Michael Smith — City Builder: On Life and Meaning

Michael SmithMichael Smith is president and CEO of Charlotte Center City Partners (CCCP), a place-making organization that drives the economic, social and cultural development of the Center City of Charlotte. Before joining CCCP, Michael was Chief Financial Officer of the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce. He has held corporate roles at AT&T Communications, First Union Bank’s Capital Markets Group and By-Products Interactive. He served as the chairman of the board of directors for the International Downtown Association and on a number of regional boards including Boy Scouts of America Mecklenburg Council, the Belk College of Business at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, the Hospitality and Tourism Alliance, and the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce. Michael earned a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.

This episode is perfect for anyone interested in place-making, downtown development, the elements of a vibrant city, and leading a mission-based life.

In This Episode
In This Episode


  • Michael describes his role leading urban development in the city of Charlotte.
  • He explains CCCP’s relationship to other authorities in Charlotte.
  • He answers what he thinks he is particularly good at in his role and what he looks for in the people he hires.
  • He describes the culture of his office and what he can better at as a leader.
  • Michael addresses whether Charlotte is positioned for success in the 21st century city.
  • He identifies what he is bullish about in Charlotte’s economy.
  • He considers why Charlotte hasn’t made the list of having one of the best downtowns in the United States.
  • He describes the assets and attributes of Charlotte’s Center City.
  • Michael addresses how Charlotte’s Center City compares with other peer downtowns.
  • He details the planned Charlotte Gateway Station and its current status.
  • He shares what comes to mind when he thinks about his childhood and what he tries to echo to his own children.
  • He explains why he studied commerce in college and recalls his time in graduate school.
  • Michael describes the business he helped start and his moment of reflection and introspection that followed.
  • He shares how he got the role at CCCP and answers whether he is the de-facto mayor of Charlotte.
  • He reveals what is on his night stand for reading and how he begins his day.
  • He discusses the role faith and Jesuit thinking plays in his life.
  • Michael answers what’s next for him and CCCP.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.