Southwest Michigan First announces hiring
KALAMAZOO — Following a lengthy search, a candidate has been selected to become the second economic development specialist employed by the Kalamazoo non-profit agency Southwest Michigan First to operate within St. Joseph County to promote economic growth and business retention and expansion.
Von Washington, Jr. was named by SWM First to work from an office in the Three Rivers Area Chamber of Commerce building and joins Cathy Knapp who has the same responsibilities and works from an office in Sturgis. Knapp was formerly the director of the St. Joseph County Economic Development Corporation.
The St. Joseph County Commission and the county’s EDC board of directors entered into an agreement Jan. 3 in which SWM First Partnership is to provide economic development activities in exchange for $300,000 annually for up to five years with a two-year minimum contract. The partnership was in part an outgrowth of the scrutiny the county commission gave to a $6.9 million proposal to join with Trine University for economic development-related activities — a plan which was rejected.
By Rick Cordes, Staff Writer