Associate Spotlight: Denise Blake – Project Management Director
Congratulations to Denise Blake on your recent promotion to Project Management Director. Denise joined Miller-Valentine Group in 1997, working in as an Administrative Associate in commercial construction. In 2000, Denise became a member of the affordable housing team and has served in a number of roles within multifamily development. Her can-do attitude and willingness to learn were recognized by all those who worked with her, and in 2003 she was promoted to the position of Developer with the Affordable Housing team.
In her 11 years as a developer, she originated and was involved in the financing of approximately 20 housing communities, many in Ohio, as well communities in first-time states of Michigan, and Pennsylvania, including:
|Allegheny Pointe||Allegheny Township, Westmoreland County, PA||52|
|Daystar Estates||Detroit, MI||50|
|Delaware Place||Delaware, OH||54|
|Jefferson Homes||Jefferson Township, Montgomery County, OH||40|
|Pine Ridge Apartments||Logan, OH||72|
|Residences at Eagles Point||Eaton, OH||40|
|Twin Towers II||Dayton, OH||90|
|Walkers Ridge||Hempfield Township, Westmoreland County, PA||84|
|Walnut Ridge||Cortland, OH||78|
Most recently, Denise has been part of a team who developed a record of eight communities in a single year. Through this process, Denise’s strength and leadership shone through brightly.
As Project Management Director, Denise will be responsible for directing the Development Project Management team for affordable housing in the Midwest, Southeast and Southwest regions. This team is responsible for overseeing the design, entitlement, and permitting process for all affordable multifamily projects with an emphasis on supporting the acquisition, development and construction groups. The Development Project Management team will expedite the design process and receipt of all necessary permits and entitlements required to initiate timely construction starts on all planned and approved new affordable housing developments.
Q&A with Denise Blake – 20 Year Associate with Miller-Valentine Group
What did you learn from your first position at Miller-Valentine Group?
I learned that no matter what role you play on a team, your contribution matters. Every single person brings something to the table, whether it is attention to detail while preparing a Request for Proposal response, processing of invoices, estimating construction costs, managing projects, etc. It takes a TEAM to move mountains.
What drives your passion to come to work every day?
Knowing that I have the opportunity to help others and ultimately am involved in developments that change people’s lives. When I graduated from college I said someday I want to work for a nonprofit agency due to their focus and ability to help people. What I have found since joining the affordable housing development team is that I am able to fulfill that personal desire while working for a successful company that covers numerous states throughout the country.
Did you see yourself in this position twenty years ago?
Twenty years ago, I wasn’t sure where I would end up within Miller-Valentine Group. I took the administrative position in commercial construction to get a foot in the door at a diverse and successful company. The first three years, I was searching for my niche. I then met the affordable development team and became intrigued by the industry and the opportunity for growth. The team was led by Dave Liette, and he was willing to commit to assisting in the opening of doors for me to grow into becoming a Developer.
Final thoughts/advice to new Associates?
I would encourage new Associates to remember that we must crawl before we walk, and walk before we run. Put in the effort and it will be noticed. Those looking for their niche or advancement opportunities should speak to their managers about their goals and desires. Be prepared to work hard, as I was performing the work of 2 roles for a period of time. I often joke with my family about how I never imagined I would grow up and be blessed to have a job where I am working with attorneys, municipalities, and nonprofits all at the same time. I have learned so much from so many people and I am grateful and humbled to have been able to call Miller-Valentine Group “home”.
According to Brian McGeady, President of Multifamily Housing, “Denise is an invaluable member of our team because she has an amazing ability to bring a group of people together in very challenging situations and come up with a result where everyone is pleased. Her willingness to go the extra mile to provide exceptional customer service is unparalleled. Even the toughest developments in her career have been followed with incredible compliments from the people with whom she worked.”
For more information about careers at Miller-Valentine Group, visit: www.mvg.com/careers