John C. Hertel is the General Manager of the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART). During his tenure at SMART, he has successfully passed three millages that resulted in legislation to create the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) for southeast Michigan. Prior to joining SMART in 2010, he was the CEO of the Regional Transit Coordinating Council from 2006 to 2010. As CEO, Mr. Hertel developed the Regional Mass Transit Plan and was instrumental in securing unanimous approval from the leaders of Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne counties as well as from the Mayor of the City of Detroit. His efforts put an end to forty years of fruitless attempts to achieve an official transit blueprint for Southeast Michigan.
In addition to his responsibilities at SMART, John was reappointed to the Huron-Clinton Metropark Authority (HCMA) board of commissioners by Governor Snyder in 2013. John has served five terms as an HCMA Commissioner. In 1983, he was appointed to represent Wayne County. In 1995, Governor Engler appointed him to a four year term. In 1999, he was appointed to a six year term representing Macomb County. In 2005 and again in 2009, he was appointed to represent Governor Granholm. His recent appointment qualifies him as only the third person, since 1940, to represent three different Governors on the seven member, five county board.
During his tenure as General Manager of the Michigan State Fair, from 1993 to 2006, Mr. Hertel achieved one of his most notable career achievements: returning the Michigan State Fair to its stature as the State’s premier event of the summer. Concurrently, Mr. Hertel was Chairman of the Macomb County Board of Commissioners. He was elected to fill the position for five terms before choosing not to run for re-election. Under his leadership, Macomb County received its first AAA Bond Rating and headed the state of Michigan’s first citizen discount drug program.
From 1983 to 1995, Commissioner Hertel was a Professor of Government, Environment and Technology at Lawrence Technological University. He also worked as the Public Affairs Producer and Editorial Director at Channel 7 – WXYZ TV from 1987 to 1988. In 1985 and 1986, Mr. Hertel was Chairman of the Wayne County Board of Commissioners which, given his later service as Macomb County’s Chairman, designates John Hertel as the only person in Michigan’s history to be Chairman of the Board for two different counties.
From 1974 to 1982, John Hertel was elected to the Michigan State Senate three times. During this time, he was author of several public acts aimed at protecting and enhancing Michigan’s environment as well as legislation to aid law enforcement officials in fighting crime. He chaired the Senate Committee on Agriculture for seven years, chaired the Senate Environmental Affairs Committee for four years, and was Vice Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Throughout his career, John Hertel has been the recipient of numerous environmental awards, including Conservationist of the Year from the Michigan United Conservation Clubs and Legislative Conservationist of the Year from the Michigan Audubon Society. In 2001, the Michigan Association for Local Public Health honored him for his “significant contributions to the improvement of water quality”. That same year, he was awarded the prestigious Johanna Roskopp Award, from the Clinton River Watershed Council, for his leadership in the effort to clean up Lake St. Clair. In 2002, the Macomb Conservation District presented Mr. Hertel with the Conservation Teamwork Award for his ongoing efforts to safeguard Macomb County’s natural resources. In the spring of 2003, John Hertel was the first recipient of the Heart of the Great Lakes Award. It was presented to him by the Macomb County Citizens Water Quality Board for his creation of the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Lake St. Clair and the Macomb Surface Water Improvement (SWIM) team. In 2007, the Macomb County Citizens Water Quality Board named their annual Environmental Protection Award after him.
Mr. Hertel raises Percheron horses on his farm in Lenox Township. He has won three national championships and has exported horses to France, Mexico and Canada. Offspring of his breeding program now reside in nine countries in both hemispheres.