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About Economic Development

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Economic Development Team Photo

County Staff

Michael Hughes, Division Manager

 

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Michael Hughes

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Michael Hughes is a graduate of California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Urban Planning. He has approximately 31 years of professional experience as a City Planner in Los Angeles and Pasadena, California; Atlanta, Georgia; and with LAW Engineering and Environmental Services, Inc. During his professional career he has worked in comprehensive and land use planning, zoning administration, managed federal grant programs and federal appropriation requests, environmental planning as well as innovative economic development initiatives that have resulted in attracting quality jobs and capital investment to Cobb County and encouraged redevelopment and rehabilitation activities in older commercial corridors.

Mr. Hughes has lived in the Atlanta area for about 27 years and began his professional career in Georgia with Cobb County in April 1996 as the Intergovernmental Coordinator in the Community Development Agency. In October 1998, he was promoted to a leadership role as head of Economic Development for Cobb County. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP), a graduate of Leadership Cobb (Class of 1999), successfully completed Cobb County’s EXCEL Management Development Program (Class of 1998-2000), the Regional Leadership Institute Program (a program sponsored by the Atlanta Regional Commission, October 1999), and the Chamber’s Honorary Commanders Program (2000). Hughes has been active in the community over the years serving as a member of the Leadership Cobb Governing Board, Chattahoochee Technical College Foundation Board of Trustees, and the Tommy Nobis Center Community Advisory Board. He is a past recipient of the “Mack Henderson” Public Service Award (2003) presented annually by the Cobb Chamber of Commerce and the “Golden Goose” Award (2003) presented annually by the Cobb County Board of Commissioners and the County Manager. Michael resides in Mableton, Georgia with his wife Carmen of 26 years and they have 3 children (Michael II, Maya, and Maxwell). During his time away from the office, Michael enjoys spending time with his family, is an avid griller, enjoys golf, and sampling different types of craft beers.

"We welcome and appreciate your interest in Cobb County as a place to do business. We know you have many options when considering where to do business and believe you will find your experience in Cobb County to be exceptional as we strive to go the extra mile. Cobb County is committed to working with you as a partner to enhance your businesses presence in our community."    - Michael Hughes

Tracy Hulsey, Economic Development Specialist

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Tracy Hulsey has 30-plus years of combined experience in marketing, project management and governmental relations in Cobb County. She earned a B.S. degree from Auburn University and a M.B.A. degree from Georgia State University.  Her career began at the Cobb Chamber of Commerce, where she rose to Senior Vice-President of Membership, Area Councils and Communications and served as Executive Director of the Cumberland Community Improvement District (CCID), the state’s first multi-million-dollar tax district.  Next in her career progression, Ms. Hulsey became an Asset Vice-President with Post Properties where she managed the marketing and management of new mixed-use multi-family construction developments in Georgia and Florida.  She was on the development team that determined the project scope, cost and design for over $250 million in assets and she developed budgets and strategic marketing and business plans for each asset.  From there she started her own company, TLH Consulting, where she consulted with mixed-use real estate developers, providing various market studies and economic impact analyses.  Through TLH Consulting, Ms. Hulsey also served as Director of Marketing for Croy Engineering (a local civil engineering firm), implementing the company’s strategic marketing, public relations, business development and client relations plans.  Additionally, she served as a program manager for several planning, development, public outreach and SPLOST teams for Croy Engineering.  Most recently, she served as Lead Consultant to the Development Authority of Powder Springs, working to create innovative and sustainable opportunities for business recruitment, retention and expansion including networking and relationship building throughout the Region and State. 

Ms. Hulsey was born in Atlanta and has lived there and in Cobb County most of her life.  She loves her volunteer work, having given her time and efforts for numerous non-profit organizations in Cobb County.  She served on the LiveSafe Resources Board of Directors for over 20 years, serving as Board Chair and more recently as Building Renovations Co-Chair, where she oversaw a $7.1 million building upgrade with the project being completed on schedule and under budget.  Ms. Hulsey also served as Vice-Chair of the American Cancer Society Leadership Council and chaired several of their events over the years.  She has received numerous volunteer service awards, including the American Cancer Society Babe Atkins-Byrne Ray of Hope Award and the United Way Heart-in-Hand Volunteer of the Year Award.  Ms. Hulsey is a graduate of Leadership Cobb.

Ms. Hulsey loves to travel, read and spend time with her family.  She and her husband, Brad, live in Powder Springs.  They have three grown children, Joseph, Evan and Lane and attend McEachern Memorial United Methodist Church.

Marsellas Williams, Economic Development Coordinator

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Marsellas Williams joined the Cobb County Economic Development team in 2017.  Marsellas received a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Georgia Southern University in 2011 and earned his J.D. from the University of Georgia School of Law.  Prior to joining Cobb County, Marsellas worked with the Middle Georgia Regional Commission, where he focused on a variety of local government assistance projects, including planning, project management, ordinance and policy development, and economic development.

While in law school, Marsellas served  as a legal extern at the Carl Vinson Institute of Government, where he worked on a variety of local government and public policy projects. When away from the office, Marsellas enjoys spending time with his family and friends, enjoys traveling, going to jazz concerts, and serving at his church.

Cathy Brown, Grants Development Specialist

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Catherine L. Brown has been the Grants Development Specialist for Cobb County since May 2006. She has a Master’s degree in Public Administration and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Sociology. Originally from West Virginia, Ms. Brown has lived in Georgia for the last 25 years.

Ms. Brown brings a variety of non-profit and government experience to her position. Beginning as a planner for a regional council, her career includes executive management experience in the fields of domestic violence, family literacy, subsidized child care, child abuse and neglect, and public planning. She has successfully written and managed a variety of grants.

As Grants Development Specialist, Ms. Brown assisted Cobb County in receiving over five million dollars ($5M) in federal appropriations. She was instrumental in the County’s Sister City initiative with Seongdong-gu, Seoul, Korea. Her current responsibilities include monitoring federal and state grants including the Community Development Block Grant (CDSBG) program, Justice Assistance Grant, HOME grant program, Community Services Block Grant, as well as the County’s workforce development programs (Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act funds) administered by Work Source Cobb. Ms. Brown is also responsible for oversight of county funds awarded to local non-profit organizations through contract development and management and fiscal monitoring.

Professionally, Ms. Brown is a former Board officer for the Georgia Grants Professional Association and is serving her third year as board member for the Cobb County EXCEL Alumni Association. The EXCEL program is a management development program sponsored by Cobb County government and provided by the Carl Vinson Institute of Government, University of Georgia.

Ms. Brown and her husband live in Talking Rock, GA on their ten acre farm with their two horses, two dogs, and two cats. She is a former member of a mounted search and rescue team, and enjoys riding horses, reading, and spending time with her family.

Our Partners

Local

  • Select Cobb
  • Cobb Travel and Tourism
  • Cobb Chamber of Commerce
  • Cumberland Community Improvement District
  • Development Authority of Cobb County
  • South Cobb Redevelopment Authority
  • Town Center Community Improvement District

Cities

  • Acworth Downtown Development Authority
  • Austell Downtown Development Authority
  • Kennesaw Development Authority
  • Downtown Marietta Development Authority
  • Marietta Development Authority
  • Powder Springs Development Authority
  • Downtown Powder Springs Development Authority
  • Smyrna Downtown Development Authority

Cobb County Business Associations

  • Acworth Business Association
  • Austell Business Association
  • East Cobb Business Association
  • Kennesaw Business Association
  • Marietta Business Association
  • Smyrna Business Association
  • South Cobb Business Association
  • Vinings Business Association
  • West Cobb Business Association

Cobb Chamber Area Councils

  • Cumberland Area Council
  • East Cobb Area Council
  • Marietta Area Council
  • Northwest Area Council
  • Smyrna Area Council
  • South Cobb Area Council
  • For more information on Cobb's Area Councils, visit cobbchamber.org.

Utilities

  • Georgia Power
  • Marietta Power
  • Cobb EMC

Regional

Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Division

Atlanta Regional Commission

SCORE

State and Federal

Georgia Department of Economic Development

Georgia Department of Community Affairs

U.S. Small Business Administration

U.S. Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship