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Advancing Macomb advances with new director

By: Julie Snyder | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published April 29, 2015


MOUNT CLEMENS — A former assistant Macomb County executive has a new job, but the same goals: advancing the county’s economic and community development.

Melissa Roy has been named executive director of Advancing Macomb, a nonprofit organization comprising leaders from across Macomb County who those involved say are focused on creating long-term economic opportunities and sustainable communities.

Roy, who worked alongside Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel from February 2011 through March 2015 directing public affairs for the Executive’s Office, assumed her new duties with Advancing Macomb on April 6.

“This is really a start-up organization that has been in development for the last couple of years,” said Roy. “When Mark first came into office, we noticed there were a lot of good projects going on in Detroit and in Oakland County. We wanted (a) singular leadership group (in Macomb County) that could speak on the behalf of the community and business leaders, as well.”

In July 2012, Hackel asked local community and business leaders to create an entity that could drive community and economic development for the county. They came up with Advancing Macomb.

Modeled after organizations like Detroit Renaissance and Grand Action, Advancing Macomb — a 501(c)(3) private nonprofit — was launched in June 2013 and now has established an office in Mount Clemens.

Hackel said Roy, who graduated from the University of Michigan with a bachelor of arts degree, is well-known and regarded in the nonprofit, business and public affairs communities.

“Melissa was an exciting hire and now, an exciting new partner,” he said. “She brought a new perspective to the county that helped modernize our communications, give us a regional and statewide reach, and establish quality relationships throughout those communities.”

Hackel said Advancing Macomb provides a “unified voice of the county’s corporate, institutional, nonprofit and public community” whose mission is to enhance the quality of life for Macomb County communities by leveraging collective support to invest in new and existing assets. 

Roy’s duties will be to implement the philanthropic structure needed to cement partnerships between the public and private sectors, and attract funds from outside sources to fund major projects. While the immediate focus is primarily in Macomb County, she will also look for opportunities for cooperation within the region.

“We are thrilled to have Melissa on board,” said David Girodat, chairman of Advancing Macomb and president and CEO of Fifth Third Bank. “She has shown true vision to helping make a mark for Macomb County and has the experience to launch Advancing Macomb as a unified voice of community, organizational and business leaders from across the county. We chose Melissa as a local leader with drive, top management skills and a great relationship builder.”

Roy’s responsibilities as an assistant county executive included communications management and strategy; public policy development; and regional, state and federal government relationship management. During her time as an assistant, she implemented a new communications structure for the county, which centralized information intake and media releases; created a digital and social media platform from scratch; and redirected community marketing through the Make Macomb Your Home branding campaign. She also implemented a Macomb Caucus that included all levels of public officials in the county to share information and strategize on key issues for the county.

Prior to her position with Macomb County, Roy held numerous economic development and government relations positions with the Detroit Regional Chamber (DRC) from 1998 through 2010. Currently, she is the principal of Roy PR Management. Roy PR Management provides executive management and public relations for Advancing Macomb.

Prior to her position as senior director with the DRC, she managed policy and advocacy for the chamber’s regulatory issues, regional and local government relations, land use issues and local governance structure. Roy also worked with the chamber’s economic development group on research, data analysis and regional marketing.

Roy currently serves on the boards of the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART), the Detroit Zoological Society and Detroit Public Television. She is a past president of the Detroit Intermodal and Ocean Freight Association and has served on the boards for the Detroit Artists Market, Community Legal Resources and the Eight Mile Boulevard Association.

“The primary goal (of Advancing Macomb) is to make this the leadership group to go to in Macomb County for issues like cleaning the lake, economic development issues or business issues,” Roy said. “We want to continue to make Macomb County a great place to live and do business.”

Replacing Roy in the Macomb County Executive’s Office is John Paul Rea.

Rea, who began his new job as an assistant county executive on April 6, is a lifelong resident of Macomb County and has served in the county’s Planning and Economic Development Department for over nine years. Most recently, he held the position of senior planner, orchestrating municipal planning services, developing quality-of-life initiatives and supporting the Executive’s Office in pursuing major community and economic development opportunities.

“John Paul’s experience in planning and economic development, along with his passion for all things Macomb County, will ensure that our residents are well-served by his leadership,” said Hackel.

“I’m incredibly humbled and thrilled to be given this opportunity to serve the residents of Macomb County,” said Rea. “Throughout my professional career, I’ve been dedicated to helping raise the profile of Macomb County. Now working alongside Executive Hackel and his team, we can continue to advocate for all the wonderful things that happen here.”