An expert in tribal business and real estate development, Terri L. Fitzpatrick grew up in a very rural area and spent a lot of time with her uncles and family members, who walked properties and could tell where lines were. She always found that so interesting. When she learned about how land was originally decided when the United States became a country and how it was transferred to each state, she found the history of land ownership interesting and helped form the basis for successful development. Today, Ms. Fitzpatrick has served as the chief operating officer and vice president of development for the Boji Group, LLC, in Lansing, Michigan, since 2014.
Prior to this position, Ms. Fitzpatrick began her career as the real estate director and vice president of development of the Kewadin and Greektown Casinos, owned by the Sault Ste. Marie tribe of Chippewa Indians, in 1994, remaining in this role for a decade before transferring to the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget from 2004 to 2010, also serving as strategic development director. She then served as vice president of tribal business development and federal procurement for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation from 2010 to 2014. In addition to this tenure, Ms. Fitzpatrick chaired the board of directors of the Waseyabek Development Company from 2014 to 2016.
Before starting her professional career, Ms. Fitzpatrick was a student at Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. She then graduated from the Michigan political leadership program at Michigan State University in East Lansing. Following her graduation, Ms. Fitzpatrick went on to participate in a number of civic endeavors. The first chairperson of the Waseyabek Development Company’s Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi’s business development board from 2014 to 2016, she is also a former board member of Northern Initiatives, the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe Housing Authority and Utility Authority, Building Owners and Managers (BOMA), the St. Ignace Planning Commission, the Girl Scouts of the USA and the YMCA.
In recognition of her outstanding achievements, Ms. Fitzpatrick was named among the Notable Women in Real Estate by Detroit Crain’s in 2019. Prior to this honor, she received awards for the completion of Greektown Casinos and for her work in securing a forensic laboratory for the Michigan State Police, and was highlighted as a woman in real estate in various articles. Additionally, Ms. Fitzpatrick was bestowed with the Innovations Award for Public Private Partnership for Delivery of Real Estate Services by the National Association of State Facility Administrators.
Ms. Fitzpatrick attributes her success to her parents, who were very humble working-class people who always worked really hard. Her father was extremely creative and her mother was never daunted by any task; they were both very resourceful. She also feels she had great teachers when she was in grade school, who were very encouraging. That is how Ms. Fitzpatrick approaches everything; she doesn’t feel like there is anything she cannot do if she says she is going to do it. Furthermore, she attributes her three sons who she always wanted to do good for. She made sure they saw the opportunities that were always presented before them, and she would like to leave them something. She feels you owe it to the community when you are successful, and she advises to share your success in whatever way you can. She actively mentors several people and has for a long time.