWAIN
Charles Swain has been a resident of Lilburn for 12 years. He works in commercial real estate and is the president of the Asset Management division of his company. He has extensive management experience working with large teams on a variety of real estate projects. He serves in many organizations such as BOMA, ICSC, and IREM. Charles hopes that by becoming involved with Engage Gwinnett he can make a difference and make sure that voices get heard. 

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CHUCK WARBINGTON
Chuck Warbington lives in the Auburn/Dacula area and works as an engineer. He’s called Gwinnett home for 38 years. Some organizations he is involved with include the American Society of Engineers, Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful, the Mulberry Elementary School Local School Council, Partnership Gwinnett, and he is the Vice Chairman of the Gwinnett County Redevelopment Agency.  Chuck is also on the Planning Commission and he is the District 3 Planning Commissioner. He became a part of Engage Gwinnett to represent CIDs and make sure their voice is heard.

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JAMES PACK
Jim Pack has lived in Lawrenceville for 42 years and prior to his retirement he worked in banking as the CEO of a local Gwinnett County Bank. He has a great deal of business experience and he served for eight years on the Gwinnett County Budget Committee. Jim is a Rotarian who currently serves on the Brand Bank Board, is a member of the Atlanta Athletic Club, and a Trustee for the Gwinnett Children Center. Jim serves on Engage Gwinnett at the request of the Gwinnett County Constitutional officers because of his depth of knowledge about Gwinnett County.

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DAVE McMULLEN
Dave McMullen is partner and lead strategic planner at Redpepper, an ad agency with offices in Atlanta and Nashville. He is a writer and speaker with expertise in entrepreneurship, creativity, and advertising.

Ranked number 14 on Catalyst magazine’s ‘Top 25 Entrepreneurs’, Dave was recently named the 2009 Pinnacle Small Business Person of the Year and the American Marketing Association’s 2009 Atlanta Marketer of the Year. His company, Redpepper, has been ranked on Inc. Magazine’s list of fastest-growing private companies for the last three years and has been recognized within the advertising industry with several local, regional, and national ADDY Awards.

Dave serves as the 2009-10 president of the Atlanta Entrepreneurs Organization. He is very involved with several civic groups, including having served on the boards for the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce and Partnership Gwinnett.  Dave is a leader and staunch supporter of the arts, serving on multiple boards and councils to further the arts in Gwinnett. He is a 2005 graduate of Leadership Gwinnett and lives in Lawrenceville with his wife and his two children.

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GEORGE HUTCHINSON
Since 1991, George Hutchinson has called Gwinnett “home.”  He lives in the Lawrenceville area and is the Chief Magistrate of Gwinnett County.  George is responsible for a court that operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and for supervising 24 Magistrate Judges who are together responsible for in excess of 70,000 criminal and civil cases annually.  He is a member of the Executive Committee of the Magistrate Court Council of Georgia representing Region nine of this State. 

He is the Chairman of the Criminal Justice Information System Program of Gwinnett County and represents the Court on the Child Abuse Protocol and Child Fatality Review Committees.  In addition, George is active in Leadership Gwinnett, Annandale Village Board of Directors, and the Kiwanis Club of Lawrenceville.  Prior to taking the bench, George worked as an Assistant District Attorney for 15 years in Coweta and Gwinnett Counties. 

In 1995 he became the attorney in charge of the “White Collar Crime Unit” at the Gwinnett County District Attorney’s Office. George Hutchinson is involved in Engage Gwinnett because he “believes in Gwinnett County its potential.”

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JULIANNE THOMPSON
Julianne Thompson resides in Suwanee and has been a resident of Gwinnett for 10 years.  Her civic involvement includes being a Governor’s Appointee to the State Children’s Trust Fund Commission, BOC District 1 appointee to the Gwinnett Recreational Authority, and serving on the District Attorney’s Office Blue Ribbon Panel for Victim-Witness Assistance. She is also a Rotarian, State Committee Member of the Georgia Republican Party, State Director of Georgia Tea Party Patriots, and a former Planning Commissioner. 

Julianne has been in the Who’s Who Among Outstanding Young Women in America. She was specifically asked to represent FreedomWorks on Engage Gwinnett.  Professionally Julianne is a public affairs consultant specializing in public and government relations, media/press, message development, and crisis management. 

Her experience working in public affairs and government relations, combined with her civic involvement allows her a strong understanding of the importance of public input in government decision making, and the need for leaders to come out of the private sector to help provide new ideas and positive feedback to keep taxes low, and government small and effective.

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GEORGE HUTCHINSON
Since 1991 George Hutchinson has called Gwinnett “home.”  He lives in the Lawrenceville area and is the Chief Magistrate of Gwinnett County.  George is responsible for a court which operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and for supervising 24 Magistrate Judges who are together responsible for in excess of 7,000 criminal and civil cases annually.  He is a member of the Executive Committee of the Magistrate Court Council of Georgia representing Region 9 of this State. 

He is the Chairman of the Criminal Justice Information System Program of Gwinnett County and represents the Court on the Child Abuse Protocol and Child Fatality Review Committees.  In addition, George is active in Leadership Gwinnett, Annandale Village Board of Directors, and the Kiwanis Club of Lawrenceville.  Prior to taking the bench Georgia worked as an Assistant District Attorney for 15 years in Coweta and Gwinnett Counties. 

In 1995 he became the attorney in charge of the “White Collar Crime Unit” at the Gwinnett County District Attorney’s Office. George Hutchinson is involved in Engage Gwinnett because he “believes in Gwinnett County its potential.”

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RANDY MEACHAM
Randy Meacham has lived in Norcross for 20 years.  He is the Managing Director of the Gwinnett Municipal Association where he coordinates and supports 14 Gwinnett cities’ management of intergovernmental administrative and public safety matters. His community involvement includes serving on the Board of the Gwinnett Coalition for Health and Human Services, Senior Leadership Gwinnett, Norcross Progressive Development Committee, and the Norcross First United Methodist Church Administrative Board. 

His experience also includes staff responsibilities for Georgia Municipal Association Legislative Policy Council, former chair of the Norcross Planning and Zoning Board, former chair of Norcross 2030 Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee, and Telecom Public Affairs/Governmental Affairs lobbyist.  Randy took the charge to serve on Engage Gwinnett because he wants to help develop collaboration and synergy between the Gwinnett cities and Gwinnett County to deliver the most efficient and effective services to Gwinnett citizens at the least cost to taxpayers.


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RENEE BYRD-LEWIS
Directing Cisco’s Community Relations initiatives in the Atlanta region, Renee Byrd-Lewis is responsible for ensuring that Cisco is actively involved in social, quality of life, talent, and business issues affecting the region. Renee serves to position Cisco as a strategic business partner and aggregator for community issues, bringing civic leaders, business leaders, and subject matter experts together to discuss opportunities and topics of local importance. 

Renee received her undergraduate degree from Emory University and a Masters in Higher Education Administration from Georgia State University and has more than 19 years of experience in corporate relations, community leadership, higher education, and nonprofit management.

An active participant in the community, she serves as a charter member for the Georgia Gwinnett College Foundation Board of Trustees and Board member of the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, Gwinnett Medical Center Foundation, Community Foundation for Northeast Georgia, United Way, Gwinnett Coalition for Health and Human Services, Computers for Youth, and Leadership Gwinnett. Renee resides in Buford with her husband Tim and their two boys.


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ALTHEA LAWTON-THOMPSON
Althea Lawton-Thompson moved to Lilburn in 2005 where she now owns and operates Aerobics, Yoga, and More Wellness Studios. Althea is a wellness and fitness author, producer of the ‘Altheatized’ video series and television show, and founder and director of the Association of Diverse Fitness Professionals Inc.
Her involvement in the community includes service as Vice President of the Lilburn Business Association, a business member of the Camp Creek Elementary School Council, parliamentarian of the Upsilon Alpha Omega Graduate Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, and faculty member of the American Council on Exercise.

As a recent transplant to Georgia with a home in Gwinnett, children attending public school in Gwinnett and growing multiple Gwinnett-based businesses, Althea felt her involvement in Engage Gwinnett is the perfect opportunity for her to learn more about her new hometown and to promote positive change where needed in hopes of never having to move again.


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PAULA HASTINGS
Paula Hastings has lived in the Collins Hill area of Gwinnett County for 18 years. She is the Community Relations Director for Accent South Media and serves as the Planning Commissioner for District 4. Her community involvement includes Homeowners Association Director, Creekland Middle School PTA Legislative Chair, SPLOST Citizens Review Committee, Development Advisory Committee, American Cancer Society Board, Leadership Gwinnett Steering Committee, Rock Springs Elementary School Council, and Partnership Gwinnett Steering Committee and the Quality of Life Sub-Committee.

Paula’s experience in her many roles throughout our community enables her to consider the issues and challenges facing Gwinnett from different vantage points and perspectives. Fully applying her past experience to the Engage Gwinnett effort, Paula shares that she is motivated “to keep Gwinnett moving forward during these difficult times so her son is raised in a world-class community and hopefully one day is proud to return ‘home.’” As the Chair of the 2004 SPLOST renewal committee, Paula also feels a responsibility to ensure that the commitment made to the voters is met and that services are held to the highest standards possible in this time of budget crisis.


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