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Andrew Carnes

Vice President of Economic Development

(678) 584-2265 office

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Andrew Carnes serves as the Vice President of Economic Development for Partnership Gwinnett. He joined Partnership Gwinnett in 2015 as the Director of Economic Development and was promoted to Senior Director of Economic Development in 2017.

As the VP of Economic Development, Carnes oversees the countywide economic development strategy which includes business recruitment and retention efforts, redevelopment, entrepreneurship, workforce development, as well as industry programs and events.

In this role Carnes also oversees the international marketing efforts for Gwinnett County and has been invited to participate in international delegations to the headquarters of many Gwinnett companies, including those in Belgium, the Czech Republic, China, France, Germany, South Korea, and Switzerland.

Prior to Partnership Gwinnett, Carnes served as the Executive Director for the Dalton-Whitfield County Joint Development Authority where he managed and directed the countywide economic development strategy, including existing industry expansion services and recruitment of new business. During his time in Dalton-Whitfield Carnes helped to land the Engineered Floors project which created 2,400 jobs and $450 million in investment. This project was selected as GEDA’s Deal of the Year Award, Area Development’s Golden Shovel Award, Trade & Industry Development’s CiCi Award for Community Impact, and a Top Project of the Year by Site Selection Magazine.

Over the course of his career, Carnes has assisted in creating over $2.1 billion in capital investment and over 12,000 jobs.

He is currently a member of the Georgia Economic Developer’s Association (GEDA), the International Economic Development Council and the Southern Economic Development Council (SEDC). He serves on the GEDA Young Professionals committee and is the past Co-Chairman of SEDC’s Young Professionals committee for 2015 and 2016.

Carnes earned a bachelor’s degree in business economics from Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah, GA and graduated from the University of Oklahoma’s Economic Development Institute in 2015.

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Adam Forrand

Director of Education & Talent Development

(678) 474-1701 office

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Adam serves as Director, Education & Talent Development for Gwinnett Chamber Economic Development and Partnership Gwinnett. He leads the implementation efforts for Partnership Gwinnett’s Goal 2 Education and Workforce Excellence initiatives and serves as the key point person to connect and better align the demands of the County’s talent development needs.

Adam brings a wealth of cumulative experience (20+ years) in the education sector, having served secondary and post-secondary school clients across the nation (non-profit and for-profit institutions alike) addressing enrollment management, content, curriculum and marketing communication needs. He has made significant contributions to the success of a range of companies from a Seattle-based education-technology startup and a Miami-based marketing and content management services provider, to multi-national education companies such as Houghton Mifflin and Pearson Learning. He was also the founder of a print and digital brand marketing agency in metro-Atlanta.

Adam hold a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Stetson University in Deland, Florida.

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Li Wong

Director of Entrepreneurship

(770) 232-2268 office

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Li Wong is the Director of Entrepreneurship for Partnership Gwinnett, where he is driving small business and entrepreneurial goals and objectives, while providing key information and support to develop targeted-industry small business initiatives. Wong also actively supports the Gwinnett Angels, a chapter of the Atlanta Technology Angels.

Prior to this role, Wong was the Publisher of the Georgia Asian Times (GAT). He founded the publication in 2004, and it remains the largest circulated publication covering the multiethnic Asian-American community in the metro Atlanta region and the state of Georgia. He was also instrumental in establishing the annual GAT 25 Most Influential Asian Americans in Georgia Awards program. Wong is also the founder of the Atlanta Asian Film Festival, the largest film festival of its kind in the southeast region.

Wong formerly served as the Country Manager for Dow Jones Interactive Publishing, as well as the Asian Wall Street Journal Digital in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Prior to this, he was the Director of International Affairs for the John Buck Company, a Chicago-based property development and investment organization. Wong also spent time serving as the Director of Marketing for Conway/Site Selection Magazine.

Wong graduated with an MBA in International Business and a BBA in Management from Georgia State University. He currently serves on the Board of Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival of Atlanta, the Atlanta Asian Film festival, and the Hong Kong Association of Atlanta. Wong previously served as a member on the Board of Visitor at Emory University.

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Haley Tolbert

Director of Programs & Communications

(770) 232-1174 office

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Haley Tolbert serves as the Director of Programs & Communications for Economic Development. In this role she is responsible for the overall design and execution of the Economic Development marketing and event strategy.

Haley began her career in the telecommunications field as the marketing and communications specialist with Movius Interactive Corporation in Johns Creek, Georgia. After leaving Movius Haley joined the Partnership Gwinnett team as the Program Manager in 2013. Since that time she has been promoted twice within the organization and took on her current role in May of 2016.

Haley is a member of the Georgia Economic Developers Association, the Gwinnett Young Professionals Leadership Council and currently serves as the Secretary for the Sugar Hill Historic Preservation Society. She is also a 2015 graduate of the Leadership Gwinnett program, Glance Gwinnett and a member of the Gwinnett Young Professional Leadership Institute inaugural class of 2016.

Haley holds a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication with a dual concentration in Public Relations and Advertising from Georgia College & State University. She currently resides in Buford, Georgia with her husband, Neil and son, Drake.

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Deven Cason

Director of Economic Development

(706) 424-5682 cell
(678) 474-1708 office

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Deven Cason serves as the Director of Economic Development for Gwinnett Chamber Economic Development & Partnership Gwinnett. In this role she is responsible for managing the project team and overseeing economic development activities for the Partnership Gwinnett strategy. Prior to this role Deven held the position of Senior Project Manager for the advanced manufacturing and supply chain industries.

Before coming to Partnership Gwinnett, Deven worked as an Account Manager at True Staffing in Gwinnett County. Currently, she is a member of the Georgia Economic Developer’s Association (GEDA) and holds a Bachelor of Science in Consumer Economics from the University of Georgia. Deven, along with her husband and two children, reside in Buford, GA.

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Megan Elwood

Project Manager, Technology & Life Science

(678) 314-5637 cell
(678) 584-2259 office

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Megan Elwood is the Project Manager for Technology and Life Sciences for Partnership Gwinnett. She is responsible for economic development project activities for the Partnership Gwinnett strategy. Before joining Partnership Gwinnett, Megan worked as a Senior Launch Recruiting Specialist at MarketSource, where she launched sales programs for companies like Hisense and Hewlett Packard.
Prior to working in sales, Megan begin her career in life sciences as a Histology Laboratory Assistant with Quest Diagnostics. Megan holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from LaGrange College.

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Jalisa Murphy

 Project Associate

(814) 515-7132 cell
(770) 232-5364 office

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Jalisa is the  Project Associate for Partnership Gwinnett. In her role, she supports the project team in executing economic development activities for the Partnership Gwinnett strategy. Before joining the team, Jalisa worked as an Associate Project Manager in IT for Sheetz, Inc. a chain of convenience stores and coffee shops headquartered in Altoona, Pennsylvania.  While at Sheetz she participated in several internal functions to include coordinating IT projects, maintaining a project management database and tracking payment credit information.

New to Gwinnett, Jalisa recently moved from Pennsylvania where she attended Mount Aloysius College and earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. While in PA she also completed an Associate Project Management (CAPM) certification at the Project Management Institute in Pennsylvania.

Jalisa and her husband, McClain currently reside in Lawrenceville, GA.

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Lauren Como

Programs Manager

(678) 672.2567 office

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Lauren serves as the Programs Manager for Partnership Gwinnett. She is responsible for planning and executing events and meetings in addition to managing sponsorships. Lauren joined PG in 2018 as a Programs Coordinator, supporting the marketing and communications team. Prior to this role, Lauren worked in Training & Development at the Georgia Aquarium, creating professional development programs and managing on boarding and outreach.

Lauren is a Glance Gwinnett alumni and active in philanthropic efforts such as Relay for Life, Samaritan’s Purse, Feed My Starving Children and Hands On ATL.

Lauren has a Bachelors of Psychology from Georgia Gwinnett College and is currently earning her Masters in Learning, Leadership & Organizational Development from the University of Georgia.

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Chris Perlera

Marketing & Research Associate

(678) 584.2262 office

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Chris Perlera serves as the Marketing & Research Associate for Partnership Gwinnett. In this role he is responsible for marketing & communications support and the fulfillment of market research requests on behalf of Partnership Gwinnett’s public and private partners.

Prior to joining Partnership Gwinnett, Chris served in multiple roles in the office of the Georgia Secretary of State including the role of Special Projects Coordinator. He left state government in early 2016 to found his own public affairs consulting firm focused on strategic communications and public relations. He brings an array of experience in multiple areas including communications, international affairs, and technology.

Chris is an alumni of LEAD Atlanta and active in many Latin American philanthropic causes including the Latin American Association’s advocacy committee. He speaks English, Spanish, and Portuguese. His family originally hails from El Salvador, Central America.

Chris holds a Bachelor of Arts in Romance Languages from the University of Georgia. #GoDawgs. He is Boston, MA born and Athens, GA raised.