Economic Development

Our Team

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Economic Development Team Members


David Hartnett

Chief Economic Development Officer

404.586.8443 |

As chief economic development officer at the Metro Atlanta Chamber, David leads the team focused on the retention, recruitment, and expansion of existing and start-up companies within key clusters, e.g., Mobility, IoT, Cybersecurity, Fin Tech, Digital Media, Supply Chain, Bioscience, and Health IT.

Before joining the Chamber, Hartnett served as the president and CEO of Maco Pharma® (formerly United Pharma) a privately held US medical device/pharmaceutical company based in Duluth, Georgia, headquartered in Lille France. Before Maco Pharma, Hartnett was president and CEO of SteriFx® Corporation, a specialty chemical start-up, contracted by U.S. Department of Defense (DARPA). Prior to SteriFx, he was the executive vice president of the North American headquarters of Given Imaging, Inc. an Israeli start-up with corporate headquarters in Yokneam, Israel. Under his leadership, the company commercialized the “PillCam” video capsule, a disposable capsule that captures video after it is ingested by the patient. Hartnett helped to raise close to $30 million in a private placement for corporate infrastructure development and product commercialization before the company going public in 2001 (GIVN-NASDAQ). Hartnett served as vice president of marketing at ERBE Electro-surgery, the largest manufacturer of electrosurgical systems in the world, where he was responsible for commercial marketing throughout North America.

He has also served in a variety of other senior sales and marketing roles for the following companies: Karl Storz Lithotripsy, Genzyme (formerly Deknatel), STERIS (formerly AMSCO) and the XEROX Corporation.

He holds a B.A. in Communication from San Diego State University with a master’s equivalent in marketing through post-graduate studies.

He currently serves on the following boards:

-Chairman, of the Board, Atlanta Science Festival™

-Board of Trustees, Georgia Global Health Alliance

-Vice Chairman, Innovation Crescent Regional Partnership

-President Emeritus, Southeastern Medical Device Association

-Director/Co-Founder, Venture Atlanta Coalition

-Director, Georgia Bio statewide trade association

-Director/Co-Founder, Health IT Leadership Summit

-Director/Co-Founder, Institute for Healthcare Information Technology

-Quick Start, statewide advanced training program, Board of Advisor

-President’s Community Board (CAB), Kennesaw State University

Hartnett is married with four sons, was raised on Coronado Island, California and is an active member of the Atlanta business community.




Jorge Fernandez

Vice President, Global Commerce

+1 404.586.8460 |

Named the Vice President of Global Commerce for the Metro Atlanta Chamber on May 15, 2006, Jorge L. Fernandez leads the Global Commerce arm of Metro Atlanta Chamber’s economic development division. Fernandez is responsible for the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) recruitment efforts and finds innovative ways to connect metro Atlanta area companies and institutions to international business growth opportunities and grow a global connected network for the metro Atlanta region. His goal is to further metro Atlanta’s reputation as a top competitor in the global marketplace.

Prior to joining MAC, Fernandez was the international and alliance Vice President for Delta Air Lines at its world headquarters in Atlanta. His responsibilities encompassed all international operations and sales activities outside of the United States. He was also charged with developing Delta’s alliance strategy, managing the SkyTeam global alliance and overseeing codeshare relationships with partner airlines around the globe. Prior to this role, he was responsible for the development of the airline’s regional strategy for all operational and administrative function for the Latin American and Caribbean region.

Fernandez joined Delta from Veridian Engineering where, as the senior politico-military analyst, he led the company’s efforts in implementing strategic plans for federal agencies and institutions responding to overseas crises. Earlier in his career, Fernandez served over 20 years in the U.S. Air Force as a command pilot, strategic planner and international affairs advisor. He held various diplomatic posts, leading air base access rights negotiations for a U.S. Air Force aviation hub and directing mediation between nation states.

Originally from Havana, Cuba, and fluent in English, Spanish and Portuguese, Fernandez holds a bachelor’s degree in business management from the University of Puerto Rico and a master’s degree in international marketing from Texas Christian University. He is a National Defense Fellow in Brazilian Studies from the University of Miami’s Graduate School of International Studies and completed Thunderbird’s Executive Education Program for International Business in Phoenix, AZ. He is also a graduate of the U.S. Department of State Foreign Service Institute and the Brazilian Air Force Senior Officer Course. He taught US market practices at China Jiliang University in Hangzhou, China.

Fernandez was named by Hispanic Business magazine as one of the “100 Most Influential Hispanics in the United States” for 2003 and is the recipient of Panama’s 2002 “Friendship Award.” In 2009, he received from the Governor of the State of Georgia the “International Person of the Year Award.” In 2010, the Atlanta Business Chronicle honored Fernandez as one of Atlanta’s International Who’s Who. Under his leadership in 2015 MAC received the Presidential E-Award for Export Excellence. Fernandez is a member of the board of the U.S. Panama Business Council SE, the Advisory Council for the Center for International Business Education and Research at Georgia State University, the Asian Studies Advisory Board at Kennesaw State University, the Atlanta Convention and Visitors’ Bureau, and the Atlanta Ballet Advisory Committee.  


Gregg Simon

Vice President, Economic Development

404.586.8463 |

Gregg D. Simon is vice president of economic development for the Metro Atlanta Chamber (MAC).
In his role, Simon works to build and manage relationships with our economic development partners across the 29-county metro Atlanta region and cultivate job growth across MAC’s industry clusters: bioscience, technology, mobility, supply chain & logistics and global commerce. He also assists businesses and their consultants in their evaluation of metro Atlanta for new or expanded operations.

Previously, he served as senior director of project management at MAC, and worked with partners and MAC’s project management team to support businesses interested in expanding or relocating to the region. Before that he was director of technology industry development at MAC, focusing on building Atlanta’s technology cluster and growing jobs in the areas of Internet security, wireless mobility, software development and digital media.

Simon brings more than 20 years of economic development experience to MAC. Prior to joining MAC, Simon was manager of business engagement for the Atlanta Development Authority (ADA) where he helped existing businesses and attract new ones to the city of Atlanta. Before coming to Atlanta, he was the director of business services for the Massachusetts Alliance for Economic Development, a private non-pro t economic development organization dedicated to business growth in Massachusetts. He also worked for Empire State Development, New York State’s economic devel- opment agency with a focus on business retention and expansion in the Buffalo regional of ce.

Simon’s work in Atlanta, Massachusetts and New York has included administration of tax and nancial incentive programs, business retention and attraction marketing initiatives, economic development policy creation and implementation, and special event planning. He has worked with businesses such as Mercedes-Benz USA, Panasonic Automotive Systems of America, Ernst & Young, Novelis, Kemira, Invesco, Wipro, Bristol Myers Squibb, Straumann, Target, General Motors, 3M, Ford, Delphi and many others to support business expansions resulting in job retention and creation.

Simon is a graduate of the University of Rochester in Rochester, NY and lives in Atlanta with his wife and three children. 


Cynthia Curry

Director of IoT

404.586.8424 |

As Director of IoT Ecosystem Expansion with Metro Atlanta Chamber (MAC), Cynthia Curry is passionate about supporting, building, and promoting the region’s IoT ecosystem.  Her mission is to drive collaboration and engagement within the IoT and mobile community to strengthen Metro Atlanta’s position as a technological powerhouse.  She has helped MAC launch IoT.ATL, a consortium of business, government, and non-profit leaders united to help Metro Atlanta to become a globally recognized leader in IoT innovation.  She leads the MAC IoT / Mobile Leadership Council, who implements the guiding principles of IoT.ATL, and will help put Atlanta on the map for their IoT and Smart Cities innovation. 

Cynthia has helped nurture Atlanta technology companies for over 20 years.  Before coming to MAC, she partnered with companies across the city to advise them on their talent acquisition strategy and help them acquire the top talent necessary to fuel their success.  Her passion for strengthening the Atlanta technology community has shaped her career.  Through her commitment to growing the Atlanta technology market, she has helped hundreds of companies in Atlanta grow and prosper. 

Cynthia’s lives in Decatur, and has been in Atlanta for over 30 years.  She is committed to giving back to the community and serves on the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition Board, as well as the TAG (Technology Association of Georgia) Mobility Board.  She is a mom, wife, cyclist (road & MTB), a runner, a hiker, music lover, and a foodie.  Her passion for Atlanta, technology and IoT fuel her goal of helping MAC and Atlanta do great things. 

For information about IoT.ATL or the IoT / Mobile Leadership Council, contact Cynthia Curry at | 404.586.8424.  


Rob Demont

Director, Bioscience-Healthcare Ecosystem Expansion

Rob Demont comes to the Metro Atlanta Chamber after completing work for his second master’s degree in chemistry and biochemistry at Georgia Tech, with a focus on immunology. During his time performing graduate research in the area of new vaccine development, Rob completed the two year TI:GER technology commercialization program that resulted in the founding of NanoCliq, a vaccine development startup company. Rob currently serves as chief science officer for NanoCliq, guiding the company through the FDA pre-clinical process and focusing on the development and commercialization of a vaccine for a neglected tropical disease. Rob has taken the company through the National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps program, concentrated around customer discovery and lean startup principles. Having been engaged with the Metro Atlanta bioscience and global health ecosystems for over half a decade, Rob has a passion for promoting and advocating for the region in these verticals. Rob also holds a master’s degree in chemistry and biochemistry from Florida State University with a focus on synthetic organic chemistry, and a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.


Ben Harris

Director of Supply Chain and Advanced Manufacturing

404.586.8476 |

Ben Harris comes to the Metro Atlanta Chamber after serving as Senior Manager, Market Development for Manhattan Associates. There, Ben was responsible for developing Manhattan’s sales pipeline and overall Americas supply chain marketing strategy. Ben oversaw market positioning, messaging and campaign execution to build awareness and drive new pipeline growth. Prior to joining Manhattan, Ben spent four years with the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Center of Innovation for Logistics where he played a key role in establishing the Center as a go-to industry resource for information, support, partnership building, and investment development. Additionally, he became a key SME for all logistics and supply chain-focused projects. Ben began his career at Page International, Inc. where he drove continuous improvement in complex global supply chain operations for a wide variety of businesses and Fortune 500 companies. An APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP), Ben holds an Executive Master’s degree in Business Administration (EMBA) and bachelor’s degree in International Business (BBA) from the Terry College at the University of Georgia.


Grant Wainscott

Senior Director, Technology Ecosystem Expansion

404.586.8462 |

Grant Wainscott is the Senior Director of Technology Ecosystem Expansion for the Metro Atlanta Chamber. In this role, Grant works to retain, expand and attract technology jobs and investment to the metro Atlanta region. He works specifically with the clusters of FinTech, Cyber Security, B2B Software and Film/Digital Media/Entertainment Tech, to support and grow the ecosystem.

Previous to his current post, Grant was the Director of Economic Development & Film for Clayton County, Georgia. In that role as the county’s lead economic officer, Grant oversaw more than $200 million in development and redevelopment projects around the world’s busiest airport, and helped attract more than 2,500 new jobs. In his role as the director of the state’s first county film office, he recruited 55 major television and film productions to the region, as well as commercials, music videos and industrials.

Grant has also served the metro Atlanta area as Vice President for Community and Economic Development for the Clayton County Chamber of Commerce, and as the Director of Economic Development for the City of Morrow. As Chairman of the Clayton County Chamber of Commerce’s International Promotions Council, he led foreign trade missions for the region and has participated in more than 30 business and cultural missions throughout the world.

Prior to moving to Georgia in 2002, Grant led economic development efforts and a tech incubator for the tourist destinations of Boone & Blowing Rock, in the mountains of North Carolina.  He and his wife also owned a used and rare bookstore and cigar shop.  Previous to his time in North Carolina, he lived in Washington, DC for several years, lobbying and working with foreign embassies in commercial real estate, and in Florida where he headed up an international tech brokerage firm.

Grant holds a B.A. in International Business from Florida Southern College, and has attended university in Quebec, Canada and Augsburg, Germany, focusing on Franco-Canadian trade relations and European markets. He has studied and lived abroad in five countries, and speaks French and German. He is married with two children and lives in Avondale Estates, Georgia.


Joshua Stephens

Director, Project Management

404.586.8422 |

Joshua joined the Metro Atlanta Chamber (MAC) in 2018 as the Director of Project Management and Regional Partnerships. In this role, he works across all of MAC’s target industry clusters to attract jobs and investment to the Atlanta region through the recruitment of new companies and the support of existing industry. Joshua partners closely with local economic development partners across the 29-county region as well as statewide and regional partners, including the Georgia Department of Economic Development, Georgia Power, the Atlanta Regional Commission and many others.

Joshua previously served as a Statewide Senior Project Manager with the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD), where he worked to recruit new businesses and capital investment to all areas of Georgia, while focusing on sectors within the distribution and manufacturing industries. Prior to the GDEcD, Joshua served in several other capacities within the public, private and non-profit sectors, including the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce, Georgia State Senate and construction business development.

Joshua is a graduate of the University of Georgia where he was a member of The University of Georgia Basketball team and resides in Chamblee, GA with his wife and dog.


Bob Kosek

Senior Project Manager

404.586.8454 |

Bob Kosek is a Project Manager on the Metro Atlanta Chamber's Project Management and Regional Partnership team. In this role, Bob maintains a network of real estate professionals, HR recruiters, and economic developers to ensure existing and new to market businesses have all of the tools necessary to grow and thrive in the region. 

While at MAC, Bob has assisted over 50 companies, international and domestic, land and expand in Metro Atlanta including Switch Data Centers, Sysco, Flexport, and Feature Space. 

Bob joined MAC in 2014 as Technology Sector intern and moved to the Project Management team as an Associate Project Manager in 2015. He is a native of Cleveland, Ohio, received his BA in Political Science from Ohio University and MPA from Georgia State University. He resides in Atlanta’s Upper Westside with his wife Makenzie and dogs George and Gracie. 


Rebecca Jordan

Project Manager

404.586.8445 |

Rebecca Jordan is an Associate Project Manager for the Metro Atlanta Chamber’s (MAC) Project Management and Regional Partnership team.  In this role she concentrates on the growth of the 29 county metro Atlanta region by supporting companies relocating to the metro area and assisting those that are seeking opportunities to expand.  Atlanta’s job growth is focused on MAC’s industry clusters of Bioscience, Mobility and IoT, Supply Chain and Technology industries.  Rebecca and her team can offer expertise and assistance with workforce, customize market research, business and tax incentives, relocation assistance and site selection.   Rebecca also focuses on cultivating relationships with our local, regional and academic partners along with the real estate community.  Rebecca joined the Chamber in February 2013 as an Executive Assistant to the President and CEO.  In November 2014, Rebecca was promoted to the Project Management team in the economic development division, where she remains today. 

Rebecca graduated from The University of Mississippi with a degree in Managerial Finance.  She also played four years of collegiate volleyball for the Ole Miss. Rebecca lives in Brookhaven with her husband, Clay and two children, Brady and Quinn. 


John Woodward

Senior Director, Foreign Investment

+1 404.586.8447 |

John Woodward is Senior Director, Foreign Investment, at the Metro Atlanta Chamber, one of the oldest and largest chambers of commerce in the United States. He assists foreign-owned enterprises (FOEs) contemplating entry or expansion in the US market. This includes site selection consulting, customized market research, incentives guidance, real estate search, labor and wage analysis, and connections to relevant corporate, government and academic parties.

In almost 20 years in economic development, Mr. Woodward has assisted hundreds of companies relocate or expand, ranging from US headquarters, operations or manufacturing for Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Adidas, “K” Line, Hamburg Sud, Voestalpine, Sany, Dongwon, Elekta, Dekra, Interroll to small/medium enterprises (SMEs) just entering the US with a sales office.

Prior to his role at the Metro Atlanta Chamber, Mr. Woodward was Director of Economic Development for the City of Richmond (Virginia), leading a department that oversaw more than $3 billion in commercial development, recruited major headquarters like MeadWestvaco and Altria, and assisted small and minority-owned businesses.

Before this, Mr. Woodward worked in commercial real estate at the New York headquarters of Cushman & Wakefield. He was also a foreign exchange trader in Washington, DC, with Ruesch International.

A frequent speaker on economic development, Mr. Woodward has been quoted in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and other US and international media. He has been guest lecturer at major universities, and speaks regularly on foreign investment seminars in Europe and Asia. He has served on numerous non-profit boards, including bi-lateral chambers, schools and community.

Mr. Woodward earned a BSFS from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, and an MBA from New York University Stern School of Business. He also completed programs at the Université de Strasbourg and Hautes Etudes Commerciales (HEC) near Paris. He lives in Atlanta’s Westside with his wife and daughter. 


Ania Lackey

Senior Director, Global Business Development

+1 404.586.8455 |

Ania Lackey joined Metro Atlanta Chamber (MAC) in February 2012 as Program Manager, Global Commerce. In 2014, she was promoted to Director of Global Partnerships. In this capacity, she worked with a group of metro Atlanta business and community leaders to draft and release the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Plan for metro Atlanta as part of the Brookings Institution’s Global Cities Initiative (GCI). In 2016, Ania joined EY (Ernst & Young) to manage the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year program for the Southeast and Florida. In her role, she led business development activities to engage private entrepreneurs in this 30-year-old awards initiative. In 2017, she returned to MAC to lead the Metro Export Plan and Metro Atlanta FDI Plan under the GCI umbrella. Ania manages programs designed to expand metro Atlanta’s global ecosystem by growing the region’s global brand, recruiting foreign companies to open their office in metro Atlanta, and assisting local exporters to find customers worldwide.
Prior to joining MAC, Ania was a part of the International Trade team at the Georgia Department of Economic Development. In her role as the Project Analyst, she assisted Georgia companies in growing their international sales through exports. She helped organize multiple trade missions to markets strategic to the State of Georgia, including Germany, Brazil, China, Canada, Japan, Israel, and the United Kingdom.
Prior to joining the Georgia Department of Economic Development, Ania worked at Reece & Associates, a public affairs law firm in Atlanta. Reece & Associated represented various international companies in Atlanta at the State of Georgia Capitol.
Ania is one of the co-founders of the Polish-American Network of Georgia (PANG). In that role, she serves as the point of contact for Polish companies interested in entering the U.S. market. In addition, she works very closely with the Honorary Consul of Poland in Georgia, Mr. Lawrence Ashe.
Ania holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science with concentration in International Affairs from the Georgia State University, and a Masters of Public Administration in Planning and Economic Development from the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies. In 2014, she became a Certified Global Business Professional (CGBP), which confirms her extensive knowledge of various aspects of international trade and investment.
Ania speaks Polish, and she has travelled extensively across Europe.



Michael Theisen-Jones

Manager, Global Business Development

Michael Theisen-Jones is a Manager of Global Business Development at the Metro Atlanta Chamber. He manages programs to expand Atlanta’s global ecosystem and increase export intensity in the region. He works closely with Atlanta-based companies to improve their export strategies and to connect them to the global economy. 

Michael holds a Master’s degree in Economics and Politics from the Freie Universität in Berlin and a Bachelor’s degree in American Studies, Political Science, and Public Administration from the University of Potsdam. He was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of California, Berkeley and an Erasmus Scholar at University College Dublin.

Prior to joining the Metro Atlanta Chamber, Michael worked for the in-house consulting unit of the German railroad system, the American Academy in Berlin, and the marketing software company Market Logic Software. He has also been involved in the development of several start-ups in Germany, including one of Berlin’s most successful NGOs, Schuelerpaten Berlin e.V. He also served as an intern at the U.S. Embassy in Berlin.

Michael resides in Midtown Atlanta with his wife.


Natalie Jones

Manager, Global Programs

404.586.8458 |

Natalie Jones is the Manager of Global Programs for the Metro Atlanta Chamber (MAC). In this role, she is responsible for the management and implementation of the Metro Atlanta Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Plan—as part of the Global Cities Initiative (GCI). Natalie works to provide metro Atlanta’s foreign-owned companies with aftercare services for global growth and also works to integrate mergers and acquisitions (M&A’s) into the Region’s FDI efforts. 

Prior to MAC, Natalie worked for Georgia State University’s Annual Programs department. She served as the project manager for the Class Gift Campaign where she managed a successful marketing and social media strategy. Her content creation for various annual fund direct mail and online giving campaigns helped result in fundraising over $1.1 million for the first time in the University’s history during the 2012 fiscal year.

Natalie has also worked on a U.S. Senate campaign and served on the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Millennial Advisory Panel.

Natalie holds a baccalaureate from Georgia State University in English with a concentration in Advanced Composition and Rhetoric and a minor in Political Science. She lives in West Midtown with her husband and teenage son, and is a member of the Junior League of Atlanta. 


Sara Saxner, MPA

Manager, Regional & Strategic Partnerships

404.586.8441 |

Sara Saxner is a manager on the Economic Development team at the Metro Atlanta Chamber. She supports efforts in global commerce and project management for the 29 counties in the region. She works in close collaboration with state, local, academic, utility and private sector partners to support existing Atlanta businesses considering an expansion or out-of-market companies evaluating Atlanta for a new operation. She helps grow a connected global network for MAC and the Atlanta region to grow jobs, the regional economy, and the international footprint through telling the Atlanta story globally, growing foreign direct investment and exporting opportunities for companies, and expanding targeted ecosystems.

Sara previously worked in Tallahassee, Florida during graduate school and after graduation in economic development through helping local businesses across various sectors and cultivating the budding innovation ecosystem in Florida’s capital city.

Sara graduated from Florida State University with a degree from the College of Social Sciences and a Leadership Studies certificate. She earned her Master of Public Administration degree from Florida State and studied cross-sector partnership for improving communities. Sara has completed various certificate programs for economic development in Georgia and Florida and considers herself a lifelong learner. She is still involved with Florida State University through the Young Alumni Council and Women for FSU.

Sara lives in the Virginia-Highlands, is involved with the Junior League of Atlanta’s women’s leadership initiatives, and works at Torq Cycle, a spin studio on the westside. 


Emma P.McVey

Manager, Economic Development

404-586-8518 |

As Manager of the Economic Development team and Executive Assistant to the Chief Economic Development Officer at the Metro Atlanta Chamber (MAC), Emma is passionate about supporting the overall success of Atlanta’s different ecosystems. She works closely with the Ecosystem Expansion Directors and Project Managers at MAC, focusing on the retention, recruitment, and expansion of existing and start-up companies within key clusters including IoT, Cybersecurity, Fin Tech, Digital Media, Supply Chain, Bioscience, and Health IT. She manages the department’s budget, provides leadership and onsite execution for MAC activations at national and international conferences, and supports project management for new ecosystem initiatives.

Outside of MAC, she also works as a freelance Equity Stage Manager at theaters in metro Atlanta. Prior to the joining MAC in 2017, Emma worked in Operations Management at MATRIX Resources, an IT Staffing company. Emma graduated from Birmingham-Southern College with a degree in Musical Theatre. An Atlanta native, she lives on the Westside with her husband, Connor, and two cats, Sampson and Ann Perkins.

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