Press Release: Pfizer grows imprint on global pharmaceutical market

Published on July 24, 2018
LANSING, Mich. – Global pharmaceutical-industry leader Pfizer will manufacture a line of injectable drugs at a two-story, 400-000-square-foot facility to be built at its Portage campus in Kalamazoo County. When completed, Pfizer claims the injectable drug processing facility will be one of the largest in the western hemisphere, while local officials point to the investment as a catalyst for further economic development throughout southwest Michigan.

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Michigan Association of Land Banks highlights Kalamazoo County Land Bank

Published on July 12, 2018
Michigan Association of Land Banks highlights Kalamazoo County Land Bank as a case study in a statewide economic impact study. This study clearly demonstrates and quantifies the enormous economic impact land banks have on Michigan communities.

Michigan’s land banks can now place a dollar value on the impact they have in their communities. Over the last nine years, the Kalamazoo County Land Bank has put nearly $20 million back into the local economy and created an estimated 270 full time jobs in construction, landscaping and related industries!

This report validates what we have all known for years: Land banks matter, land banks make a difference and land banks are an integral part in benefiting families, neighborhoods and local communities. Michigan is a pioneer in the land bank movement and has remained at the forefront for more than a decade. Michigan isn’t just the Great Lakes State. It’s the Great Land Bank State too!

Read now.

Michigan Strategic Fund Supports Community Revitalization Project in Kalamazoo

Published on June 27, 2018
Kalamazoo, Mich. – 400 Rose, LLC plans to redevelop vacant land and a surface parking lot located at 400 S. Rose Street in downtown Kalamazoo. The completed project will be a four-story, mixed-use infill development that will include residential units, commercial space and parking. The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of $25.5 million and create seven full-time equivalent jobs, resulting in a $4.4 million Michigan Community Revitalization Program performance-based loan participation. The project will bring much-needed residential space to the area and will reactivate a long-vacant, blighted property into an inviting and attractive community asset.

In addition, the City of Kalamazoo Brownfield Redevelopment Authority received MSF approval of $3,632,517 in local and school tax capture to alleviate brownfield conditions at the site.

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MSF supports Stryker’s $109.8M expansion of medical-products manufacturing facility

Published on June 26, 2018
LANSING, Mich. – One of the state’s core innovative companies with deep Michigan roots, Stryker Corporation, will expand capacity of its medical-device products with a $109-million investment at its 79-acre industrial site in Portage, located in Kalamazoo County.

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New Seven-Story Mixed-Use Building to Bring More Jobs & Housing to Downtown Kalamazoo

Published on April 16, 2018
Kalamazoo, Mich., April 12, 2018 – Catalyst Development Co., LLC (Catalyst) plans to break ground in July 2018 on a $70 million, 290,000-square-foot mixed-use building in the heart of downtown Kalamazoo. The building is slated for a June 2020 completion date.This development will be located at the southwest corner of North Edwards and Water Streets, overlooking Arcadia Creek Festival Place.

Catalyst is transforming part of the city-owned Parking Lot 9 into a seven-story building with two floors of residential housing (41,000 square feet), four floors of Class-A office space (55,000 square feet), and a multi-level 300-plus space parking deck.

In addition to residential units, employment opportunities, and parking, features and highlights of the development will include: The Kalamazoo Promise, The Kalamazoo Promise Institute, Communities in Schools, Warner Norcross and Judd, LLP, and Southwest Michigan First.

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Catalyst Education Awards honor Southwest Michigan educators

Published on January 26, 2018
Kalamazoo, MI – Educators from Southwest Michigan were recognized yesterday with Catalyst Education Awards during Catalyst University, a daylong leadership event hosted by the regional economic development organization Southwest Michigan First at Wings Event Center in Kalamazoo.

The Catalyst Education Awards received applications from teachers, principals and entire schools from across Southwest Michigan, competing in each of the three categories—school, principal and teacher— to be recognized for innovations and achievements in K-12 education. The 2018 winning educators recognized were:

SCHOOL—Kalamazoo Regional Educational Service Agency, Kalamazoo, MI
PRINCIPAL—Mike Barwegen, Principal, Tobey Elementary School, Vicksburg, MI
TEACHER—Amy Cummings, Dowagiac Middle School, Dowagiac, MI

Midwest Opener wins Catalyst University’s annual Makers’ Mart competition

Published on January 26, 2018
Kalamazoo, MI – Midwest Opener earned the coveted Makers’ Mart title yesterday at Catalyst University, a daylong leadership event annually hosted by the regional economic development organization Southwest Michigan First at Wings Event Center in Kalamazoo. Midwest Opener was selected by the 2,800 event attendees from a pool of five finalists—all regional product makers based in Southwest Michigan.

Midwest Opener (midwestopener.co) located in Kalamazoo features custom-manufactured, stainless-steel bottle openers that let customers show off their unique pride.

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

Kalamazoo, MI – The Monroe-Brown Internship Program, a partnership between Southwest Michigan First and the Monroe-Brown Foundation, announces its 2018 summer college internships. This year’s 23 internships will be hosted by 18 Southwest Michigan companies and include opportunities in engineering, financial planning, human resources, marketing, architecture, construction and product management—to name a few.

Newell Brands Designs a Larger Presence in Kalamazoo

Published on September 26, 2017
Kalamazoo, MI – Newell Brands Inc. is expanding its 40,000-square-foot state -of-the-art design center in Western Michigan University’s Business Technology and Research Park in the city of Kalamazoo. The company has recently acquired the consumer products company Jarden and needs to expand its design capabilities in order to accommodate the additional product lines. The company plans to expand its existing product design and testing facility in the city of Kalamazoo, investing $7.3 million and creating 87 highly-paid design jobs.

Xcel Painting expanding in Southwest Michigan

Published on August 18, 2017
LANSING, Mich. – Xcel Painting is investing in St. Joseph County with support from the Michigan Strategic Fund, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced today. Xcel plans to establish a new facility in the village of White Pigeon, investing $1.75 million and creating 50 jobs. The company selected Michigan over a competing site in Indiana.

“Xcel’s investment in White Pigeon means good jobs for Michigan residents that could well have gone to another state,” said Jeff Mason, CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the state’s chief marketing and business attraction arm that administers programs and performs due diligence on behalf of the MSF.

Green Bay Packaging expands in Southwest Michigan

Published on June 14, 2017
Pavilion Township, MI – Custom corrugated packaging specialist Green Bay Packaging has broken ground on a 107,000-square-foot expansion, adding 3 new jobs in Pavilion Township.

Founded in 1933, Green Bay Packaging manufactures high-quality products for a variety of retail packaging and labeling applications, with 31 locations across the U.S. and Mexico. Its expansion in Kalamazoo County will be completed through an investment of $10,800,000, supported by a 12 year tax abatement approved by Pavilion Township.

Quality Precast adds new jobs in Southwest Michigan

Published on June 14, 2017
Alamo Township, MI – Local manufacturer Quality Precast, Inc. has announced that it will construct a new 25,000-square-foot production facility and corporate headquarters, adding 20 new jobs to Alamo Township.

A precast manufacturer specializing in manholes, large block retaining walls and more, Quality Precast will invest $1,352,185 in this expansion. In support of this project, the company received a $3,000 grant approved by the Kalamazoo County Brownfield Authority to conduct Phase I environmental site assessment. Alamo Township is also supporting the project with a 12 year tax abatement.

Zoetis to Expand Manufacturing Capacity in Kalamazoo

Published on May 11, 2017
Kalamazoo, MI – Zoetis Inc. has announced a plan to expand capacity at its Global Manufacturing and Supply facility in Kalamazoo, Mich. Zoetis will install two new production lines and related operations to manufacture oral tablet and chewable medicines for companion animals. The company expects to add up to 45 manufacturing positions in the next three years.

Southwest Michigan First Opens Applications for the Catalyst Education Awards

Published on May 1, 2017
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.

On January 25, 2018, up to four (4) teachers, two (2) principals and one (1) school in Southwest Michigan will be recognized with a Catalyst Education Award for excellence practices during Catalyst University, a daylong leadership event hosted by the regional economic development catalyst Southwest Michigan First at Wings Event Center in Kalamazoo, and recognized in the pages of 269 MAGAZINE.

Joe Agostinelli Wins 40 Under 40 Award in Economic Development

Published on January 31, 2017
Jacksonville, FL – Joe Agostinelli, partner, Southwest Michigan First, has been selected as a winner in the economic development profession’s 40 Under 40 awards, the only award of its kind recognizing young talent in the economic development industry.

An independent six-member selection committee chose the winners from a pool of more than 170 candidates based on their exceptional contributions to the economic development industry. The award’s program was managed by Development Counsellors International (DCI), a New York-based firm that specializes in economic development marketing.

Catalyst Education Awards honor Southwest Michigan educators

Published on January 27, 2017
Kalamazoo, MI – Educators from Southwest Michigan were recognized yesterday with the first-ever Catalyst Education Awards during Catalyst University, a daylong leadership event hosted by the regional economic development organization Southwest Michigan First at Wings Event Center in Kalamazoo.

The 2017 Catalyst Education Awards received applications from teachers, principals and entire schools from across Southwest Michigan, competing in each of the three categories—school, principal and teacher— to be recognized for innovations and achievements in K-12 education.

Kalamazoo Candle Company wins Catalyst University’s annual Makers’ Mart competition

Published on January 27, 2017
Kalamazoo, MI – Kalamazoo Candle Company earned the coveted Makers’ Mart title yesterday at Catalyst University, a daylong leadership event annually hosted by the regional economic development organization Southwest Michigan First at Wings Event Center in Kalamazoo. Kalamazoo Candle Company was selected by the 2,500 event attendees from a pool of four finalists—all regional product makers based in Southwest Michigan.

The Monroe-Brown Internship Program announces 23 summer internships in Southwest Michigan!

Published on January 9, 2017
Kalamazoo, MI – The Monroe-Brown Internship Program, a partnership between Southwest Michigan First and the Monroe-Brown Foundation, announces its 2017 summer college internships. This year’s 23 internships will be hosted by 18 Southwest Michigan companies and include opportunities in engineering, financial planning, human resources, marketing, architecture, construction and product management – to name a few.

Stryker Corporation® Expands Southwest Michigan Footprint

Published on December 20, 2016
Portage, MI – Stryker Corporation’s (NYSE: SYK) instruments division plans to establish a new 485,000-square-foot facility in the city of Portage, investing more than $130 million and creating 105 jobs. The division is experiencing significant growth and the company needs an expanded facility to support a new corporate campus. The facility will likely feature a customer experience center, functioning showroom, R&D and bio-skills labs, as well as space for sales, marketing and support functions.

Sigma Machine Inc. adds new jobs in Southwest Michigan

Published on December 14, 2016
Comstock Township, MI – Locally owned manufacturer Sigma Machine Inc. has announced that it will significantly expand its existing footprint inside Midlink Business Park, adding 58 new jobs to Comstock Township.

A tier 1 supplier to Tesla Motors, Sigma Machine plans to invest $27,800,000 to complete this expansion. As a result of the 58 jobs this project will create, the Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant is awarding the company $350,000. Michigan was chosen over a competing site in Wisconsin for this project.

mophie powers up new jobs in Southwest Michigan

Published on December 8, 2016
Texas Township, MI – A consumer electronics accessory company, mophie, LLC, has announced that it will expand in Texas Township, creating 65 new jobs. The number one selling battery case manufacturer in North America, mophie will invest $685,000 to complete this project, and has been awarded a $375,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant in support of the jobs being created. Michigan was chosen over a competing site in Utah for this project.

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.

Southwest Michigan First launches regional internship portal to keep talent local

Published on June 23, 2015
KALAMAZOO, MI – Southwest Michigan First announces the launch of its new internship web portal: MIINTERNSHIP.com, a one-stop source for employers and students to post and find internship, apprenticeship, fellowship and co-op positions throughout the Southwest Michigan Region.

The Shovel Will Hit the Dirt in White Pigeon as Forest River Manufacturing Breaks Ground on New Site

Published on May 6, 2015
WHITE PIGEON, MI – On Wednesday, May 13, 2015 at 9:00 am, Forest River Manufacturing will break ground on its future Michigan site to be located at 500 West Chicago Road, White Pigeon, MI 49099.

Southwest Michigan First to host Populus, a one-day event for community change-makers to get stuff done

Published on March 31, 2015
KALAMAZOO, MI – Southwest Michigan First will host its second annual Populus conference on May 1, 2015 in downtown Kalamazoo. Populus 2015 is a one-day event designed to foster collaboration and spur real change in the community as thought leaders, policy makers and engaged citizens work together to solve some of Southwest Michigan’s most critical issues.

Katie Perry and Tim Terrentine Named Top Young Economic Developers in Nation

Published on February 2, 2015
Palm Beach, Florida – Katie Perry, vice president, and Tim Terrentine, executive vice president, of Southwest Michigan First, have both been selected as winners in the economic development profession’s 40 Under 40 awards, the only award of its kind recognizing young talent in the economic development profession.

Southwest Michigan First was one of only two economic development organizations that had two winners selected.

400 jobs to be created by Forest River Manufacturing

Published on January 27, 2015
LANSING—Sen. John Proos on Tuesday applauded Forest River Manufacturing for their expansion and their plan to invest more than $7 million in a project to create nearly 400 jobs in White Pigeon.alamazoo Promise Institute, Communities in Schools, Warner Norcross and Judd, LLP, and Southwest Michigan First.

FILING ALERT: Personal Property Tax Exemptions

Published on January 26, 2015
Here at Southwest Michigan First, we’re always on the lookout to keep your business moving forward.

For our local manufacturers, the time has come for us to remind you of upcoming deadlines to file for Personal Property Tax exemptions approved by state voters last August.

Summer internships for Southwest Michigan’s college and university students are heating up

Published on January 12, 2015
KALAMAZOO, Michigan – Southwest Michigan’s college and university students should start thinking now about summer for all the right reasons! The Monroe-Brown Internship Program, a collaboration between Southwest Michigan First and the Monroe-Brown Foundation, has announced its 2015 internships offered by local companies to currently enrolled college students. This year’s 33 internship offerings at 26 companies include opportunities in engineering, health sciences, information technology, production planning, merchandising, architecture, interior design, human resources, marketing, sales and financial management.

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