Executive Vice President
Melissa Johnson is an economic development and urban real estate specialist with a 21-year track record of public-sector leadership in improving land assets for redevelopment and the attraction of private investment. She is responsible for defining and executing The Port’s Industrial Revitalization Strategy, a key component of its board-driven Strategic Vision 2022. Under this strategy, The Port is working to acquire and reposition 500-acres of urban industrial property to attract advanced manufacturing operations and create jobs. With a focus on brownfield remediation and environmental stewardship of strategic real estate, Melissa works with manufacturing companies and regional economic development partners to ready sites for development including assemblage, demolition, remediation, and site certification.
She is responsible for driving large-scale regeneration of industrial sites to attract next-generation manufacturing to Hamilton County, coordinating incentive packages with regional partners, and managing The Port’s Patient Capital Note program, a site reclamation fund seeded by private social impact investment. Melissa coordinates the promotion of assets for targeted industry clusters, including aerospace, polymers, automotive, and food processing.
Melissa has worked as a member of The Port’s development finance team, where she marketed The Port’s public finance programs and technical assistance services to real estate developers, brokers, accounting firms, incentives consultants, municipalities and other key economic development corporations to identify and vet suitable projects. Melissa serves as program director for the Greater Cincinnati Foreign Trade Zone (GCFTZ), the federal grantee of Zones 46 & 47 in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.
Melissa is a member of Leadership Cincinnati Class 42, the Urban Land Institute, CREW Greater Cincinnati, and the UC Real Estate Roundtable. She serves on the boards of NAIOP Cincinnati, the European American Chamber of Commerce, the Southwest Ohio Workforce Investment Board, and is a Hamilton County Environmental Action Commissioner as appointed by the Director of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. Prior to joining The Port, Melissa served as the Economic Development Administrator for the City of Hamilton, Ohio, during its most challenging decade of repositioning for recovery after losing legacy industry and thousands of jobs.
Melissa holds a BA in Urban and Regional Planning and a BA in Geography from Miami University. She has also earned certification as a project manager through Xavier’s Leadership Center and is working towards her Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) designation.