Chamber president leaves post

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published December 12, 2012

Michele Hodges, president of the Troy Chamber of Commerce, said she will leave her position at the chamber to serve as president of the Belle Isle Conservancy in Detroit. She has been with the Troy Chamber for 11 years.

The Belle Isle Conservancy focuses on issues of historic preservation, restoration and preservation of the natural environment, planning/funding improvements, recreational activities and marketing strategies for the park located on a 982-acre island in the Detroit River between the U.S. and Canada. The Detroit Recreation Department manages the park.

“Troy is such a wonderful place,” Hodges said. “I will do whatever I can to help with the transition.”

The Troy Chamber of Commerce board members will form a search committee to choose their next leader. The committee consists of board members Scott Foster, president of Wellco Corp.; Stephanie Bergeron, president of Walsh College; and John Tagle of John Tagle Architects. Tagle will chair the search committee.  

Hodges will stay on through early January.

“My heart is here,” she said. “I want to make sure everything is in order.” 

Hodges said an active effort at the Troy Chamber would remain under way to identify revenue streams to fund operational costs at the Troy Transit Center, although Amtrak leases will likely cover most of the estimated $30,000 costs.

She said she is most proud of the work the chamber has done toward that initiative. She described the team that made that happen as “smart, passionate people who care about the community.

“They are a pleasure to work with,” she said. “It’s been a wonderful 11 years, so rich in every way.

“Empowerment is a gift. I hope we have used that responsibility to enhance the community at large.”

The Troy Chamber represents approximately 700 businesses.

Tagle said it was a great opportunity for Hodges, and “it leaves us with a big pair of shoes to fill. Her heart was always for this community.”

Tagle said the search committee would meet Dec. 17. “There will be no blip in any programs,” Tagle said.

He added that the transit center committee has been meeting on a regular basis to identify a successful business model.

“We think we can accomplish more than that (covering operating expenses) and that it’s possible to generate an additional revenue stream,” he said.

“The people (chamber members) care about the community and are a pleasure to work with,” Hodges said.