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Governor names Harvey Hollins to lead Office of Urban and Metropolitan Initiatives

Monday, Aug. 1, 2011

Contact: Ken Silfven
P: 517-335-6397 E:

DETROIT, Mich. - Gov. Rick Snyder today named Harvey Hollins III as director of the Michigan Office of Urban and Metropolitan Initiatives.

Hollins, of Belleville, currently serves as Wayne State University's vice president for government and community affairs. His appointment is effective Sept. 1.

"Michigan's cities are Michigan's future," Snyder said. "Their diversity and vitality have always fueled our state's greatness. But the issues facing our urban centers are often unique and complex. This initiative will primarily focus on their economic development needs such as business attraction, entrepreneurial startups and public transit. That's why I selected Harvey Hollins as our point man on this initiative. Harvey's understanding of urban core needs, coupled with his belief in the power of partnerships and his proven ability to work with a broad range of stakeholders, will help our cities become centers where people want to live, work and prosper."

Hollins will serve as a principal adviser to the governor on matters related to urban and regional economic initiatives that contribute to job growth. While based in Detroit, he also will establish offices in Grand Rapids and the Flint-Saginaw area.

"The governor's unwavering commitment to our cities is both welcome and inspiring," Hollins said. "His vision of strong, energetic urban centers that attract entrepreneurial investment and exciting young talent is the right one, and it is achievable. We will build on the distinctive attributes of our cities and tailor solutions that effectively address their needs. I appreciate Gov. Snyder's confidence and look forward to working hand-in-hand with civic leaders, job providers and all who have a genuine interest in revitalizing these jewels of Michigan."

The office is the result of a partnership between the state and the Council of Michigan Foundations, a nonprofit association that works to strengthen, promote and increase philanthropy in Michigan and builds on the successful partnership of the Office of Foundation Liaison to the governor already in place. Initial financial support is provided by DENSO and the W.K Kellogg, C.S. Mott and The Kresge foundations with other foundations anticipated to join in providing financial support in 2012. In his State of the State address, Snyder announced that he would seek such a partnership that allows for the development of the Office of Urban and Metropolitan Initiatives.

"The cooperation and support of the Council of Michigan Foundations and its members make this initiative possible," Snyder said. "Michigan's foundation community shares my vision for strengthening our urban areas. This is an excellent example of the public and nonprofit sectors working together to benefit our state. Council of Michigan Foundations President Rob Collier and these foundations helping us launch this office deserve our appreciation."

The office will work closely with the Economic Development Executive Group established by Snyder. The group, headed by Michigan Economic Development Corp. President and CEO Mike Finney, includes agencies such as the MEDC, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority.

An advisory board will be established to facilitate the office's work. 

While at Wayne State, Hollins advised university officials on key legislative, policy and community issues. In 2006, he was among the lead staff in the creation of Michigan's University Research Corridor.

Prior to joining Wayne State in 2004, Hollins was the Michigan government affairs representative for the American Association of Retired Persons. He also served as a fiscal analyst for the Michigan House of Representatives.

Hollins serves on various boards and committees including the Urban League of Detroit and Southeast Michigan, the Mosaic Youth Theater Board and the Wayne State University Chicano Boricua Studies Advisory Board.

A South Haven native, Hollins graduated with honors from Otsego High School. He earned bachelor's degree from Kalamazoo College where he received the Catherine A. Smith Award for Human Rights, and a master's degree from the University of Michigan's Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.

Hollins and his wife have three daughters.