Gary Heidel

Before joining MSHDA, Gary was a legislative liaison for the Michigan Department of Commerce (7/1984-2/1986) under Director Doug Ross.  Prior to that, he was legislative assistant to Michigan State Senator John Kelly (3/1979-3/1982), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Corporations and Economic Development, and was a staff assistant to U.S. Senator Donald Riegle (1/1977-3/1979). He is a Vietnam Era veteran having served as a non-commissioned officer in the US Army (9/1968-6/1971), graduating from the Army’s infantry, airborne, raider, and ranger schools.

Gary is a graduate of the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor (1976).  He has also graduated from various executive leadership programs. These include the Michigan Political Leadership Program at Michigan State University, Governors Center at Duke University, and the JFK School of Government at Harvard University.


During his career, Gary has played a significant role in passing and implementing various important policies at the state and federal levels of government. State policies include creation of the Statewide Housing Plan, the Michigan Housing and Community Development Fund, the Miplace Partnership Initiative, Cool Cities, Neighborhood Preservation Program, Individual Development Accounts, Michigan Magnet Fund, Vision 2020, Centers of Regional Excellence, and Neighborhood Builders Alliance. Federal policies include the HOME program, Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program, Empowerment Zone Program, and Michigan Mortgage Credit Certificate Program.

Previous collaborations include coordinating Meta, a team of senior state government staff working on placemaking policy from MSHDA, Michigan Economic Development Corporation, The Michigan Land Bank Authority, the departments of Transportation, Agriculture and Rural Development, Natural Resources, Environment/Great Lakes/Energy, Treasury, and the Office of Work Force Development. He also co-coordinated the Sense of Place Council with Dan Gilmartin CEO of the Michigan Municipal League. The Council was comprised of 40 statewide trade organizations and state agencies that work on place based economic development.


Previous positions at MSHDA include:

  • Acting Chief of Staff
  • Acting Executive Director
  • Chief Housing Investment Officer
  • Chief Placemaking Officer
  • Director of Program Policy & Market Research
  • Executive Director
  • Director of Legislative and Intergovernmental Relations

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