Meet the Staff

Michael E. Paris, President & CEO

Michael Paris, a Cobb County native, took the Council helm in late 2003, and over the past nine years has worked to expand the Council and to spread its mission of promoting balanced and responsible growth throughout the metro region and the state.  The Council delivers its mission and works to influence policy on critical growth issues through the platforms of Advocacy, Information and Education by working closely with elected officials and staff at all levels of local, state and federal government

With a degree in real estate from Georgia State University, Michael has more than 30 years of experience in real estate development, brokerage, land-use planning and association management.

Michael currently serves as volunteer Vice Chair of the Metro Atlanta Voter Education Network (MAVEN) which works to educate voters on the 2012 Regional Transportation Referendum.  He served for a number of years on the Cobb County Planning Commission and the Cobb County Board of Zoning Appeals.   Michael is involved in numerous community and professional activities. His affiliations include the Board of Directors for YMCA of Metropolitan Atlanta, the Cobb Chamber of Commerce, the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce and the Georgia Chamber of Commerce. He is a member of the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties, the Urban Land Institute, an Association Member of the Board at the Atlanta Commercial Board of Realtors, and a graduate of both Leadership Cobb and Regional Leadership Institute.

Michael and his wife Kim live in Marietta, Georgia and have two grown children.


James Touchton, Manager of Policy and Government Affairs

James Touchton recently joined the Council after spending the last 4 and ½ years in the Georgia Senate.  In the Senate, James served in the Senate Research Office as a Senior Policy Analyst and Advisor, where he focused in Education & Youth, Higher Education, State & Local Government Operations, Science & Technology and State Institutions and Properties.   In addition to serving as a Senior Analyst, James was named a Senior Fellow to the National Conference of State Legislature’s Early Learning Program and the state contact for “Project Democracy.”  James received his Bachelors of Political Science in 2006 from Kennesaw State University and his Masters of Public Administration in 2009.


MalloryJohnsonMallory Johnson, Marketing and Operations Assistant

Mallory Johnson is a new addition to the Council team. She previously worked as an accountant at a firm located outside of Atlanta. Mallory is a recent graduate from Kennesaw State University where she received her Bachelors of Business Administration in Accounting. She grew up in and still currently resides in Marietta.


AlexHebdonAlex Hebdon, Policy Analyst

Alex Hebdon was born and raised in Cobb County. She graduated from the University of Georgia in May 2013 with a joint A.B. in International Affairs and a Master’s of Public Administration (M.P.A.), with concentrations in Policy Analysis and Nonprofit Management. She started working for the Council for Quality Growth in August 2013.


BrandonWilliamsBrandon Williams, Policy Analyst

Brandon grew up in the Atlanta suburb of Conyers and is currently a senior undergraduate at Georgia Tech. He is pursuing a degree in Public Policy with a concentration in Environmental and Urban Policy. He has been part of the Council staff since May 2013.



JibranJibran Shermohammed, Policy Intern

Jibran is a native of Snellville and graduated from Emory College in 2011 where he studied International Relations and Philosophy. He also holds a Postgraduate Degree from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland and is currently a second-year law student at the Emory University School of Law specializing in commercial litigation, professional liability, and government contracts.


ShelleyStewartShelley Stewart, Policy Intern

Shelley completed her undergraduate degree at Auburn before moving back to Atlanta to attend graduate school at Georgia Tech. She is currently earning her masters in Public Policy with a concentration on Economic Development and Urban Policy.