Now in his fifth decade of public service, Merrett R. Stierheim was named Superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools in October 2001. Immediately before his appointment, he served as the first Town Manager of the newly formed Town of Miami Lakes. While conducting a national search for a permanent Manager, he led the Council through a strategic planning process and prepared the Town's first two budgets. Stierheim recently retired as County Manager of Miami-Dade County, a position he held for the second time in his career. In March 1998, he was asked to return to manage a scandal-ridden, demoralized county government with a $4.5 billion budget, 28,000 employees, and 42 departments, including Miami International Airport, the Port of Miami, transportation, water and sewer, health and human services, police, fire, etc.

Stierheim first served as County Manager from 1976 to 1986 and successfully supervised a $5 billion countywide infrastructure expansion including the construction of Miami Metro Zoo, the downtown library and cultural complex, the Government Center, several regional parks, libraries, water, sewer and solid waste facilities, and the county's mass transit system - Metrorail and Metromover. He also dealt with a number of events with national repercussions when the community assimilated more than 160,000 refugees from Cuba (Mariel Exodus) and Haiti. In 1980, he helped restore law and order after severe civil disturbances and joined community leaders to address the social inequities that sparked the disturbances. Many of those programs are still in place today.

After nearly ten years as County Manager, Stierheim stepped down after being recruited as CEO of the Women's Tennis Association, which included Chris Evert, Martina Navritilova, Pam Shiver and other tennis professionals. As CEO, Stierheim is credited with making women's professional tennis more international in its scope, doubling prize money, expanding the tiered feeder system of professional tournaments and establishing a player's pension plan.

In 1990, Stierheim was appointed President & CEO of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB), a marketing, not-for-profit organization with 1,100 corporate members whose mission is to promote Miami-Dade County as a convention, business and leisure destination. Working with government and industry leaders, Stierheim established the Bureau's first dedicated advertising fund with a value exceeding $5 million. When crimes against tourists in 1993 threatened the community's number one industry, Stierheim lobbied for more tourist signs, law enforcement programs and community awareness of the importance of the visitor industry.

During the boycott of the visitor industry by the African-American community, he established the Visitor Industry Human Resource Development Council (VIC), a private, not-for-profit organization working to increase the economic participation of African-Americans at management and professional levels in the local visitor industry through hospitality scholarships. Today, the VIC has awarded over 100 college scholarships and raised well over $1 million from the visitor industry.

Stierheim's efforts led to Miami-Dade experiencing its best tourism years ever in 1995, 1996, and 1997. For his work, he was awarded the 1996 Tourism Professional of the Year by the local visitor industry, and in 1997 he completed the required courses from Purdue and Calgary universities to become a Certified Destination Management Executive.

In 1996 Stierheim served pro bono as City Manager of the City of Miami where he uncovered a $68 million shortfall in a once approved bogus city budget. He then led a recovery effort, enlisting over forty pro bono private and public sector executives in thirteen task forces and presented a financial recovery plan to the City that is still being followed. More recently, he completed a similar pro bono financial review at the request of the Homestead Mayor and Council.

Stierheim interned and later served as Assistant City Manager in Miami from 1959 to 1967; as Clearwater City Manager from 1967 to 1973; and Pinellas County Administrator from 1973 to 1976. He graduated third in his class with a Master's Degree in Governmental Administration from the Wharton Graduate School, University of Pennsylvania and earned a Bachelor of Science in Commerce and Finance from Bucknell University, where, upon graduation, he was awarded the Outstanding Student Achievement Award from the Wall Street Journal. In 1998 Stierheim received an Honorary Doctor of Law degree from Barry University in Miami, Florida. He is an Air Force cadet graduate and served as a First Lieutenant Navigator from 1953 to 1957.

Stierheim is the recipient of numerous local, national and international awards. He has been involved in or has been a principal founder of major Miami-Dade civic and municipal institutions including, the Beacon Council, the GMCVB, and Metro Miami Action Plan (MMAP). He has served on the board of directors of more than 30 local, state and national organizations including Barnett Bank, SunBank, Travel Industry of America (TIA), International Association of Convention & Visitors Bureaus (IACVB), United States National Tourism.

Organization (NTO 10) and the United Way of Miami-Dade County. Currently, he is a member of the Orange Bowl Committee and serves on the following Boards: YMCA, Zoological Society, Collins Center for Public Trust, The Beacon Council, Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, GMCVB, and Mellon National Bank. He is a lifetime member of the International City and County Management Association and is the Chair and lectures at the Academy for Strategic Management at FIU. He also holds a Florida Real Estate license and is certified by the American Arbitration Association to serve on the Complex Arbitration Panel.

Stierheim is married to Judy Cannon and has four daughters, Laurey, Cathy, Mia, and Paula.

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