Media - Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE: Southwest Michigan First’s Catalyst University Now Accepting Applications for New Makers’ Mart Competition

9/10/14

KALAMAZOO, Michigan -- Catalyst University, the annual leadership gathering taking place on January 29, 2015 at Wings Stadium in Kalamazoo, announces it is now accepting applications for its new Makers’ Mart competition. The winning Southwest Michigan maker will receive $5,000 in cash plus $5,000 worth of legal, marketing and accounting consultations.

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PRESS RELEASE: Marshall Area Economic Development Alliance Partners with Southwest Michigan First

9/3/14

Marshall, Michigan -- The Marshall Area Economic Development Alliance (MAEDA) has committed to accelerate its job creation efforts in the greater Marshall area by contracting with Southwest Michigan First to provide economic development services to area businesses through October of 2016. The work of the economic development collaboration will include business retention and expansion efforts, small business and downtown development, visitor and tourism center management and attraction of new investments to Marshall.

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PRESS RELEASE: Infinisource Announces Growth Plans in Coldwater, MI

4/14/14

Coldwater, MI — Infinisource, Inc., a leading provider of SaaS based Human Capital Management solutions for employers, has announced plans to expand its commitment to the Coldwater area. As part of that process, the company has extended its lease for an additional five years at the Roosevelt Building located at 15 East Washington Street in downtown Coldwater.

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PRESS RELEASE: Southwest Michigan First named 2014 Best and Brightest Company to Work For in West Michigan

4/2/14

KALAMAZOO, Michigan – Southwest Michigan First has been named one of West Michigan’s 101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For in 2014 by the Michigan Business and Professional Association (MBPA) for the third consecutive year. This annual award recognizes companies of all sizes and diverse sectors that deliver exceptional human resources practices.

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PRESS RELEASE: Southwest Michigan First announces Populus, a one-day event focusing on “people changing community”

2/25/14

KALAMAZOO, MI – Southwest Michigan First will host its first annual Populus conference on March 28, 2014 at the Kalamazoo State Theatre. Populus 2014 is a one-day event about people changing community by bringing together thought leaders, policy makers and engaged citizens who share the vision of making Southwest Michigan a region of economic growth and relevance. By attending Populus, leaders will take part in interactive discussions that will shape the region’s public policy agenda and set the direction for its collective voice in the state.

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PRESS RELEASE: Southwest Michigan First Team Grows with the Addition of Three New Members

1/14/14

Kalamazoo, Michigan — Southwest Michigan First, which focuses on creating positive change through jobs, will grow jobs internally with the addition of three new team members. The organization will look to these new team members to expand its ability to impact economic growth in Southwest Michigan.

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PRESS RELEASE: Monroe-Brown Interships Announced at Regional Companies

1/9/14

KALAMAZOO, Michigan – Southwest Michigan’s college and university students should start thinking now about summer for all the right reasons! The Monroe-Brown Internship Program, a collaboration between Southwest Michigan First and the Monroe-Brown Foundation, has announced its 2014 internships offered by local companies to currently enrolled college students. This year’s 41 internship offerings at 31 companies include opportunities in engineering, health sciences, information technology, production planning, merchandising, architecture, interior design, human resources, marketing, sales, financial management and environmental science.

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PRESS RELEASE: National Association for Business Resources Names the Best and Brightest Companies to Work For in the Country

11/20/13

Warren, MI — Qualified and talented employees are essential to a company’s success. Every year companies are striving to keep these employees through innovative human resources practices. Those companies that do it the best have been named a National Best and Brightest Companies to Work For winner for 2013. Southwest Michigan First has been named to this prestigious list for the second year in a row.

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PRESS RELEASE: General Mills Facility to Locate in Comstock

11/6/13

Comstock Township, MI – General Mills, one of the world’s largest food companies, will locate a new, leased distribution center in the Charter Township of Comstock, focused primarily on its yogurt business.

The developer is expected to break ground this week on the new facility within Midlink Business Park. The new 155,000-square-foot center is expected to be operational by July 2014. General Mills will lease the facility, which is expected to create 27 jobs over two years. Minneapolis-based General Mills selected this Southwest Michigan location for its strategic geographical location.

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PRESS RELEASE: La June Montgomery Tabron named president and CEO of W.K. Kellogg Foundation

10/21/13

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. – The Board of Trustees of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) announced today it has selected La June Montgomery Tabron to be the foundation’s next president and CEO, effective Jan. 1, 2014. Throughout her 26-year journey from controller to her current role of executive vice president of operations and treasurer, she has provided strong and decisive leadership demonstrating an understanding of all aspects of the foundation and its legacy. Ms. Tabron will become the 12th leader of the 83-year old foundation, replacing Sterling Speirn, who announced he is stepping down on December 31 after heading the foundation for nearly eight years.

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PRESS RELEASE: NanoVir reports mechanism of potent antiviral compounds

10/2/13

Kalamazoo, Michigan -- Today, NanoVir L.L.C. of Kalamazoo, Michigan in partnership with the University of Missouri-St. Louis announced the results of a study that characterized the mechanism by which their novel antiviral compounds to prompt cells to selectively destroy human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA.

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PRESS RELEASE: Southwest Michigan PTAC Holds Meet the Buyer: Construction Event

10/1/13

Kalamazoo, MI – On October 22, 2013, the Southwest Michigan Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) will hold a special event to educate local businesses on governmental contractors who are buying construction services in South and West Michigan.

“Meet the Buyer: Construction” will be held on October 22 from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm at Western Michigan University’s Fetzer Center located on the campus of Western Michigan University, 2350 Business Court, Kalamazoo, MI 49008. The special event is hosted by Southwest Michigan PTAC, PTAC of South Central Michigan and Muskegon Area First PTAC.

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SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN FIRST PRESS RELEASE: Michigan Values Veterans gears up for Kalamazoo

9/26/13

Kalamazoo, MI – On November 1, 2013, the country’s leading expert on Veterans Pipelines will visit Kalamazoo to educate area businesses on how they can recapitalize their workforce by recruiting, hiring, training and retaining the best America has to offer: the US Military.

Hosted by Kalamazoo Valley Community College (KVCC), in partnership with Southwest Michigan First, Macomb County and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the Michigan Values Veterans (MV2) Conference will be held on November 1 from 7:00 am to 4:00 pm at the KVCC-Groves Center located at 7107 Elm Valley Drive, Kalamazoo, MI 49009. This is a free event offered to local businesses.

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PRESS RELEASE: Southwest Michigan First celebrates jobs creation and partnership with Catalyst Awards

5/23/13

KALAMAZOO, Michigan – Southwest Michigan First honored more than 50 regional companies, organizations and individuals during its 2013 Catalyst Awards ceremony on Wednesday, May 22, 2013. Presented annually since 2005, this event is designed to recognize significant contributions by community partners that have resulted in economic growth and job creation in Southwest Michigan.

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PRESS RELEASE: Vickers Engineering plans to invest $9,000,000

5/20/13

Vickers Engineering operates two facilities in Michiana—120,000 sq. ft. in New Troy (west of Buchanan) and 50,000 in Buchanan. Started in 1970, the company has grown quickly since 2000, as precision machining and fabrication supplier to a variety of markets. From 35 employees in 2000, to 175 employees today, Vickers expects to be around 225 employees in 2016.

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PRESS RELEASE: Southwest Michigan First Announces Team Expansion

5/16/13

KALAMAZOO, Michigan – Southwest Michigan First announces the expansion of its team. With its constant focus on creating change through jobs, the organization will grow jobs internally with the addition of four new staff members and four summer interns.

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PRESS RELEASE: Southwest Michigan First named “Best of the Best” of West Michigan’s Best & Brightest Companies to Work For

5/6/13

KALAMAZOO, Michigan – On Thursday, May 2, Southwest Michigan First received the highest distinction from the Michigan Business and Professional Association (MBPA) as “Best of the Best” of West Michigan’s Best & Brightest Companies to Work For™ during a private ceremony at the Pinnacle Center in Hudsonville, Michigan. The MBPA also honored the 101 West Michigan companies that set the standard for innovation and implementation for human resources initiatives in 2013, including 12 Elite winners.

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PRESS RELEASE: Southwest Michigan First named Best and Brightest Company to Work For

3/21/13

KALAMAZOO, Michigan – Southwest Michigan First has been awarded the distinction of West Michigan’s Best and Brightest Companies to Work For in 2013 by the Michigan Business and Professional Association (MBPA). The award is presented annually to great companies that shine at employee relations and best practices.

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PRESS RELEASE: Sturgis ranks among Site Selection magazine's Top Micropolitans

3/20/13

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Michigan – In Site Selection magazine’s March 2013 issue, the Sturgis micropolitan ranks #23 on its list of the 2012 Top Micropolitans. The ranking represents the number of new facility and facility expansion projects as tracked and reported by Conway Data Service’s New Plant Report.

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PRESS RELEASE: Glen Oaks Community College to provide training for Vaupell Midwest Molding & Tooling Inc.

2/13/13

CENTREVILLE -- Glen Oaks Community College is providing employee training to Vaupell Midwest Molding & Tooling Inc., of Constantine, as part of a grant to increase employee knowledge of chemistry and plastics associated with the injection molding process.

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PRESS RELEASE: Kalamazoo-St. Joseph Michigan WORKS! Awards Training Grants to Three Companies

2/5/13

Kalamazoo, MI – The Kalamazoo-St. Joseph Workforce Development Board announces Incumbent Worker Training Grant awards to three companies located within the Kalamazoo-St. Joseph County region. The focus of the competitive training grants is to assist companies to become more competitive by upgrading the skills of current workers, thus averting the need to lay off employees.

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PRESS RELEASE: Southwest Michigan First and Michigan Economic Development Corporation partnership targets job creation

1/29/13

KALAMAZOO, Michigan – Southwest Michigan First announced today a collaboration with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) to expand its business growth team. Shelley Klug will join Southwest Michigan First to serve as the Business Development Manager for the MEDC covering Southwest Michigan First’s expanded region which includes the counties of Allegan, Berrien, Branch, Calhoun, Cass, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph and Van Buren.

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PRESS RELEASE: Southwest Michigan First’s Jennifer Owens Wins “40 Under 40” Award in Economic Development

1/28/13

Orlando, Fla. – Jennifer Owens, vice president of Southwest Michigan First, has been selected as a winner in the economic development profession’s “40 Under 40” awards, the first-ever awards program recognizing young talent in the economic development profession.

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PRESS RELEASE: Snyder: 14 companies to invest $1.1 billion, add 4,590 jobs in state

1/23/13

LANSING, Mich. - Gov. Rick Snyder today announced the Michigan Strategic Fund's approval of state incentives to support 14 business expansions that are expected to generate more than $1.1 billion in investments and add 4,590 jobs in Michigan.

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PRESS RELEASE: Southwest Michigan First and Kalamazoo Regional Chamber of Commerce announce strategic alliance

1/11/13

KALAMAZOO, Michigan -- Southwest Michigan First and the Kalamazoo Regional Chamber of Commerce announce a strategic alliance designed to take advantage of regional dynamics and improve the overall competitive position of the region. The organizations have aligned missions and services to better meet the needs of small business and advocate public policy to improve the region’s overall competitive position in the state and nation. The individual identities of the organizations will be retained, but now represent one cohesive brand for the region.

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PRESS RELEASE: Lovejoy Expansion to Bring 25 New Jobs to South Haven

12/18/12

SOUTH HAVEN, Michigan – Lovejoy Inc. of South Haven has announced an expansion that will bring 25 new jobs to the area in the coming year, and is expected to add 50-75 jobs over the next five years. The company, which is headquartered in Downers Grove, Illinois but has had a plant in South Haven since 1960, will add 95,000 square feet to the 35,000 square feet it already occupies. The added space and new equipment total a $3 million investment.

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PRESS RELEASE: National Fourth Economy Community Index lists Kalamazoo among Top 10 large-sized counties for 2013

12/13/12

PITTSBURGH, PA – The latest release of the “Fourth Economy Community (FEC) Index” was announced listing the nation’s top 10 large-sized Fourth Economy Communities. These communities are those ideally positioned to attract modern investment and managed economic growth. Kalamazoo County is listed among those Top 10 communities.

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PRESS RELEASE: Getman Corporation mines major expansion in Comstock Township

12/12/12

COMSTOCK TOWNSHIP, Michigan -- Getman Corporation announced today plans to open its second manufacturing facility in Southwest Michigan. The global supplier of mobile equipment to the mining industry plans to invest over $6 million in building renovations, machinery and equipment at 3030 Kersten Court in the Charter Township of Comstock. The new facility is expected to open in January.

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PRESS RELEASE: $11 Million Dollar Gift to the City of Coldwater Michigan

12/10/12

COLDWATER, Michigan -- Dr. Robert W. Browne, and his wife Lynn, have made the financial commitment of funding up to $11 million dollars for a major expansion of recreational facilities within the City of Coldwater. The project will include an aquatic center on the grounds of Legg Middle School, at the corner of Bishop and Western Avenues. In addition, there will be a major expansion of the Heritage Independence Recreation Gymnasium.

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PRESS RELEASE: Michigan Medical Device Accelerator acquires Impact Athletic

11/15/12

KALAMAZOO, Michigan — The Michigan Medical Device Accelerator (MMDA) announces the formation of Impact Athletic LLC. The new company has acquired the intellectual property and assets for a product line of athletic training equipment from Tekna, Inc. of Kalamazoo. Impact Athletic will be located within the Southwest Michigan First offices at 241 East Michigan Avenue in Kalamazoo.

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PRESS RELEASE: Mueller Industries to Expand in Portage, Michigan

10/24/12

PORTAGE, Michigan ? The City of Portage has approved an Industrial Property Tax Abatement (P.A. 198) worth $862,627 over five years for Mueller Industries. The Tennessee-based company has selected its Portage, Michigan site located at 6700 Sprinkle Road for a $26.5 million investment. It will create 78 jobs over two years locally as a result of this facility and equipment investment.

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PRESS RELEASE: Monadnock Non-Wovens to bring 60 jobs to Coldwater

10/22/12

Coldwater, Michigan –The Branch County Economic Growth Alliance with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced that pending City and State approval Monadnock Non-Wovens will bring a $4.5 million dollar investment and 60 new jobs to Coldwater by the end of 2013.

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PRESS RELEASE: Tolera Therapeutics closes Series B-3 financing

10/16/12

Tolera Therapeutics Inc., a privately held biotechnology company focusing on the development of immunotherapeutics directed at the transplantation, autoimmune and oncology markets, announced today that it has closed its Series B-3 financing. Hopen Life Science Ventures of Grand Rapids, Michigan led the round and was joined by other current investors including Triathlon Medical Venture Partners and SWMF Life Science Fund.

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PRESS RELEASE: Open Prairie Ventures Adds Sam Hogg to Investment Team

10/15/12

Sam Hogg has joined Open Prairie Ventures as a Venture Partner with primary responsibilities including screening new investments and managing existing ones in the Open Prairie Ventures II and Southwest Michigan First Life Science Fund portfolios. Sam will be primarily focused on Michigan-based activities.

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PRESS RELEASE: Hark Orchids Breaks Ground October 4 at Midlink Business Park

10/1/12

High-tech floriculture will be blossoming in Kalamazoo, with construction of Hark Orchids' state-of-the-art, 35,000-square-foot Laboratory and Climactic Chambers at Midlink Business Park. A ceremonial ground-breaking event will be held on October 4th at the five-acre lot purchased by Hark Orchids from Midlink Business Park.

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PRESS RELEASE: Southwest Michigan First Expands Business Growth Team in Three Rivers

7/12/12

Southwest Michigan First announced the addition of Von Washington, Jr. to its team as associate vice president.  Washington will be the director of the organization’s office in Three Rivers, Michigan and concentrate his business growth efforts in St. Joseph County. 

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PRESS RELEASE: Michigan Community Revitalization Program gives thumbs-up to Arcadia Ales’ downtown Kalamazoo location

7/11/12

Arcadia Ales recently made headlines when the Kalamazoo Brownfield Redevelopment Authority approved a purchase and redevelopment agreement in partnership with Treystar for downtown property. The Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced it is supporting the project with Michigan Community Revitalization Program grants for the mixed-use development in the city of Kalamazoo.  The grants, valued at up to $1 million, will assist with the construction of the 4,500-square-foot barbecue-themed brewpub and 24,000-square-foot beer production facility on Kalamazoo's riverfront.

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PRESS RELEASE: Ablative Solutions Completes $5.3M Series A Financing

6/19/12

Ablative Solutions, Inc., a privately-held company headquartered in Kalamazoo, MI with offices in Menlo Park, CA announced that it has completed a Series A Preferred Stock financing, totaling approximately $5.3 million to fund its unique technology platform.

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PRESS RELEASE: Open Prairie Ventures Announces Agreement with Southwest Michigan First Life Science Fund

6/18/12

Open Prairie Ventures (OPV), an Illinois-based venture fund, announced today that it has entered into a management agreement with the Southwest Michigan First Life Science Fund. The funds have collaborated for over five years on a number of investments. With OPV now assuming an advisory role over both funds, the funds are expected to operate more dynamically and expand their investment focus.

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PRESS RELEASE: Zeigler Automotive Group announces Honda dealership grand opening

6/4/12

June 4th saw the grand opening of Zeigler Automotive Group's newest dealership - Zeigler Honda of Kalamazoo, the first Honda Generation III design county.  Zeigler Honda is located at 4211 Stadium Drive in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

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PRESS RELEASE: Michigan Medical Device Accelerator receives grant to spur idea generation and job creation

5/22/12

The Michigan Medical Device Accelerator (MMDA) has received a $400,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation of Battle Creek to use towards its social program focused on growing jobs for positive economic change.

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PRESS RELEASE: AmeriFirst Featured by HubSpot in National Campaign

5/15/12

Boston-based HubSpot features Portage-based AmeriFirst Home Mortage in its national campaign.  HubSpot, the nation's second fastest growing software company, puts the spotlight on AmeriFirst for its web-based inbound marketing program.

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PRESS RELEASE: Axonia Medical Completes $2 Million Seed Financing

5/10/12

Axonia Medical, an early stage company pioneering a revolutionary approach to repair and restore damaged peripheral and central nervous systems, announced today that the company has closed on $2.0 million in seed financing.

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PRESS RELEASE: Vestaron Raises $10.2 Million From Series B Preferred Stock Financing

5/8/12

Insecticide manufacturer Vestaron Corporation has completed a Series B financing, totaling approximately $10.2 million. New investors include Pangaea Ventures, Michigan Accelerator Fund and two private investment organizations. Existing investors include Open Prairie Ventures and Southwest Michigan First. Keith Gillard of Pangaea Ventures has joined the board of directors.

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PRESS RELEASE: Schupan Recycling Named 101 Best & Brightest Sustainable Company

4/30/12

Schupan Recycling is among the 101 Best & Brightest Sustainable Companies recognized with the award on April 18, 2012 for having demonstrated unique efforts and leadership skills in "Green Initiatives.”

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PRESS RELEASE: Southwest Michigan First Expands Business Growth Team

4/16/12

Southwest Michigan First announced today the addition of Eric Sanchez to its team.  Sanchez’s duties will center on developing the organization’s relationships with regional primary employers in its job creation and retention efforts. 

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German-based Hark Orchids picks Kalamazoo for first U.S. Location!

3/23/12

Today, Governor Snyder is in Lippstadt, Germany with the leadership team of Hark Orchids, LP, to announce that company’s first United States’ location to be based in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Southwest Michigan will be the site for the company’s 30,000-square build-to-suit facility within Midlink Business Park.  The company will be making a $5 million investment and creating 80 new jobs over 3 years.

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PRESS RELEASE: Southwest Michigan First named Best and Brightest Company to Work For

3/16/12

Southwest Michigan First has been awarded the distinction of West Michigan’s Best and Brightest Companies to Work For in 2012. 

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PRESS RELEASE: Ostial Solutions, LLC Announces Successful Exit in Sale to Merit Medical Systems, Inc.

2/2/12

Based in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Ostial Solutions, LLC, announced that it has sold substantially all of its assets to Merit Medical Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: MMSI).  Ostial Solutions developed the Ostial Pro Stent Positioning System™ to facilitate precise stent implantation in coronary and peripheral arteries.

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PRESS RELEASE: Southwest Michigan First draws merger & acquisition presence

1/30/12

The Charter Group, one of Michigan’s premier merger and acquisition advisory firms with a concentration on middle market transactions ranging from $5 million to $50 million, is pleased to announce the expansion of its operations to Kalamazoo, Michigan. The Charter Group will be taking space within the Southwest Michigan First offices as the two organizations work together to aggressively pursue investment opportunities in Southwest Michigan. The Charter Group will be holding office hours at least three days a month as part of the formalized partnership.

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PRESS RELEASE: Southwest Michigan First honors companies for job creation

1/24/12

On January 24, 2012, Southwest Michigan First will honor regional companies for their commitment to creating jobs and wealth in the region as Catalysts for Economic Success. Presented annually since 2005 to companies contributing to economic development efforts in Southwest Michigan, Catalyst Awards will be presented by Southwest Michigan First to 11 companies for partnering in the creation of jobs and making private investment in Southwest Michigan.

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PRESS RELEASE: Eye-opening career opportunities start in summer for Southwest Michigan college and university students

1/16/12

The Monroe-Brown Internship Program, a collaboration between Southwest Michigan First and the Monroe-Brown Foundation, has announced its 2012 internships offered by local companies to currently enrolled college students. This year’s 43 internship offerings at 33 companies will be the program’s most ambitious to date with opportunities in engineering, health sciences, information technology, construction management, human resources, marketing, sales, financial management, environmental management and geographic information software.

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AmeriFirst Taps Tech in Bid to Service Its Own Loans

11/3/11

With the mortgage industry hyperdiligent about loan reporting these days, it is turning to technology to bring servicing operations in-house while achieving the same cost effciencies that traditionally have been achieved via subservicing arrangements.

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AmeriFirst Home Mortage Ranks Among Tops in the Nation

11/2/11

AmeriFirst Home Mortgage ranks right up there with the top banks in the country. AmeriFirst ranked 6th for writing 203k mortgage loans in October.

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