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Small-Town Firm Getting Big-Firm Results Starrett and Harris Law, LLC

ARC Management • Post-Surgery Care Of Atlanta • Bentwater Golf Club • MHS Career Signing Day

Dansby banks on LGE.

Dansby Swanson Member Since 2012

Federally insured by NCUA.

We are alive with community spirit and a quality of life that is at once beau�ful, playful, fearless, unique and joyful. Smyrna has great courage, determina�on, flexibility and adap�bility, ac�vely seeking the “sweetest nectar” for our residents and businesses. We believe that seemingly small ideas and concepts o�en possess the greatest poten�al and power. Get to know our surprising and cap�va�ng quality of life, our diverse neighborhoods, our rich community spirit, our beau�ful streetscapes, our robust services, and so much more. Seek the good in life and the beauty in each day in Smyrna.

City of Smyrna, 2800 King Street, Smyrna Ga 30080 / 770-434-6600

Contents Vol. XVII, No. 4 JULY/AUGUST 2021


Hometown Law Firm with MillionDollar Results


When Wesley Starrett and Kevin Harris opened their firm in early 2020, they focused on uncovering every stone for their clients’ cases.







Find out what’s going on throughout Cobb County with our news updates and calendar of events.

In May, the Cobb Chamber honored the Top 30 Small Businesses of the Year. See who received highest honors this year.

ARC Management Group bridges the gap between businesses and consumers in an effective, efficient way.


Post-Surgery Care Of Atlanta, LLC helps patients through the healing process.

Connect with local leaders who strive to make Cobb County a better place.

United Electric and other local companies recently joined Marietta High School to celebrate the Inaugural Career Signing Day for seniors.

After more than 20 years of operation, Bentwater Golf Club is getting some major upgrades — and members are excited.


Before taking to the water this summer, check out this swimming safety guide.

On the cover: Wesley Starrett (right) and Kevin Harris, attorneys and partners at Starrett and Harris Law, LLC. Photo: LaRuche Creative 2


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foreSight COBB


New South Publishing Inc. President Larry Lebovitz Vice President John Hanna Publisher Jamie Ryan Account Executive Sherry Gasaway Editor Cory Sekine-Pettite Associate Editor Amy Meadows

Looking back at my letters on this page from the past year feels a bit like reading wartime correspondence. The notes reflect America’s progress in dealing with the pandemic, and my words reveal how I was feeling about that progress as well as how I was dealing with it in my personal life. If you think about it, we have been fighting a war of sorts, but I can see that the end is near. I encourage anyone reading this who still is “vaccine hesitant” to get the shots and help to speed up our progress toward herd immunity. According to the latest data, only 35 percent of us in Georgia are fully vaccinated. The virus wins if we don’t fight it. While I will continue to encourage people to do their part to help fight this pandemic, I’ve also decided that I want my letters to reflect the good things that many of you already are doing for your communities and for Georgia. One of our main goals with Cobb In Focus always has been to highlight the good deeds of everyday residents, business owners, educators, and government officials who selflessly strive to improve our lives without fanfare. For example, in this issue we feature local attorneys who are helping those who can’t help themselves, educators who are showing students there are rewarding career pathways that don’t necessitate a college education, an account recovery firm that puts service and compassion first, and a woman who found her calling in helping others recover from surgery. These people deserve the spotlight, and we’re thrilled to share their stories. If you would like for us to share your story, please reach out. We would love to hear from you. In the meantime, please be safe. Take care of yourselves; take care of your community. And get outside and enjoy the summer!

Photo by LaRuche Creative

Contact Cobb in Focus We want to hear from you! Share your story ideas and comments with our editor. Visit or send your suggestions to: or New South Publishing, Attn: Cory Sekine-Pettite 9040 Roswell Road, Suite 210 Atlanta, GA 30350

Graphic Designer Jack Simonetta Contributors Lindsay Field Penticuff, Writer Jennifer Morrell, Writer LaRuche Creative, Photography Production Coordinator/Circulation Amy Fine Controller Marilyn Walker @cobbinfocus Cobb in Focus™ is published six times a year by New South Publishing Inc., 9040 Roswell Road, Suite 210, Atlanta, GA, 30350. Direct all editorial queries to (770) 650-1102, ext. 100. Direct all circulation queries to (770) 650-1102, ext. 130. Direct all advertising queries to (770) 650-1102, ext. 142. All information herein has been checked for accuracy to the best of the publisher’s ability. No responsibility is accepted for deletions, omissions, errors and/or inaccuracies. Material in this publication may not be reprinted without written permission from the publisher. Copyright 2021 by New South Publishing Inc. All rights reserved. Printed in the U.S.A.

For address changes, email


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Sharper Focus Here’s a snapshot of what’s going on in your community. Cobb EMC Names New CEO

Cobb EMC has announced that Kevan Espy will officially assume the role of president and CEO. Espy has been serving as interim president and CEO since November 2020, when Peter Heintzelman announced his resignation from the Marietta-based electric co-operative. “The employees and senior leadership teams have never been stronger, and I am excited to see what we can accomplish as we continue to innovate and find ways to better serve our members,” Espy said.

KSU Exec MBA Ranked Best in Georgia, No. 8 Globally Kennesaw State University’s Executive Master of Business Administration program is rated as the best in Georgia for the fifth straight year in CEO Magazine’s 2021 Global Executive MBA Rankings. The Executive MBA in the Michael J. Coles College of Business also ranked second in the nation and No. 8 in the world as determined by the magazine’s numerical ranking system. The 2021 ratings are based on each school’s average score over the past four years.

Credit Union of Georgia Raises Nearly $5,000 for Local Charities

Recently, the Credit Union of Georgia hosted a Charitable Contributions Raffle to raise money for Mostly Mutts Animal Rescue, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, The Salvation Army, MUST Ministries, and The Children’s Haven. After selling 500 tickets, the organization successfully raised nearly $5,000 for these charities. Three winners were selected, and each won one of the following prizes: Tory Burch purse and wallet, Apple Air Pods and an Echo Show 8.

Chattahoochee Tech Foundation Welcomes New Members

The Chattahoochee Tech Foundation recently welcomed four new members to its Board of Trustees: Snehal Doshi, John Garner, Karen Hill, and Robert Stephens. Doshi serves as a healthcare executive for Wellstar Health System. Garner serves as a benefits consultant for OneDigital, one of the nation’s largest health and employee benefits consulting companies. Hill is the VP of HM Plumbing in Cobb County; and Stephens is the managing partner of CFO Navigator, a leading provider of financial advisory services.

Cobb DOT Staff Among Top 100 Influential Women Engineering Georgia magazine recently named four COBB DOT staff among its Top 100 Influential Women and 50 Women In The Know lists. Erica Parish, PE (Cobb DOT Director); Andrea Foard, AICP, LEED, AP BD+C (Transit Division Manager); and Karyn Matthews (District 2 Engineer) made the cut for The Top 100 Influential Women, and Ligia Florim (District 4 Engineer) was designated as one of the 50 Women In The Know.

Two Elected to Cumberland CID Board of Directors

Commercial property owners of the Cumberland Community Improvement District (CID) recently elected Alex Valente and Chris McCoy to the Cumberland CID Board of Directors. Valente represents Piedmont Office Realty Trust, which owns The Galleria Atlanta, the largest office complex in Northwest Atlanta. McCoy represents Brookfield Properties, which owns the Cumberland Mall.

Life University Holds Groundbreaking Drafty Dane Park & Pint Coming to Marietta

The City of Marietta recently sold a one-acre parcel on Roswell Street for the development of a dog park, coffee shop, and bar concept called the Drafty Dane Park & Pint. This project is being developed by Marietta residents and dog-lovers, Brennen and Emily Matthews. This venture is the first of its kind in Cobb County and will be a unique draw across the region.



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Life University hosted a groundbreaking ceremony on June 18 for its new Running Eagles Performance Center and Upper Field. Life will be making significant additions to its outdoor athletics complex over the course of the next year, including a 14,000 square-foot, multi-use facility overlooking Lupo Family Field; a state-of-the-art artificial turf system; and a 12’50” by 25’8.25” LED Multi-Sports Scoring and Video Screen Scoreboard.

Wellstar Kennestone Hospital Verified as Level II Trauma Center Wellstar Kennestone Hospital Trauma Center has been verified as one of only four Georgia Level II Trauma Centers by the American College of Surgeons. This achievement recognizes the Trauma Center’s dedication to providing optimal care for injured patients. Additionally, Wellstar was named a top-five finalist for the American Hospital Association’s 2021 Quest for Quality Prize and had 130 physicians — representing almost 26 percent of the total list — named as Georgia Trend “Top Doctors.”

Approved Residential Projects to Sustain Powder Springs’ Growth

The City of Powder Springs continues to grow, as evidenced by three recent residential development project announcements: a $68-million project (348 apartment homes and retail/commercial space) at the southern corner of C.H. James Parkway and Brownsville Road; a 114-home development on 22.3 acres at the intersection of C.H. James Parkway and Hill Road; and a $38-million, mixeduse development in downtown Powder Springs. “Developers and entrepreneurs have Powder Springs square in their sights. This is the time for Powder Springs to bloom,” said Mayor Pro Tem Henry Lust.


Editor’s note: Due to evolving community needs, these events are subject to change or cancellation.

7/2 – 10/1 First Friday Concert Series

7/10 – 9/5 Metro Montage XXI

From 6-9 p.m., the community is invited to stroll through the Historic Downtown Kennesaw and enjoy an evening of shopping, dining, and live music. More info:

Metro Montage is the Marietta Cobb Museum of Art’s annual juried exhibition featuring all types of genre, medium, style, subject matter, concept, and technique in art. More info:


Experience the world of Grease like never before with on-screen lyrics to your favorite musical numbers, a costume contest, and themed drink specials. More info:

Kennesaw Grand Prix

The premier 5K race series in north Georgia. Run on a mostly flat and fast asphalt course through downtown Kennesaw. More info:


Sing Along with Grease!


MUST Dance 2021

7/17 Sounds of the Springs The City of Powder Springs will begin its free “Sounds of the Springs” Summer Concert Series with Uptown Funk a tribute to Bruno Mars on July 17 at the Hardy Family Automotive Amphitheater in Thurman Springs Park. More info:

Celebrity Ballroom Dance Studio presents MUST’s own “Dancing with the Stars” event, benefiting programs that help people escape poverty and homelessness. More info:


The East Cobb Rotary Club’s 15th annual Dog Days 5K Run starts and finishes at the East Cobb YMCA. More info:


8/14 Dream Dash

The City of Powder Springs’ Summer Concert Series continues at the Hardy Family Automotive Amphitheater in Thurman Springs Park with The Journey Tribute band. More info:

Part of the Kennesaw Grand Prix 5K Series, the Dream Dash and other races are meant to encourage residents to become more active and engage in wellness-related activities. More info:


8/20-21 Pigs & Peaches BBQ Festival

Pop-In’s provide children and their families the opportunity to interact with the museum through themed activities and crafts. This month’s theme is Summer Crafts. More info:


Glover Park Concert Series

The Marietta community will again be “dancing in the street” during the Glover Park Concert Series. The series features local and national acts on the last Friday night of every month through September. More info:

Main Street in downtown Acworth will be lined with classic cars from days gone by and some of today’s best-looking cars. More info:

Dog Days Run

Pop-In at the Marietta Museum of History

This third annual social networking event includes a competition against the Cobb County Business Associations (Field Day Style), entertainment, business expo, games & raffle prizes. More info:

7/31 Summer Classic Car Cruise


Sounds of the Springs

7/16 BASSH! 2021

Now in its 20th year, the festival at Adams Park in Kennesaw features two days of non-stop music, good eats, cold beer and interactive family-fun. More info:

8/21 Acworth Dragon Boat Festival Acworth-Cobb Dragon Boat Festival Inc., invites you to be part of a fun filled family event. This exciting daylong celebration will support cancer patients and survivors in our community. More info:

8/8 Georgia Bridal Show Held at the Cobb Galleria Center, brides can conveniently plan everything from the photographer and wedding gown, to the DJ and honeymoon. More info:

8/21 – 2/21/22 First Annual African American Golf Expo And Forum

Head to the Marietta Hilton Hotel and Convention Center to promote the game, the business, the industry, the careers, and the opportunities for golf in America. More info:


Glover Park Concert Series

The Marietta community will again be “dancing in the street” during the Glover Park Concert Series. The series features local and national acts on the last Friday night of every month through September. More info:


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Surfing in Cobb County... We Make It Easy!

Cobb In Focus magazine is now a partner with

No matter where you are, you can now access up-to-date information about what’s going on around the county. With local news, events calendars and the latest issue of Cobb In Focus, you can be instantly connected to your community. For advertising opportunities in Cobb In Focus magazine and these Cobb County websites, contact Jamie Ryan at 770-650-1102, ext. 142 or

Cobb Chamber Honors its Top 30 Small Businesses of the Year


n May 10, the Cobb Chamber named CROFT & Associates the 2021 Small Business of the Year at its Small Business of the Year Awards event, presented by LOUD Security Systems, Inc. and S.A. White Oil Company. Established in 2004, CROFT & Associates is an award-winning, national, multi-disciplinary architecture and engineering firm. Its key market sectors include education, church, local and state government, federal, mission critical, industrial and commercial, mixed use, hospitality, retail, and residential projects. “We attribute our business success to the daily pursuit of our mission and a commitment to our values,” said Stacey Chapman, VP of CROFT, in the company’s Small Business of the Year Awards application. “We are dedicated to utilizing our insight to create sustainable solutions that capture each client’s vision while providing an environment that grows our people and positively impacts our community.” As the Chamber’s 2021 Small Business of the Year, CROFT & Associates will compete in the state’s small business of the year competition.

2021 Top 30 Small Businesses of the Year To be considered for the Top 30 Small Businesses of Year, the applicants must prove an increase in sales or unit volume, provide examples of innovation, discuss

adversity and challenges, and thoroughly detail their community involvement. Applications are analyzed and considered by a group of independent community business leaders and affiliates of the U.S. Small Business Administration. The Chamber honored the following businesses at the 2021 awards celebration: • 41South Creative • Innovation Compounding • All Roof Solutions, Inc. • InPrime Legal • AQC Traffic Control Services, LLC • Manay CPA, Inc. • CFO Navigator • Mills Specialty Metals, LLC • CROFT & Associates • Powers Electrical Solutions, Inc. • Darden & Company • Priority Jet, LLC • Deluxe Athletics, LLC • Prodew, Inc. • DynamiX • RE/MAX PURE • Eclipse Networks • SK Commercial Realty • Four Hats, Inc.

• SpeedPro Marietta • Georgia Trade School • The Janice Overbeck Real Estate Team • Governors Gun Club • The Partnership of Atlanta, Inc. • GreenMellen • The UPS Store Smyrna • Henry’s Louisiana Grill, Inc. • Win-Tech, Inc. • HR Knowledge Source • Yalo!

2021 Businesses To Watch The Cobb Chamber’s Small Business of the Year awards program includes recognition for the impressive accomplishments of many new Cobb businesses and startups with the Businesses To Watch awards. These are businesses that have launched three years ago or less and have already achieved substantial growth. The 2021 Businesses To Watch are: • Abernathy Ditzel Hendrick Bryce, LLC • American Axes • Neighborhood Cuisine & Provisions • The Dwell Collective

Small Business Hall of Fame The 2020 Small Business of the Year, Three-13 Salon, Spa & Boutique, was also honored during the awards program. The salon was inducted into the Small Business Hall of Fame, which includes all county and state winners of the Small Business of the Year award from Cobb County since 1982. See the full Hall of Fame list at n


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Collect With Respect ARC Management Group bridges the gap between businesses and consumers in an effective, efficient way.

By Jennifer Morrell


ince 2005, ARC Management Group has been helping companies to manage, maintain, and sustain communications that drive the revenue process for others. ARC is owned and operated by Bill Wilson, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who was driven by the need to fill a void in revenue cycle management. He imagined helping companies to grow and better service their customers, and today, ARC serves businesses all over the country.



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We cater our collections around what the client wants and handle each account with care. We don’t just go for the money without concern for the treatment of consumers; we are truly focused on resolution.”

Photo by Virtually In Focus

Wilson and his group grew the right staff of people with top-notch and comprehensive training and technology, while incorporating early out staged billing and portfolio purchasing. Alexandra Carpanzano, director of client acquisitions, works in ARC’s Kennesaw location, and she is passionate about her role in the company. “I enjoy solving businesses’ problems with unpaid accounts, and helping consumers who face problems with unpaid accounts,” Carpanzano says. “We fill that need for others, not just in Cobb County, but nationally and internationally.” ARC is a full-service account recovery and collections firm that can carry a company from Day 1, all the way through the litigation process. “Our success is in our people,” Carpanzano says. “ARC’s high employee retention means you will have a dedicated agent to help coordinate your financial recoveries. We thrive on a healthy dissatisfaction of the status quo, providing a secure platform to ensure a dedicated relationship with each of our clients.” ARC Management Group’s philosophy is to be all about the people — the staff and team, as well as the clients. The mission is to collect with respect and make it easy. “We have a very hands-on relationship with our clients versus other agencies,” Carpanzano says. “We cater our collections around what the client wants and handle each account with care. We don’t just go for the money without concern for the treatment of consumers; we are truly focused on resolution.”

— Alexandra Carpanzano, director of client acquisitions

requiring each collector to maintain compliance through nationally recognized monthly testing guidelines. Internal and external auditors hear and review communications between ARC and its clients and consumers.

The company has experience across many verticals within the bad debt industry. Carpanzano says that upon encountering a new vertical, ARC does the research and dedicates the time to understanding those cycles, and trains the collectors and

Qualified quality ARC is ISO 27002 compliant, meaning all data and infrastructure are approved for security standards set forth by the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) and the Information Technology Association Framework (ITAF), set for the federal controls of regulation over data exchange, servers, firewalls, etc. Since ARC is licensed nationwide, the most stringent state laws are followed and applied across the board for all activity, no matter the state where business is being conducted. All HIPAA and FDCPA guidelines are followed, as well as


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Photo by Virtually In Focus


documented policies and procedures ensure client portfolios receive the most effective level of service. Between offices in Kennesaw, Georgia, and Hollywood, Florida, ARC employs about 50 people and maintains a nationwide network of law firms in partners to assist with any court necessary proceedings during recover stages. The group currently services about 170 clients, from low-volume, privately owned businesses to extremely high volumes for emergency room groups, providers, and state facilities.

COVID lessons

ARC Management Group’s Brandon Wilson and Alexandra Carpanzano.

“We invest in multiple tools and layered continual training to guarantee topnotch service every day for every account. Our solutions are based on workflow and needs of the potential client, depending on volume, expectations, and laws governing our ability to contact or communicate with customers.” — Alexandra Carpanzano, director of client acquisitions

account managers accordingly. “ARC utilizes a combination of technology and people skills to realize cash in optimum time,” she says. “We invest in multiple tools and layered continual training to guarantee top-notch service every day for every account. Our solutions are based on workflow and needs of the potential client, depending on volume, expectations, and laws governing our ability to contact or communicate with customers.” The company’s tight, 10


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During tough times amid the COVID-19 pandemic, ARC was willing to work with customers in new ways and get creative in its offerings while sticking to its original plan. “No one wants to ignore their obligations,” Carpanzano says. “ARC is asked to step in to make sure they are honored. It is literally our job to stay in communication with the customer and resolve the account, so our clients can do what they do best: run their business. At the end of the day and the transaction, everyone is grateful. Hiring a professional to handle accounts receivables is the smartest and safest thing a company can do.” In some ways, surviving year one of the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way ARC does business. The experience emphasized the way business is conducted and ARC’s culture. This meant staying focused on the task at hand, while navigating the sensitivities of what was happening around the world and taking time to listen to consumers in order to offer a resolution that moved in the right direction. On the other hand, all too often consumers have the resources to pay and are simply unwilling. In this instance, ARC monitors their network of law firms for compliance with all laws and to ensure the consumer is handled in a respectful manner. No matter the circumstances, ARC anticipates resolution. “Our motto that we ‘collect with respect’ became truly tested, tried, and remained true,” Carpanzano says. “Our clients knew we were there for them. We gave our employees the option to work from home. Some chose to do so, while a few others continued to come into the office each day. Working from home meant delivering and setting up secure and locking work stations with approved networks for

What ARC Clients Say “ARC helped our company close out ALL our delinquent accounts and during the billing review with Alexandra, she gave me tips so it’s less likely to happen again. For a company to help me NOT need their services says a lot about how much they care.” —Shelly, Marietta business owner “Alexandra is great; she is so easy to work with, explains the process, and handles the rest. Collections are not fun for anyone, but she makes it so! And knowing my accounts are handled with respect means the world to us. I cannot thank them enough for the work they do.” —Naomi, Marietta business owner

recorded activities and calls to maintain compliance and seamless interactions. “Those who stayed in the office were treated to catered lunch from a local restaurant every single day for 10 weeks from Bill Wilson,” she continues. “And one employee was so dedicated that she didn’t take a single day off from January until August. Those who had been home were welcomed back in stages, and new stations were set up around the office to maintain safe distancing. Even physically apart, we still had the family feel, but coming back together was rejuvenating.” The flexibility of the staff became evident. Between some working from home amongst their family members, and those who came into the office every day, there were a lot of moving parts to manage. The flow of communication had to remain unbroken. “The way we treat people became even more important, because while we have set policies, we were suddenly requiring everyone to stretch in order to maintain our processes and procedures to obtain results and resolutions for our clients,” Carpanzano says. Since ARC had already set up the best possible arrangements for customers, COVID didn’t affect the operations, ARC simply adjusted the options so all parties would have the best outcome. Overall numbers were lower in 2020 than in previous years, but the group still did a significant amount of business, says Carpanzano. ARC emphasizes a strong sense of family, watching over each other, and

assuring the staff stays safe. “Our ability to shift and turn quickly to meet our clients’ needs proved the true partnership we have with each of them,” Carpanzano says, “as they were going through their own troubles and organizational

challenges due to COVID.” “Everyone can lay down at night knowing we did the right thing, we treated people the right way, and we are always headed the right direction,” she says. “We don’t have any issues; we resolve them.” n

The Wellness Sanctuary International Corp. Presents: • Chiropractic Care • Auto Accidents • Laser Acupuncture • Bio cupping • Physio Therapy • Doula

Call 770-760-0060 to make your appointment today to see Dr. Mirlande Jean Sabol and Dr. Stephen Richard Sabol COBB

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Don’t Recover From Surgery Alone Post-Surgery Care Of Atlanta, LLC helps patients through the healing process.

By Cory Sekine-Pettite


ccording to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, more than 17 million Americans undergo some type of surgery every year — from routine tonsillectomies to elective procedures to



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emergency operations. Some surveys suggest the number may be closer 50 million. Another disputed statistic in academic and medical communities is the estimated number of procedures requiring anesthesia that each of us likely is to

endure over our lifetimes. You could end up undergoing nine or more such operations in your life, which could include simple dental procedures like a tooth extraction to more complicated surgeries like a knee replacement. Regardless,

Photo by LaRuche Creative

“At Post-Surgery Care of Atlanta, we focus on the whole person — the mind, the body, the spirit of the person. Really getting them to a place of understanding the emotional part of [themselves] is so vital. — Jillian Simpson

you’re going “under the knife” at some point — if you haven’t already — and you’re going to need post-op care and/ or rehabilitation. If you’re lucky, you have family who can take care of you while you recover at home — people who can

see that you are eating properly and taking your medicine, et cetera. If you live alone and don’t have relatives nearby, you should consider seeking out professional assistance once you leave the hospital. This is where Post-Surgery Care Of Atlanta, LLC can come to your rescue. Founded by Jillian Simpson, CNA, CRNA, CHPNA, CMA-AAMA in 2018, Post-Surgery Care Of Atlanta is a home healthcare service that operates 24 hours per day, seven days per week. Yes, Simpson cares deeply for her patients, so she makes herself available to them at all hours. Many times, patients are exclusively focusing on the choosing the best surgeon for their surgery, Simpson says. However, they forget to also focus on choosing the best aftercare for surgery. To reach optimal results, patients need a high-quality and highly competent home care provider who understands the significance of optimal healing. Post-Surgery Care Of Atlanta is patient-centered and service-focused. Simpson works closely with each patient’s post-op hospital care team and their surgery centers. What is it about home healthcare that she loves so much? It’s being in an intimate space with her patients, focusing in on that one person to build a relationship and to build trust, she says. In a hospital

setting, you only get a few minutes with each patient before having to move on to help care for others; it can feel like you’re on a conveyor belt, Simpson said. For her, a hospital care situation would always be more of a chore than a joyful career. “There’s always fear of liability that I’m going to harm someone [in a fast-paced setting]. And who wants to be feeling that way — that every day I have to hold my breath?” Conversely, she said, working in home healthcare is more effortless for her. She has more control over how she conducts business and how she handles herself and her patients’ care. “At Post-Surgery Care of Atlanta, we focus on the whole person — the mind, the body, the spirit of the person,” Simpson said. “Really getting them to a place of understanding the emotional part of [themselves] is so vital. The mental aspect is so vital in bringing forth the full recovery that you want from your surgery.” Simpson didn’t just stumble upon her chosen profession and start a business. Even as a teenager, she knew she wanted to work in healthcare (originally as a forensic pathologist). So, in 2003, she started on that path, but put her aspirations on hold in 2007 to begin raising her daughter. She graduated from Chattahoochee COBB

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To reach optimal results, patients need a high-quality and highly competent home care provider who understands the significance of optimal healing. Post-Surgery Care Of Atlanta is patientcentered and service-focused. Simpson works closely with each patient’s post-op hospital care team and their surgery centers.

Technical College in 2009 with a medical assistant degree and immediately went to work for an urgent care facility in Paulding County. Working 14-hour days, five days per week took its toll, so it wasn’t long before she shifted to Wellstar in 2011 and then to a smaller physician’s group in Marietta — always with a focus on providing the best possible attention and care to her patients. To become even more helpful and involved directly with patient care, Simpson decided in 2015 that becoming a certified nurse assistant (CNA) was the right move for her. Upon getting certified, she went to work for Visiting Angels Home Care in Paulding County and fell in love with the job. “I was like, ‘this is it! It fits like a glove,’” she recalled. “That’s where I started really getting to know Jillian, who Jillian is and what’s really my purpose, or I would say the beginning stages of my purpose.” Simpson would work in that

home care facility for two years before deciding to launch her own business. She has been helping the sick and the wounded for nearly 12 years now and finds each new day more rewarding than the last. Simpson, who also now holds a bachelor’s degree in behavioral health, finds her patients through a variety of avenues from physician referrals to client referrals and social media marketing. In a typical month, she takes care of up to seven post-surgery patients in their homes. Depending on the patient and their procedure, she may stay with someone overnight on their first day home. However, her visits usually only last a short time. She will check a patient’s vitals, change bandages (and look for signs of infection), answer questions, et cetera. Simpson even drives some patients to and from appointments and picks up their prescriptions. Perhaps just as important, she will converse with her patients. “It’s really just being by their side and just being their emotional and mental guide to this type of healing,” she said. Simpson’s patients typically are Cobb Chamber member single — often widowed or divorced — and almost always Web: women. Though she is startEmail: ing to see male patients now. It’s all about who the patients Facebook: @Post Surgery Care of Atlanta, are comfortable dealing with. LLC No matter who it is though, Instagram: @postsurgerycareatlanta Simpson says that the soTwitter: @PostSurgeryAtlanta called “surgery blues” are real. So, in addition to addressing Phone: 470.298.2630 people’s physical wounds, she is glad to be there for their

Post-Surgery Care of Atlanta, LLC



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emotional health as well. “When they first come home and they’re all bandaged up and drained, it definitely can cause a lot of psychological distress, … and I’m just there to listen.” Wisely, Simpson knows when to suggest professional counseling to further help those who find recovery particularly stressful. According to, depression is a complication that can happen after any type of surgery. It’s a serious condition that needs attention so that you can find the treatments that can help you cope. Certain surgeries may carry a higher risk of postoperative depression, but it can appear after any surgery. Healthline reports that factors that can contribute include: •  having depression before surgery •  chronic pain •  reactions to anesthesia •  reactions to pain medications •  facing one’s own mortality • the physical and emotional stress of surgery •  concerns about your speed of recovery •  anxiety over possible complications • feelings of guilt about depending on others •  concerns that the surgery may not be enough • stress related to recovery, the return home, financial costs, and so on One thing is for certain: It’s beneficial to have a healthcare professional by your side post-surgery who can spot the warning signs and find you the help you need. Simpson and Post-Surgery Care of Atlanta can help your mind, body, and spirit. n

Charlie’s Angels Movers Presents Airaoke

A Karaoke Contest to Benefit the Terry Farrell Firefighters Fund To commemorate the 20th Anniversary of 9/11 in a special way, Charlie’s Angels Movers is sponsoring a karaoke contest with proceeds benefitting the Terry Farrell Firefighters Fund. The event will be held at the Cobb International Airport in the Atlanta Air Charter hanger on Sept. 11, 2021. The stage will be set around the nose of an airplane, with beautiful Kennesaw mountain in the background. This event is open to the public. All singers will need to register in advance. Ten singers will be called per hour, picked randomly. In the 9 o’clock hour, the four singers with

$500) provided by the Jewelsmith of the Avenues of West Cobb. In addition, there will be a silent auction, door prizes, food and beverages, and additional entertainment throughout the evening. Tickets are $10 for both singers and attendees and available at, or by texting “Ticket” to 920.247.2653. the most votes — based on a combination of fan voting via text and five designated judges — will be called back for a final judging. The winner with the most moving performance will walk off with $1,000 and a silver platter (valued at

A.G. Rhodes provides a safe environment for long-term care, short-term recovery, and therapy and rehabilitation services. A.G. Rhodes is an ideal stop between hospital and home for those recovering from surgery, illness or regaining strength. • State-of-the-art therapy and rehabilitation services including physical, occupational and speech therapies • Innovative programs • Comprehensive, personalized care • Nonprofit, mission-driven • Five-star rating!

Contact Us: 770-427-8727 900 Wylie Rd. SE Marietta, GA 30067

A.G. Rhodes serves more than 1,100 seniors each year in Cobb, Fulton and DeKalb counties. Visit for more information.


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Cobb’s 2021 Woman of Distinction to be Announced in September


he Cobb Chamber will announce the recipient of the 2021 Woman of Distinction award at the Marquee Monday event on Sept. 13, 2021. According to the Chamber, the award is given annually to recognize a woman who demonstrates exceptional leadership through her professional endeavors, community involvement, and social responsibility in the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion thereby supporting and advancing her community and her field. For example, last year’s winner was Kim Gresh, president of S.A. White Oil Company, whom the Chamber says is a tireless community servant and an outstanding corporate leader in a male-dominated industry. Other previous recipients of the award include Shan Cooper (2014), Judge Mary Staley Clark (2015), Dr. Yolanda Graham (2016), Tracy Rathbone (2017), Holly Tuchman (2018), and Allison Giddens (2019).



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The nomination period for this year is closed, obviously, but if you would like to be considered for future awards, Woman of Distinction nominees must meet the following criteria: 1. Have not been a previous recipient of the Woman of Distinction award. 2. Have a minimum of five years history of promoting or supporting women in the workplace, not exclusive to Cobb. 3. Must currently live or work in Cobb County. 4. Must be members of the Cobb Chamber of Commerce. 5. Must meet the membership qualifications for Cobb Executive Women (CEW). Membership in CEW is not required. 6. Nominations must come from a CEW member, Chamber member, or community member (no self-nominations). 7. Current Steering Committee members are not eligible for nomination.

Criteria for CEW Membership Membership is open to Cobb Chamber of Commerce members who are executives in one or more of the following categories: 1. Executive management — must manage a budget and/or team 2. Professional occupations — licensed professional such as an M.D., C.P.A., or J.D. as determined and verified by the professional board in Georgia for that field 3. Business owners — must be registered with the secretary of state and have a valid business license 4. Professional occupation wherein employment responsibilities include significant company-wide impact in the areas of sales, marketing, and/ or substantial financial responsibility and are coupled with significant community contributions as reflected on prospective member’s application 5. Elected or appointed officials

Special Section

Leaders of Cobb


ince its establishment more than 180 years ago, Cobb County has been defined by its people. Some of these individuals have made their mark by becoming pioneers of business, captains of industry and heads of state. And if you’re reading this, you likely know why Cobb is attractive to so many. It hosts exceptional schools, is within close reach to the world’s busiest airport, has all of the convenience of proximity to the

big city and is fertile ground for entrepreneurship. The list goes on, but it always comes back to the people who have built this county into what it is. On the following pages we have profiled individuals who are among Cobb’s premier leaders. We wanted to find out about their job, delve into their personal lives, and gain some words of wisdom. And of course, we asked: Why have you picked Cobb County?


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Photo by LaRuche Creative

Leaders of Cobb

holds up his index finger. Billy asks, “Your finger?,” to which Curly’s response is find that one thing that motivates you and the rest doesn’t mean squat. So when I founded Yalo!, I knew I wanted to do marketing. I knew I wanted to do it in a way that leveraged my passions. We have a whole methodology and approach where we use film, art, music, and sports for inspiration and drive creativity for our clients. WHY I CHOSE TO WORK IN COBB: One of the key voices for us being in Cobb is Wayne Dodd! If you don’t know Wayne, you don’t know Cobb. WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB? It’s the opportunity to go to work every day with the incredibly talented and committed team that we have built here at Yalo!. It’s those exciting moments when we thoroughly thrill our clients and see their surprise, gratitude, and pride in what our team has created for them. The combination of these two things motivates me every day.

Arnold Huffman CEO, Yalo!

THE STORY: I’m from northeast Ohio, outside of Cleveland. I went to Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and was recently the Alumni Board president. I was a basketball player and a chemical engineer, but never did engineering. I went right into management consulting (Accenture), then to software, then to a large marketing agency, to founding and owning a full-service creative marketing agency, which is a long way from being a chemical engineer. I don’t know that I picked my profession so much as I think my experiences presented me with valuable opportunities and choices. I would say my career has been more leapfrogging from frond to frond and that everything I have learned along the way has put me in this fortunate position. I am a believer that you have to do what you love. I used to do a speech to new hires at Accenture where I used Curly from the “City Slickers” movie as an example in the scene when Billy Crystal’s character asks Curly the secret of life, and Curly

LEISURE TIME: I read a book a month, mostly non-fiction books about musicians and bands. I am a raging music fan, concert goer and a vinyl collector. Music is at the center of Yalo!: how we work, how we think, how we succeed. The history and stories are fascinating. I run 4-5 times a week; it gives me time to think through things, clear my head, and calm my vibe each day. Also, I hang with my wife and three kids doing anything we can think of outdoors. BEST ADVICE: Effort, focus, and perseverance. These are all qualities that you can possess that don’t require skill, talent, or knowledge and can be applied to your advantage in anything you do professionally or personally. WHAT’S NEXT? Continue to grow Yalo! through M&A. Hire the most talented, hard-working, diverse marketing individuals that we can. Thrill our clients, solve their problems, and build great partnerships with them. Lastly, I have committed Yalo! to The A Pledge here in Atlanta. The A Pledge is a call to Atlanta advertising and marketing agencies to come together in a committed effort to create inclusive opportunities within our industry. Yalo! will be on the front line in this important initiative to drive change in our industry.

4279 Roswell Rd NE, STE 208-194, Atlanta, GA 30342 • 678.590.0834 • 18


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Leaders of Cobb Photo by LaRuche Creative

SETH A. YELLIN, MD, FACS is celebrating his 10th anniversary as founder and director of Marietta Facial Plastic Surgery, Laser & Aesthetics Center. As one of Atlanta’s most well-respected facial plastic surgeons, he has treated thousands of patients during his 25 years in practice with the goal of making every patient happy and more confident. Dr. Yellin is a facial aesthetic expert and creator of Injecta-Lift™. He is nationally renowned for creating a natural look when reshaping the face with injectable fillers and performing cosmetic and reconstructive facial plastic surgery. He believes that the ultimate test of a great plastic surgeon is the naturally beautiful appearance of the patient. He also believes that aesthetic success leaves the patient more beautiful without telegraphing that work has been done. Prior to moving his residence and practice to Marietta, Dr. Yellin was Director of the Emory Facial Center and Chief of Facial Plastic Surgery at Emory Healthcare. As an educator, he taught the art and science of facial plastic surgery at Emory University School of Medicine. Dr. Yellin received his undergraduate degree (Phi Beta Kappa) from Emory University and his medical degree (Alpha Omega Alpha) from Founder and Director New York University School of Medicine. He Marietta Facial Plastic Surgery, Laser & Aesthetics Center completed six years of general surgical and head and neck surgical training in New York City at Lenox Hill The patient’s mother shared with him how beautiful her Hospital, Manhattan Eye, Ear, and Throat Hospital, daughter’s nose looked after the rhinoplasty he performed New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center, and Memorialseveral months earlier, and most importantly, how happy and Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. He then was selected for a confident it made her feel. The patient’s mother also said that prestigious fellowship in facial plastic surgery, under the her daughter’s nose looked so natural, they kept forgetting directorship of Richard T. Farrior, MD, a world authority in the to schedule her follow-up appointment. That was high praise field of facial plastic surgery, through the American Academy indeed. Because the daughter was so happy, the parents were of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS). genuinely appreciative. Now that is a lot of good vibrations He is double board-certified by the American Board of from one rhinoplasty.  Otolaryngology and the American Board of Facial Plastic and

Seth A. Yellin, MD, FACS

Reconstructive Surgery (ABFPRS). Currently, he is a Fellow of the AAFPRS, the American College of Surgeons, and has been an oral board examiner for the ABFPRS. Maximizing his patients’ happiness is the driving force for Dr. Yellin professionally. To make this point, he relayed a story that perfectly encapsulated the impact facial aesthetic surgery can have on one’s confidence. Recently, Dr. Yellin ran into one of his patients and her family while eating at a local restaurant.

Dr. Yellin’s best advice is to become an informed patient and to remain open-minded to novel aesthetic solutions. To that end, he has done a series of webinars covering a variety of facial aesthetic topics to elevate his patients’ knowledge prior to sitting down with them for a personalized consultation. If you want to look your best and feel more confident in your appearance, call 770.425.7575 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Yellin.

111 Marble Mill Rd NW, Marietta, GA 30060 • 770.425.7575 • COBB

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All photos by LaRuche Creative



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Hometown Law Firm with Million-Dollar Results When Wesley Starrett and Kevin Harris opened their firm in early 2020, they focused on uncovering every stone for their clients’ cases.

By Lindsay Field Penticuff


any might not think that Wesley Starrett and Kevin Harris took the traditional route to becoming attorneys. In fact, they took a bit of a different path altogether, and one they both believe helps them fight for justice and protect the little guy — or girl.


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“Whether it was in law enforcement or with the prosecutor’s office, we have always been victims’ advocates.” — Wesley Starrett, Attorney and Partner, Starrett and Harris Law, LLC

Starrett and Harris were law enforcement officers for nearly a decade before they each decided to go to law school. Starrett worked for the Douglasville Police Department, while Harris spent time at the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and Fulton County Sheriff’s Office Reserve. “My background is very similar to Wesley’s, and I think that’s why we get along so well,” Harris says. “We were actually raised just one street over from one another, too.” For Starrett, however, it all started with a tragedy in his family while he was a police officer. “My wife’s father was killed on Interstate 285,” he shares. “I went through the process with her in finding attorneys and getting somebody to represent her family to go after the driver of the [tractor trailer] truck.” After that experience, Starrett switched gears and started law school. At first, he attended school at night while still working at the police department. He then later went to school fulltime. “I’ve got 10 years of law enforcement experience, and during that time I worked a lot of traffic wrecks and fatalities,” Starrett adds. “This was kind of a natural fit for me to go into representing people who are injured in car crashes.” It was a similar path for Harris. And working in law enforcement is where they both discovered their love for the practice of law, in addition to learning and understanding the importance of empathizing with their clients, showing compassion in someone’s most dire time of need.



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Establishing a partnership Starrett and Harris knew each other before starting their practice, but it wasn’t until they became attorneys that they really began crossing paths more often. After graduating from law school, Starrett worked for the Douglas County Solicitor-General Office before joining a private plaintiff’s firm. He already had started his own law firm in 2019 — Starrett Law — when he ran into Harris, who was at a defense firm at the time. The pair soon began conversations about becoming partners at a new firm. “Whether it was in law enforcement or with the prosecutor’s office, we have always been victims’ advocates,” Starrett says. “Both Kevin and I are Plaintiff’s attorneys at heart.” “So, it worked out that when Kevin and I met up again and I explained that I needed some help in my firm after running it for a year, it seemed like a perfect fit.” Harris joined the practice in January 2020, when they officially established Starrett and Harris Law, LLC. But it wasn’t exactly what they expected at first. The firm was making great traction the first three months of 2020, but then the COVID-19 pandemic hit. As personal injury attorneys, including motor vehicle accidents, cases that may involve dog bites or worker’s compensation, their clients weren’t on the roads or at work any longer due to the shelter-in-place orders. “It was just awesome, and business was looking great,” Starrett recalls. “Then, March

[2020] hit and we didn’t have a single new case until July [2020].” Harris and Starrett didn’t let that damper their moods, or their business. As soon as the courts started opening back up, cases started flowing once again. “We have weathered the storm since about August,” Harris says, “then things have been going as good, if not better, than it was when we started.”

Going above and beyond The firm, which serves clients across Georgia, is dedicated to its clients. And Harris and Starrett always are willing to navigate the road less taken when it comes to the men and women they represent during litigation. Some of their more recent, unique cases involve an employee at an oil refinery where there was an explosion, a wrongful death case for the mother of a 24-year-old who was killed in a motorcycle accident, and a patron who was allegedly shot by a security officer at an Atlanta nightclub. “Our backgrounds have made a huge difference in cases like these,” says Harris. For example, they typically go out to the location of an accident when they can, will take their own pictures, and try to get an idea of what happened. “We’ll also go out and look at the vehicles in the tow yard, and that’s something we know how to do because of our backgrounds,” he adds. Doing their own investigation is helpful. “We start fresh, taking a look at the police report, but that’s not it,” Starrett says. “We work with

some of the best accident reconstruction specialists in Georgia, and we use the latest and greatest technology, including drone footage, 3D mapping of the scene, and ‘black box’ downloads on vehicles.”

Clients first, settlements second Determination and perseverance are the hallmarks of the Starrett and Harris Law approach. It’s a key component of business that the pair agreed upon when they started their partnership a little over a year ago. “We want to look at people not just as a case number. So, every time I sit down in front of a client, I think, ‘If this was my brother or sister sitting there, what type of service would I give them?’” Harris says. “We try to treat them like we would treat our own families.” Clients are often coming to Harris and Starrett at their weakest and darkest times, many facing terrible, traumatic injuries. “We have a responsibility to give them our best,” Harris continues. “If we take on a client, we are going to give them 110 percent.” As a hometown firm, their job is to uncover every stone and take on the giant insurance companies for their clients and client families, getting millions of dollars in results. But winning isn’t just about large payouts. “It’s not always about money,” Starrett confirms. “For example, in a recent case, the prosecutor didn’t even want to prosecute in a hit and run case, but that was so important for the family. They wanted some measure of justice for their loved one.”

“We try to be a voice for those who don’t have a voice.” — Kevin Harris, Attorney and Partner, Starrett and Harris Law, LLC


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Starrett and Harris Law, LLC Owners: Wesley Starrett, Partner, Kevin Harris, Partner Location: Threadmill Complex, 5000 Austell Powder Springs Road SW, Suite 251 Austell, GA 30106 Website:

It felt good for Starrett and Harris to be a part of that, because they wanted to help make sure the driver was held accountable for his actions. “For a lot of these individuals, they are also just looking for their story to be heard,” Harris adds. “It’s important for them to know about what can often be a lifechanging event. We try to be a voice for those who don’t have a voice.” Clients have been incredibly pleased with the outcomes, too. “Oftentimes, the last time you’ll see a client is when you give them their money,” Starrett says. “But that’s not always the case for our clients. They become like family. We get to know them and keep in touch.” It’s all about getting families through to the other side. “Making sure they are getting the financial and emotional support they need — and deserve — is the most rewarding thing in the world to us,” concludes Starrett. n

Credit Union of Georgia’s Kathy Winiarczyk Raises Most Donations for Communities In Schools in Marietta/Cobb County Jail & Bail Fundraiser This past spring, Kathy Winiarczyk, business development officer for Credit Union of Georgia, was honored as the winner of a friendly competition to raise money for the Communities In Schools Georgia in Marietta/Cobb County (CIS) Jail & Bail Fundraiser. Winiarczyk raised $2,539.23 for the cause. The fundraiser raised a total of $18,064.18 for at-risk youth in Marietta and Cobb County. Winiarczyk not only participated on behalf of the Credit Union of Georgia, but the Credit Union also donated to the fundraiser. Executive Director of CIS, Natalie Rutledge shared, “We are so thankful for Kathy’s support and efforts to help make our first CIS Jail & Bail: Guilty for Caring for Kids a huge success! Kathy is a tireless servant leader and is always ready to give her time, talents, and resources to support the Cobb County community. With her sincere generosity and big smile, no job is too little or challenge too big. We are thankful for Kathy and the Credit



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Union of Georgia’s partnership with Communities In Schools and together we are #Allinforkids!” Communities In Schools (cisga. org) is the nation’s leading dropout prevention and intervention organization. Improving graduation rates and addressing academic and non-academic challenges is important for at-risk youth — eight of 10 high school dropouts end up in the criminal justice system, CIS

reports, and last year, six of 10 found guilty in Cobb County Superior Court were high school dropouts. With the Credit Union of Georgia being founded by educators in Marietta and Cobb County, the Credit Union has a strong passion for giving back to the schools and programs that support education. When asked what she loves most about serving the community through the Credit Union, Winiarczyk stated, “I am proud to be part of an organization that prioritizes the community. My favorite part is getting to be hands-on in the community, whether that is actively fundraising or volunteering. Getting out there and meeting those we help is the best!” Credit Union of Georgia supports CIS and the community of Marietta and Cobb County. To learn more about the Credit Union of Georgia and its fundraising efforts for local charities visit,

Business Leaders Award The Hard Work Of Cobb Students


s we first presented in the May/June issue, local businesses award thousands of dollars in scholarships every year to Cobb County students. Since May, news of more scholarships has reached our desks, so we wanted to share the information with you. Congratulations to these students; they persevered through an incredibly tough school year.

Credit Union of Georgia Awards $1,000 Scholarship to Marietta High School Student In May, Credit Union of Georgia awarded Sophie Edwards at $1,000 scholarship in connection with the Marietta Schools Foundation for her essay on “How #DoYouCU making a difference?” When creating a scholarship for the Marietta Schools Foundation the Credit Union wanted to award a student who cares about their community and is making a difference in the future. Edwards received raving recommendations from her teachers, possessed great grades throughout her high school career, but what stuck out most was her desire to help children and end chronic hunger in the community. Sophie Edwards Edwards began working to end chronic childhood hunger in kindergarten when she learned a classmate was participating in the free and reduced lunch program. From then on, she dedicated her time to the cause by providing more than 3,000 meals for summer lunch programs, raising more than $10,000 through five bake sales, speaking at multiple fundraising events, volunteering over 2,100 hours, forming the Square Meal Project when she was only eight years old, and recently repurposing a retired school bus to create a mobile food pantry and summer meal delivery service with Marietta City Schools. “I love to help children reach their fullest potential,” wrote Edwards in her “How #DoYouCU making a difference?” essay. With a desire to help others, she has decided to pursue a career in medicine to serve underserved communities. Edwards will be attending the University of Georgia in the fall to begin her journey towards her dream.

Osborne High School Student Earns Scholarships & Will Attend Chattahoochee Tech This Fall Osborne High School student Jared Mendoza is a firstgeneration college student attending Chattahoochee Technical College this fall. Her mother and 5th-grade sister were at Osborne when Mendoza learned she was the recipient of a $1,000 Cobb Schools Foundation scholarship, as well as a $3,272 scholarship recognizing her overall success and perseverance. During Mendoza’s scholarship interview, she attributed her success to her mother and her Spanish teacher at Osborne, Kerae Joonsar. She shared that her teacher inspired her to continue learning and striving for the next level of success because

she was capable of continuing her success. “My Spanish teacher always told me I could do more,” Mendoza said. The Cobb Schools Foundation spent the last week of the school year recognizing and awarding scholarships to exceptional students, like Mendoza. An independent scholarship committee that works out of the Cobb Schools Foundation Board spends hundreds of hours reviewing, scoring, interviewing, and selecting up to two scholarship recipients from each of Cobb’s 17 high schools. They also review and score finalists from several other donor-funded scholarships as well. In addition to the Cobb Schools Foundation scholarship, Jared also earned the special Perseverance Scholarship Award, funded by Dr. Jaha Howard, who set the objective to find a student who displayed grit and the will to persevere despite life’s curveballs. “We all have moments in life that can determine our next steps for the better or worse. This scholarship was designed to award an outstanding student who really has the grit to keep going,” Dr. Howard shared. Another scholarship awarded by Dr. Howard went to Chibuzo Ibuoffor of South Cobb High School. He is the first recipient of the Spanish-speaking Future Teacher Scholarship worth $4,909 and is attending Georgia Tech this summer. “We are always so grateful to our community of supporters who believe in our students. We want our students to know that people in our community care about them and their achievements and are willing to support them in big ways,” said Felicia Wagner, executive director of the Cobb Schools Foundation.

South Cobb Business Association Awards Two Scholarships

Marissa Salett of Pebblebrook High School and Achusim Nnyagu of South Cobb High School each earned $500 in college scholarship funds from the South Cobb Business Association (SCBA). The SCBA developed its scholarship program five years ago to provide scholarships to students at these two schools. Each year, one student from each school is awarded a scholarship to assist with their college tuition. Salett maintained a 4.19 GPA and will be attending Bard College this fall. Nnyagu earned a 3.7 GPA and Marissa Salett will be attending Kennesaw State University.

Powder Springs Business Group Awards Two $500 Scholarships

Achusim Nnyagu

The Powder Springs Business Group awarded two, $500 Workforce Scholarships to graduating seniors from McEachern and Hillgrove High Schools. These students, Oje Addeh (McEachern) and Zachary Martin (Hillgrove) have committed to attending a Technical College System of Georgia school. n COBB

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Board members, business partners, and military representatives on Career Signing stage in J Hall (new building at MHS).

Prepared For Success United Electric and other local companies join Marietta High School to celebrate the Inaugural Career Signing Day By Cory Sekine-Pettite


n late May, as Marietta High School (MHS) administrators and staff were preparing to end the school year and commemorate its graduating seniors, the school also carved out a special day for a group of students who were about to enter the workforce, beginning their career journeys without a liberal arts college education, a.k.a., the “traditional route.” On this day, 10 graduating students were honored as part of the Inaugural Career



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Signing Day. One student committed to becoming an automotive apprentice with Jim Ellis Volvo; one student signed a commitment to apprentice with the assisted living community of Arbor Terrace at Burnt Hickory; one student signed with the Navy; three students joined the Army National Guard and another joined the Marines; and finally, three students joined apprenticeship programs with United Electric and the Atlanta Electrical Contractors Association (AECA).

“We want to promote them just as much as we promote our kids that are going away to college,” said Julie O’Meara, CTAE director and CEO of the MHS College and Career Academy, of the need to hold a celebration for these 10 students. “We had our in-person event, and it was just a very sweet ceremony,” she continued. “We invited their families, and we had the employers here, and it was just really neat. We talked about each one of the students and what their

goals were. So, I think the kids really felt special. And what was exciting about it is we had parents and grandparents tell us, ‘thank you so much for recognizing these kids and promoting careers as a viable option, that not everybody has to go to a four-year college to be successful.’” The program, known as the Marietta High School College and Career Academy began last year, following the construction of a $12.3-million, 55,000-squarefoot building, along with extensive modifications to many existing career pathway areas across the MHS campus. Initial career pathway offerings include construction (which includes carpentry, electrical, plumbing, masonry and welding), cybersecurity, and healthcare (including biotechnology, a certified nursing assistant pathway, emergency medical responder, and sports medicine). Also included are pre-engineering, pre-architecture, early childhood education, culinary arts, marketing, public safety/law enforcement, film and video, graphic design, nutrition and food science, accounting, game design, and a plethora of performing and visual arts careers. An additional career pathway, Air Force JROTC, is the school’s largest student organization and is a premier way to develop leadership skills. “We have a lot to celebrate at the Marietta High School College and Career Academy,” said O’Meara. “We have a beautiful new building and renovated labs in the main building, $700,000 worth of equipment for the new labs, and dedicated teachers to help students be career ready.” According to MHS, in its 20 career pathways, 499 students completed pathways this year, which means taking all three courses within a pathway. Many students earned credentials that will give them a leg up in the workforce: • 22 students earned the GeorgiaBEST DOL YAP Employability Certificate • 4 students earned the Certified SolidWorks Associate (CSWA) • 1 student earned the Adobe Certified Associate •  11 students earned the Early Childhood Education and Care credential •  49 students earned the Fire Safety Certificate • 25 students earned the ServSafe Food

Keith Fraser, United Electric, with students Ryan, Juan, Avery, and Liz Campbell, AECA.

“One key to success in the electrical construction industry is recruiting young and continual training. This is what United Electric does in our partnership with AECA. One can begin a career without knowledge of the industry and in five years be a certified Journeyman Wireman.” — Keith Fraser, vice president of United Electric Handler credential •  5 students earned the ACF Culinary Arts Cook credential • 6 students earned the NOCTI Architectural Drafting credential •  4 students earned the OSHA 10 credential • 3 students earned the CEFGA Certified Tape Measure credential • 62 students earned the Ladder Safety Training credential • 1 student earned the Exercise Science/Sports Medicine credential •  54 students earned Adult and Child CPR and AED certifications • 8 students earned Basic Life Support CPR certification “Approximately 115 students participated in Dual Enrollment, earning both high school and college credit,” O’Meara continued. “Many of our students have participated in

Career and Technical Student Organizations, JROTC drill team and color guard, or other leadership activities which have equipped them with the professional skills required to be successful in the workforce. … It’s been a great year despite the pandemic.” Angela Sparks, career advisor and youth apprenticeship coordinator at MHS, said one aim of the school is to celebrate education in all its forms. “One thing that we do

Each student was given a Career Coin, which represents an investment in their future self.


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Education here is we celebrate any type of hard work and dedication that would lead to a career, so that it’s not just about the traditional fouryear university experience,” she said. In addition to this program, MHS encourages students to earn experiential opportunities through its Work-Based Learning Youth Apprenticeship Program (YAP). Through YAP, school administrators strive to place students in internships that match their career interest, aptitudes, and coursework. “These experiences are truly the way to build a workforce pipeline within a community while at the same time impact the outcome of a student’s success in their future career,” Sparks said. O’Meara added that the school has a great deal of community support behind it in order to create the Career Academy. “These business partners were so eager to participate. And we have many community partners, whether they be postsecondary, or business and industry, or just people that live in our community that want to support what we’re doing here,” she said. “They’re offering internships. They’re offering mentoring, tutoring, financial support. And, you know, we’re very appreciative that we’ve got those partnerships.” One of those partners is United Electric (UE). As mentioned above, three students took an interest in electrical contracting careers and signed letters of intent with UE, a firm serving the greater Atlanta market. The company specializes in the construction and maintenance of electrical, lighting, and voice/data systems for many

Two students and one mom (accepting on behalf her son who was working) with Army National Guard rep.

of Metro Atlanta’s leading retail, commercial, office, and communication companies. Since 1986, UE has been involved in new and renovation construction projects and preventative maintenance for customers ranging from office suites to television & radio studios to regional malls and retail stores. “One key to success in the electrical construction industry is recruiting young and continual training,” said Keith Fraser, vice president of United Electric. “This is what United Electric does in our partnership with AECA. One can begin a career without knowledge of the industry and in five years be a certified Journeyman Wireman.” Through its partnership with AECA, they offer a five-year Electrical Apprenticeship Program (four days of work per week at UE and one day of education at AECA per week). This five-year program gives

students the opportunity to earn a high salary without taking on a great deal of college loan debt. While in the program, they earn a salary that covers job training and education costs, and provides a respectable living, all while advancing their technical skills toward premium wages in the future. Apprenticeship program graduates are a cut above the rest and highly sought after in the industry. “The goal I’d like to accomplish while at United Electric is to get through their five-year apprenticeship program while figuring out other ways to further develop my knowledge,” said Avery, one of the MHS Career Academy grads. Students Ryan and Juan echo these thoughts. “My goal is to complete the apprenticeship flawlessly and create connections that will assist me to succeed in the future,” said Ryan. “I wish to become one of the best electricians in America,” quipped Juan. Ryan and Avery were students in the MHS Youth Apprenticeship Program this year. Avery’s internship was with UE, while Ryan interned in the field with a different company. All three students certainly are being prepared for great career success. “I think every year we’ll have more and more students declare, ‘this is what I’m doing and they’ll feel good about that decision,” O’Meara said.

The new Career Academy facility

Juan signing his certificate of intent for apprenticeship. 28


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As Cobb In Focus first reported in 2019, the new, three-story facility serves around 1,000 students, with a maximum occu-

pancy of 1,096 people. It houses six, state-of-the-art labs; 11 classrooms; and additional supporting spaces for the labs and classrooms. Breaux and Associates Architects designed the facility, and R.K. Redding was involved in the design process as construction manager. “As construction manager for Marietta City Schools, we work closely with the architect and the owner during the design and development stages of the project to check budgets for materials and methods, and perform feasibility surveys for different construction activities,” says Geoffrey Smith, vice president of construction and senior project manager, R.K. Redding Construction Inc. Smith said the new building was designed with elements to complement and enhance the existing facade of Marietta High School. The building is a traditional, steel structure with masonry and cast stone cladding. It offers an abundance of natural light generated by aluminum storefront windows and door systems. It also has an exterior insulation

and finish system — synthetic, cementitious stone look — to complement the facade at the roof level. The colors also match the existing building. The storefront is “Marietta gold.” The space for the College and Career Academy was designed to be cutting-edge in technology, while complementing the existing facility. Concrete masonry units (CMUs) were used in the areas of refuge and egress, stairwells, and elevator tower. More than 260,000 bricks were used to contact the face of the exterior of the building, Smith says. Unique interior construction features of Marietta College and Career Academy include two key elements. Smith said the construction is more typical of retail storefronts and healthcare facilities. “The building’s interior is almost completely made up of drywall and storefront partitions, making this construction atypical of most school designs that are block walls and hollow metal doorways,” he said. “This design was utilized to make the space flexible in the future for changing and

retrofitting existing labs for new technology and methods. The other key feature of the facility is an interior space with a grand atrium area, which is more consistent of higher education facilities than K-12. “One of the biggest design issues that had to be overcome with code compliance using this atrium was the use of a smoke evacuation system that is a unique design in itself,” Smith said. “The area had to be ventilated, in case of fire and smoke infiltration.” This ventilation requires the use of extremely large duct systems that have to be centralized in the open atrium. Rather than attempting to hide the ventilation in the walls, as a typical architectural design might, the ventilation was “hidden” in plain sight, using rails and tabletops in the atrium’s commons area. “Basically, since the ventilation would only be used in the case of a fire and smoke, the ventilation is now being used as part of the collaboration areas,” Smith says. “The large vents are now doubling as table space for project collaboration.” n

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A rts & Recreation

Under New Management

After more than 20 years of operation, Bentwater Golf Club is getting some major upgrades — and members are excited. By Lindsay Field Penticuff


nown for its striking views of Red Top Mountain, as well as the ponds, creeks and wetlands that highlight each round of golf, Bentwater Golf Club in Acworth has been a recreational treasure for more than 20 years. The club’s new owners want to ensure its legacy as a picturesque place to play while also bringing Bentwater into a more modern aesthetic. “Members are really excited to see the new ownership come in and do exactly what they say they are going to do. No more promises, but actually making the improvements. Members are getting to see change within the first month of the new ownership,” says Chris Connolly, General Manager at Bentwater Golf Club in Acworth. Bentwater, which is one of the best golf courses northwest of Atlanta, includes more



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than 7,000 yards of back tees, as well as a practice green bunker, practice range, clubhouse, golf pro shop and dining area. The club opened in 2000 but transitioned to a new management firm — Club Specialists International (CSI) — on May 1 of this year. CSI, which has consulted with more than 500 private clubs, golf courses, resorts, and real estate developments, brings more than a century of collective operating experience in private club operations and development, marketing, membership development, and management. This operational proficiency portends great things for the course.

Details of the renovation The major overhaul started shortly after CSI took over management in May. Designed to

enhance the member experience, improvements at Bentwater include: • Removing tree roots that are causing ongoing cart path damage, and repairing the cart paths on the entire course. •  Renovating all course bunkers and the practice green bunker, using the state-ofthe-art Capillary Bunker system with new tour-angle sand. • Rebuilding and upgrading the members’ practice experience on the practice range by leveling, regrading, and resodding landing areas for better drainage and range ball management, as well as adding new targets, hitting stations and a seating area. • Reorganizing and conducting capital repairs to the clubhouse, including the lobby, bathrooms, dining area, kitchen, golf pro shop, and administrative areas.

And keep in mind that the club isn’t just for adults. Bentwater offers summer camps and lessons for kids. “Lisa Rogers, our head pro and a Class A PGA professional, handles all of the teaching and runs half-day summer camps through July,” Connolly says. “Her experience is in teaching and playing golf in college. She really relates well to the kids and adults she’s teaching.”

The staff is buying into it

trees to get ready to repair the cart path. “Our new group and ownership are really coming in and making a statement by putting the money in right away to make sure our members have the quality course that they deserve,” says Connolly. Outside the physical changes, the atmosphere of the club itself also has taken a positive turn with the staff and members’ attitudes, service levels, and expectations. “It’s becoming a really enjoyable experience for everybody,” adds Connolly.

New membership opportunities • Increasing the course management budget to include new golf course maintenance equipment with the goal to become the best condition golf course in the market. •  Purchasing a new fleet of golf carts in early 2022. “Members are ecstatic,” Connolly says. “We have already renovated our practice bunker in the practice facility to show members what the bunkers will look like and it’s just amazing. It looks like you’re on the beach in the Panhandle with the white sand beaches.” And anyone visiting the club or living near it is already seeing these major renovations in action. They are bulldozing the range to level it off and grate it to help improve the drainage so that the range will be in a better condition moving forward. They also have cut down a mountain of

Bentwater is also offering a range of membership opportunities, such as Annual, Player’s Club, and Social Plus, in addition to memberships tailored to young executives, seniors, and Bentwater residents. “One of our more unique memberships is for the golfer who is working daily, or maybe only has a few days each month that he or she can get out to the course,” Connolly says. “Our Player’s Club Membership really fits into anyone’s lifestyle.” This specific membership, which costs $139 per month, includes unlimited range privileges, weekday golf after 2 p.m. from Tuesday to Friday, participation in instructional clinics, and two anytime rounds of golf each month. “It’s a sweet spot for the budget and it’s a membership type and class that continues to grow in the area for us,” Connolly says, “and if you’ve never been a member at a private club, it’s a nice fit to get you started playing.”

In addition to Connolly, Cody Aaron is golf course superintendent and Heidi Reed is office manager at Bentwater. The restaurant’s culinary team is being led by Chef Jason Walls, who is already working on redefining the club’s dining and social offerings. “The staff and I are looking forward to creating an exciting new golf atmosphere for our members and serving the surrounding community,” Connolly says. “With the support and leadership of the CSI management team, we are all taking steps to improve the quality of service and atmosphere that our members deserve.” This includes Chef Walls preparing themed dinners for members and their families, such as steakhouse dinner night, pasta night, and street taco night. “Every Friday night, we are going to put together a nice dinner experience, and into July, we are hoping to also maybe have some live entertainment outside on the patio,” Connolly says. “Chef is very creative, and he runs a great kitchen, because he really cares about the food and the experience. Members should really be excited about it when they are here dining.” Connolly says he’s enjoyed sharing all of these new opportunities and experiences at the club with members, too. “It’s awesome seeing the smiles on our members who have been here all along and have been asking for these improvements. You can see that pride come back into their faces for their club,” concludes Connolly n

Bentwater Golf Club Visit online: Call: 770.529.9554 For membership:


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Final Focus

Swimming Safety

By Cory Sekine-Pettite


or many of us, summertime is synonymous with water time, whether that means swimming in our backyards, hanging out at the neighborhood pool, or taking a beach vacation. Think about it: Many of your favorite childhood memories likely involve a beach trip with your family (and perhaps a fancy resort pool), carefree summer days at a pool with your friends, and maybe some water sports such as surfing, kayaking, or riding a personal watercraft. And since we’re into July and Georgia’s weather has been quite hot for two or three months, some of you surely have been swimming already. In fact, the pool in my neighborhood opened in late May, which got me thinking about swimming safety. You should be thinking about this, too — especially if you’re a parent. According to the National Safety Council, on average about 10 people die from drowning every day in the United States (not including boating accidents). Further, drowning is the second leading cause of preventable death in children 15 and under. But there are steps we can take to prevent these tragedies. Please keep the following safety measures in mind so that you and your family will have a fun, memorable, and safe time this summer:



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•  Don’t go in the water unless you know how to swim; otherwise take swim lessons first •  Never swim alone •  Learn CPR and rescue techniques •  Make sure the body of water matches your skill level; swimming in a pool is much different than swimming in a lake or river, where more strength is needed to handle currents •  If you do get caught in a current, don’t try to fight it; stay calm and float with it, or swim parallel to the shore until you can swim free •  Swim in areas supervised by a lifeguard •  Don’t push or jump on others •  Don’t dive in unfamiliar areas • Never drink alcohol when swimming; alcohol is involved in about half of all male teen drownings, according to Remember that distractions lead to disasters. You can have fun in the water; just be aware of your surroundings and never take your eyes off your children. Accidents can happen in an instant. For more swimming safety tips, visit and n

Save energy this summer At Cobb EMC, we know that small changes can lead to big savings. Practicing good energy efficiency habits can lower your electric bill by 15-20%. The best place to start saving energy in your home is with the thermostat. In the summer, set the temperature to an energy-efficient 78 degrees to stay cool while you save. For more energy saving tips, visit


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Cobb In Focus July August 2021  

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