Job Opening

Downtown Development Authority, Executive Director





Ferndale, MI

Salary Range

$67,000–$80,000 (DOQE)

Exempt / Non-Exempt

employment type

Full Time


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About Ferndale

The City of Ferndale is an active community of 20,000 located in southeast Oakland County, Michigan. Known for its mix of small-town neighborhoods and vibrant downtown district, residents and visitors choose Ferndale for its unique shopping and dining, innovative art scene, peaceful parks, and safe homes and streets. Ferndale is a community in the truest sense of the word—a place where neighbors, artists, entrepreneurs, foodies, friends,and families come together to live, work, and play.

Downtown Ferndale is home to 350+ businesses, most owned and operated by local entrepreneurs who are driven to deliver goods and services in engagingly unique ways. The district is managed by the Downtown Development Authority,driving economic development through a comprehensive Four-Point Main Street Approach. For more than a decade, the DDA has helped to establish downtown Ferndale as a favorite local and regional destination, known for its shopping, dining, entertainment, art, creativity,culture, and bike/walkability.

Each year, Ferndale plays host to an incredible variety of events—festivals,parades, celebrations, and more. Ferndale was the birthplace of the famous Woodward Dream Cruise, which brings classic cars, live music, and a full downtown celebration each August. The DIY Street Fair and Funky Ferndale Art Fair are fall favorites, while the summer is filled with events like the Pig & Whiskey and City Hall Trunk & Treasure Sale. Every May, Ferndale celebrates Pride with special events, downtown vendors, live music, and more.

Ferndale has been recognized at the local and national level with numerous awards and honors. Downtown Ferndale received the Great American Main Street Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation's National Main Street Program in 2010, becoming the first city in Oakland County to do so. The downtown district has received National Main Street Center Accreditation for ten years, and has earned“Outstanding Public Relations Effort” and “Outstanding Business Retention and Expansion” nods. Ferndale businesses are consistently recognized as “Best of”award winners by Hour Detroit, Metro Times, Channel 4, Daily Tribune, and more.

About the Position

The Downtown Development Authority (DDA) Executive Director is responsible for managing the DDA’s goals,as defined by the board of directors. The Director is an advocate for the DDA District and acts as a liaison to business and property owners, government officials and staff, community organizations, and others. Duties will encompass a variety of tasks determined by the DDA Board with a primary focus on economic revitalization of the Central Business District.

The DDA and City are integrated partners working to enhance the economic and cultural vitality of the community. The downtown mixed use parking development, known as “The dot” is an excellent example of aligned priorities and collaboration. The DDA’s budget is approximately $550,000,primarily funded through a Tax Incremental Finance (TIF) Plan. The DDA staff includes the Executive Director, Deputy Director, and Administrative Assistant.  


Priority Focus Areas

  • Facilitate a positive dynamic with the DDA Board and synergistically develop and execute a shared vision for community
  • Be the “face” of the downtown by supporting the downtown community; communicating priorities clearly; and creating a positive, progressive culture to execute the goals of the DDA
  • Budget management and development with an emphasis on financial solvency through revenue enhancements
  • Extend partnerships across the city and to other communities to foster a sense of collaboration to the betterment of the downtown

Ideal Candidate

Ferndale is most interested in individuals who prioritize collaboration and innovation, are open and respectful of all stakeholders, and who will be focused on facilitating the growth of a vibrant downtown while remaining absolutely committed to being inclusive. The successful candidate will have demonstrated effective management experience and possess exceptional communication skills to navigate rapid change in pursuit of measurable goals. Experience in grant application, award, and administration are highly valued. The Executive Director will embrace the collaborative and inclusive culture of the community and the metro Detroit region.  

Ideal candidates will have a track record of effectively working with staff and community partners, with the highest level of transparency and trust.Individuals who think strategically, have the courage to be cutting-edge, and offer high-energy passion for downtown development are encouraged to apply. 

Education and Experiential Requirements

· A bachelor’s degree in Public Administration, Business Administration, Economic Development, Marketing, or closely related field; Master’s Degree in Public Administration or related discipline is preferred.

· Five or more years of progressively responsible experience, preferably in a downtown and/or community development role; or other professional experience comparable to this requirement.

Salary and Benefits

Salary is $67,000–$80,000, dependent on qualification and experience (DOQE).    

Ferndale’s excellent benefits package includes medical, dental, and vision coverage; life insurance in the amount of base salary; and flexible spending accounts. A generous contribution to retirement is also provided with other plans as well as 457 Deferred compensation and Roth IRA programs. A flexible schedule and sick and vacation time are also part of the robust benefit package.

How to Apply

Apply at with resume, cover letter, contact information, and three (3) professional references by August 23, 2019, to the attention of Jaymes Vettraino, Vice President, GovHR USA, 630 Dundee Road, Suite 130, Northbrook, IL 60062, Tel:847-380-3240, Cell: 248-379-8923.