The Port growth and engagement strategy for neighborhoods continues with new hire and redefined roles within team

William Fischer, EDFP, added as new VP to focus on housing and urban infill; VP Mike Smith’s expanded role includes broader focus on commercial development and fostering opportunities within African American ownership of real estate and wealth generation

CINCINNATI – The Port today announced it has made a strategic hire and redefined roles within its Neighborhood Revitalization team, which directs all Port-led holistic redevelopment strategies within Hamilton County neighborhoods and is also responsible for directing the work of the Hamilton County Land Reutilization Corporation (Landbank) and Homesteading & Urban Redevelopment Corporation (HURC).

William “Bill” Fischer was named Vice President, Community Development.  Mr. Fischer focuses on housing and infill development, supporting The Port’s goal to foster a wide range of urban residential options. Mr. Fischer continues advancement of The Port’s successful Rehab Across Cincinnati and Hamilton County (REACH) program currently under way in Price Hill, Avondale, Walnut Hills and Evanston. He also works to strengthen community engagement and housing affordability strategies, and broaden partnerships that will serve the needs of neighborhoods undergoing change. He is an 18-year veteran of the City of Cincinnati’s economic and community development department, and most recently served as interim director of Madisonville’s community urban redevelopment corporation.

Mike Smith has transitioned to Vice President of Commercial Development, stepping up his focus on catalytic commercial redevelopment within neighborhoods and expanding The Port’s initiative to drive real estate ownership and entrepreneurial opportunities for African Americans, including through The Port’s DREAM Loan Fund that helps finance real estate improvements to first-floor neighborhood business district retail for small and minority-owned businesses.

Mr. Fischer and Mr. Smith work closely with Jessica Powell, Vice President of the Hamilton County Landbank and Deborah Robb, Director of HURC, as they execute cross-functional strategies supporting holistic neighborhood development.

“The Port is fortunate to add Bill Fischer and gain his deep expertise in economic and community development. We were able to bring Bill on because of an open position on the Neighborhood Revitalization team, which also allowed us the opportunity to redefine roles in a way that leverages Mike’s strengths in commercial development and minority entrepreneurship, and supports Jessica’s focus on strategic acquisition of vacant properties in a way that aligns with community development goals.”

Laura N. Brunner, President and CEO of The Port

Bill started his new position on June 3. He has held leadership roles in community development with the University of Cincinnati and at the City of Cincinnati, where he honed his real estate and financial incentive negotiation, grassroots organizing and urban planning skills. He is a certified economic development finance professional by the National Development Corporation and active member of the International Economic Development Council, Ohio Economic Development Association and Urban Land Institute (ULI). He earned a master of public administration from Northern Kentucky University and a Bachelor of Science in biological sciences at the University of Cincinnati.

About The Port

The Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority (The Port) is a quasi-public agency that is the principal real estate development finance agency serving Hamilton County and the City of Cincinnati. The Port both initiates redevelopment and manages projects on behalf of local governments and private institutions to improve property value and promote job creation. Our goal is to be inclusive of race, income, and age in housing and business development. Visit for more information.


June 12, 2019


Gail Paul, VP Communication Strategy

The Port – Cincinnati, Ohio