Past IFMA Atlanta President, Joseph Geierman, Runs for City Council

What have you been up to since you were president of IFMA Atlanta?

Immediately after stepping down as president of the IFMA Atlanta chapter, I started a 2-year term as President of the IFMA Legal Industry Council. That just wrapped up in June. I thought I would be taking a little break from IFMA leadership this year, but was drafted by Joe Pearson to head up the Accredited Degree Program committee for 17/18.

Professionally, my role has become Firm-wide in scope, and in 2017, I’ve been working on 5 construction projects/moves around the world. It’s been challenging and fun. In April, I was promoted to Director of Real Estate and Facilities to acknowledge my expanded role.

Oh – and in August, I decided to run for Doraville city council!

What made you decide to run for office?

Doraville is a great place with a lot going for it. It straddles 285 and Buford Highway, and is adjacent to 85. It also is the last stop on the Gold MARTA line. The city was hard hit when GM closed their manufacturing facility in 2008,  but with companies now wanting to locate near transit and freeways, I think we’re poised for some tremendous growth – starting with the former GM plant (now called “Assembly”). A lot of that is going to depend on whether we have a city council that can work together to make the right infrastructure improvements to enable the growth I (and most of my neighbors) envision happening.

The current councilwoman who represents my neighborhood announced she was retiring in the Spring. I tried to recruit some people who I thought would be good candidates, but none of them were interested in serving – I understand, because city council is a lot of work, and you’re sure to make people upset at various times.

When we got to the last day of qualifying and the only person who had entered the race has been vocally anti-growth and anti-business for years, I felt like I had to run in order to give a choice to people who want the city to follow a comprehensive plan and not squander all the opportunity it currently faces.

Why do you think you have a shot at winning?

I’ve been involved in local issues for a long time. I’m currently on Doraville’s Planning Commission, but I’ve also served as my neighborhood association’s president, and have worked on many neighborhood improvement projects. Over the 16 years I’ve lived in Doraville, I’m lucky to have been able to build a network of people who know me as a level-headed, reasonable individual who is able to work well with others.

We also have a fairly small voting pool, so I’m doing my best to meet the voters I don’t already know, and to get my message out there.

What’s campaigning like?

It’s a lot of knocking on doors, going to networking events, and even doing some public speaking. I’m also running a social media campaign on Facebook. A lot of the skills involved in all of the above are ones that I first started honing at IFMA.

Networking and public speaking are the more obvious skills that I picked up through IFMA. I used to be a little scared of public speaking (and I won’t say it doesn’t still make me nervous), but I’m much more confident about talking in front of a large group than I was before I had to do it every  month. I also used to be nervous about walking up to strangers and just talking to them, but networking events like that are very comfortable to me these days. Without the skills I developed through IFMA, this run would be much harder for me (and I might not have considered making it at all).

One other thing that has been fun about this campaign is the social media aspect – I’m using Facebook as a tool to sell myself as a candidate. I don’t think people remember at this point, but I am the person who first set up IFMA Atlanta’s Facebook page, and did a little bit of experimenting with advertising on it. Running my own social media campaign on Facebook (my page is www.facebook.com/doravillejoseph) has been a great opportunity to use what I learned from IFMA and take it to the next level.

How are you balancing a campaign with what seems like a very busy job?

It has been a lot of work. Every weekend is devoted to campaigning, as is every evening after my day job. I have to switch from work-mode to campaign-mode very quickly. I’m looking forward to getting some sleep in November (the election is November 7th).

Is there anywhere we can find out more information?

Sure – my website is www.joseph4doraville.com.