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Portage, MI - Director of Development Services

Portage, MI (50,126 est.) is a growing community in a thriving metropolitan area at a strategic midpoint between Chicago and Detroit where I-94 and US-131 intersect in West Michigan.   The Portage community encompasses 35 square miles, is family-oriented, has excellent schools, and is located eight miles from Western Michigan University and Kalamazoo College.  Portage is also adjacent to the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport and the Air Zoo and hosts the corporate offices Pfizer-Kalamazoo and Stryker world headquarters.  Bountiful natural resources in Portage include seven lakes and related recreational amenities, connected by 57 miles of trails and bikeways.  Portage combines the convenience of an urban lifestyle with that of a close-knit, friendly community.

The Director of Development Services position was recently restructured to oversee a full-service community development staff of 17 with a $1.6 million budget, inclusive of economic development, comprehensive planning, zoning, plan review, building/code compliance services, neighborhood services, and GIS.  A new target is to realize one-stop shopping to spur economic and redevelopment opportunities that align with the vision and goals of the City Council. 

The new Director will also be responsible for reducing cost of development, implementing market studies, developing design guidelines; coordinating Portage’s branding efforts; and serving as the primary development advisor to the City Manager and City Council through performance benchmark completion.

Portage administers a full range of business incentives and regularly collaborates with Southwest Michigan First.  The Director will also be expected to employ a full-range of existing economic development tools, including the Downtown Development Authority and the Economic Development Corporation / Tax Increment Finance Authority. 

Further, the Department’s team provides assistance to developers and department heads while executing economic and community development programs and projects. The Director will need to build effective collaboration practices with contractors, private sector developers, neighborhoods, citizens, and non-profit and public organization.  The Director will be responsible for resolving sensitive and controversial customer service and community development issues. Filling the Director of Development Services position is a high priority of the City of Portage.  The Director is appointed by the City Manager. 

The successful candidate is required to have:

  • A bachelor’s degree in urban planning, economic development, marketing, public or business administration, real estate, or closely related field or an equivalent level of education and experience; master’s degree preferred;
  • A minimum of five (5) years’ progressively responsible experience in an economic development, marketing, business attraction, community development, planning, or a related field; and
  • Supervisory experience using collaborative management principles.

Preference will be given to candidates that also have:

  • Certified Economic Developer Designation (CEcD), Professional Community and Economic Developer Designation (PCED), or Economic Development Finance Professional Designation (EDFP) certifications; and/or
  • Membership in the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP); and/or
  • Proficiency in Lean Six Sigma and High-Performance Organization principles.

Starting salary is $99,000 to $145,000, DOQE with excellent fringe benefits. Apply at with résumé, cover letter, and contact information for three professional references by August 24, 2020 to the attention of Ryan Cotton, Vice President, GovHRUSA, 630 Dundee Road, #130, Northbrook, IL 60062. Tel:  224-282-8304. www.

Click HERE for Brochure!

Posted:July 21, 2020

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