Tell us about where you live and what makes it unique?

I am currently living in the Village of Milford, a northwest suburb of Detroit. Milford is a great example of small town America with the Main Street strip of small businesses. I often joke that there is always an event of some sort happening in the town, from weekly concerts at the amphitheater, to home tours and Milford Memories, a summer festival that draws hundreds of thousands of people. Milford is also home of Camp Dearborn, established by Henry Ford and The General Motors Proving Grounds. While it’s not Detroit, Milford is close enough that I can be in the city on a regular basis. I am however looking forward to moving to Detroit this year, which neighborhood is yet be decided but I am definitely excited.

What have you learned from Challenge Detroit so far?

I have learned the necessity of listening to others. Listening to individuals you are working with on a team, reaching out to individuals who are experts in a specific topic or field you are focusing on and, to listening to individuals within a community. Realizing that I may not always know best or know all there is to know just from reading a book or a few articles. Really getting out there and listening to the information people can provide to you can strengthen the efforts you are making.

Tell us about your host company and your role in the organization.

Fusco, Shaffer & Pappas, Inc. is my Challenge Detroit host company. I have been with the company for nearly 3 years now and asked ownership to become a host when I made the decision to apply to become a Fellow. FSP is an architecture and planning firm founded over 50 years ago. The firm focuses on healthcare, senior living facilities, as well as multi-family housing including historic preservation and restoration.

What kind of impact do you hope to have with your host company and within the city?

I want my impact to be Fusco, Shaffer and Pappas’ continued involvement on projects within Detroit. Through my involvement in projects we are working on in the city I hope this encourages their desire to do more work in the city and continue their working relationships with the non-profit organizations they have worked along side already. I hope that I can be looked at as a valuable asset in finding ways to increase the firms’ involvement also.

What are you most looking forward to for the second half of your year as a Fellow?

I am most looking forward to an opportunity to really just know the city and the individuals making a difference better. I feel that I have a good understanding of the cities past, present, and future but I am constantly amazed at the new things I learn from the network of individual I work with and collaborate with as a Fellow. Learning about and knowing about Detroit is a true passion of mine. I want to know it all and developing that larger network of individuals within the city helps me to understand it better.

What do you envision for Detroit 10 years from now?

The next 10 years for Detroit are going to be a time that defines its future. Investment and business growth have already begun. I do not see this slowing in the near future, new real estate development is happening everywhere and you continue to see the growing interest and desire to be part of it. I think that the defining moments will be how the city integrates these changes into its neighborhoods and schools. To sustain its future, it has to be providing for its residents. If the city can do that then the sky is the limit.