Long-time downtown volunteer to lead Greater Farmington Area Chamber

Mary Martin
Mary Martin will begin her new role as Greater Farmington Area Chamber executive director on December 5.

Something about Farmington and Farmington Hills keeps drawing Mary Martin back to the community.

On December 5, the former Downtown Development Authority (DDA) interim director and long-time volunteer will move from a corporate job at IBM to lead the Greater Farmington Area Chamber. She succeeds Laura L. Bolyard, who resigned after less than a month on the job.

Martin, who has worked 18 years for IBM, said she had been looking for a local job and applied for the Chamber post after Dan Irvin left in July. The Chamber’s Board of Directors chose Bolyard, and when she left, Martin re-connected with the board’s selection committee.

“I just wanted to get back into the community,” she said. “Every time I come home, there’s always something here that pulls me.”

Asked what that “something” might be, Martin said, simply, “the people.”

“Everybody’s really willing to pitch in and help… The (Chamber) board members are so engaged, which I was really happy to see. It’s exciting to work with people of that caliber.”

A Michigan State alum, Martin lived in Farmington for seven years, moved to Wixom for five years, and recently returned to the community. She was so instrumental in reviving the Farmington Farmers and Artisans Market and developing the Walter E. Sundquist Farmington Pavilion in downtown Farmington, that the DDA in 2005 instituted the Mary Martin Service Award, which is given annually to a volunteer who “exhibits exemplary service to Downtown Farmington”, according to the DDA website.

Martin said she hopes to connect with Chamber members and sponsors over the next two weeks, and expects to hit the ground running. She said she looks forward to meeting with economic development staff for the cities of Farmington and Farmington Hills, to learn more about how they recruit businesses – and what she can do to help.

“I’m not going to come in and upset the apple cart,” Martin said. “I want to come in and provide leadership where it makes sense.”