On Wednesday, February 5th, a group of staff, Board members, community partners and volunteers gathered together to celebrate Marchelle Mertens. After ten years with Imagine Housing, Marchelle has retired to spend more time with her family, travel and pursue the next great adventure.
During her tenure with Imagine Housing, Marchelle became an invaluable resource, comrade, contributor and confidant. Starting with our organization in 2003 in an administrative role, Marchelle quickly demonstrated her strong skills and capacity and moved into our housing development department. Marchelle amassed considerable knowledge and expertise in affordable housing financing, energy-efficiency/green requirements, and relocation protocols. She quickly became the go-to resource for the public funders and lenders for our housing development projects, always receiving calls and requests with kindness, humor and care. Marchelle was a diligent worker, eager to be of help to her colleagues, willing to put in extra hours to get critical work done, happy to research new areas and learn new things, and committed to move projects forward no matter what obstacles were put before us.
Marchelle embodied many of the best qualities of our organization. She was deeply committed to the mission of Imagine Housing and to service to others. She had pride in her work and conscientiously tackled every task put before her, no matter how foreign or difficult. She saw the value in partnerships and authentically built relationships with others, including fellow staff, Board members, volunteers, architects, general contractors, public funders, private lenders and community members. And she was committed to being a lifelong learner. She held herself to high standards and consistently strove to improve. Marchelle’s commitment and diligence are evident in the results she helped us achieve. The growth of our organization and our success in developing many new properties during her tenure are a testament to Marchelle’s talents and contributions.
Marchelle leaves a great legacy behind, having helped to build 295 affordable homes throughout the Eastside. I wish her well as she moves into the next phase of her life. I look forward to celebrating the grand opening of Velocity with her and toasting her at future Auctions.
-Ann Levine, Executive Director
A word from Hester Winn, our Office Manager & Human Resources Administrator:
Marchelle started as database administrator in 2003, but soon moved into housing development. She helped to bring the following six vital affordable housing communities to fruition: Chalet Apartments, Mine Hill Apartments, Rose Crest at Talus, Johnson Hill Apartments, Andrew’s Glen Apartments and Francis Village Apartments. Marchelle also has been instrumental in getting our newest project, Velocity, at the South Kirkland Park and Ride, underway. Velocity, which will provide 58 apartment homes for individuals and families, is scheduled to open later this year.
On a personal level, Marchelle has answered my many questions about organizational history and has helped me navigate the numerous and incredibly complex files of our housing development projects. She also has given me many computer hints!
Marchelle has been a wonderful coworker these past five years. Now that she has retired from Imagine Housing after ten years of dedicated services, I will really miss her.
A word from Marchelle Mertens, Former Housing Development Associate:
I have had the good fortune of being involved with the creation and/or preservation of Chalet Apartments, East Village, Mine Hill, Johnson Hill, Andrew’s Glen, Francis Village and Velocity. There are some projects that never came to fruition and some that are still evolving like Totem Lake Phase II-Senior and Timber Falls. Each of these are the “children” of my work life and encompass the hopes, dreams, sweat and tears of not only me but of the Imagine Housing/St. Andrew’s Housing Group teams, boards and past employees. I know that I take pride in the fact that our properties provide a safe and stable home for so many individuals and families. They are treasures to me and our communities.
I know that Imagine Housing is unique in its company culture. It is an organization that has tripled in size since I started here but never lost that unique team/friendship culture of a six member organization. I am most certainly looking forward to the greater flexibility, travels and new adventures awaiting me, but the people, friends, with whom I work every day will be sorely missed. I know that I am lucky to have spent so many years with Imagine Housing and in this work climate.
It has been a pleasure to be a part of the Imagine Housing, to watch it grow and know that it and its mission will continue. I look forward to seeing what you all accomplish next!
Best wishes to Marchelle as she steps into her next chapter!