Chief Executive Officer
Jonas Peterson currently serves as CEO of Southwest Michigan First (SMF). In that role, he leads a talented team focused on strengthening the regional economy and positioning SMF as a national leader in economic and community development.
Prior to joining SMF, Peterson served as President and CEO of Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance (LVGEA). During his tenure, LVGEA quickly become one of the largest and most influential nonprofit business associations in Nevada. His team helped over 250 companies create more than 26,000 high-wage jobs and deliver $30 billion in economic impact throughout Southern Nevada. Some of the more notable projects include Virgin Hyperloop One, Barclays, Amazon, Tesla/Solar City, Boring Co., Switch, Google, and many others
Jonas received a M.P.S. in Community and Economic Development from Pennsylvania State University and a M.B.A. from North Dakota State University. He is a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD), graduate of the Economic Development Institute at the University of Oklahoma (OUEDI), and a Certified Business Retention and Expansion Consultant. Additionally, he has completed Stanford University’s Executive Program, Oxford’s Executive Leadership Programme at the Saïd Business School, and the Nonprofit Leadership Series at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
Peterson currently serves as the Chair of the International Economic Development Council and has been recognized as an innovative economic development leader with expertise in talent management, policy, and advanced economic development systems. In 2019, he was recognized as Nevada’s Economic Developer of the Year. In 2013, he was named among an international group of “40 under 40” by Development Counsellors International, a New-York-based firm recognizing rising talent in economic development. In 2010, the Arizona Association for Economic Development recognized him as Economic Developer of the Year. And, in 2010, Peterson was recognized as the New Economic Development Practitioner of the Year by the International Economic Development Council.
Peterson resides in Richland, MI with his wife, Leah, and sons, Ethan and Lincoln.