Kalamazoo, MI – Southwest Michigan First has been named one of the Top 3 in OUTSIDE Magazine’s Best Places to Work of 2016. Each year, OUTSIDE recognizes the top 100 companies in the United States that help their employees strike the ideal balance between work and play. These companies encourage employees to lead an active lifestyle, are eco-conscious and prioritize giving back to the community. Created in conjunction with the Outdoor Industry Association and Best Companies Group, the list of winners appears online at www.BestPlacestoWorkOutside.com.
PRESS RELEASE: Southwest Michigan First’s Jill Bland and Carla Winchester Named Finalists in 13th Annual Stevie® Awards for Women in Business
Kalamazoo, MI – Jill Bland and Carla Winchester of Southwest Michigan First have been named Finalists in the categories of Female Executive of the Year and Female Innovator of the Year, respectively, in the 13th Annual Stevie® Awards for Women in Business. On Friday, November 18, they will each ultimately be recognized as Gold, Silver or Bronze Stevie Award winners in the program.
Schoolcraft, MI – Equipment manufacturer Metal Mechanics, Inc. announced that it will bring 7 new jobs to Southwest Michigan through a $1,250,000 investment! After a public hearing on Tuesday, October 4 and approval from the Kalamazoo County Board of Commissioners, the growing Schoolcraft manufacturer is investing in a 30,000-square-foot building which will house and expand its existing operations.
Kalamazoo, MI – Presented annually by Southwest Michigan First, Catalyst University is now accepting applications for its Catalyst Education Awards competition to recognize the innovations and achievements of our regional K-12 educators.
PRESS RELEASE: Southwest Michigan First’s Catalyst University Opens Applications for Makers’ Mart Competition
Kalamazoo, MI – Presented annually by Southwest Michigan First, Catalyst University is now accepting applications for its 3rd annual Makers’ Mart competition, aimed at lifting up local entrepreneurs. Catalyst University, Southwest Michigan’s premier leadership conference, will take place on Thursday, January 26, 2017 at Wings Event Center in Kalamazoo. Makers’ Mart competition finalists will have the opportunity to present their products or services on stage at the event to compete for $2,500 cash plus $2,500 worth of legal, marketing and accounting consultations. The Makers’ Mart competition is sponsored by the WMU Haworth College of Business.
Oshtemo Township, MI – One Way Products has announced the creation of 10 new jobs and a $3,400,000 investment in Oshtemo Township. Last night, the township approved a 12-year tax abatement, allowing the project to move forward with its groundbreaking on KL Avenue, which is scheduled for today.
The specialty chemical company’s new headquarters will be a 30,000-square-foot facility, encompassing manufacturing, warehouse/distribution and office facility functions. The investment will also bring in new equipment for the space.
One Way Products focuses its product lines to “achieve clean,” offering products such as disinfectants, hand sanitizers and sponges through its Clean Shop™ operations. Through its ChemStation™ division, the company offers businesses custom-made cleaning chemicals, serviced to remove hazards of handling or spills. Founded in 1971, One Way Products is committed to environmentally-friendly, biodegradable formulas.
“We are excited to see One Way Products expand its operations in Kalamazoo,” said Ron Kitchens, president and chief executive officer of Southwest Michigan First. “As Southwest Michigan First believes the greatest force for change is a job, we are glad to hear that 10 families in the region will have the opportunity to be impacted by the growth of One Way Products.”
Kalamazoo, MI – TecNiq Inc. has announced the creation of 120 new jobs and a $6,596,000 investment in Comstock Township. Today, the Michigan Strategic Fund approved a $540,000 Michigan Business Development Program Performance-Based Grant to assist the LED lighting specialist with its planned expansion in Kalamazoo County.
The company will build a 100,000-square-foot facility to support exponential growth it has experienced over the last three years, during which it has increased sales by almost 35%. Headquartered in Richland, Michigan, the LED lighting manufacturer anticipates continued growth over the next three to five years to meet increased consumer demand.
Founded in 2004, TecNiq moved its headquarters to Richland, Michigan in 2012. The company offers a unique product that is well-regarded for its quality and provides its customers with a lifetime guarantee. The LED lighting products manufactured by the company are among the most energy efficient in the market, which is why the company has earned significant business from customers, including UPS and several key RV manufacturers.
“We applaud the TecNiq team for expanding its footprint in Kalamazoo County with the addition of this new 100,000-square-foot facility,” said Ron Kitchens, president and chief executive officer of Southwest Michigan First. The regional economic development organization worked with TecNiq to make the expansion happen in Southwest Michigan rather than in competing locations. “Our organization operates based upon the belief that the greatest force for change is a job and we have no doubt that 120 families in the region will greatly appreciate the positive change afforded by this project.”
Kalamazoo, Michigan — Southwest Michigan First president and ceo, Ron Kitchens joined WKZO to weigh in on hot topics like the European Union, Southwest Michigan economy.
TIME MAGAZINE, July 11, 2016, “240 Reasons to Celebrate America”
145. The city where high school grads go to college for free
by Josh Sanburn
When Doreisha Reed was in elementary school, she thought college was free for everyone. Her teachers spoke about it like it was an extension of high school, as if she had no other option but to attend. And when the teachers talked, they kept bringing up “the Promise.
Ron Kitchens sits down with the WKZO team to tout Kalamazoo’s ranking as a Top 3 Creative City on SmartAsset.com’s 2016 list, recent jobs announcements and upcoming events at Southwest Michigan First.