DETROIT, MI (October 25, 2016) – Jefferson East, Inc. (JEI) – a partnership organization and collaborative catalyst for economic development among the five districts that comprise the east Jefferson corridor-recently hired Melanie Piana as Deputy Director for Policy and Programs. Among other initiatives, Ms. Piana will develop new strategies and oversee operations and coordination between program areas.

“Melanie was an ideal selection for this position. We’ve already come to rely heavily on her experience and skills. Not only is she well-versed in policy, operations and community engagement strategies from her former work with the Downtown Detroit Partnership, she is also a dyed-in-wool community leader,” says JEI’s Executive Director Joshua Elling.

The well-respected Piana began working with JEI in May 2016 and has already overseen one key new hire and various in-house restructuring projects. She is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) who has years of experience growing small nonprofits, strategic fund development and program implementation in urban policy and development.

Ms. Piana received her undergraduate degree from Albion College and her Masters of Urban Planning from Wayne State University in Detroit. Melanie is serving a second term as city council member and Mayor Pro Tem for the City of Ferndale. She is a Michigan Municipal League Board of Trustee and liaison to the Michigan Municipal League Foundation.

“I am excited to join JEI’s leadership team, collaborate with our board of directors, and partner with the City of Detroit, while supporting the residents, neighborhoods and businesses in the east Jefferson communities. JEI has been a catalyst in mobility, property redevelopment, Clean and Safety and housing programs that strengthen Detroit’s historic neighborhoods”, says Piana of her new position.

Formed in 2013 by the affiliation of the East Jefferson Corridor Collaborative and the Jefferson East Business Association, JEI exists to increase the viability of business districts and density of residential neighborhoods. JEI represents Lafayette Park/Elmwood Park, Rivertown, the Villages, the Marina District and Historic 



DETROIT, MI (October 25, 2016) – Jefferson East, Inc. (JEI) -a nonprofit partnership organization and collaborative catalyst for economic development among the five districts that comprise the east Jefferson corridor-recently hired Derric Scott as the organization’s new Economic Development Director. Mr. Scott will be responsible for real estate redevelopment and small business support along the east Jefferson corridor spanning from Grosse Pointe Park to downtown Detroit.

Mr. Scott brings a wealth of commercial real estate experience and will help Jefferson East, Inc. with difficult tasks such as financial analysis, development analysis, code analyses, and feasibility studies. He is a member of the American Planning Association (APA), National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA), American Institute of Architects (AIA), National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), and University of Michigan Alumni Association and is a Gates Millennium Scholar.

“We were really fortunate to find Derric,” says JEI’s Executive Director Joshua Elling. “He’s got precisely the combination of skills we need. His strong background in design coupled with his commercial real estate experience makes him the person who can help us bring our vacant buildings and underutilized open spaces back to a useful life that supports neighborhood retail and housing.”

In his recent work with Ford Land Development Company, Mr. Scott supported major transformative mixed-use commercial development projects, working closely with the local municipal government and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) to secure financing. Mr. Scott received his undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan and his Masters of Urban Planning from the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He is currently the volunteer Executive Director of Fiscal Affairs for the International Youth Department (IYD) within the Church of God in Christ, Inc.

“It’s an exciting time to be here on Detroit’s east side. This area is genuinely making a comeback,” says Scott of his new role. “I hope to actively engage with corporate and institutional entities while also supporting collaboration among community residents, area stakeholders and city officials. There is much to be done and yet so much already taking place.”