These exceptional individuals exhibit superlative characteristics that will ensure a great future for Cherokee County and aid them in flourishing in their careers.
Economic Development Operations Manager, City of Woodstock
As Woodstock’s economic development operations manager, Madison Beaulieu primarily manages Made Mercantile, a small business incubation space in the heart of downtown Woodstock dedicated to retail makers. Under Madison’s leadership Made Mercantile was named Metro Atlanta Redevelopment Summit’s 2022 Small Redevelopment of the Year.
Madison works on Woodstock’s Public Arts Master Plan project team and volunteers with Woodstock Arts and Paint Love. She also founded Beau Paper Co. and Maker’s Mash, a curated pop-up shop series featuring local artisans.
Madison is the creative mind behind Canton Cultural Arts Commission’s 2022 Wildflower Mural and Visit Woodstock’s Basecamp to North Georgia campaign. She also designed a mural for Mableton Elementary School in collaboration with Paint Love. She intends to complete another large-scale mural in the future.
To continue growing the creative community, Madison says she plans to “broaden Made Mercantile’s programming to serve more creative entrepreneurs in our community” and open a second location that offers larger production spaces in a more industrial setting. Madison further details her vision for Cherokee County’s future as a hub for creative entrepreneurs and makers: “I would love to offer mentoring and find more ways to lend a hand, as so many have offered me that same help and encouragement.”
Madison is shaping a brighter future for fellow creatives and has been instrumental in opening the door to creativity.
Madison is a mother to twin boys and an enthusiastic backyard chicken farmer.
Real Estate Agent, ERA Sunrise Realty
A lifelong Cherokee County resident, Zack Bobo is a top-producing agent with ERA Sunrise Realty in Canton. Clients value his consistent communication, hands-on approach, effective negotiating skills, and knowledge of the real estate market. He launched Bobo Enterprises in 2011 with a vision to grow, buy, and hold a rental portfolio of single-family and multifamily homes in Cherokee County.
Zack also owns and manages nearly fifty investment properties in Cherokee County. His goal is to “provide families with clean, affordable, and safe housing.”
In his spare time Zack enjoys volunteering, giving back to his community, and spending time with his wife, Megan, and their three children. He donates to the Cherokee County Educational Foundation, Service League of Cherokee County, and to local schools, including R. M. Moore Elementary and Clayton Elementary, at which he was awarded 2021 Partner of the Year.
Zack is a three-time recipient of Around Canton’s Top Realtor award and was named ERA Sunrise Realty’s 2020 Rookie of the Year and 2020 Jim Jackson Memorial First in Service Agent.
Zack’s long-term plans are to “create and build a real estate team to help more buyers, sellers, and investors find the properties they are looking for,” and “to create more live, work, and play spots in the City of Canton and surrounding areas.”
Zack became a self-made millionaire before the age of thirty through real estate investments.
Lead District Executive, Boy Scouts of America
“Participating in the Boy Scouts program helped me become the person I am today,” says Joshua Cole. From a young age Joshua embraced Scouting and serving his community. His leadership and service led him to earn the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest rank of the Boy Scouts of America [BSA] Organization.
Joshua serves as the lead district executive for the Appalachian Trail District of the Atlanta Area Council, BSA. He is also the staff advisor for the Atlanta Area Venturing Officers’ Association and BSA’s annual Civil Rights Heritage Hike in Downtown Atlanta. In partnership with the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce and BSA, Joshua serves as a Partner in Education for eleven elementary schools and coordinates service project efforts, including the recent restoration of Mountain Road Elementary School’s outdoor classroom.
Joshua is especially passionate about helping underserved youth in rural and urban communities. He shares that he was “once in their shoes” while growing up in rural Mississippi. Joshua and his wife, Jessica, also mentor Scouts working toward their Eagle Scout rank. In addition to his roles with the BSA, Joshua is the membership retention chair for the Rotary Club of Canton.
Going forward Joshua’s goal is to transition into an Atlanta Area Council district director to oversee multiple districts. He also plans to become a certified project management professional.
Joshua is a first-generation college graduate from the University of Mississippi—Ole Miss.
Kristin Norton Green
Theatre Events & Facilities Director, City of Canton
A native of Cherokee County with a passion for both community and art, Kristin Norton Green has served Canton as events and facilities director for the Historic Canton Theatre since 2019. Under her leadership, the theater earned recognition as one of the Ten Best Historic Theaters in Georgia according to AmericanTowns Media. Also the staff liaison for the Canton Cultural Arts Commission, Kristin manages projects such as the recently installed mural It’s a Vibe on the corner of Archer and Church streets and a soon-to-be adopted Public Art Master Plan. In 2022 Kristin was named one of Atlanta Regional Commission’s Arts Leaders of Metro Atlanta.
Kristin lives in Hickory Flat with her husband, Matt, and their four children. She is active with Rotary Club of Canton, is an honorary member of Service League of Cherokee County, and is a member of the Leadership Cherokee Class of 2023.
With the adoption of the Public Art Master Plan on the horizon, Kristin’s role will expand beyond the walls of the Canton Theatre and into Cultural Arts for the City of Canton. Kristin explains, “My goal is to make those assets tangible to every citizen, so that everyone realizes what an amazingly diverse and culturally rich place we live in.”
Kristin got her start in theater with Cherokee County School District’s Academy Street Theatre Group, performing on stage at what is now Canton’s City Hall.
Lindsay M. Harris
Intelligence Unit Manager, Cherokee Sheriff’s Office
Lindsay Harris’s passion for criminal intelligence work began with the Drug Enforcement Administration, where she recognized the need and benefit of modern investigative intelligence support on all levels of government. Since 2018 Lindsay has worked with the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office to build the Multi-Agency Criminal Intelligence Unit, a modern intelligence function that serves all divisions and jurisdictions in Cherokee and Pickens Counties.
Lindsay graduated Magna Cum Laude from Kennesaw State University and earned a master’s in public administration through Reinhardt University’s Executive Command and Leadership Program. Throughout her professional career Lindsay has received numerous awards and commendations for her work in the intelligence field.
Lindsay and her family—husband, Greg, and children, Riley and Cooper—are active parishioners of St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church, where they often donate supplies to the food pantry. Lindsay also proudly contributes to The HOPE Center, St. Michael the Archangel Preschool, Knights of Columbus, and Hickory Flat Elementary Foundation and PTA.
Lindsay plans to dedicate the next five years of her career to “building a strong criminal intelligence unit with a reputation of integrity and dedication to the mission of law enforcement agencies we serve.” Lindsay’s commitment to promoting justice in Cherokee County ensures security and safety for its citizens.
Lindsay was the star powderpuff football quarterback for her high school, but opted to play tennis in college.
Director of Metallurgy and R&D, Universal Alloy Corporation
Growing up in Hendersonville, North Carolina, Justin Lamb worked the family farm with his father, a fifth-generation apple farmer. He then attended Emory & Henry College before earning a PhD in materials science and engineering from Georgia Tech.
While at Georgia Tech he began working for Universal Alloy Corporation [UAC], where he now oversees the metallurgical aspects of UAC’s aluminum extrusion business and is instrumental in developing the next generation of aluminum products. He also acts as a customer application engineer for many of the large original equipment products that UAC supplies to aerospace industry leaders, including Boeing, Airbus, Gulfstream, Cessna, and more.
Justin lives in Canton with his wife, Justine. The Lambs attend Canton First Baptist Church, where Justin participates in Operation Shoebox and the Student Ministry Golf Tournament. An avid runner, Justin often participates in 5K fundraisers, including Guns & Hoses, Reinhardt University Cherokee Scholars, and Chick-fil-A Moove-it.
Professionally Justin hopes to bring more young talent into Cherokee County to facilitate continued growth and evolution of UAC. He states, “I want to create a culture of growth and leave a legacy of innovation at UAC, specifically with the next generation of young talent. I want people to be proud to work for UAC.” Justin’s aspiration for the future provides tremendous possibilities of advancement for our community.
Justin played for and helped coach the North Atlanta Rugby Club for several years during and after graduate school.
Principal, Holly Springs Elementary School STEM Academy
Before becoming a principal, Ashley Polito spent years in educational leadership positions, learning from outstanding principals whose mentorship helped Ashley create a learning environment that facilitates student success and growth. She shares, “Holly Springs is a deep-rooted, historical school of the Cherokee County School District. It is incredibly important to me to bring innovative change to the school while upholding the historical roots and legacies that principals before me have left.”
Ashley now mentors the next generation of administrators, just as she once was mentored. “I was blessed to be given a mentor who poured into me. Now that I have administrative experience, I have the opportunity to do the same for other aspiring leaders.” She seeks out mentees in her faculty, through the district’s Leadership Academy, and by networking with other administrators.
A former cheerleading coach for Cherokee High School and Cherokee Youth Football Association, Ashley proudly serves the CYFA coaching team again as a parent volunteer and as liaison between the high school athletic departments and elementary teams.
Ashley is currently working toward a doctorate degree and aspires to become the district’s director of principals. Thanks to her the future for our youth is in good hands and destined for success.
As a product of the Cherokee County School District and now an employee, when Ashley completes her career, she will have spent four decades as a part of the district.
Michael R. Sims
Fire Lieutenant, Public Relations & Recruitment Specialist, Cherokee County Fire & Emergency Services
In his dual roles for Cherokee County Fire & Emergency Services, Michael Sims leads personnel, station activities, and emergency incidents and is responsible for public information, recruiting, branding, and marketing for the agency. Additionally he provides STEM training for students and CPR training for teachers and leads the design and construction workgroup for all new fire stations in Cherokee County.
Michael volunteers as lead advisor for Explorer Post 469, a program that allows teenagers to explore careers in firefighting and emergency medical services, and is a liaison to the National Fire & EMS Exploring committee. He is actively involved with Boy Scouts of America’s Health & Safety Committee and serves as Fire & EMS chair for the organization’s annual Winterfest. For his contributions he was awarded the Learning for Life Leadership Award and the Order of the Arrow Vigil Honor. Michael also volunteers with MUST Ministries, Cherokee Chamber’s Career Fair, and Service League of Cherokee County’s Riverfest.
Michael aspires to advance to captain and battalion chief, complete the Leadership Cherokee program, and implement his public relations strategic plan to improve the fire department’s relationship with citizens and businesses in Cherokee County. With influential figures in the fire department such as Michael, there is no doubt that the county will continue to prosper.
While proud of his accomplishments, Michael says his most significant achievement is his family.
Michael spent several summers working as a Nantahala River whitewater rafting guide.
Thomas E. Trawick
Zoning Division Manager, Cherokee County Board of Commissioners
Zoning Division Manager and certified planner Thomas Trawick works with stakeholders and citizens to facilitate initial discussions and process zoning applications from application submittal to final decision. Thomas is responsible for reviewing all business license applications and supervising a team of planning and zoning professionals responsible for reviewing and processing subdivision plats, residential and commercial land disturbance permits, telecommunications applications, sign permits, and commercial building permits.
Thomas explains, “Our goal is to provide high-quality customer service to Cherokee County residents and encourage responsible growth in Cherokee County through collaboration, transparency, and fairness.” He also represents the department in processing and presenting cases to the Board of Commissioners, the Planning Commission, and the Zoning Board of Appeals. Thomas and his staff also help facilitate community engagement through public hearings.
Thomas aims to develop a united development code, an important tool for Cherokee County that would provide information respective of all county codes in one specific document to lessen information fatigue and streamline important review processes for Cherokee County visitors and citizens. He is a member of the Georgia Association of Zoning Administrators and the Georgia Planning Association.
Thomas and his wife moved to Canton in 2018. He shares, “We are blessed as a family of four, and I look forward to seeing my children grow up in this supportive community.”
Thomas is scuba certified, an Eagle Scout, and a die-hard Auburn Tigers fan.
County Extension Coordinator/4-H & Youth Agent, University of Georgia
Through her work as a UGA County Extension Coordinator and 4-H & Youth Agent, plus extensive volunteerism, Ashley Witcher plays a vital role in shaping Cherokee County’s agricultural and educational future. As county extension coordinator she develops programming at the county level, engages stakeholders, collaborates on programming with other agencies, and creates partnerships. As a 4-H and Youth Agent, Ashley engages youth in local community service activities and promotes 4-H activities at county, district, and state levels.
Ashley is involved with the Cherokee County Farm Bureau Farm to School Committee as an agricultural expo planning committee member, Ag Literacy reader, guest speaker, and representative for Farm Bureau Women in Ag. She participated in the 2022 Leadership Cherokee program and has received numerous awards and recognition through both the national- and state-level associations of Extension 4-H Youth Development Professionals. She volunteers in various roles for The Children’s Haven, the American Legion, Cherokee County School District, SAFE Kids Cherokee County, MUST Ministries, and Wreaths Across America. She also collected more than 160 pounds of recycled pop tabs, benefitting Ronald McDonald House Charities.
Ashley’s goals center on providing better educational outreach to the citizens of Cherokee County. Because of her ambitious goals for the future, she will be building the lives of the youth in our community by giving them greater educational opportunities.
Although Ashley works for UGA, she attended Auburn University and was a majorette for the Auburn University March Band.
Special thanks to Jack Tuszynski of PhotoJack.net for photographing our 2023 honorees.
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Emma Tyler is a Cherokee High School graduate and two-time Governor’s Honors Program nominee for literature. She is an incoming freshman at Georgia College & State University where she plans to study journalism.