The Southwest Detroit Business Association (SDBA) is pleased to announced that longtime area resident and community leader Robert L. Dewaelsche has been appointed as president of the nonprofit organization. The announcement was made today by SDBA Board Chair Michael Odom.

Dewaelsche replaces former SDBA President Kathy Wendler, who served at the helm for more than 35 years and recently announced her retirement. “Rob brings to the SDBA more than 35 years of experience, including senior level roles with local nonprofit and for-profit organizations where he worked to support, strengthen and build strong communities,” said Odom. “As a longtime Southwest Detroit resident, Rob understands our community’s rich, diverse cultural history as well as its significant potential for economic and community growth. We are confident that Rob will diligently work to improve the quality of life for area business owners and residents alike.” Prior to joining the SDBA, Dewaelsche served as president of Sustainability Knocks, LLC, a consulting and communications firm he established to empower community-based organizations to optimize resources to sustain and grow their organizational capacity, achieve their mission priorities and better serve the community at large.

He also is the former Deputy Director at Detroit LISC, the former executive director of Habitat for Humanity Detroit, served as assistant vice president for Comerica Bank in Detroit, among other positions at various organizations. “Southwest Detroit is one of city’s most ethnically diverse, vibrant communities with walkable neighborhoods and strong commercial districts,” said Dewaelsche. “It has attracted a healthy mix of business development and residents to the area, while also serving as an ideal destination for visitors given the community’s large number of restaurants, mercados, bakeries and merchants. And with the major infrastructure development projects like the Gordie Howe International Bridge on the near horizon, the community outlook is very promising.”

Dewaelsche lives in Detroit’s historic Palmer Woods neighborhood with his wife, Eva Garza Dewaelsche. He earned his Bachelor of Arts, Political Science and Philosophy (pre-law studies) from University of Michigan Ann Arbor. The Southwest Detroit Business Association (SDBA) fosters innovation, drive and commitment in the Southwest Detroit community. Established in 1957, it supports the community’s vision for a healthy, vibrant neighborhood. SDBA works with local businesses, investors, entrepreneurs, customers and neighbors to develop a place where more and more people are choosing to live, work, shop and play – a place where you find Business Building Business and Community Building Business. For more information, visit http://www.southwestdetroit.com.

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