Southwest Michigan First Recognized as OUTSIDE’s Top 3 Best Places to Work 2016

Published on November 17, 2016
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.

Southwest Michigan First’s Jill Bland and Carla Winchester Named Finalists in 13th Annual Stevie® Awards for Women in Business

Published on October 20, 2016
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.

Metal Mechanics, Inc. builds up Southwest Michigan jobs

Published on October 5, 2016
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.

Southwest Michigan First Opens Applications for the Catalyst Education Awards

Published on August 31, 2016
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.

Southwest Michigan First’s Catalyst University Opens Applications for Makers’ Mart Competition

Published on August 30, 2016
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.

One Way Products sweeps the Southwest Michigan jobs market

Published on August 10, 2016
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.”

TecNiq lights up the Southwest Michigan jobs market

Published on July 6, 2016
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.”

The Monroe-Brown Internship Program announces 35 summer internships in Southwest Michigan!

Published on January 12, 2016
KALAMAZOO, Michigan – The Monroe-Brown Internship Program, a partnership between Southwest Michigan First and the Monroe-Brown Foundation, announces its 2016 summer college internships. This year’s 35 internships will be hosted by 31 local Southwest Michigan companies and include opportunities in engineering, information technology, business development, interior design, human resources, marketing, winemaking and financial management – to name a few.

Southwest Michigan First’s Catalyst University Now Accepting Applications for Makers’ Mart Competition

Published on September 23, 2015
KALAMAZOO, Michigan – Presented annually by Southwest Michigan First, Catalyst University announces it is now accepting applications for its 2nd annual Makers’ Mart competition. Taking place on January 28, 2016 at Wings Event Center in Kalamazoo, Catalyst University is Southwest Michigan’s premier leadership conference. The winning maker of the Catalyst University Makers’ Mart competition will receive $2,500 in cash plus $2,500 worth of legal, marketing and accounting consultations.

Southwest Michigan First Launches Speaker Lineup for Catalyst University 2016

Published on August 19, 2015
KALAMAZOO, Michigan – Southwest Michigan First has launched the speaker lineup for Catalyst University 2016 to be held on Thursday, January 28, 2016 at Wings Stadium in Kalamazoo. On that date, more than 2,000 leaders will gather for Southwest Michigan’s premier, one-day leadership event to be inspired by top thought leaders who have made an impact by pursuing their passions in business, education, government, not for profit and the faith-based community.