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WellStar Health System Provides $678 Million in Charity and Unreimbursed Care

January 2, 2018

WellStar Health System, the largest not-for-profit health system in Georgia, provided more than $648 million in charity and unreimbursed care, as well as community programs during the 2017 fiscal year.

As a community-based health system, WellStar’s physicians, nurses, advanced practice professionals and team members are committed to helping patients and communities live healthier lives. Currently, 10 percent of WellStar’s patients do not have insurance. As part of its mission, WellStar cares for these patients, regardless of their ability to pay.

Through 11 hospitals and 250 medical office locations, WellStar provided more than $250 million in charity care and more than $117 million in care for those who were unable to pay for services but did not apply for charity care. Additionally, community and outreach programs are important tools to help patients and families meet their health goals and understand their options, and WellStar funded $10 million in community programs during fiscal year 2017.

The amount of charity and unreimbursed care dramatically increased in 2017 due to WellStar’s recent expansion. In 2016, WellStar grew to an 11-hopsital system when WellStar Atlanta Medical Center, WellStar Atlanta Medical Center South, WellStar North Fulton Hospital, WellStar Spalding Regional Hospital, WellStar Sylvan Grove Hospital and WellStar West Georgia Medical Center joined the health system.

About WellStar Health System
WellStar Health System, the largest health system in Georgia, is known nationally for its innovative care models, focused on improving quality and access to healthcare. WellStar consists of WellStar Medical Group, 250 medical office locations, outpatient centers, health parks, a pediatric center, nursing centers, hospice, homecare, as well as 11 hospitals: WellStar Atlanta Medical Center, WellStar Atlanta Medical Center South, WellStar Kennestone Regional Medical Center (anchored by WellStar Kennestone Hospital), WellStar West Georgia Medical Center, and WellStar Cobb, Douglas, North Fulton, Paulding, Spalding Regional, Sylvan Grove and Windy Hill hospitals. As a not-for-profit, WellStar continues to reinvest in the health of the communities it serves with new technologies and treatments. For more information, visit


IgniteHQ, Thrive Coworking Partner Amid Opening of Thrive New Location

January 2, 2018

IgniteHQ and Thrive Coworking are pleased to announce a new partnership between the two entities. The announcement coincides with Thrive Coworking’s Grand Opening of its new location in downtown Alpharetta.

IgniteHQ, an ecosystem of investors, enterprises, and entrepreneurs located off Marietta Square, will provide Thrive’s members international accelerators, funding opportunities and talent to scale. In turn, IgniteHQ members will have access to space in Thrive’s locations. The partnership will expand the geographic footprint of each institution.

“We look forward to the opportunity to enhance the entrepreneurial landscape in a new part of the region,” said IgniteHQ President & CEO Mark Hubbard. “This partnership provides members of both entities more flexible space options as well as access to available talent and subject matter expertise,” Hubbard said.

“We are most excited about this partnership because Thrive members will now have access to capital, mentors and enterprises through IgniteHQ’s unique funding, academic, and industry partnerships,” said Thrive CEO Ramon Gonzalez.

Date: Thursday, January 11
Time: 5:00p
Location: 44 Milton Ave, Alpharetta, GA 30009
Ribbon Cutting Ceremony (in the presence of Alpharetta city officials) followed by
reception and tours (sponsored by Alpharetta Chamber of Commerce)
Please RSVP to Karen Jones @ or 404-483-8226

About IgniteHQ
IgniteHQ is an ecosystem of investors, enterprises, and entrepreneurs working together to locate, build, and scale innovative solutions. Through its unique funding, academic, and industry partnerships, IgniteHQ is the next generation startup community.

IgniteHQ is in partnership with Kennesaw State University, the third-largest university in the State of Georgia with more than 35,000 students, and in collaboration with the Cobb Chamber, one of the top three chambers in the nation.

About Thrive
Thrive’s dedicated and shared work spaces are designed for professionals looking for a new way to work. Thrive focuses on creating irresistible work environments while encouraging and fostering a sense of community amongst coworking members. Thrive has three locations in Alpharetta, Milton and Cumming, Georgia.

For more information on IgniteHQ, including membership and sponsorship opportunities, visit or follow us on social @ignitehq.

For more information on Thrive, including membership opportunities visit or follow @workatthrive.

KSU’s Continuing Education Celebrates Students at Graduation on December 14

December 20, 2017


The College of Continuing and Professional Education at Kennesaw State University held its graduation ceremony on December 14 at KSU Center. Students, representing more than 30 different programs, walked across the stage as family and friends joined in the celebration. Continuing Education Dean Barbara Calhoun delivered this year’s graduation address.

Strategic Initiatives Manager Karen Smith opened the ceremony and commended the graduates for their commitment to education and for successfully completing the requirements of their respective programs.

“This is a significant accomplishment to be proud of,” Smith said. “You have recognized the value of education and lifelong learning. We congratulate and offer you our best wishes for your continued success.”

Dean Calhoun’s address followed Smith’s opening remarks. She shared some notable life moments with the graduates, encouraging the students to seek opportunities for growth and improvement constantly.

“Invest in yourself on a regular basis, as often as you can,” Dean Calhoun said. “It is not only what you learn in books. It is meeting the people in your class. It is learning how people make decisions and then learning why they make those decisions. All of life is a learning experience.”

For Jomo “Sekou” Henderson, AutoCAD Essentials graduate, Dean Calhoun’s address resonated with his own experience. Henderson completed his Continuing Education certificate program while working toward his degree at Kennesaw State University.

“I wanted to maximize my education,” Henderson said. “I found employment as a result of the training, and I did this within weeks of program completion. The [program] has propelled my abilities in more ways than I had envisioned.”

As for the future, Henderson hopes to continue building his knowledge and exposure to the industry. He has already planned to take AutoCAD intermediate and AutoCAD Advanced in 2018.

Adult learners, career changers and college graduates are welcome to attend an Open House at KSU Center on Jan. 11 at 6 p.m. The free event will feature interactive information sessions exploring professional certificate programs. Registered attendees will receive an exclusive 10 percent discount on class registration. To register for Open House, visit or by call 470-578-6765 between Dec.18 and Dec. 21 or after January 2.

WellStar on Working Mother 100 Best Companies for 10 Years

December 19, 2017

Peterson_Joy_2018_1For the 10th year in a row WellStar Health System was named one of the top places in the U.S. to work for mothers. Working Mother Magazine placed WellStar on its 100 Best Companies List for its innovative work-life balance programs and emphasis on team member wellness.

WellStar has a goal for all patients, team members and the community to have “a life well-lived.” WellStar offers a multitude of career development benefits to all employees such as family support services which includes onsite childcare, back-up care assistance for children and family members of employees who need last-minute, in-home temporary care. Additionally, complimentary concierge service is offered to all WellStar employees to help with tasks like dry-cleaning pick-up, car maintenance and grocery shopping

“At WellStar, our team members make it possible to deliver world-class healthcare,” said David Anderson, executive vice president of Human Resources, Organization Learning & chief compliance officer for WellStar Health System. “WellStar looks for ways to support our team members in their work and personal life.”

Recently, WellStar added new benefits for team members and their spouses, including weight-loss programs, support programs for parents of children with autism and expansion of paid maternity and paternity leave.

 Along with the Working Mother Award, WellStar recognizes one of its many remarkable working mothers every year. In 2017, it honored Joy Peterson, a clinical pharmacist at WellStar Kennestone Hospital. She juggles the demands of her career while caring for her twin daughters.  Her dedication to success and to her family merited Peterson WellStar’s 2017 Working Mother of the Year award.

While caring for her young daughters, Peterson entered pharmacy school at Mercer University’s Gwinnett campus. Peterson joined the team at Kennestone as a post-graduate clinical pharmacy resident.  Because of the work-life balance, Peterson never left WellStar.

“It is so rare to have so many demands and a fulfilling career,” she said. “And I have a healthy home life! I am so blessed.”

Peterson continues to pursue her studies and look for opportunities to improve care for patients at Kennestone. Her work has assisted in the placement of Kennestone on the Georgia Department of Health’s Antibiotic Stewardship Honor Roll.

About Working Mother Media
Working Mother Media (WMM), a division of Bonnier Corporation (, publishes Working Mother magazine and its companion website, The Working Mother Research Institute (, the National Association for Female Executives ( and Diversity Best Practices ( are also units within WMM. WMM’s mission is to serve as a champion of culture change. Working Mother magazine is the only national magazine for career-committed mothers. Follow us on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn and Pinterest.

About WellStar Health System
WellStar Health System, the largest health system in Georgia, is known nationally for its innovative care models, focused on improving quality and access to healthcare. WellStar consists of WellStar Medical Group, 250 medical office locations, outpatient centers, health parks, a pediatric center, nursing centers, hospice, homecare, as well as 11 hospitals: WellStar Atlanta Medical Center, WellStar Atlanta Medical Center South, WellStar Kennestone Regional Medical Center (anchored by WellStar Kennestone Hospital), WellStar West Georgia Medical Center, and WellStar Cobb, Douglas, North Fulton, Paulding, Spalding Regional, Sylvan Grove and Windy Hill hospitals. As a not-for-profit, WellStar continues to reinvest in the health of the communities it serves with new technologies and treatments.  For more information, visit

Cobb Chamber Names Sharon Mason as new President & CEO

December 19, 2017

Sharon Mason - final headshot

Following a national search, the Cobb Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors has named Sharon Mason as President and CEO. Mason currently serves as Chief Operating Officer for the organization and will assume her new role on January 1, 2018. As President and CEO, she will lead the Chamber’s efforts to create jobs, strengthen the economy and quality of life for businesses and the community while building Cobb County’s reputation regionally, nationally and beyond.

Mason has 15 years of chamber experience, including the past decade at the Cobb Chamber. She has held varying leadership positions of increasing importance. During Mason’s career, she has increased engagement among Chamber members and recently led the organization’s 5-year strategic planning process while increasing membership. As part of the leadership team, Mason helped to raise more than $3 million for Cobb’s Competitive EDGE, the first comprehensive community and economic development
strategy for job creation in Cobb County. Since its inception in 2012, the EDGE program has led to more than 22,000 new jobs and $2.5 billion in new private investments in Cobb County. Mason succeeds David Connell who will retire at the end of the year following seven years leading the Chamber.

“Sharon Mason is the right person for the job,” said Gary Bottoms, chair of the Cobb Chamber Board of Directors and president of The Bottoms Group, LLC. “She inherits a strong chamber and engaged business community. Over the years, she has worked closely with David Connell to create a national reputation for Cobb County and deliver creative solutions to recruit and retain businesses. We are grateful for David’s leadership and his contribution to the growth of our county, and we are excited to embrace Sharon Mason’s vision for the future.”

The Cobb Chamber Board of Directors unanimously approved Mason for the role. The national search began in August and was led by a diverse, ten-member Selection Committee, including: Rob Garcia, Synovus Financial Corp.; Gary Bottoms, The Bottoms Group, LLC; Trey Sanders, Brasfield & Gorrie; Ed Richardson, Richardson Management Group; Kim Menefee, WellStar Health System; Secret Holland, Gas South; Dr. Grant Rivera, Marietta City Schools; Rob Hosack, Cobb County Government; Jon Ingram, Boy
Scouts of America; and Britt Fleck, Georgia Power.

“We had a large pool of highly-qualified candidates to consider for this position,” said Rob Garcia, who chaired the CEO Selection Committee. “Sharon Mason impressed us with her knowledge and experience in Cobb County and the region. We believe she can lead the organization to new heights by enhancing the Chamber’s culture of service, strategy and innovation.”

“I am excited and honored to accept the role of President and CEO of the Cobb Chamber,” said Sharon Mason. “I know as a business community we can achieve great things by working together to advance a vibrant economy. It is important that we continue to offer programs and services that are beneficial to our members, while also addressing the education, workforce and business climate needs of our community. The Chamber will continue to be a leader, ensuring that Cobb County remains a great place to live and work.”

Mason is an Atlanta native and an active member of the Cobb County community including serving on the MUST Ministries Board of Directors, Marietta Rotary Foundation Director in 2015-2016, and Past President of Friends for the East Cobb Park, to name a few. She also is active in the region including currently serving on the executive committee for the Regional Business Coalition, the Atlanta Regional Commission’s strategic planning steering committee and is presently in Leadership Atlanta. She is a graduate of Leadership Cobb, Honorary Commanders, Regional Leadership Institute,
Chamber Institute for Organizational Management and is active in these alumni associations.

Mason has a bachelor’s degree from Samford University in Birmingham, Ala. In addition to the Cobb Chamber, Mason also has worked for the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce and the American Cancer Society. She lives in Cobb County with her husband and daughter. They are active at North Point Community Church.

As one of the most influential business advocacy organizations in Georgia, the Cobb Chamber is dedicated to bringing the community and its leaders together to create jobs and strengthen the economy and quality of life so businesses and the community can achieve more. The Chamber achieves this by creating jobs and driving economic development; strengthening the community and the region; growing member businesses and nurturing leadership; and connecting businesses, government and the community.

Celebrating 40 Years of the Spring Atlanta Home Show on March 23-25 at the Cobb Galleria Centre

December 19, 2017

Atlanta Home Show front door

Georgia’s largest home show, the Spring Atlanta Home Show, will celebrate a significant milestone March 23-25, 2018.  This spring, the popular annual event will mark four decades of bringing the latest products and services for the home and landscape to Atlanta, sparking countless home improvement projects throughout the metro area and beyond.  The Spring Atlanta Home Show will be held Friday-Sunday, March 23-25, 2018 at the Cobb Galleria Centre, and will feature architect and designer John Gidding of HGTV’s “Curb Appeal – the Block” and FOX TV’s Atlanta Home Show Egypt Sherrod“Home Free” speaking Sunday, March 25 at 1 and 3 p.m.  In addition to Gidding, REALTOR® Egypt Sherrod, host of HGTV’s “Flipping Virgins”, “Property Virgins” and “Urban Oasis”, will speak at 1 and 3 p.m. on Saturday, March 24.

Over 350 exhibitors in the home remodeling and outdoor living industries will offer expertise, services and products designed to remodel, repair and refresh homes of all sizes and styles.  The Show provides attendees with one-stop shopping for everything from the roof to the basement, and from interiors to landscapes, as well as live radio broadcasts and presentations on a variety of subjects.  The Spring Atlanta Home Show is a SEMCO show.

SEMCO President Michael Schoppenhorst says, “The Spring Atlanta Home Show has experienced amazing growth during its 40 years in Atlanta.  It has earned a well-deserved reputation for offering attendees a fun, festive atmosphere where they can see new products demonstrated, ask questions, talk to the experts, comparison shop and enjoy interactive presentations by popular home and landscape professionals.  This is Georgia’s largest home show and it features hundreds of exhibitors who can bring new life to a home by building a new addition, replacing or repairing systems and structures, creating outdoor living spaces and refreshing both interiors and exteriors including decks, kitchens and baths.  Show attendees can drop in on a cooking demonstration, pick up product samples and schedule appointments with experts to visit their homes.  Many of the exhibitors offer show specials, which can save people up to thousands of dollars if they decide to use an exhibitor’s services.”

The event, voted “Best Home Show” three years in a row by readers of My Home Improvement magazine, includes three days of expert speakers on a variety of home remodeling subjects.  Walter Reeves, the Georgia Gardener, will kick-off the speaker roster at noon on Friday, March 23, and will return Saturday morning, March 24 to broadcast “The Lawn & Garden Show” live from the Reliable Heating & Air Home Show Stage on News 95.5 FM and AM750, followed by a live broadcast of WSB’s “Home Fix-It Show” hosted by Dave Baker.  See for the complete speaker schedule.

A popular gathering spot will be the Backyard Beer Garden, where a team of outdoor living experts headed by Georgia Landscape will be on hand to discuss services and products ranging from grass to fire pits, flowers to water features, patios, walkways and much more.  Live radio shows, including Belinda Skelton’s “Atlanta Living” on News 95.5 FM and AM750, will broadcast from the garden.  Red Hare Brewing Company of Marietta will offer beer tastings for attendees age 21 and older, and the $5 tasting donation will benefit HOPE Atlanta, the programs of Travelers Aid.

Sponsors and promotional partners include Window World of Atlanta, PMC Building Materials, Reliable Heating & Air, Red Hare Brewing Company, HOPE Atlanta and National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI).

Show hours are 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Sunday.  General Admission tickets are $10 and may be purchased at the Show’s entrance and online at  Children age 12 and under and adults age 65 and older (with I.D.) are admitted free.  Military personnel and First Responders receive a free ticket with the purchase of one general admission ticket (with I.D.).  Members of Atlanta’s housing industry (Realtors, contractors, interior designers, landscapers, etc.) will be admitted for free (with business card at the show entrance) on Friday, March 24, compliments of PMC Building Materials.

On-site parking is available.  The Cobb Galleria Centre is located at Two Galleria Pkwy., Atlanta, Ga., 30339, across from Cumberland Mall.  The 2017 Spring Atlanta Home Show’s 24-hour information line is 770) 798-1997.

Pond Recognizes New Senior Associates

December 14, 2017


Pond, an industry leader in planning, architecture, engineering and construction services, is proud to recognize individuals who demonstrate extensive knowledge in their respective fields, with promotions to senior associate. These leaders embody Pond’s dedication to providing its clients with exceptional customer service and innovative solutions.

Corporate Health and Safety Director Jim Davis has successfully completed more than 30 years of professional safety leadership. He utilizes this experience at Pond to develop, implement and manage complex Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) programs, policies, and procedures for internal and external clients worldwide.

Director of Human Resources Pam Gower has more than 25 years in corporate environments focused in general human resources management excelling at talent sourcing and acquisition, engagement and retention, training and development, performance and change management, benefits negotiation and administration, policy/program design and implementation, organizational development, regulatory and reporting compliance and strategic planning. Currently, this leader at Pond is also the chair of the Gwinnett Employers Committee, and a member of the Southwest Gwinnett Employment Working Group and Society for Human Resource Management.

Director of Development Allan Iosue, PLA, LEED AP BD+C oversees Pond’s Florida business development for all Pond’s programs. Over the past 20 years, his experience has included design, land development, public involvement, leadership and strategic partnering. He is committed to the great City of Jacksonville and its future. Iosue is a trustee in the Jacksonville Chamber, and serves at the Chair for the Context Sensitive Street Standards Committee.

Program Director of Fuels Maintenance and Construction Mike Jeffreys, PMP has 30 years of experience in the fueling industry. His areas of expertise include program and project management of fuel system design build, construction and installation of fuel equipment and systems, troubleshooting and commissioning for complex systems and Pond’s clients around the world.

Director of Mechanical Engineering Van Lynn, PE, QCxP, LEED AP BD+C has over 18 years of experience in commissioning, mechanical and plumbing engineering design for new facilities and renovations in many areas that include office, retail, commercial, industrial, municipal and institutional. Lynn has comprehensive experience in sustainable and LEED design, as well as energy conservation practices and analysis.

Director of Civil Fueling Kenn Ussery, PE, LEED AP has over 25 years of architectural and civil engineering design and construction experience in many areas that include commercial, industrial and institutional, military, and fueling-related developments.

Matthew Wilder, PLA, ASLA, LEED AP has been a practicing landscape architect for 16 years. Throughout his career he has focused on public space design, parks, trails, greenways, and college campuses. All of his work is founded on the principles of conscientious environmental design and upon ethics of equity and sustainability. As Pond’s Director of Landscape Architecture, Wilder is a member of American Society of Landscape Architects.

“These individuals have demonstrated an exceptional level of commitment to our firm; they have gone above and beyond to contribute to our continued success,” says President and CEO Tony Parker.

About Pond
Pond, founded in 1965, is a progressive, full-service engineering, architecture, planning and construction firm providing professional solutions to government, corporate and private sector clients worldwide. Pond is headquartered in Peachtree Corners, GA with branches nationwide. Pond employs more than 550 individuals in various professional disciplines and is independently owned and operated.