Jill Bland, CEcD
Anything but Bland.
With Jill Bland on the team, Southwest Michigan First’s ability to execute just got exponentially stronger. Spending much of her time while attending school and beyond playing both softball and tennis, Jill learned at an early age not only how to be a strong team player but also how to use her strengths to maximize contribution.
A lifelong resident of Michigan and graduate of Western Michigan University, Jill has been part of the Southwest Michigan First team since its inception in 1999. As a Certified Economic Developer, Jill has been contributing to the region’s economic growth efforts for over 33 years in various local government and economic development roles. Executing projects with start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, announcing jobs creation ranging from 2 to 800 positions and developing incubation space to 2 million square feet of manufacturing/logistics space, Jill’s versatile and collaborative approach compliments her commitment to grow the Southwest Michigan economy well. In addition to accelerating the region’s existing company base, Jill is focused on creating governmental collaborations. Her excellent leadership at Southwest Michigan First and throughout the community was recognized in 2016 when she was named a Silver Stevie Winner in the category of Female Executive of the Year by the Stevie® Awards for Women in Business.
As part of her responsibilities, Jill serves on the boards of the Michigan Economic Developers Association, BC/Cal/Kal Foreign Trade Zone, Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee and Western Michigan University Community Outreach and Engaged Scholarship Advisory Council. In addition, she is a member of the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport Air Service and Retention Committee.
Jill’s love for sports continues to take up much of her spare time. She still values a good game more for watching a valuable life lesson played out rather than watching her team win (which is always an added bonus). Always ready for a good game, Jill spends her evenings and weekends with her husband, children and grandchild catching her favorite teams on the field both home and away.
“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
– Mahatma Gandhi