News Flash

Planning & Economic Development

Posted on: July 12, 2019

Renewal Enterprise District Appoints Inaugural Executive Director

Renewal Enterprise District (RED) - City of Santa Rosa and County of Sonoma

Michelle Whitman to Set Course for Future of Recently Formed Housing-Focused JPA

The Renewal Enterprise District (RED), a recently-formed, housing-focused Joint Powers Agreement between the County of Sonoma and the City of Santa Rosa, has selected Michelle Whitman as its first Executive Director

The RED is tasked with developing affordable, climate-resilient infill housing in Sonoma County – a topic Whitman knows well given her background as a District Director for Sonoma County’s Third Supervisorial District.

“The RED is fortunate to have a seasoned, energetic, dedicated, and knowledgeable professional to work on our housing issues,” said RED Chair David Rabbitt. “We look forward to Michelle’s leadership to help the City and County accelerate smart-growth housing efforts.”

Whitman, a graduate of University of California, Berkeley with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Conservation and Resource Studies, also holds a Master of Public Administration graduate degree from Villanova University. She brings to the RED a track record of accomplishment in both the private and public sectors.

RED Vice-Chair Jack Tibbetts is looking forward to Whitman’s leadership. “The RED will enjoy the benefit of Michelle’s experience at high levels of local government and her strong foundational knowledge that includes land use, affordable housing, and project management,” Tibbetts said.

Whitman, a Santa Rosa native, has spent the past eight years serving as District Director to Supervisor Shirlee Zane in Sonoma County’s Third Supervisorial District. She gained her experience in local housing issues working alongside Zane, who lauded her appointment as a win for the RED.

“I could not be prouder of Michelle and her well-earned appointment as RED’s Executive Director,” said Zane. “While I hate to lose her in my Third District office, I am confident she is the right person for this new position.”

Whitman’s previous experience includes working as Environmental Scientist and Manager of Business Development for the San Rafael-based Best Environmental Subsurface Sampling Technologies, as well as an internship at the U.S. Department of the Interior, Office of Environmental Policy and Compliance.

“By establishing the RED, both the City of Santa Rosa and County of Sonoma have taken a meaningful step toward action to address our housing crisis,” said Whitman. “As Executive Director, my goal is to demonstrate that housing development, utilizing principles of collaboration and excellent public management, will benefit our whole community for generations to come.”

The RED will work to support the production of critically-needed transit-oriented, above-code, affordable and workforce housing units into our community, and to honor the community’s commitment to equity, environmental protection, and stewardship. Whitman will look forward to tackling these issues in her new post.

For more information about the RED, visit

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