After 12 years, , I’m leaving Metro Matters.
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Thank You and Farewell
Dear Friends and Colleagues:
For the last twelve years, we’ve been partners and allies on the path toward a more unified, inclusive and collaborative metropolitan Detroit. Tomorrow, I hang up my hat as the Executive Director of Metro Matters, and I want to thank you all for sharing your wisdom and support as we journeyed down that road.
So many of you have shaped the person I have become over these years, and I wish I could thank you each individually (and maybe I’ll get a chance to in the future!). There are, however, a few people to whom I owe special debts of gratitude. Jim Townsend, my predecessor who did the groundwork for our communities to begin collaborating on grand ideas. Melanie Piana, who served as my Deputy Director for nine years and was the rock on which we built our greatest successes. My board chairs, Greg Pitoniak, Mark Wollenweber and Ed Klobucher, who each allowed us to reach for big things. And, Jacob Corvidae, my brother-in-arms at EcoWorks Detroit with whom I built the Southeast Michigan Regional Energy Office and secured millions of dollars to help our residents and our cities achieve a more sustainable future.
Over the years, I’ve worked with almost fifty staff members and a couple hundred interns and fellows. We’ve enjoyed the support of dozens of grant officers who invested in our vision, and partnered with uncounted communities and civic organizations to realize it. I leave Metro Matters having worked on inspiring programs that will continue to shape our state and region for years to come.
Redevelopment Ready Communities ™, Jim and Melanie’s labor of love to improve the urban investment marketplace, is now a statewide program administered by MEDC.
Our handbooks for police and fire collaboration became national models, and our process for climate change planning for small cities became an MDEQ standard.
Through MSHDA’s Cool Cities program and the Millennial Mayors Congress, we engaged hundreds of young leaders in shaping the future of Michigan’s cities – some of whom are now city council members, mayors and state lawmakers.
Thanks to the creativity of Wayne County EDGE and our Green Anchors project, three low-income families now live in environmentally sustainable homes .
The Regional Energy Office is a stand-alone nonprofit now and just won a major victory at the Michigan Public Service Commission, helping cities adopt LED streetlighting technology.
And of course, the Regional Transit Authority: for six years we fought alongside the region’s civic organizations to advance transit-oriented development policies, secure funding for multijurisdictional transit planning, craft the legislation creating the RTA and ensure it got off to a strong start. I hope you will all vote to support the RTA’s millage in November and put a nice capstone on that great work!
Along this incredible journey we were named one of Michigan’s “Most Innovative Companies” by the Michigan Business Review and one of Crain’s Detroit’s “Coolest Places to Work”. Our organization is written up in text books, we’ve been the cover story of national magazines, and we’ve headlined international conferences. In all, I feel like the last twelve years have been pretty wonderful.
It’s hard to leave, but you are all in my heart, and I’ll carry your lessons with me. If you’re looking for me, drop me a line at email@example.com or on my mobile at 734-926-5270. I hope our paths cross again soon.
Always with an eye toward a stronger region,