Six final candidates for the executive director position of the Birmingham Shopping District (BSD) were interviewed by the executive board of the BSD on Friday, March 10, with three of the candidates being asked to come back for a second round of interviews on Monday, March 20, to fill the position left vacant when former executive director John Heiney resigned in December after 17 years in the position to move to Prescott, Arizona.
Birmingham City Manager Joe Valentine said he is hoping to be able to make a recommendation for a new executive director to the full board of directors of the BSD at their monthly meeting on Thursday, April 6, after the second round of interviews.
The city posted the job opening and accepted resumes until the end of January through its human resources department. The six finalists, which Downtown obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, were Darlene Rothman, currently executive director of the Berkley-Area Chamber of Commerce; Christina Sheppard-Decius, executive director of downtown Dearborn; Timothy R. Colbeck, director of the Ypsilanti Downtown Development Authority; Ingrid S. Tighe, business development manager for Michigan Economic Development Corporation and employment analyst for Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency; and Lori Rondello, promotions and event manager for the BSD, and interim director of the BSD.
After lengthy interviews conducted by the executive board, comprising BSD president Geoff Hockman, Richard Astrein, Doug Fehan, Bill Roberts and Valentine, the three asked to return for a second round of final interviews are Rondello, Tighe and Sheppard-Decius.
Sheppard Decius has been executive director for downtown Dearborn since August 2015, a community of 100,000, with two downtown districts encompassing 44 blocks, 759 businesses and property owners and an operational budget of $1.4 million. Prior to that, she was a consultant to the downtown Brighton Principal Shopping District, and executive director for 15 years of the Ferndale Downtown Development Authority.
Tighe has worked for the state of Michigan since 2013, promoting Michigan as a competitive place for business investment and job growth, managing company growth and expansion projects, and implementing a veteran hiring implementation program. Since 2007, she has been a SPARK Leadership motivational speaker and consultant. She previously worked for Hines Interests, a real estate corporation.
Rondello has worked for the BSD since 2009 as the promotions and events manager, creating, overseeing and maintaining events to attract people to downtown Birmingham, including Day on the Town, Woodward Dream Cruise, Birmingham Farmers Market, Restaurant Week, Movie Nights, Annual Tree Light, and Winter Mrkt. Since January, she has worked with the city, BSD leadership and staff to run the BSD....continued on page 2