Julie Hales-Smith returned to school at Michigan State University in 1983 to continue studies and completed her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, both in Family and Consumer Services, with an emphasis in Program Evaluation and Labor Industrial Relations. Simultaneously, on an occasional basis, she worked as a professional clown and wedding soloist.

In 1985 Julie was employed with the MSU Cooperative Extension Service as a Program Evaluation Specialist in the Department of Agriculture Marketing where she handled evaluation and reporting of federal grants. Next Julie moved to the Michigan Department of Mental Health where she worked with the Prevention Services program doing grants management, editing replication manuals, and participating in the evaluation of several projects including the Absenteeism Prevention program and Children of Incarcerated Adults.

In 1991 Julie was employed by the Michigan State Housing Development Authority and soon became the Homeless Coordinator for the Authority. This involved administering millions of federal and MSHDA dollars in programs to serve across the homeless continuum. She moved from that position to the Community Planning Specialist and started to work closely with communities across the state to develop plans for revitalization of their neighborhoods and downtowns. Following that, she worked with the MSHDA Executive Director and Governor Granholm’s office on several special initiatives including the Cool Cities initiative and the Cities of Promise program. Cities of Promise was an urban revitalization program aimed at improving quality of life and increasing community economic development in the eight poorest cities on the state.

Julie retired from MSHDA in December of 2010 and is now consulting. She has three children and six grandchildren – all good lookin’ and above average. She enjoys running and eating.