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Mayor Mike Schmitz's Bio
Mayor Schmitz web photo.jpgMike Schmitz was first elected as Mayor of the City of Dothan in August of 2009, by an historic margin of 86% of voters in virtually every demographic. Having no opposition, he was re-elected in August of 2013 and began serving his second term on September 30, 2013.

In the automotive industry since 1978, his Mike Schmitz Automotive Group owns the Hyundai, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, and Tri-State Off-Road franchises in Dothan. In 2008, he was the recipient of TIME Magazine’s Dealer of the Year Award, one of the automotive industry’s most prestigious awards, which honored the top 50 dealerships among 22,000 in the country. In 2013, Mercedes-Benz USA awarded Mercedes-Benz of Dothan the Best of the Best Dealer Recognition Award. In May, 2016, Mike Schmitz received Mercedes-Benz’ 30-year Dealer Award.


During his tenure as Mayor, Mike Schmitz has been instrumental in many collaborative Economic Development and Quality of Life accomplishments, including:

Commercial Jet expanded its operations from Miami to Dothan’s Regional Airport, in April, 2013, after approximately 18 months of negotiations among Commercial Jet executives, Mayor Schmitz, airport officials, and public-private partnerships. To date, 350 new jobs have been created and at least 150 more are expected by 2017.

Commercial Jet Academy was established in October, 2014, to provide specialized training required for Commercial Jet’s rapidly expanding needs for additional workforce. To date, 115 have graduated from eight stringent eight-week training courses and are now on the job at Dothan’s Commercial Jet facilities.

Glasstream Powerboats, a manufacturer of high-performance fishing and pleasure boats, relocated from Panama City Beach to Dothan in March, 2014. To date, 40 employees are working here with an additional 40 expected to be hired within in the next several months.

Wayne Farms, the nation’s sixth-largest vertically integrated poultry producer of quality products supporting many well-known brands, recently made an $88,000,000 investment at its new Dothan operation, creating over 800 jobs.

Next Level Apparel, a California-based company specializing in modern-fashion blank
T-shirts, established a new distribution center in Ashford, Alabama, in July, 2016, to function as its only distribution center throughout the Eastern U.S. Mayor Schmitz worked with the Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce and Ashford Mayor Jonathan Greco in this effort that will lead, at full employment, to approximately 100 workers being hired.

CAE USA, as a result of a team effort by city, state, and federal officials and partners, a Tampa-based company specializing in training for U.S. Army and Air Force aviators and crews, will open a state-of-the-art 79,000-square foot Dothan Training Center in the spring of 2017. Located at the Dothan Regional Airport, CAE will offer military aviators integrated classroom instruction, simulator training, and live-flight training, bringing new technology, innovation, and 100 high-paying jobs to the area.

The U.S. - China Manufacturing Symposium (a first for both countries), held at the Civic Center in March, 2014, brought 300 international, national, and regional visitors to Dothan. The Symposium garnered national and international attention from TV, newspaper, and social media, putting Dothan and the Wiregrass on the map as an excellent location for economic development.

As one of only six U.S. mayors, among 45 CEOs and leaders from around the world, to be invited to New York City to attend the February 2015 U.S. - China Bilateral Investment Dialogue, Mayor Schmitz networked with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson, as well as CEOs of General Motors, PepsiCo, and Caterpillar, Goldman Sachs officials, among others. “Just to be invited,” he said, “means that we are being recognized on a pretty big level.”

The first annual Economic Summit on Jobs was held in September 2010, the first of its kind in the state. The entire community was invited to share combined knowledge, experience, and ideas toward moving the local economy forward in the midst of the Great Recession. Following Mayor Schmitz’s initial recommendation, the City of Dothan, Houston County, and the Chamber of Commerce partnered in hosting this free event at the Civic Center, which has continued in varying formats each subsequent year.

To further economic development efforts, Mayor Schmitz has traveled to China, South Korea, Germany, England, Washington, D.C., New York City, Knoxville, Kentucky, and various locations in Florida and Alabama. These trips—most at his own expense—have been undertaken with his ongoing and passionate commitment toward cultivating business relationships which continue bringing new jobs to Dothan and the Wiregrass. By “knocking on doors” and “planting seeds,” Mayor Schmitz says that Dothan has “earned a seat at the table,” by creating awareness of an ideal business climate and the many opportunities available here.

As a result of sound financial management, Standard and Poor gave Dothan one of its highest ratings for bonds (AA) for a city its size, indicating that the City of Dothan is financially solid.

Mayor Schmitz was deeply involved in the initial development and accreditation meetings leading to the approval and ultimate grand opening of ACOM (Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine), as well as providing initiative and leadership toward public-private fundraising for the building of two new Dothan-Houston County libraries—located Downtown and at Westgate—which were long overdue. This project was a collaborative effort among city, county, local businesses, private citizens, and the Wiregrass Foundation.

Forever Wild, 400-acres in west Dothan, featuring 10 miles of hiking and biking trails, another extraordinary community collaborative effort, celebrated its Grand Opening on October 1, 2016, with hundreds of outdoor enthusiasts, as well as city staff, community advocates, and Forever Wild Board members present. A permanent commemorative installation was unveiled dedicating Forever Wild’s “Bridges and Boardwalks to Mayor Mike Schmitz.”

The Andrew Belle Pool, in East Dothan, opened before Summer, 2016. The Westgate Wellness Pool, providing therapeutic aquatics for senior citizens and others, is scheduled to open in Spring, 2017. Also expected to open in 2017 is James Oates Park in south Dothan, featuring girls and boys softball fields which will serve local as well as out-of-town tournament players from across the region and state.

In September, 2016, two busloads of diverse community, civic, and business leaders traveled to Selma, Alabama, to walk together across the historic Edmund Pettus Bridge, site of the 1965 Bloody Sunday civil rights march. Mayor Schmitz was proud to present a Key to the City to Selma’s Mayor James Perkins. Many of the Dothan travelers have said that conversations among new friends they met on the bus were a highlight of the journey, creating a level of empathy, compassion, and understanding that changed their perspectives in ways they intend to foster, as dialogues begun on this trip continue.


Serving Dothan
Adopted at age five, Mike Schmitz has a passion for child advocacy, as evidenced by many of his personal endeavors such as leading a city-wide campaign against illiteracy, assisting in building parks in a disadvantaged section of town, and providing funding for the Hawk-Houston Boys and Girls Club.

A 20-year competitor in the Ironman Triathlon, Mike Schmitz combined his love for fitness and public service in 2006, when he bicycled cross-country over 3,000 miles from the Pacific to Atlantic to raise $100,000 for the Wiregrass Children’s Home. He was joined by three other former Chamber of Commerce Chairmen in this month-long endeavor.

As part of his priority to promote health and wellness for kids and families, as well as the value of getting outdoors, in 2010, he started the annual Mayor’s Ride for Fitness for bicyclists of all ages, as well as the annual Cross-Country Championship for 300 city elementary school runners.


Service Awards
Mike Schmitz has been the recipient of many service awards including the Freedom Friend Award from the NAACP, the Alabama Education Foundation Association’s Public Service Award, the Dothan Fire Department’s Community Partnership Award, the United Christian Fellowship Good Samaritan Award, the Paul Harris Fellow Award presented by the Dothan-Houston County Rotary Club, and is a graduate of Leadership Alabama. In 2015, Mike Schmitz was inducted into the Dothan Business Hall of Fame.


Personal Information

Mayor Schmitz and wife, Sandy, are the proud parents of a son, Michael Schmitz, Jr. They have recently welcomed an addition to their family, Michael’s wife, Ariail (Gilbert) Schmitz. On December 31, 2012, the Mayor and his son completed an arduous eight-day climb of 19,342 feet in rain, snow, and sub-freezing temperatures to reach the summit in Tanzania, Africa, of Mount Kilimanjaro—the tallest free-standing mountain in the world—followed by a two-day descent. “I think you need to challenge yourself from time to time,” the Mayor later said. “I have always believed in trying to see what I could do.” He added, “It was absolutely worth it. It was one of the greatest father-son adventures I could ever imagine.”

For 35 days spanning April–May, 2016, the Mayor and his son set out on a 500-mile pilgrimage known for centuries as the Camino de Santiago. Their walk started at the Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, on the French side of the Pyrenees Mountains, and ended at the beautiful Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain. Schmitz said the sights were incredible, but bonding even deeper with his son was his greatest experience of this journey.


Summary
In business, in community involvement, and as Mayor of Dothan, Mike Schmitz is an ardent advocate of shared involvement, believing that “By working together, we can do better.” Building more partnerships with international and domestic businesses to bring potentially high-paying jobs to Dothan—and the entire Wiregrass region—will continue even beyond his unopposed second term in office to be his passion and purpose.






Mike Schmitz
Mayor of Dothan
Ph: (334) 615-3110
Email

Sarah Woodham
Executive Assistant
Ph: (334) 615-3111
Fx: (334) 615-3129
Email

126 N. Saint Andrews St.
Suite 201
Dothan, AL 36303

P.O. Box 2128
Dothan, AL 36302
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