Gary Heidel, retiring Acting Chief of Staff at the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA), will join Public Policy Associates (PPA) as an affiliated consultant. Mr. Heidel, who has been with MHSDA since 1986, has recently announced his retirement from the state agency.

During his time at MSHDA, he served in a variety of capacities, most recently Acting Executive Director from 2019 to 2023. Prior to that, he served as Chief Housing Investment Officer, Chief Placemaking Officer, and Director of Program Policy & Market Research. From 2010 to 2012 he previously served as Executive Director of the state agency. His first role with MSHDA was as Director of Legislative and Intergovernmental Relations.

“Gary Heidel has a long history of service to Michigan, and we are excited to add his experience and expertise to PPA’s team,” said Rob Fowler, PPA’s Chief Executive Officer. “I have known Gary for a long time and look forward to continuing to partner with him. His understanding of both housing policy and economic development in Michigan will continue to pave the way for innovative solutions to our state’s most pressing challenges.”

Before joining MSHDA, Heidel was a legislative liaison for the Michigan Department of Commerce under then Director Doug Ross. Prior to that, he was legislative assistant to Michigan State Senator John Kelly, Chair of the Senate Committee on Corporations and Economic Development and was a staff assistant to then U.S. Senator Donald Riegle.

He is a graduate of the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. He has also graduated from various executive leadership programs. These include the Michigan Political Leadership Program (MPLP) at Michigan State University, the Governors Center at Duke University, and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

“I look forward to bringing my experience and knowledge of state policy to PPA,” Mr. Heidel said. “I look forward to continuing to bring people together and talk about solutions.”

PPA provides high-caliber, high-value independent evaluation, research, and consulting services that helps clients to make smart public policy decisions that improve lives, enrich communities, and strengthen institutions. The organization specializes in education and child care, healthy communities, justice, and talent and economic development policy. PPA’s staff and consultants combine extensive education, policy knowledge, research skills, and real-world expertise to design and implement studies and strategic planning.

For more information, contact Rob Fowler at or 517-242-5180.