Detroit Economic Growth Corporation Unveils New Leadership Team to Drive Forward City’s Economic Future

Photo: David Howell, Vice President of Development Services; David White, Vice President of Business Development; Jacqueline Young, Senior Director of Business Development; Derrick Headd, President of Public Policy and Operations;

The Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC) recently announced a series of significant leadership changes, marking a new chapter for the organization dedicated to fostering economic prosperity in Detroit. This transition follows the departure of Chief Operating Officer Kenyetta Hairston-Bridges, who is set to lead the Downtown Tampa Partnership in Florida as its President and CEO.

In a statement, DEGC President and CEO Kevin Johnson expressed gratitude for Hairston-Bridges’ impactful contributions to the organization and the city. “While we will miss her leadership, we’re excited about the new talent joining our team and the internal promotions that will help drive our mission forward,” Johnson said.

The DEGC’s reshuffled leadership team introduces Derrick Headd as the Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Operations. Headd brings 38 years of experience from the City of Detroit, where he recently served as a Fiscal Analyst for the Legislative Policy Division of the Detroit City Council. In his new role, Headd will focus on strategic planning, overseeing critical metrics, managing relations with the City Council regarding incentives and policy, and leading special infrastructure-related initiatives. Additionally, he will handle local, state, and federal funding proposals, grants, and contracts reporting, and serve as a liaison with government departments, ensuring smooth interaction with state and local government affairs efforts for the DEGC.

Joining the team is Jacqueline Young, appointed as Senior Director of Business Development. Young transitions from DTE Energy, where she was an Economic Development Manager responsible for job growth and retention strategies within DTE’s service areas. At DEGC, Young will spearhead business attraction efforts, particularly in multi-sector industries that support Detroit’s burgeoning supply chain. Her role involves guiding companies through site selection and deal-closing processes, fostering job creation, and maintaining robust relationships with stakeholders in Detroit’s startup and innovation ecosystems.

In addition to new appointments, the DEGC announced two internal promotions. David Howell has been promoted to Vice President of Development Services. With 25 years of experience in residential and commercial real estate, Howell has been instrumental in underwriting all property tax abatements for real estate development projects in Detroit since joining DEGC in 2021. In his elevated role, Howell will lead engagement with real estate developers, oversee project underwriting, and viability assessments, and serve as a liaison between DEGC, the Mayor’s office, Michigan Economic Development Corporation, and City Departments on real estate development matters. His focus will include neighborhood redevelopment, affordable housing, land use strategies, and investments for the Downtown Detroit Authority.

David White has been elevated to Vice President of Business Development. In this role, White will lead DEGC’s efforts in business attraction, retention, and expansion for large-scale industrial, commercial, and high-growth companies. Collaborating closely with the City of Detroit, State of Michigan, and regional partners, White will implement strategies to drive job creation and investment in Detroit. He and his team will serve as the primary contact for business attraction deals and oversee programs supporting existing large-scale companies in the city. Additionally, DEGC is actively recruiting a Business Retention Manager who will report to White.

“These changes position DEGC to build on our momentum in driving economic growth and opportunity throughout Detroit,” said Johnson. “We’re confident our new and promoted team members will bring fresh perspectives and proven expertise to our work.”

These leadership changes at DEGC underscore a commitment to continued progress and development in Detroit. Each new and promoted leader brings a wealth of experience and a fresh perspective, aiming to enhance the organization’s efforts in economic growth, job creation, and community engagement. The focus remains on supporting Detroit’s dynamic business landscape, fostering innovation, and ensuring that the city’s economic future is bright and inclusive.

As Detroit continues to evolve, the DEGC’s revamped leadership team is poised to tackle the challenges ahead, driving forward the mission of economic empowerment and community development. The city’s residents and stakeholders can look forward to new opportunities and sustained growth, backed by a dedicated and capable team at the helm of the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation.

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