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About Economic Development

Economic Development Team Photo

County Staff

Michael Hughes, Division Manager

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.

Cathi Franklin, Grants Development Specialist

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Cathi Franklin has 21 plus years of combined experience in project management, affordable housing and governmental relations.  She earned a B.S. degree from Shawnee State University.  She began her career and worked with the City of Portsmouth, Ohio as the Grants Technician and Fair Housing Coordinator for seven years.  She brings experience with the U.S. Department of Agriculture; the State of Ohio, including the Governor’s Office of Appalachia, Department of Development—Office of Housing and Community Partnerships, Ohio Public Works Commission, Department of Natural Resources—Land and Water Conservation; Appalachian Regional Commission; and Area Foundations. 

The next progression in her career was with two housing authorities in southern Ohio.  She started as an assistant housing manager and rose to become the Director of Housing Programs.  Her accomplishments include Multifamily Housing Specialist, Housing Quality Standards Inspection, Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Certification, Section 8 Occupancy, and Public Housing manager.  She was instrumental in converting a public housing authority over to a new HUD program called RAD (Rental Assistance Demonstration). 

Her current responsibilities include monitoring federal and state grants including the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, Justice Assistance Grant, HOME grant program, Community Services Block Grant (CSBG), as well as Cobb County’s workforce development programs (Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act funds) administered by Work Source Cobb.

Mrs. Franklin and her husband Raymond live in Acworth, GA with their daughter Raelyn. She spends her free time volunteering, assisting with fundraising projects and spending time with her family.