This Week's Speaker
Michael Cowan, Executive Director, Dunwoody Nature Center

Michael Cowan has been the Executive Director of the Dunwoody Nature Center since January 2019.

Michael was born in Atlanta and raised in rural Newton County — about an hour East. He moved to Atlanta in 1999. Michael has a BS from Georgia Tech and an MBA from Emory.

He was appointed to the Dunwoody Sustainability Committee in 2015, elected chairman in 2017 and is currently serving fourth term as chairman. Major accomplishments as chairman include:

  • Increasing organization and visibility of the committee
  • Establishing partnership with the Chattahoochee Riverkeeper to create a weekly volunteer-led water quality monitoring program for the entire Dunwoody watershed
  • Overhauling the city’s Sustainability Plan to make it more relevant and impactful to ensure sustainability enhances Dunwoody’s quality of life
  • Leading efforts to upgrade Dunwoody’s Atlanta Regional Commission Green Communities status to Gold.

Michael’s family includes wife Jean, daughter Elizabeth (graduate of Dunwoody High and a freshman at Georgia Tech, and son Foster who is a senior at Chamblee Charter HS.All share passion for environmental stewardship. The family also boasts two beagles.

Michael has been an active scouting leader with Cub Scout Pack and then Boy Scout Troop 434 since 2007. He served as Treasurer and on governing Committee for ten year. He also served as Assistant Scout Master, merit badge counselor, and leader for two crews (21 people) on a 15-day trek in the wilderness of New Mexico at Philmont Scout Ranch.Michael is ctive in organizing and leading camps and hikes. Michael is an active volunteer with the Atlanta Area Council of the BSA where he chaired the Hightower District Golden Eagle campaign and was awarded Trailblazer Award.He led the Metro Classic Golf Tournament for the Atlanta Area council—raising over $5M to support the Council’s Scoutreach program that enables youth in economically depressed areas of Atlanta to benefit from the ideals of Scouting and its programs that get kids to enjoy and respect nature.

Michael led the AT&T Accessories Team 2008-18. Responsible for all aspects of the accessories program from product development, vendor relations to retail execution. He grew revenues to just under $1B and was recognized as.

  • Recognized as company’s official “Environmental Champion” for efforts to improve sustainability of retail packaging by reducing waste, requiring use of 100% recyclable paperboard and the introduction of plant-based plastic.
  • Led development and introduction of the world’s first sustainable zero-draw wall charger that reduced energy consumption used to charge cell phones.
  • Efforts chronicled in 2013 AJC article:
Posted by Jackie Cuthbert
February 11, 2020


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