Achievements highlight fifth anniversary of City Manager
Dan Swallow didn’t have his sights set on becoming a city manager when he was in college studying environmental issues, but his path led him to municipal leadership and ultimately to Tecumseh, where residents have benefited from his innovation and drive since December 2015. With his five-year anniversary on the job coming up December 7, the city’s manager is grateful to have reached this milestone.
Originally from Alpena, Mich., Swallow’s first job was as an environmental consultant, working in Iowa and Alabama doing assessments for everything from endangered species to wetlands after earning an undergraduate degree in biology. After leaving the environmental field, he first got into local government work with the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments, starting out as a planner working with local councilmembers and managers in northwest Ohio. “I felt like that’s where you could probably make the most difference in people’s daily lives, and so that intrigued me. I gained a real interest while working in that area,” he said.
Before coming to Tecumseh, Swallow was the planning and economic development director in the City of Monroe. He moved to Tecumseh shortly after he took the position here, bringing his wife Michelle, daughter Lauren, who is currently in college in North Carolina, and son Joshua, now a junior at Tecumseh High School.
During his time in Tecumseh he has completed three master plan amendments, helped secure nearly $4,000,000 in grants for various projects, completed a Brownfield plan for the former Tecumseh Products site, partnered with Tecumseh Public Schools to institute a school resource officer, has grown the city’s fund balance and reduced overall city debt, addressed the shortfall in the city pension fund, and led the creation of the Kiwanis Regional Trail Authority to extend the Kiwanis Trail into Tecumseh.
He also achieved approval of the M-50 road diet through downtown from the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) set for 2022 and oversaw various street, water and wastewater improvements, including renewal of the local road millage, securing grant funding from MDOT and over $3,000,000 in low interest State Revolving Fund loans. In addition, he strengthened the Adrian-Tecumseh SmartZone/Local Development Finance Authority and helped kick off Tecumseh’s Downtown Development Authority Strategic Plan, and more. Currently he is the President of the Kiwanis Club of Tecumseh.
“We’re exploring different ways to not only improve our downtown but also ways to make some other improvements in the amenities that we can provide to our residents. In terms of downtown, one of the biggest accomplishments of my tenure I think is the development of the Market on Evans. I think that’s really added a draw to that area,” said Swallow. “One of the things I was able to do was actually secure the U.S.D.A. grant for $250,000, so that’s been able to provide for staffing and for adding furnishings, as well as programming there.”
He listed other city amenities such as the Tecumseh Center for the Arts and the Parks and Recreation Department, and praised Kelly Jo Gilmore and Sarah Gilmore for leading those areas while working with him to come up with creative ways to offer more features and activities for all.
Regarding the former Tecumseh Products site, Swallow is proud of the progress made in securing a million-dollar grant as well as a million-dollar loan through the State of Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, seeing major cleanup on the property, and working with the owners of the northern part of the site on developing that portion into residential and commercial ventures.
Those who work with Swallow appreciate his work ethic. “I have had the privilege of working with Dan since he was hired,” said Mayor Jack Baker. “Dan has accomplished so much during his five years as city manager. His commitment and dedication to the residents and employees of the City of Tecumseh are to be commended.”
“Dan is a great leader and we are lucky to have him at the helm, guiding the City of Tecumseh,” said Jessica Sattler, Tecumseh’s economic development director. “He has a strong mind for operations, making him very fiscally responsible while also being a strategic thinker who sees the bigger picture, and is willing to take risks and invest for the overall growth of our city. This is a really rare combination of skills that make him a great city manager.”
“I think the greatest thing about Tecumseh is the collaborative nature of our businesses as well as our government structure,” Swallow said. “For example, in the Central Business Association all the business owners really try to help each other out, which I think is fairly unique. That’s also true in the local government level – we all try to help each other out.” He speaks frequently with leaders for Clinton, Morenci, Raisin Township, Adrian, and Lenawee County. “I think the willingness to work together and kind of break down those municipal boundaries is really amazing for Lenawee County, and that’s what I really love about working in Tecumseh,” he said.