Meet Mary Alexander, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development

Mary-Alexander-Perez-Architects

Shortly after coming to Perez, APC in September of 2010, Mary Alexander knew she was in the right place. “I really enjoy working with a small company. We do a lot of projects that benefit communities, I love that about Perez,” Alexander said.

With a Bachelor’s degree from Dillard University and 20 years of community development experience, Mary Alexander knows what it takes to set a community in motion.

“After graduation, I got an offer from the city of New Orleans to work in their Division of Housing and Urban Development,” said Alexander, who is currently the Vice President of Marketing and Business Development at Perez, APC.

Working on behalf of the city, Alexander implemented programs that benefitted low- to moderate-income residents in urban neighborhoods for years. “In that capacity, I was able to work with over 20 non-profit community development organizations,” Alexander said.

In fact, this is not Mary Alexander’s first time working with the Holy Cross Community. “I was able to provide technical assistance and grant administration assistance to the folks in the Holy Cross neighborhood,” she explained. “I enjoyed that very much.”

In her years of experience, Alexander points out that in order for economic growth to take place, population must first grow. “If you are a business owner, are you going to want to put your business in a community where there is no investment? Probably not, when you see something going on and that there is life in the area, you feel comfortable setting up shop,” she said.

Although repopulating an area filled with blight may not be easy, it is vital to the project’s success. “Businesses are not going to locate where there are no people, right now there are very few people, so when you bring a critical mass of population, that’s going to attract businesses to that area,” she explained. “We are going to work with the community to make sure that this has a positive impact on the area.”

After there is more livable space in the lower 9th Ward, more tenants will start coming into the neighborhood. Alexander hopes some of those tenants will be residents that were displaced after the storm. Bringing New Orleans residents home is a passion for Mary Alexander—for two years, she was Board Chair of Project Homecoming, a safe-base community development focused on bringing displaced residents back to their homes. Needless to say, there is personal stake in this project for Alexander.

“We are going to make sure that this project happens. We are here, and this is our community too,” she said.

Alexander, along with many others in the Perez, APC group working on Project Homecoming want community inclusion. “We want transparency, we want people to be involved, we want to hear what people have to say,” she said.

Like so many others, Alexander doesn’t believe the city’s recovery can be measured by areas like the French Quarter. “The city’s overall recovery should be gauged on the recovery of the Lower 9th Ward,” she explained, “and as a local firm with a 70 year history in the community, we are going to see this project through.”

“I believe that Perez is committed to this project,” she said. “As the developer, we are certainly going to pull this off.”