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Robert Near, Deputy Director

A veteran, husband, dad, student and public servant, Robert strives to uphold the standards he expects from others. He previously worked as a Veteran Navigator at HealthWest; an Economic Development Coordinator at the Center for Nonprofit Housing; a Chief Financial Officer at Empire Contractors; and a State of Michigan Eligibility Specialist. 

Robert is an Army veteran, serving as an Airborne Artillerymen in the 2/377th Parachutist Field Artillery Regiment, 4/25 Infantry Division. His awards and decorations include: Combat Action Badge, Parachutist Badge, National Defense Service Ribbon, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Operation Iraqi Freedom Medal with Campaign Star, Operation Enduring Freedom Medal with Campaign Star and NATO Medal. 

Currently a Ph.D. student at Western Michigan University, Robert holds a Master of Public Administration degree from Penn State University, a bachelor's degree from Grand Valley State University and an associate degree from Central Texas College. 

He enjoys spending time with his family. Hobbies include biking, hiking, snowshoeing, hunting, snowboarding, home improvements and almost any outdoor activity.