Wayne State Vice President of Government Affairs Harvey Hollins III accepted an offer by Gov. Rick Snyder to become director of the Michigan Office of Urban and Metropolitan Initiatives. Hollins will begin his new position September 1.
The newly formed Office of Urban and Metropolitan Initiatives will focus on revitalizing and growing Michigan’s major urban economies.
Hollins will advise Snyder on economic initiatives and programs in urban areas that can help create jobs. The position is funded by the C.S. Mott Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Kresge Foundation and DENSO Corp.
His home office will be located on the 14th floor of the Cadillac Building in downtown Detroit, but he will also have offices in the Flint-Saginaw and Grand Rapids areas. While initially based in these core areas, the department could grow to include other urban areas such as Kalamazoo.
“Michigan’s cities are Michigan’s future,” Snyder said in a press release. “Their diversity and vitality have always fueled our state’s greatness… That’s why I selected Harvey Hollins as our as our point man on this initiative. Harvey’s understanding of urban core needs, coupled with his belief in the power of partnerships and his proven ability to work with a broad range of stakeholders, will help our cities become centers where people want to live, work and prosper.”
WSU President Allan Gilmour said Hollins has been an “invaluable adviser” to both him and the Board of Governors.
“On behalf of the entire university community, I want to express our gratitude for his nearly eight years of excellent service at the helm of government and community affairs,” Gilmour said via press release. “Harvey’s ability to cultivate relationships and communicate effectively has gone a long way in helping Wayne State promote its mission to legislators, key policy-makers and the people of Michigan.”
Hollins said WSU has an “incredible leadership” in Gilmour.
“(Gilmour) brings a tremendous amount of talent and foresight to the university,” Hollins said. “His administration is doing exceedingly well and taking the university in the right direction.”
Hollins said he is excited about the new opportunities in his future.
“I look forward to working across the state to help create the right foundation for future growth,” Hollins said. “Detroit is one of America’s greatest cities. Being part of a team that plays a real and important role in revitalizing Detroit, as well as the other major urban areas of Michigan, is the opportunity I look forward to the most.”
Hollins obtained his bachelor’s degree in liberal arts from Kalamazoo College and his master’s degree in public policy from the University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy. He worked as a community aide to the Department of Family Housing at the University of Michigan, a fiscal analyst for the Michigan House of Representatives and a representative for the American Association of Retired Persons.
He began his career at WSU in January 2004 and made significant contributions during his tenure leading the Government Affairs team. Hollins’s main responsibilities included advising university officials on legislative, community and policy issues.
In 2006, Hollins was instrumental in helping to create the University Research Corridor, the alliance between Michigan State University, the University of Michigan and WSU to transform, strengthen and diversify the state’s economy.
Hollins serves on multiple boards and committees dedicated to helping develop urban areas, including the Urban League of Detroit and Southeast Michigan, the WSU Chicano Boricua Studies Advisory Board and the Mosaic Youth Theater Board.
Hollins said he will miss the university and people that helped him achieve so much.
“The university is a jewel,” Hollins said. “It’s a wonderful place with a tremendous amount to offer, but what I’ll miss the most is my outstanding staff. I am surrounded by hard workers who definitely aren’t afraid to put in the extra hours.”
Gilmour said he sees the new appointment of Hollins as an honor for the university.
“Harvey will do a first-rate job,” Gilmour said. “Harvey is an asset. His experience, relationships and judgment are very valuable. It is a loss but also a great honor for the university to have Harvey take the position with Gov. Snyder’s administration.”