When Marty Jones was named president and CEO of MassDevelopment last year, she became the first female head of the state’s leading finance and development agency.
For Jones, the move signaled a return to her roots in public service, after several decades in commercial real estate.
“I had always thought that I’d go back to the public sector,” she said.
Jones started her career at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in both the Washington and Boston offices.
In 1978, she joined Corcoran Jennison Cos., a private commercial real estate firm in Boston. As president, she managed staff and project teams for new development projects; directed asset management for multifamily portfolios; chaired a joint venture with Beacon Communities; and ran a 175-employee operation with 66 properties and 5,000 apartment units in North and South Carolina.
In April 2011, the Patrick administration named her to head MassDevelopment, a quasi-public agency that provides financing to help businesses and nonprofit organizations expand. The group also helps redevelop government property to stimulate new investment.
“Marty brought with her a wealth of direct experience in real estate development and management, in the multi-family market, in particular,” said David Begelfer, CEO of NAIOP Massachusetts, a commercial real estate development association. “This, and her understanding of the financial markets, gives her a clear vision for the direction of this agency.
“As a past board member of NAIOP, and her involvement with numerous business, civic, and charitable organizations, she has an exceptional network to draw on to keep MassDevelopment the innovative leader in economic development,” he continued. “Marty has earned the well-deserved respect of the business leadership, as well as those within her agency.”
Since taking them helm at MassDevelopment, Jones has overseen more than $3 billion in investment in the Massachusetts economy. She has also spearheaded development of several new loan products, including financing to support hiring at manufacturing and emerging technology companies.
Among the latest projects undertaken by MassDevelopment is the expansion of Myles Standish Industrial Park in Taunton, with a focus on the life science industry.
Jones is also member of Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray’s military base task force, charged with supporting military jobs and investment at military bases across the commonwealth.
‘I Feel Very Lucky’
She has been fortunate throughout her career, she said, to have both male and female bosses who were “incredibly supportive.”
While their children – Elise, 21, and Julia, 18 – were growing up, Jones and her husband, Frederick D. Augenstern, an assistant attorney general for the commonwealth, both worked four days a week to spend more time with their children.
Her work days are longer now, but Jones said she enjoys her job, especially visiting different communities in the commonwealth and speaking to local governmental, business and nonprofit groups.
“I do a lot of speaking,” Jones said. “Explaining what we do to help local businesses and nonprofit organizations.
Under her leadership, MassDevelopment is organizing a series of first-in-the-state regional academies for local officials and leaders to discuss best practices in economic development.
MassDevelopment employs 175 at offices in Boston, Fall River, Worcester, Devens, Lawrence and Springfield.
“After a year of having been here,” she commented, “I feel very lucky to have such a great staff and organization be part of the entire economic development [of Massachusetts].”
Jones is a member of the board of directors of MassEcon and the New England Council, and a national trustee of the Urban Land Institute. She graduated from Brown University.