John C. Hertel is the General Manager of the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART). During his tenure at SMART, he has successfully passed three millages all by over 66 percent approval and initiated the effort that resulted in the legislation creating the long-awaited Regional Transit Authority (RTA) for southeast Michigan. Prior to joining SMART in 2010, he was the CEO of the Regional Transit Coordinating Council (RTCC) from 2006 to 2010. As CEO, John developed the Regional Mass Transit Plan and led the effort that secured unanimous approval from the leaders of Macomb, Oakland, Wayne counties and the Mayor of the City of Detroit that put an end to forty years of fruitless attempts to achieve an official transit blueprint for Southeast Michigan.
In addition to his responsibilities at SMART, John was reappointed in 2013 to the Huron Clinton Metropark Authority (HCMA) by Governor Snyder. In total, John has served five terms as an HCMA Commissioner. In 1983 he was appointed to represent Wayne County. In 1995, Governor Engler appointed him to a four year term. In 1999 he was appointed to a six year term representing Macomb County. In 2005 and 2009 he was appointed to represent Governor Granholm. His recent appointment makes him only the third person since 1940 to represent three different Governors on the seven member five county board.
One of John’s most notable achievements was accomplished as the General Manager of the Michigan State Fair, appointed by Governor Engler (R) and reappointed by Governor Granholm (D) from 1993 to 2006, where he restored the fair to it’s stature as the State’s premier event of the summer as well as the home to more than 100 other events through out each year.
During that same time Hertel was also Chairman of the Macomb County Board of Commissioners. He was elected to five terms as Macomb Chairman before choosing not to run again. Under his leadership Macomb County received its first AAA Bond Rating and started Michigan’s first Senior Citizen discount drug program.
From 1983 to 1995 Hertel was the Professor of Government, Environment and Technology at Lawrence Technological University. During a portion of that time Hertel was also the Public Affairs Producer and Editorial Director of Channel 7 WXYZ TV (1987 - 1988).
Prior to that, Hertel was Chairman of the Wayne County Board of Commissioners (1985 - 1986) which, given his later service as Macomb County's Chairman, designates John Hertel as the only person in Michigan history to be Chairman of the Boards of two different counties.
From 1974 to 1982 John Hertel was elected three times to the Michigan State Senate. During this time, he was author of several public acts aimed at protecting and enhancing Michigan's environment as well as, legislation to aid law enforcement officials in fighting crime. He chaired the Senate Committee on Agriculture for seven years, chaired the Senate Environmental Affairs Committee for four years and was Vice Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Throughout his career, John Hertel has been the recipient of numerous environmental awards, including Conservationist of the Year from the Michigan United Conservation Clubs and Legislative Conservationist of the Year from the Michigan Audubon Society. In 2001, the Michigan Association for Local Public Health honored him for his “significant contributions to the improvement of water quality” and, earlier, he was given the prestigious Johanna Roskopp Award from the Clinton River Watershed Council for leading the effort to clean up Lake St. Clair. In 2002, Mr. Hertel was presented with the "Conservation Teamwork Award" by the Macomb Conservation District for his ongoing efforts to safeguard Macomb County's natural resources. John Hertel is also the first recipient of the "Heart of the Great Lakes Award," presented to him in the Spring of 2003 by the Macomb County Citizens Water Quality Board for his creation of the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Lake St. Clair and the Macomb Surface Water Improvement (SWIM) team. In 2007, the Macomb County Citizens Water Quality Board named their annual Environmental Protection Award after him.
Mr. Hertel raises Percheron horses on his farm in Lenox Township. He has won three national championships with his horses, and has exported horses to France, Mexico and Canada. Offspring of his breeding program now reside in nine countries in both hemispheres.