Main Street Pontiac Welcomes New Director Sean Kammer
(Main Street Pontiac, May 13, 2022)
Pontiac, MI – Main Street Pontiac has hired Sean Kammer as its new Executive Director. Kammer was hired by a unanimous vote of the board and will serve as Main Street Pontiac’s (MSP) first full-time employee. A full-time Executive Director is expected to significantly enhance MSP’s capacity to implement programs and services in downtown Pontiac, which has depended primarily on volunteer efforts since the organization’s inception in 2017.
“It is humbling that so many people showed interest in wanting to take Main Street Pontiac to the next level. Congratulations to Sean! He is the right person for the job, and it is such as great, comforting feeling. He has our complete support,” said Vernita Duvall, President of Main Street Pontiac. The Executive Director is expected to begin on Monday, May 16.
“We are excited to begin this new chapter with Sean Kammer as our Executive Director,” said Daniela Walters. Walters has served as MSP’s founding president and currently serves as Treasurer. “We have accomplished so much as a volunteer-based organization. A professional executive director will help us achieve so much more.”
Main Street Pontiac is an organization dedicated to economic development and historic preservation in the downtown. It formed in 2017 with significant support from the city and Oakland County governments. It is a 501 c3 nonprofit organization, which is a common model for Main Street programs across the country.
“Kammer, as Executive Director, will enhance our capacity to achieve great things for downtown and the residents that downtown serves,” said Steven Childs, Vice President of Main Street Pontiac. “We conducted an exhaustive search for someone who had the right mix of experience, education, and familiarity with the city. Kammer was uniquely qualified.”
Kammer has experience managing downtown commercial districts in his previous roles in other communities. He has served as Downtown Manager of the Royal Oak Downtown Development Authority, where he earned a national Main Street Forward award, and Executive Director of the Lathrup Village Downtown Development Authority, Kammer also has significant experience working in under resourced communities. In 2015 and 2016, he served as Assistant to the City Administrator in the City of Flint, where he focused on economic development, and relief and recovery efforts after the onset of the water crisis.
“I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to serve Pontiac. It feels like coming home,” said Kammer, who was a resident of the City of Pontiac for nearly a decade. Kammer was an active volunteer in the city and had served as a Democratic precinct delegate for Pontiac’s 6th Precinct. “I have spent so many years with my mind on Pontiac and how to build an inclusive local economy that puts the existing residents first,” said Kammer. He added that engaging the neighborhoods with downtown is one of his top priorities. “I’m preoccupied with the idea that you can have economic development in downtown that improves people’s lives,” said Kammer. “I’m committed to building an inclusive downtown economy by building strong relationships with the adjacent neighborhoods.” Kammer joins the Pontiac nonprofit after departing from the role of Executive Director of the Birmingham Principal Shopping District.
Main Street Pontiac has provided the downtown with transformative programs and services, including a façade and sign grant program for downtown buildings that reimburses applicants up to $10,000 in costs to improve their facades and commercial signs. MSP managed the Flagstar Big Idea Grant Program, which provided grants ranging from $10,000 to $100,000 in capital to downtown businesses seeking to start up or expand.
During the pandemic, Main Street Pontiac ran the Small Business Relief Grant and the Restaurant Brigade programs providing much-needed relief to downtown businesses. It played a fundamental role in establishing Pontiac’s social district known as the Circuit, which permits outdoor alcohol consumption. In 2018, MSP helped draft the bistro liquor license ordinance for the city. Main Street Pontiac also manages Canvas Pontiac, a well-known regional art contest.
Main Street Pontiac is one of several programs across the nation that is part of the Urban Main program, a new program of the National Main Street Center, offering a new set of community-driven economic development services to help under-resourced older and historic neighborhood commercial districts restore economic vitality and promote quality of life. Main Street Pontiac is an accredited program by Main Street Oakland County.
Main Street Pontiac is a non-profit organization recognized as a 501(c)(3) and charged with managing the City’s Main Street program in downtown Pontiac and implementing the Main Street Four-Point Approach (Design, Organization, Promotion and Economic Vitality), in partnership with the City of Pontiac and Main Street Oakland County, as well as downtown businesses, property owners, Pontiac residents and volunteers, and other community partners. The Main Street Approach provides a framework for action and collaboration. Visit mainstreetpontiac.org for more information.