DEGC Reorganizes, Hires to Meet Detroit’s Economic Growth


A staff reorganization including several promotions and three new positions was announced this month by DEGC President and CEO Rodrick Miller to more effectively deliver DEGC’s core services of business development, real estate development and small business support given current market conditions and landscapes.

Kenneth Chapa, formerly economic development project manager for the city of Mesa, Arizona, will be DEGC’s new executive vice president of business development. He is responsible for overseeing all corporate attraction, retention and expansion efforts for the organization, and for bringing in new investment and business opportunities to the city of Detroit.

In addition to Chapa, Regina Bell was hired as special advisor to the CEO. Bell has extensive public policy experience, working for the governor of Michigan and in other posts. Most recently she served as director of community-based initiatives for Digerati and as executive director for Intern in Michigan.

Virginia Wilkinson was also hired as director of strategy and research. Wilkinson has substantial planning and analysis experience in demographics, urban policy, natural resources and sustainability, with a specific interest in social and economic equality and mass transit.

Other key changes at DEGC include:

  • Olga Stella to chief operating officer from vice president, business development. She continues to oversee DEGC’s key small business development initiatives and programs such as D2D, Green Grocer and Motor City Match.
  • Malinda Jensen to vice president, business development from director of business development. She will continue to oversee business attraction and retention in targeted industries such as manufacturing, IT and retail.
  • Art Papapanos to senior vice president and chief board administration officer from vice president, board administration. He will continue to administer city of Detroit public authorities.
  • Kenyetta Hairston Bridges to director of business development and small business programs from associate director of business development.
  • Jennifer Kanalos to director of brownfield redevelopment from brownfield redevelopment program manager.
  • Tim Miles to director of construction management from senior project manager.
  • Kelly Shovan to controller from assistant controller.

“As the pace of Detroit’s economic revival continues to accelerate, we have to accommodate the needs of new businesses as well as those that have been here through thick and thin,” Miller said.

“The new structure does all that, as well as maintain the strong support we provide to the city of Detroit’s public authorities and key infrastructure projects we are managing,” Miller added.

Tiffini D. Smith
Director of Communications

One thought on “DEGC Reorganizes, Hires to Meet Detroit’s Economic Growth”

  1. Without exception Olga Stella’s green grocery project has had the greatest impact on the city. Meyers, Whole Foods and the significant improvement of over half of the 80 plus non-chain stores in introducing quality foods in addressing obesity. There are no longer desert island in Detroit even though some pundits continue to ignore this fact. Congrats Olga, please continue to fight obesity and all the hidden related health problems. A healthy community is a strong community.

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