“I feel like the first draft pick for Microsoft in Atlanta.”

As the first Microsoft engineer in Atlanta, Cornelius Parker taps into his Southern hospitality and longtime local roots.

In Atlanta, we have what you call “Southern hospitality.” If we’re walking down the street, even if we don’t know you, we’re going to say, “Hey!” That’s just what we do.

And that’s what I’m getting to build with Microsoft—a new location in Atlanta with a welcoming environment based in a great culture, spirit of connectiveness, authenticity, and sense of belonging. We’re engaging the community to be a part of this journey that I feel will transform generations.


Cornelius Parker

I have a special connection to the new Microsoft campus in Atlanta—even though I didn’t realize it at first.

Years ago, my mother used to be the community manager for an apartment complex, and my first job was working on the landscaping team.

Fast forward 20 years later: This past November, I visited the new campus location. It didn’t occur to me until I pulled up to the address, but, lo and behold, it was the site of that first job!

And now, to think I’m the site lead and part of a Microsoft expansion—on those same grounds. Life for me had really come full circle.


I’ve always had a strong work ethic, but I credit my military experience, training, and responsibilities for reinforcing this work ethic and enhancing my determination and accountability.

After completing my time with the US Navy, I joined the US Air Force Reserve as part of the Combat Comms Squadron. Since it was only part time, I was able to complete my BS degree and continue on to earn my MBA. While my path to Microsoft was nonlinear, I’m extremely proud of my journey.


I believe that nothing in life is random, that everything happens for a reason. When I was younger, I dreamed of playing professional football and being in the NFL. That didn’t work out, but as the first engineering hire in Atlanta, I feel like the first draft pick for Microsoft.

—Cornelius Parker, Atlanta, Georgia