Wellstar Chamber Luncheon Series: Georgia Legislative Update, with Sam Olens and Edward Lindsey of Dentons and Tharon Johnson of Paramount Consulting Group (GNFCC 400 Insider, Episode 61)
Today’s guests were Sam Olens and Edward Lindsey of Dentons US, LLP Law Firm and Tharon Johnson, CEO of Paramount Consulting Group. Ed Lindsey moderated the session, while Sam and Tharon offered their perspectives of their year’s legislative session and more. The Gold Sponsor for this luncheon was AT&T. John Ray and North Fulton Business RadioX® served as the media sponsor for this event.
Sam Olens, Dentons
Samuel S. Olens is a counsel in Dentons’ Public Policy practice and is a member of the firm’s State Attorneys General group, based in the Atlanta office. His practice focuses on state attorneys general and local government affairs matters.
Sam was twice elected attorney general of Georgia, in 2010 and 2014. In that role he worked to strengthen the penalties for and protect the victims of sex trafficking, guided a comprehensive revision of Georgia’s sunshine laws and led the effort to stem the epidemic of prescription drug abuse. Olens also served as vice president of the National Association of Attorneys General in 2016, having previously served as chair of the 13-state Southern Region both in 2013 and 2015.
Prior to being elected attorney general, Olens was chairman of the Cobb County Board of Commissioners, serving from August 2002 through March 2010. He previously served as a county commissioner from 1999 through June 2002.
Sam was chair of the Atlanta Regional Commission board as well as a member of the Board of the Department of Community Affairs. Sam has a history of taking a regional approach to problem solving. During his time at the Atlanta Regional Commission, Sam Olens was awarded the Tom Bradley Leadership Award by the National Association of Regional Councils. The award recognizes leadership excellence an elected or appointed official has made in advocating regional concepts, approaches, and programs at any level of government.
Sam also served as Vice-Chair of the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District, a 16-county planning entity dedicated to developing comprehensive regional and watershed-specific plans for the district and as a board member of the National Association of Counties Transportation Steering Committee.
Sam is a registered mediator/arbitrator with the Georgia Office of Dispute Resolution. He has been admitted to practice law in Georgia and the District of Columbia.
Tharon Johnson, Paramount Consulting Group
Tharon Johnson is the founder and CEO of Paramount Consulting Group, LLC, a firm specializing in media relations, government affairs and electoral strategy. Tharon has advised elected officials including President Barack Obama, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Congressman John Lewis, Congressman John Barrow, former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond. As the National Southern Regional Director for the 2012 Obama For America campaign, Tharon led the presidential re-election campaign effort for 11 Southern states — including Florida and North Carolina — two key battleground states. Mr. Johnson also served as Senior Advisor to Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed.
Following his time in government, he advised private sector clients on their public policy strategies as a partner at a leading government affairs firm. Politics Magazine named Tharon as one of the “Top 10 Democrats in Georgia” and a “Campaign & Elections 2010 Rising Star.” He also received “40 Under 40” Awards from both Georgia Trend Magazine and The Atlanta Business Chronicle. Named by James Magazine as one of the “Top 25 Most influential Georgians,” Mr. Johnson was the youngest and the first African American to receive The American Association of Political Consultants’ distinction of “Campaign Manager of the Year.”
As a regular key contributor on CNN, MSNBC, Fox 5’s “The Georgia Gang,” WSB-TV and Georgia Public Broadcasting’s “Political Rewind,” Tharon provides insights and analysis of political and policy developments. Johnson is also a permanent contributor to WABE’s “Political Breakfast” podcast with Denis O’Hayer and is frequently quoted in publications such as The New York Times, Newsweek, The Washington Post, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Politico, The Hill and Roll Call.
Tharon serves on the boards for Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta Beltline Partnership, Leadership Atlanta, National Kidney Foundation and Community In Schools. In addition to his political honors, he was honored with the “Unsung Hero Award” by his alma mater Clark Atlanta University for outstanding contributions in Arts & Sciences.
Edward Lindsey, Dentons
Edward Lindsey is a partner in Dentons’ Public Policy practice and serves as the head of the Firm’s Georgia State Government Affairs team. His focus is on advancing the public policy interests and objectives of clients in the transportation, infrastructure, health care and education sectors. Edward has more than 32 years of legal, political and leadership experience, including 10 years as a Georgia state representative and 3 terms as the House majority whip. He also served on the House Appropriations, Judiciary, Education, Ways and Means, and Rules Committees. In addition, he served as a member of the Uniform Law Commission and the Georgia Commission on Family Violence. James Magazine, a statewide political journal, recognized him as one of Georgia’s most influential legislators. Immediately prior to joining Dentons in 2016, Edward was a partner and head of the litigation practice at Goodman McGuffey Lindsey & Johnson LLP, an Atlanta-based firm he cofounded in 1990.
Lindsey Petrini, Board Chair, GNFCC
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Today’s Gold Sponsor: AT&T
About GNFCC and “The GNFCC 400 Insider”
“The GNFCC 400 Insider” is presented by the Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce (GNFCC) and is hosted by Kali Boatright, President and CEO of GNFCC. The Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce is a private, non-profit, member-driven organization comprised of over 1400 business enterprises, civic organizations, educational institutions and individuals. Their service area includes Alpharetta, Johns Creek, Milton, Mountain Park, Roswell and Sandy Springs. GNFCC is the leading voice on economic development, business growth and quality of life issues in North Fulton County.
The GNFCC promotes the interests of our members by assuming a leadership role in making North Fulton an excellent place to work, live, play and stay. They provide one voice for all local businesses to influence decision makers, recommend legislation, and protect the valuable resources that make North Fulton a popular place to live.
For more information on GNFCC and its North Fulton County service area, follow this link or call (770) 993-8806. For more information on other GNFCC events such as this North Fulton Mayors Appreciation Lunch, follow this link.