Michael Hightower is the Founder and Managing Partner of The Collaborative Firm, which was founded in 2001. The Collaborative Firm provides a wealth of experience in urban planning, economic development, community engagement and project management throughout metropolitan Atlanta and the southeast.
Prior to establishing The Collaborative Firm, Michael was elected as the first African American City Council Member for the City of College Park, Georgia in 1979. Michael also served for more than fourteen years as a member of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners (Georgia). During much of his tenure on the Board of Commissioners, Michael served as Vice-Chairman, and was a member of several boards and committees. He also served as President of the National Association of Counties (NACo), which includes over 3,000 counties nationwide, and focused on welfare reform, affordable housing and sustainable communities.
In 2003, Michael through The Collaborative Firm, established South Metro Development Outlook, an annual forum for the purpose of convening planning, development, finance, real estate and local government professionals with an interest in fostering smart growth in the South Metro Atlanta area, including Clayton, Coweta, Douglas, Fayette, Henry, Spalding, and South Fulton Counties, as well as the City of Atlanta. Since its inception, the forum has attracted over 600 attendees annually.
Some of Michael’s current affiliations include the Aerotropolis Atlanta Alliance, Urban Land
Institute, Airport Area, Clayton County, Douglas County and South Fulton Chambers of Commerce. Just a few of his past affiliations include his service as a member of the Woodruff Arts Center Board, the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority Policy Committee, Americans for the Arts, 100 Black Men and the Atlanta Urban League Board. He has served as the Chair of the Fulton County Retirement Board, as well as Chairman of the South Fulton Community Resource Alliance, Inc.
Michael has received nearly 300 awards and recognitions from entities such as The White House, National Association of Counties, The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, Ebony Magazine, the South Fulton Chamber of Commerce, Clark Atlanta University, Georgia State University, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and numerous churches, colleges, schools and organizations.
Michael graduated from Clark Atlanta University with honors and completed additional management studies at Georgia State University. He and his wife Sandra have one daughter, Evie.