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City Government

Meet the City Officials who Keep Peachtree Corners Humming: Brian Johnson Feature

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Photo by George Hunter.

Consider a high-performance vehicle — bright, shiny and powerful. It leaps ahead quickly when it needs to, but can also settle back to a comfortable cruising speed. It’s nimble, able to turn on a dime or smoothly reverse direction, if need be.

Ever wished for a vehicle like that? The good news is that if you live within the city limits of Peachtree Corners, you already have one.

Gwinnett County’s largest and newest city has a most efficient “vehicle” for governing its home turf — a staff helmed by experienced department heads who put their shoulders to the wheel, are adept at balancing the sometimes-clashing interests of residents, the business community and other constituencies and aren’t afraid to embrace unconventional approaches.

City Manager- Brian Johnson

“It’s a high-performing municipality within the council-manager form of government,” summarized City Manager Brian Johnson.

“When you look at everything from streets and drainage to business licenses to zoning to document storage to elections — across the gamut — when you add up all of those areas, they should be the sum of all the parts, and with each of those areas you have a senior member overseeing it,” he said.

Johnson’s job is not that of a direct service provider. He supports his departmental chiefs to help them get the resources they need, puts out brush fires, interfaces with the mayor and council and isolates subordinates from politics and distractions so they can get their jobs done in the most efficient manner possible.

He indicated that the city’s organizational chart is an effective display of its leaned-out approach. “A lot of cities have a finance director and also a budget director,” he noted. “We have one person who does both, and as a result he can do certain things in regard to organizations we’re dealing with; he can make decisions quicker because he has authority over multiple areas.”

That means that those decision-makers don’t slip a card into a time clock and punch out at 5:01. And there are those phone calls and emails that arrive outside of normal business hours. All part of the mosaic, and Johnson is proud of the team that has been painstakingly assembled.

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City Government

Ora B. Douglass Swears in as First Black Female City Council Member of Peachtree Corners

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After a successful run for the position of Post 5 Ora B. Douglass will be sworn in as Peachtree Corners’ first Black female city councilmember.
City Councilmember Ora B. Douglass

After a successful run for the position of Peachtree Corners City Council Post 5 Ora B. Douglass will be sworn in as Peachtree Corners’ first Black female city councilmember on Tuesday, Jan. 23 during the regular City Council meeting.

Upon her retirement, Douglass was elected to the seat vacated by Lorri Christopher, one of two females to serve on the Peachtree Corners City Council, the other was Jeanine Aulbach.

Douglass’ inauguration continues Peachtree Corners’ commitment to diversity and inclusion by not only electing its first woman of color, but by recognizing her status as a military veteran and an advocate for better health care, education and quality of life for all.

She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from Florida A&M University and earned a Master of Nursing degree at Emory University.

After graduating nursing school, Douglass was commissioned an officer in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps. A veteran with over 13 years of service, she has been stationed in Hawaii and was part of the U.S. Army Reserves.

Douglass has chaired the most recent Veteran’s Day event in Peachtree Corners and looks forward to more efforts to recognize and celebrate the multiple cultures and contributions of the residents.

With her long history of community service in the area, her motto has always been “service first.”

In 2014, she led a group of members in chartering the Psi Omega Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. in Peachtree Corners where she served as president for over four years. 

Psi Omega Omega chapter provides community service to Peachtree Corners residents from high school students, senior citizens, entrepreneurs and those in need. In addition, the sorority has partnered with Gwinnett County to keep 1.6 miles of road clean on Peachtree Corners Circle. 

Douglass also established The Georgia Pearls of Service Foundation (GPOS), a 501(c)(3) fundraising arm of her chapter and serves currently as president of the foundation.

The GPOS foundation raises funds each year to provide scholarships to high school students and donations to selected community service organizations.

Douglass was appointed International Chair of Community Programming, a committee with representation from the 10 regions of the AKA sorority in providing direction and oversight of the program from 2018 to 2022.

The program defined the framework for Alpha Kappa Alpha’s commitment to service that is embraced by its 300,000 members and over 1,000 chapters located throughout the world.

Douglass and her team partnered with Walgreens and traveled to 36 states including a Native American reservation and to the country of Honduras during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The group administered mammograms, COVID vaccines and provided testing to low-income citizens. 

Douglass was born at Atlanta’s Grady Hospital, but was raised in Fort Pierce, Florida. Orphaned at 18 months old, Douglass hasn’t lived a charmed life.

She has worked hard for her accomplishments and knows the importance of a good education, perseverance, dedication and service to all mankind. She promises to utilize these qualities in service to the citizens of Peachtree Corners.

She has worked at numerous hospitals in the Atlanta area including Emory University, and Grady Hospital.

At Northside Hospital she was vice president of Quality and Risk Management. She served as director of Community Home Based Nursing at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Atlanta and VA Medical Centers in Carrollton and Oakwood where she directed a $10 million grant to provide homecare services to our veterans.

Douglass has practiced progressive clinical, managerial and healthcare administration for over 30 years. 

Douglass currently serves on the board of the Fowler YMCA in Peachtree Corners and is also a member of the Peachtree Corners Rotary Club. Douglass enjoys playing pickleball, traveling, cooking, gardening and providing boxes in her yard for Eastern bluebirds to nest each spring.

Douglass is married to Dr. Adrian Douglass. They have four children and three grandchildren. She and her husband are members of Friendship Baptist Church in Duluth.

For more information, go to www.peachtreecornersga.gov.

Click here for more Peachtree Corners City Government news.

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Business

The Mayor’s Look at Business and Innovation Successes in 2023

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Mayor Mike Mason reflects on Peachtree Corners' 2023 business achievements and expresses gratitude to local entrepreneurs.
Congresswoman Lucy McBath visiting Peachtree Farm in Technology Park

From Peachtree Corners Mayor Mike Mason

As the year comes to a close, it seems like a good time to consider our businesses and say ‘Thank You!’ for helping to ensure our city’s success.

Mayor Mike Mason

Business and innovation have always been at the heart of who we are as a community. We are a city that grew up organically around Technology Park. So, as we look back at 2023 at some of the many occurrences worth noting, I’d like to say ‘Thank You’ to our businesses, large and small.

And ‘thank you’ to all those entrepreneurs out there who had the courage to start their own businesses and put in the countless hours needed to make them successful. Without your success, we wouldn’t be here. Let’s look at some of the business activity in 2023.

In January, Fricke and Associates, a certified public accounting firm, consolidated two locations, bringing 25 new jobs and a $800,000 capital investment to the City of Peachtree Corners.

The firm signed a 9,000-square-foot office lease at 3500 Parkway Lane to help them better serve Metro Atlanta clients.

Early in the year, NAC International, a nuclear fuel cycle technology and consulting company, signed a deal for 23,000 square feet of space at 2 Sun Court in Peachtree Corners, while T-Mobile partnered with Curiosity Lab for a fun student hackathon the weekend of Feb. 24 to 26.

The city completed its second, five-year Economic Development Plan, this year. The plan guides activity, projects and policy aimed at improving the city’s economic climate.

The city also began its next Comprehensive Planning process, a plan renewed every year that guides development and redevelopment activity in the city.

Unlike other places, these plans don’t sit on a shelf here. We talk with our stakeholders, i.e. YOU, and develop plans to take us where you think we need to go. This is good old-fashioned logic at work, but back to our Year-in-Review.

Last January, city economic development staff visited a company in Peachtree Corners rather unsuspecting of the scope of the operation.

Guardian Sports manufactures products designed to keep people— especially young people—safer while playing sports. It is truly a gem. This Peachtree Corners company is designing and manufacturing sporting equipment worn by youth and high school football teams, college teams, and most recently, mandated by the NFL.

Guardian Innovations
From left to right: Mindy Wheeler, Alexandra Hanson, Garner, Penny Godwin, Andrea Vaillancourt, Lee Hanson (owner), Erin Hanson (owner), Jake Hanson, Caitlin Hanson Gouws, Jacques Gouws and Mike Crawford

The company’s flagship product is the Guardian Cap, which was created to advance the standard football helmet by dispersing some of the energy that is generated during impacts. Check out a video HERE.

Insight Sourcing celebrated 20 years in business, announcing 20% firmwide growth in 2022, with 84 new team members added, of whom 23 joined as part of an acquisition.

Global Aviation celebrated 25 years of success while at the same time launching another company in the aerospace industry.

In February, the city began encouraging businesses to connect their security cameras with the Fusus network. Fusus is a nationally recognized public safety technology provider that has operated out of its headquarters in—you guessed it–Peachtree Corners since 2019.

The platform links cameras together and sends the feed to the West Precinct where Gwinnett Police officers can see situations in real-time and respond accordingly.

The cameras have helped solve homicides and other crimes in various cities, including Peachtree Corners. In July, Fusus made the annual Inc. 5000 list, the most prestigious ranking of the fastest-growing private companies in America.

Peachtree Farm, located in Technology Park, began attracting some attention on a grand scale this year, starting with a visit from Arthur Tripp Jr., the executive director of the USDA Farm Service Agency who visited Peachtree Farm in February.

An employee of Peachtree Farm celebrating the harvest courtesy of from peachtreefarm.org

Members of the Gwinnett County Farm Bureau and the Georgia Farm Bureau also visited Peachtree Farm in June to learn more about its operations and areas for possible collaboration.

Congresswoman Lucy McBath visited the farm this fall. The farm, located on Research Court, provides an inclusive and accessible community fostering the social, emotional and physical health and wellness of adults with disabilities.

Peachtree Farm first opened in 2021 to create jobs for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

In April, professional cyclists descended on Technology Parkway participating in the Curiosity Lab Criterium, a series of races on the streets of Peachtree Corners within the living laboratory environment of Curiosity Lab.

In May, North American Properties broke ground on The Forum redevelopment project, a great relief as there had been concerns about how to best generate more activity at the 20-year-old center.

North American Properties is redeveloping and revitalizing the property, adding a boutique hotel, food hall, open green spaces, new retail spaces and 381 apartments.

A 300-space parking deck will be constructed near Belk to allow for some parking to be reconstructed as open green space. Several new stores and restaurants have opened or are opening at The Forum, including Peche, lululemon and High Country Outfitters as well ass Petfolk Veterinarian clinic.

The Forum on Peachtree Parkway
Central Plaza at The Forum Peachtree Corners

Politan Row will open at the Forum, part of the multi-million dollar renovation project by North American Properties. Politan Row, which has locations at Colony Square in Atlanta, as well as Houston and Chicago, will include seven independently owned restaurant spaces, a full bar, an outdoor patio along greenspace and a standalone restaurant and wine bar.

The German American Chamber of Commerce visited Curiosity Lab in May to learn more about Georgia, Gwinnett County and specifically Peachtree Corners. Also, a delegation of energy, technology and sustainability leaders visited the City of Peachtree Corners in October for several days, learning about area companies, Curiosity Lab and about how the city developed.

This year, Seoul Robotics established its United States office in Curiosity Lab at Peachtree Corners. The company’s presence in Curiosity Lab is fueling further development of a groundbreaking 3D perception platform.

Also this year, Siemens joined Curiosity Lab to support bringing 5G charging and electrification solutions to the United States.

Soliant, a leading provider of specialized healthcare and education staffing services, has been hiring hundreds of new employees across five offices in the Southeast. This expansion of approximately 300 people will give Soliant the internal resources to meet the growing nationwide demand for healthcare and education professionals.

Also, in terms of health and wellness, Atlas Behavioral Health opened at 3850 Holcomb Bridge Road while space was outfitted in June at 4941 S Old Peachtree Road for a Fyzical Therapy and Balance Center.

Suzanna Martinez PCBA Board; Phil Sadd Council City of Peachtree Corners, India Martinez, Social Media Influencer, Daniel Martinez CEO Atlas Behavioral Health; Mike Mason Mayor City of Peachtree Corners; Jason Price CFO Atlas Behavioral Health; Lisa Proctor PCBA Board; Julie River MS, LAPC, NCC Lead therapist Atlas Behavioral Health; Monte McDowell PCBA Community Outreach; Toby Anderson PCBA Board; Dr. Walter Brooks PHD, LPC, CPCS, NCACII, CCS Clinical Director Atlas Behavioral Health

In June, Peachtree Corners was ranked #1 in Georgia and #19 in the nation in this year’s edition of the Fortune 50 Best Places to Live for Families. In August, Peachtree Corners was listed as one of the best places to live in Georgia by Niche.com.

On the environmental front, I can think of a few things coming out of Peachtree Corners this year which will likely help the world.

For example, Sidel, which manufactures packaging (among other things), has introduced a new bottle. Sidel announced a partnership with Coca-Cola Europacific Partners.

The company has been experiencing a great deal of growth and continues to hire more and more people. The bottle, which is for carbonated soft drinks, has a lighter neck and tethered cap. The tethered caps are expected to boost collection and recycling efforts, while preventing litter.

Pond Constructors Inc., Peachtree Corners, was awarded a $13 million modification contract to maintain and repair capitalized petroleum systems and facilities at the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.

Also, ASHRAE (the American Society of Heating Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers) has published a pioneering code-enforceable standard developed to reduce the risk of infectious aerosol transmission in buildings.

There was some other activity in Technology Park as well. Specifically, ASBN Coworks opened at 420 Technology Parkway, in the heart of Tech Park.

DW1, previously known as Discount Waste, Inc., cut the ribbon on its new office at 250 Scientific Drive NW.

A Florida-based investment firm acquired four properties in Technology Park in August, all part of a portfolio selling for roughly $23.8 million.

The second-largest sale in Metro Atlanta that quarter, SF Partners purchased 30, 35 Technology Parkway South and 190 and 192 Technology Parkway from Terracap; a total of 247,208 square feet.

Thank you for reading about some of the impressive business happenings in our city this year. As we gear up for 2024, we looked forward to hearing about more successes, and helping to make sure the city’s businesses continue to grow and thrive.

Happy Holidays!

Mike Mason, Mayor

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City Government

Limited Access to Town Green This Winter During Expansion Projects

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This expansion initiative encompasses various projects to enhance the Town Green and introduce additional amenities to the area.
Pictured above: Tot Lot rendering at Town Green

Beginning the week of Dec. 3, 2023, the City of Peachtree Corners will commence an expansion project for the Town Green and its associated amenities.  

Throughout the winter months, certain sections of the Town Green will be closed due to the ongoing expansion. This expansion initiative encompasses various projects to enhance the Town Green and introduce additional amenities to the area.

Town Center Closures and Entry Map

To begin, the center of the Town Green will be transformed as crews begin to install drainage upgrades and lay new sod in the park. During this project, the grass area will not be accessible to the public.

The City’s new Tot Lot Playground is another addition to the Town Green. This playground, themed around space exploration, will be situated nearest the townhomes and is designed for children up to the age of six.

As part of this project, the current sliding hill and two existing jungle gym features will be replaced. Furthermore, one of the jungle gym features will be relocated to the playground installed last year.

The upcoming playground will showcase extraordinary elements such as a rocket ship, a moon rover, a crashed UFO and more. It is designed to be fully accessible, ensuring all children enjoy its offerings.

Presently, the construction of the City’s off-leash dog park is underway. Situated behind the CineBistro building, this facility will span approximately 9,000 square feet and will be divided into sections for smaller and larger dogs.

Dog Park Rendering

It will have both natural and artificial turf areas. Additionally, there will be a plaza featuring a shade sail, water fountains, pet waste containers, shaded benches and enhanced landscaping.

During the construction phase, access to the park will be limited. However, the existing playground and fitness path can still be accessed through the park entrances between Taqueria Tsunami and Jinbei West.

They are still accessible through the park entrance between Jinbei West and CineBistro and via the multi-use path behind CineBistro.

For more information, contact Louis E. Svehla, the Communications Director for the City of Peachtree Corners, at 770-609-8821 or lsvehla@peachtreecornersga.gov.

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