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Ferndale Downtown Development Authority Announces Staff Changes

DDA welcomes new staff member and reorganizes responsibilities for current staff and elected officers.

The Ferndale Downtown Development Authority recently announced personnel changes that they believe will position the organization for continued growth in 2013 and beyond.

Changes include the addition of one new staff member as well as new responsibilities for current staff and newly-elected officers of the DDA Board of Directors.

The following information was provided by the Ferndale DDA in a press release:

New staff member

Martha Potere joins the DDA staff as the organization’s Program Manager and will be responsible for business development, design initiatives and fund development, along with serving as staff liaison to the DDA’s Business Development (Biz Dev) Committee and staff assistance to the Design Committee.

Born and raised in Michigan, Potere travelled the world with the U.S. Peace Corp before returning home to pursue a degree in urban planning from Wayne State University.

“To meet the growing needs of our downtown, the Program Manager will provide focused attention to business recruitment and retention efforts, while assisting the organization in implementing a full schedule of infrastructure improvements and funding opportunities for our programs over the next few years,” said DDA Executive Director Cristina Sheppard-Decius, Certified Main Street Manager.

“Martha proved her skills when she worked with us as an intern and volunteer, exhibiting both her knowledge and her enthusiasm for the district. We anticipate great results," she said.

Current DDA staff

Areas of responsibility of the current DDA staff were redefined to accommodate the changing goals of the organization.

Sheppard-Decius, award-winning Certified Main Street Manager (CMSM), has been at the helm of the Ferndale DDA since 2000 producing enviable redevelopment statistics and countless awards and accolades from across the nation including the prestigious Great American Main Street Award (2010).

As the DDA Executive Director, Sheppard-Decius is the district’s lead planner for future growth and development, serves as the chief liaison between business and government, oversees all volunteer and committee initiatives and is the manager of the physical assets of the 3.9 linear miles that is Downtown Ferndale.

Sheppard-Decius will serve as the authority on management of the new Ferndale Park+, overseeing its installation, operation and upgrades.

Volunteer and office management will continue to be overseen by Cindy Willcock, newly assigned DDA Operations Manager, and now also responsible for special events and downtown district operations.

Willcock has an extensive background in organization management, volunteer recruitment and retention, and oversight of special projects and events.  Willcock is also the DDA staff liaison to the Organization and Promotion Committees and will serve on the City of Ferndale’s Special Events Committee on behalf of the DDA and its executive director.

Chris Hughes, Communications and Marketing Manager, will continue to manage the Downtown Ferndale brand and deliver the message of the district to stakeholders and across all media.

A former journalist, copywriter and small business owner, Hughes utilizes experience in all genres to broadcast the good news about Downtown Ferndale throughout the city, the region and beyond.

Ferndale DDA Board of Directors

At its annual planning meeting on Monday, Jan. 21, the Ferndale DDA Board of Directors elected a new slate of officers and recommitted itself to building upon the assets of Downtown Ferndale and making it the first choice for businesses and consumers.

The DDA Board is appointed by the mayor of Ferndale and represents a cross section of the Downtown Ferndale business community, stakeholder organizations and city residents.

Elected by his peers to a two-year term as chairman was Michael Hennes, owner of Howe’s Bayou.

Hennes has been on the board since 2010 and was its vice chairperson for the past two years. He replaces Veronica Lujic, Board Chair from 2008-2012, who continues as a director on the board.

Joining Hennes on the Executive Board are Vice Chairperson Dean Bach (Dino’s Restaurant); Treasurer Stacey Tobar (Ferndale resident) and Secretary John McQuiggin (Level One Bank).

DDA board members are: Ferndale Mayor Dave Coulter, Mindy Cupples (Ferndale resident), Brian Kramer (Rosie O’Grady’s & One Eyed Betty’s), Ed Lane (Digital Lane Photography), Jay McMillan (Ferndale resident/Royal Cleaning Services), Gregory Meihn, (Foley & Mansfield PLLC).

Advisory board members include Jennifer Roosenberg (Ferndale Area Chamber of Commerce) and Heather Carmona (Woodward Avenue Action Association).

Looking ahead

With new staff and board firmly in place, the Ferndale DDA is working to complete several major projects in 2013, and reaffirmed and added goals and objectives at its Annual Planning Meeting.

Tops on its to-do list is the West Nine Mile Streetscape scheduled to begin in April; launch of the new Ferndale Park+ parking system upgrade and a full calendar of vibrant events.

“It’s going to a very exciting and busy year,” said Sheppard-Decius. “We can’t wait to make it all happen!”

For more information, call the DDA at 248-546-1632, visit www.downtownferndale.com or Downtown Ferndale on Facebook.

Source: Ferndale Downtown Development Authority press release.

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