MILTON, Ga. — Every city has a story to tell, and for Milton, an integral cog in telling that story is Shannon Ferguson, communications manager.
In her role, Ferguson keeps residents connected and engaged through social media, informative newsletters, press releases, and the city’s website. She also assists Courtney Spriggs, community outreach and engagement manager, to promote city events and activities.
“The most important aspect of my position is the responsibility I have for ensuring our residents are informed,” Ferguson said. “A more informed citizen is more likely to be an engaged citizen. The more transparent and the better the communication, the greater the citizen satisfaction.”
Since joining the city in 2016, Ferguson has led efforts to create more concise and informative communications between the city and its residents. She has updated the city’s newsletters and City Council updates to provide easily readable information and implemented a link system where residents can access any document pertaining to their greatest interests.
Ferguson also implemented “Community Update” emails that keep residents informed on high-profile issues within the city.
Ferguson also works with each of the city’s departments and programs to create printed materials, write and edit reports, coordinate grassroots marketing initiatives and engage with residents, business owners, schools and religious groups.
The Alabama native never set out to work exclusively in communications.
After graduating from the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a bachelor’s degree in social work and a master’s in public administration, Ferguson moved to Atlanta to work with what was then known as the Georgia Merit System, which recruited, trained and managed the state’s government employees.
Ferguson was later recruited by the state treasurer to start the state’s 529 college savings plan. She would eventually serve as director responsible for all marketing and communications for the plan, the first of her roles exclusively in the communications field.
During her time with the state, Ferguson was responsible for reading all bills introduced in the Legislature, including HB 1470, which sought to incorporate Milton.
“I can remember reading cityhood bills for Milton and Johns Creek and thinking how exciting it must be for these communities — charting their own path, controlling their own destiny,” Ferguson said.
Ten years later, Ferguson would find herself among those residents who charted their own path.
“It’s quite an honor to represent one of Georgia’s youngest cities,” Ferguson said. “It’s incredible what this city has accomplished in just 10 years.”
A mother of two, Ferguson said much of her spare time is spent on lacrosse and football fields, but she also enjoys reading and is a self-described “music freak.”
Ferguson also developed a passion for teaching and good governance and still teaches elected officials part time with UGA’S Carl Vinson Institute of Government, where she spent three years as communications director before moving to Milton.