Problem solving & creative thinking

SPOTLIGHT ON Sharath Mekala, BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT SPECIALIST

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It started out like any other regular morning. Sharath was at work as a community organizer in Atlanta when he got the call no one hopes to receive. It was his home's security alarm company. Was the alarm buzzing at his house a false alarm? No, it turned out to be the real thing. Collateral damage from the break-in included a kicked in front door and an attempt to steal a television mounted on the wall. But more was taken from Sharath that day: his peace of mind and sense of security. For most of us, that experience leaves us feeling violated and angry. For Sharath, it led him to action.

Wondering aloud why it was easier to find out what's happening around than world than across the street, he contacted a former Georgia Tech classmate with an idea. Armed with their shared engineering backgrounds and a mission, they raised money and created an App called VillageDefense, which connects people in local neighborhoods and communities to fight back against crime.

Sharath is a problem solver, then and now. He has continued his mission to help solve the challenges he sees in the world around him, currently serving as a Business Development Specialist for the MCEDC. He started his career as the youngest Vice President on Atlanta’s Planning Advisory Board and Vice Chair of their Neighborhood Planning Unit. He also assisted local officials during the housing crisis to get vacant homes occupied. In addition to work in urban design, he has analyzed Fortune 500 companies for Travelers Insurance and tackled energy efficiency issues while working in Tesla's energy division.

He uses this unique combination of experience to seek connections, understanding that economic development is directly tied to urban and county planning. When new businesses grow in the community, there are benefits that positively affect the quality of life for all residents.

Today, Sharath hopes to spread the word that Montgomery County is such a unique location—with access to transportation, highly educated talent, and exceptional living. He believes it is the area’s spirit of inclusion that really makes it a great place to start and grow a business.

Sharath makes early morning gym workouts a priority and loves to reconnect with nature at Brookside Gardens. Helping local businesses and communities thrive is never far from his mind. “Muhammad Ali once said that service is the rent you pay for living, and I try to remember it every day of my life.”