Our Team

Brad Alexander


Brad Alexander specializes in managing highly complex public policy challenges and initiatives, often with components that include business strategy, government relations, grassroots mobilization and media relations. He has deep expertise in infrastructure, technology, and healthcare policy, and has helped lead successful efforts to pass and enact several of Georgia’s recent Constitutional Amendments.

Brad’s 25 year career in public policy includes service as a congressional press secretary, a political consultant for major statewide campaigns, Chief of Staff to Georgia’s Lt. Governor and Senate President, and in federal relations for Duke University. Following his public sector career, he founded one of Georgia’s first multidisciplinary public affairs companies and managed the Georgia office of one of the nation’s largest multi-state government relations firms. Brad recently served as a member of Governor Brian Kemp’s Inaugural Committee, and chaired the primary independent committee supporting the Governor’s re-election.

Brad is a graduate of Berry College, earned a graduate degree in voting behavior analysis from Emory University, and completed additional studies in polling at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research. He serves on the Board of Visitors for Berry College and is a member of the Rotary Club of Atlanta. He is active with the American Heart Association where he served as chair of the Atlanta Board of Directors, with the Metro Atlanta YMCA’s where he serves on the Board of Directors, and the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties (NAIOP). Brad has been named one of the most influential people in Georgia politics by the Atlanta Journal Constitution, and his academic research on voting behavior and political polarization has been published in several scholarly journals.

Brandon Hembree


Widely acknowledged as a top government procurement specialist in Georgia, Brandon leads Impact’s work to develop new public sector business for clients. He has served as an aide for the Senate Appropriations Committee, and worked in government affairs for Ford Motor Company, covering eight states in the southeast plus Puerto Rico. Desiring to learn more about the political process and governmental operations, Brandon took a position with the Georgia Department of Administrative Services (DOAS) as the agency’s intergovernmental affairs director.

Brandon took a position with the Georgia Department of Administrative Services (DOAS) as the agency’s intergovernmental affairs director. DOAS is the chief procurement agency for state of Georgia government. His responsibilities at DOAS included managing the agency’s legislative agenda, as well as customer service, public relations and marketing activities. In addition, Brandon was responsible for DOAS’ business development initiatives with local governments, particularly in the area of government contracts.
Brandon is active with the Georgia Chamber of Commerce Governmental Affairs Council (GAC), Technology Association of Georgia Government Affairs Task Force, Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce and Partnership Gwinnett. He has served as the Chairman of the GAC Education Committee for nearly four years. In addition, Brandon is an active member of the Georgia Municipal Association, Gwinnett Municipal Association, and Leadership Gwinnett.

Brandon was born in Georgia and has lived in and around metropolitan Atlanta his entire life. He graduated from Georgia State University with a B.A. in Political Science/Pre-Law. Brandon and his wife Tara currently live in Sugar Hill, where he serves as Mayor.

Nick Juliano


Nick is a native Atlantan with deep experience running complex lobbying and strategic communications campaigns on behalf of major companies tackling high-profile issues. He has lobbied more than half of the nation’s state capitols, and the federal government, representing clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to industry associations and nonprofits. Known for his high work ethic and integrity, Nick has a reputation for delivering wins against steep odds. He joined the Impact team having most recently served as a senior manager with Uber Technologies, managing the company’s state and local government relations work in the Southeast US.

A veteran of Atlanta City Hall and local politics, Nick served in key staff roles for the Atlanta City Council and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport before going on to lead the Atlanta office of a national public affairs firm. He is a sought-after advisor in Atlanta politics and regularly represents blue chip companies before the Georgia General Assembly and the various agencies and commissions of state government. 

Nick is a member of the Emory University Board of Visitors, and a board member of the Georgia Transportation Alliance. He is an alumnus of LEAD Atlanta, the New Leaders Council, the board of the Atlanta Police Foundation, and is a Political Partner with the Truman National Security Project. He has formerly held leadership positions on the board of the Red Clay Democrats PAC and was a member of the State Committee of the Democratic Party of Georgia. In 2014, he co-founded the grassroots transit advocacy organization Advance Atlanta and served as its first president. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Emory University.

Natalie Knight

Director, State & Local Government Relations

Natalie has over 20 years of experience in the public and private sectors in the agriculture, finance, water, and wastewater industries. Her experience across these industries as they intersected with governments at the local, state, and federal levels has positioned her well for her role as Metro Atlanta Client Service Leader and Government Relations Director for Barge Design Solutions Atlanta Office. Before joining Barge Design Solutions in September 2019, Natalie spent 12 years with the City of Atlanta in the Department of Watershed Management, the Mayor’s Office, and the Department of Finance. In addition, with six years of experience in corporate Government Relations with DuPont and CH2M/Jacobs Engineering as Southeast Government Relations Director, Natalie is uniquely prepared to be the Director of State and Local Government Relations at Impact Public Affairs. Natalie earned a Master of Public Administration from Iowa State University in 2005 and a Bachelor of Science in Plant and Soil Science from Tuskegee University in 2001. She is also a certified Project Management Professional and has obtained certifications in Balanced Scorecard Strategy Planning and Lean Six Sigma. Natalie is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Marietta Roswell Alumnae Chapter.

Lewis Massey


Lewis Massey formerly served as Georgia’s Secretary of State, establishing a strong record as an advocate for Georgia consumers, ensuring that government was more efficient and responsive to its citizens. Hallmarks of his administration included a crackdown on telemarketing fraud, implementing new technology for improved customer service, significant reductions in agency spending, and assisting families in their efforts to collect back child support. Lewis was also a candidate for Governor in 1998, placing second in a crowded Democratic primary, losing to eventual winner Roy Barnes.

Massey is a native of Gainesville, Georgia. He earned a BBA degree in finance from the University of Georgia and a MBA from Georgia State University’s Global E-commerce Program. Before his service as Secretary of State, Massey was vice president of Bank South Securities. Previously, he also served as Chief of Staff for Georgia Lt. Governor Pierre Howard. After his service as Secretary of State, Massey served as CEO of Directo, Inc., a financial services management company. He also served as President and CEO of SciTrek, a science and technology center for children.

Massey serves on the Board of Directors of the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education. He previously served on the Board of Directors of the Georgia Special Olympics and on the Board of Directors of Prevent Child Abuse Georgia. He also served on the Board of Hands on Georgia, having been appointed by Governor Sonny Perdue. He has been named a University of Georgia Business School Outstanding Young Alumnus, and cited as one of the 100 Most Influential Georgians by Georgia Trend Magazine. Lewis and his wife, Amy, have three children, Chandler, Cameryn and Christian, and they reside in Peachtree Corners, a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia.

Russ Pennington


Russ Pennington specializes in infrastructure, regulatory, environmental, and economic development opportunities. Russ began his career as a consulting engineer working for an international Architectural / Engineering / Construction firm before joining the GA Environmental Protection Division as the Director of Policy and Public Affairs. He would later hold the positions of Deputy Director at the GA Environmental Finance Authority as well as the Director of the Governor’s Water Supply Program.

Russ’ experience includes strategic consulting on large infrastructure and development projects with involvement from conceptual planning through construction.  Russ has assisted public entities as well as private groups such as developers, engineering firms and construction companies – both technically and in business/project development and has also worked in the transit, highway, and logistics markets.

Russ is a licensed professional engineer and is a graduate of the University of Georgia with degrees in Biological Engineering and a Masters of Business Administration.  Russ is a member of the University of Georgia Alumni Association Board of Directors, Georgia’s Professional Licensing Board for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors, the Georgia Conservancy Board of Trustees, and Peachtree Rd United Methodist Church.  Russ and his wife Kelli have two daughters, Caroline and Eleanor, and reside in the City of Brookhaven.

John Watson


John is a founding member of Impact Public Affairs and for more than 20 years has been active at the highest levels of government, public policy, politics and business in the State of Georgia.

Over this time, John has served in a number of critical positions in government, including Chief of Staff to Governor Sonny Perdue. Governor Perdue’s successor, Nathan Deal, appointed John as a Vice-Chairman of Governor-Elect Nathan Deal’s transition team and most recently, John worked closely with Governor Kemp and his senior team as Chairman of the Georgia Republican Party during the historic 2018 election cycle.

A former member of the Board of Directors for the Georgia World Congress Center and the Georgia Lottery Corporation, John has also served on the Board of Advisors for the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and as Board member of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce.

In addition to his experiences in public affairs, John served as the senior business development partner for TPA Realty Services, a full-service commercial real estate development firm. At TPA, John worked closely with the commercial real estate community and state economic development officials to promote TPA’s industrial and business parks throughout Georgia. Most significantly, John served as a lead negotiator for a $1 Billion transaction with Baxter Pharmaceuticals, which will create approximately 1500 jobs in Georgia.

A 1991 graduate of Wake Forest University with a degree in Politics. John, his wife, Kimberly, and their two daughters live in Marietta, Georgia.

Emily Yona

Director – Policy & Legislation

Emily Yona has a strong background in healthcare policy, coalition building, and association management. She also has experience navigating Georgia’s state agencies and partners to solve complex issues and working with the appropriations process for Georgia’s state budget.

In her most recent position, Emily was the Director of Health Policy for the Georgia Dental Association. She conducted the majority of research for the organization that led to policy decisions made and was responsible for all things related to the Medicaid program. In this capacity, she served as the liaison between the members, involved state agencies, and contractors within the state. In this capacity, Emily also created bipartisan coalitions that worked with members of the Georgia legislature on both sides of the aisle.

Emily graduated from the Grady College of Journalism at the University of Georgia with a degree in Public Relations. Upon graduation, she spent her first year working for an advertising agency until being selected to serve as a health extension volunteer in the United States Peace Corps in Malawi. Currently, Emily is working on dual Master’s of Business Administration and Master’s of Health Administration degree through the Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University.

Kathleen Bowen

Director, Government Relations

At Impact, Kathleen employs over two decades of government service and legislative lobbying experience to advance key initiatives on behalf of the firm’s clients at the state and local government level in Georgia. Prior to joining Impact, Kathleen served in a lead lobbying role for the Association County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG). During her 17 years at ACCG, she served as a member of the ACCG governmental affairs team and was responsible for public policy in the areas of transportation, economic development, natural resources and the environment as well as federal policy issues. Kathleen maintains active relationships with key local government leaders across Georgia.

Prior to her government affairs role, Kathleen held the position of Deputy Director of Executive Appointments and Intergovernmental Affairs Liaison in the Office of Governor Sonny Perdue, with direct responsibility for managing board appointments and local government relationships for the Office of the Governor. Before joining the Governor’s office, she served on staff in the office of U.S. House of Representatives Congressman Terry Everett (AL-2) in his Washington, D.C. office.

Kathleen is a graduate of Leadership DeKalb and the Institute for Georgia Environmental Leadership (IGEL). She earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Mississippi.  Kathleen and her husband have two children, are residents of DeKalb County and are parishioners of St. Thomas More Catholic Church.