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3DE Changed My Life: How Former Norcross High Student Justice Zabel Turned a Business Curriculum into a Small Business Reality



Gerardo Angeles (left) and Justice Zabel (right) proudly show off the first designs for their landscaping business t-shirts. The shirts say A-Z landscaping, though the business has since been renamed Prestige Landscaping ATL. Photos courtesy of A-Z Landscaping Instagram.

Practical education that works effectively in the real world proves in short supply in many public-school environments. Norcross High School (NHS) sought to equip their students with business knowledge and entrepreneurial spirit, so the 3DE by Junior Achievement program was introduced to students six years ago.

Former NHS student Justice Zabel took part in the inaugural 3DE program at Norcross, which culminated in the creation of A-Z Landscaping, since renamed Prestige Landscaping ATL. Zabel was part of the first graduating class of 3DE at Norcross, which also happened to be the second graduating class ever for the state of Georgia.

“Essentially what 3DE did was just kind of help me to get on track,” Zabel said. “They provided us with business classes, finance classes as well as certifications. We had to get a Microsoft Office certification, a PowerPoint Certification and a Six Sigma certification. Just all these different levels of help for being a good entrepreneur and a good business manager as well.”

In addition to managing his own business, Zabel is a rising sophomore currently pursuing a degree in Accounting at Georgia State University. He appears to be running full speed ahead with the lessons he learned in the rigorous four-year 3DE system.

“We were given a project that we had to do, to create a business idea with a business plan,” Zabel said.

A job well done by Prestige Landscaping ATL.

With his class partner Gerardo Angeles, the “entrepreneurial jumpstart” of what is now Prestige Landscaping ATL took off. Prestige has been in business for two years now and provides lawn maintenance and care, hedge trimming, pressure washing, leaf pickup and debris removal at reasonable hourly rates, depending on the job needed. Angeles now serves in active duty for the Marines, but Zabel has continued to carry the baton of this small business.

3DE is a radically different type of educational paradigm in that it takes students from their freshman year of high school to senior year and helps them to form tangible personal and business goals.

Students, like Zabel, who take part in 3DE typically commit to the full four years of the program, as each year’s instruction builds upon the next and culminates in a Senior Experience project at its conclusion. The 3DE Norcross High program is spearheaded by its Director Eric Ashley and Assistant Principal John DeCarvalho.

According to the 3DE Norcross High curriculum site, student learning in 3DE is focused on six core competencies applicable to school, career and life. These competencies consist of Creativity & Innovation, Cultural Agility, Self-Direction, Effective Collaboration, Engaging Communication and Critical & Analytical Thinking. Throughout their work in the first three years of the program, students complete case challenges that develop their understanding in the six core competencies.

The case challenges begin with an introduction from one of the business partners working with the 3DE program. Students then work on the problem and present their solutions. In addition, for many business partners, students are able to make a site visit to learn more about the company they are learning from.

For example, a few years ago a group of Norcross students visited the Atlanta Hawks headquarters.

During the 12th grade year, students use the skills honed in 3DE to successfully navigate and perform in a professional environment. During the fall and spring semesters, teams of 3DE students work as consultants to businesses to work though larger and more complex problems with business partners or to create fledgling business ventures of their own.

The entrepreneurial spirit appears to be alive and well at Norcross High School, thanks to 3DE. For more information about 3DE at Norcross High, find the 3DE Curriculum page under the ‘Academics’ tab at gcpsk12.org/NorcrossHS.

Kelsey Asher is a proud graduate of the University of West Georgia with a Bachelor’s in Communications. She has held a variety of marketing leadership roles for several small, startup companies in a variety of industries including publishing, construction and technology.

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Peachtree Corners Businesses Encouraged to Join Security Camera Registration



Chris Lindenau, Fusus

After spending years with the U.S. military and companies that develop safety systems, Chris Lindenau wanted to offer that same level of security to average citizens.

“I have been leading and serving a team of dedicated, brilliant professionals as we help communities, directors of security for businesses and public safety leaders establish interoperability between community and public safety camera, AI and alert assets at an unprecedented scale,” Lindenau, CEO of Fusus, said.

He addressed an audience gathered on September 28 at the Peachtree Corners Business Association Business After Hours Speaker Series at the Hilton Atlanta Northeast.

The technology Lindenau’s company has created, the fususONE ecosystem of software and hardware solutions, is the foundational platform for the world’s real-time operations centers. It has helped hundreds of cities and businesses establish a unified security footprint unrestrained by proprietary technology limitations, according to the company’s literature.

In order to make it work at its optimal capacity, however, it needs the community — especially business owners — to join in.

“As I understand from our friends at GCPD [Gwinnett County Police Department], you’ve got a success story recently utilizing the system to catch a homicide suspect — I think it was within 45 minutes from the time of the incident,” Lindenau said. “This isn’t something that just exists here in our backyard, it exists all over the country.”

He encouraged everyone in attendance to sign up for Connect Peachtree Corners, a camera registration for businesses and homes. Right now, there are only 247 cameras registered within the Peachtree Corners city limits. Without interconnectivity, crimes that could have been solved in minutes may end up taking days or months — or may never be solved.

“That lack of information impacts the timeliness of response. It’s not just about apprehending the suspects, it’s also about bringing closure to families, because they are out on a limb until these people are apprehended,” Lindenau said.

For more information, visit connectpeachtreecorners.org.

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DW1 Unveils New Peachtree Corners Headquarters and Brand Identity



DW1, formerly known as Discount Waste, Inc., has now settled in its office in Technology Park. As Peachtree Corners sees a surge of development, DW1’s move and rebranding stand out.

Situated at 250 Scientific Drive NW, the 45,000-square-foot building has 150 private offices and seven conference rooms. It also has an advanced training room and a “Town Center” designed for company lunches.

Additionally, the space doubles as an art collection that adds character to the workspace.

This move brings together their previous locations at Engineering Drive and Triangle Parkway. It consolidates over 100 employees who have been dispersed since 2019.

The inauguration event took place on September 28, 2023, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Vice Mayor Weare Gratwick, City Councilwoman Lorri Christopher, Southwest Gwinnett Chamber (SWGC) Chairman Bill Diehl and Executive Director Beth Coffey attended the event.

Board members Margie Asef, Larry Benator and Patty Thumann were also present.

Since its start in 1999, Discount Waste, Inc., now transitioning to DW1, has been a provider of waste removal and job site solutions.

Serving a wide range of clients, from general contractors and retailers to commercial establishments, the company has always emphasized strong client relationships and service.

Outside of the business realm, CEO Ed Foye‘s commitment to societal change is evident with All Children, Inc. This initiative focuses on delivering essential resources, such as nutrition, education and shelter, to children with disabilities in developing countries.

To know more about this effort, visit AllChildren.org.

A representative from DW1 shared, “We were thrilled to welcome our employees and their families to the new location on September 28. To learn more about our company’s next chapter, please visit DW1.com.”

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New Retail Concepts Join Merchandise Collection at The Forum Peachtree Corners



As North American Properties (NAP) and Nuveen Real Estate (Nuveen) transform The Forum Peachtree Corners into a mixed-use development, several new businesses are joining the merchandise mix. 

National retailers that signed long-term leases include Lovesac, Petfolk and Stretchlab. Temporary license agreements were reached with Auburn Candle Company, The Baby Nook and Girl Tribe Co.

Meet the retailers

Lovesac – This company designs, manufactures and sells unique furniture that’s guaranteed for life. It offers modular couches called Sactionals, foam beanbag chairs called Sacs and associated home décor accessories, including home audio systems.

Upon opening next to Chico’s in spring 2024, Lovesac at The Forum will be the ninth location in Georgia and fourth in NAP’s portfolio. 

Petfolk – Founded by vets with decades of experience in clinical practice, Petfolk is an animal hospital and pet care center built with pets and their owners in mind. 

Veterinary services include exams, vaccinations, urgent care, nutrition, diagnostic testing, digital radiology and more. 

The Forum location opens this October by Chipotle, marking the brand’s second brick-and-mortar in metro Atlanta.

Stretchlab – Recognized for its customized, assisted-stretch sessions, Stretchlab is a wellness concept specializing in one-on-one routines led by nationally accredited flexologists. 

Using a proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) approach, paired with dynamic and static stretching, the team is able to identify tightness and imbalances in the body. They then build a custom routine for each client to develop a wider range of motion and flexibility. 

Stretchlab opens next to Club Pilates at The Forum this winter.

Auburn Candle Company – Established in 2020 and based out of Auburn, Alabama, Auburn Candle Company hand-crafts signature candles and fragrances, free from additives and dyes.

In addition to shopping for pre-poured candles as well as other bath, body and home goods, candle lovers can develop their own creations at the in-store pour bar. 

Its year-long pop-up at The Forum, opening in October, will be the company’s first venture in Georgia.  

The Baby Nook – A haven for anyone seeking baby essentials and gifts, The Baby Nook will feature a select collection of baby items that combine functionality, safety and aesthetic appeal. 

The year-long pop-up will open in October next to Soft Surroundings.

Girl Tribe Co. – NAP is expanding its existing relationship with Charlotte-based Girl Tribe Co. to bring a temporary store to The Forum from October 6 through December 31. 

Created by childhood best friends and co-founders Sarah Baucom and Carrie Barker, the brand offers a collection of clothing, graphic tees, accessories and lifestyle products.

A combination of proprietary products and items made by local female entrepreneurs will be available for purchase in Suite 505, next to HomeGoods. Girl Tribe Co. also plans to host a series of events, workshops and networking sessions during its stay at The Forum.

The Forum’s merchandise mix continues to grow

These forthcoming brands join KeenaBelaGifts We All Want and Go! Calendars, Toys, and Games as the latest additions to The Forum’s tenant collection. 

KeenaBela, an Atlanta-based, eco-friendly sleep, lounge and resort-wear brand, officially opened its year-long pop-up at The Forum last month. 

Additionally, specialty boutiques Gifts We All Want and Go! Calendars, Toys, and Games, have once again returned for the holiday season.

“We have seen a tremendous amount of interest from small, local business owners looking to grow their brands in a low-risk, incubator-style environment,” said Emily Narchus, director of ancillary revenue at NAP. 

“As our leasing and development teams continue moving forward on The Forum’s renaissance, we are excited to play a part in upgrading the center’s retail makeup.”

NAP is nearing completion on the north end plaza and anticipates an early fall delivery of the 1,700-square-foot greenspace. This is the first, and smaller, of two community-driven spaces being adding to the property as part of its overall redevelopment. 

Along with the ongoing retail improvements, renovations to the office lobby in building 5185, anchored by Trader Joe’s, are now complete. 

The Forum has partnered with the Peachtree Corners Photography Club to display and sell winning pieces from its first juried exhibition in the revamped entrance.

To stay up to date on the latest property news and happenings, follow The Forum on FacebookTwitter and Instagram or visit theforumpeachtree.com.

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