WKZO: Business Outlook for Southwest Michigan

Published on October 10, 2018
KALAMAZOO (WKZO-AM/FM) — WKZO’s Ken Lanphear is joined by Southwest Michigan First’s senior partner & ceo, Ron Kitchens, to talk about regional job announcements and Western Michigan University’s impact on the regional economy.

Listen here.

Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet Brings New Jobs and Investment to MI

Published on September 27, 2018
LANSING, Mich. – Two business expansions and a community revitalization project that will generate a total of $69.5 million in private investment and create 66 jobs have received support from the Michigan Strategic Fund, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced today.

Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet, LLC, headquartered in Chicago, is the leading manufacturer of premium grills, pizza ovens, cabinets and luxury outdoor cooking equipment for residential outdoor kitchens. Kalamazoo is experiencing consistent growth in North America and is positioning itself to expand further into global markets. As a result, the company plans to expand its operations in Comstock Charter Township by investing $3.1 million in its facilities and boosting its workforce by creating 31 jobs. As a result, Kalamazoo has been awarded a $200,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. Michigan was chosen for the expansion over competing sites in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Nevada.

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EPA Approves Spear®-Lep Bioinsecticide for Use on Outdoor Crops

Published on September 20, 2018
Kalamazoo, Michigan – Vestaron Corporation today announces approval from the EPA of its Spear®-Lep bioinsecticide for control of lepidopterans in high- value field crops.

This approval makes Spear®-Lep the second peptide-based product developed by Vestaron, following the full EPA approval and subsequent commercial launch of Spear®-T for greenhouse crops this July.

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Michigan Milk Producers Association’s expanded dairy plant boosts milk processing capacity in Michigan

Published on September 19, 2018
LANSING, Mich. – A dairy processing facility in the village of Constantine plans to expand its milk processing capacity with support from the Michigan Strategic Fund, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced today.

Michigan Milk Producers Association, a dairy farmer-owned cooperative and dairy producer serving more than 1,700 farmers in the Midwest, plans to add a new 7,500-square-foot processing area to its existing facility. The project is expected to generate a total investment of $24 million and create 11 jobs. Michigan was chosen over a competing site in Indiana.

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MLIVE: Western Michigan had $1.6 billion impact on local economy last year

Published on September 14, 2018
By Kayla Miller

KALAMAZOO, MI — Western Michigan University contributed over $1 billion dollars to the Kalamazoo-area economy in a one-year span, according to a new report.

The economic impact the university has on the region is about $1.6 billion, according to a report paid for jointly by Western Michigan University and Southwest Michigan First.

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WKZO: Southwest Michigan First Business Update

Published on September 5, 2018
KALAMAZOO (WKZO-AM/FM) — WKZO’s Ken Lanphear is joined by Southwest Michigan First’s senior partner & ceo, Ron Kitchens, to talk about regional trends in job growth, workforce, and employer efforts to keep on pace with demand.

Listen here.

The Great Debate with Greg LeRoy and Ron Kitchens: Predicting the Future of Economic Incentives

Published on September 4, 2018
Development Counsellors International — To Incentivize or Not Incentivize? Southwest Michigan First’s Ron Kitchens appears as a guest, along with Executive Director Greg LeRoy of Good Jobs First, on Development Counsellors International’s podcast to debate the role of economic incentives in America’s future.

Listen here.

The stars (and three new jobs) are aligned in Marcellus

Published on August 27, 2018
Marcellus, Mich. – TriStar Molding, a family-owned custom plastics injection molding company located in Marcellus, will bring three new jobs to that community.

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WKZO: Southwest Michigan First Business Update

Published on August 9, 2018
KALAMAZOO (WKZO-AM/FM) — WKZO’s Ken Lanphear is joined by Southwest Michigan First’s senior partner & ceo, Ron Kitchens, to talk about regional job announcements, primary outcomes and civil discourse.

Listen here.

On Pace

On Highway M-60, where it winds past scenic lakes and lush farmland in St. Joseph County, sits a dynamic manufacturer of high-profile parts for the automotive, marine, agricultural, entertainment, and industrial sectors.

Revved-up auto enthusiasts readily seek out its products such as covers for the superchargers on General Motors’ Corvette, Camaro, and Cadillac supercars, and superchargers for Roush Racing that power the Ford Mustang and Raptor.

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.

View the Press Release

MLIVE: Group of millennials behind Kalamazoo event center proposal

Published on July 14, 2018
KALAMAZOO, MI — A Southwest Michigan First task force charged with finding solutions to attract young people to the region revived long-stalled plans for an events center in Kalamazoo.

The region’s economic development organization assembled civic and business leaders under the age of 35 last year. Southwest Michigan First CEO Ron Kitchens said the group was created to elevate the voices of the “next generation,” and members were picked through an informal nominating process.

Read the full article.

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!

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WKZO: Southwest Michigan First Business Update

Published on July 11, 2018
KALAMAZOO (WKZO-AM/FM) — WKZO’s Ken Lanphear is joined by Southwest Michigan First’s senior partner & ceo, Ron Kitchens, to talk about regional job announcements and infrastructure.

Listen here.

WOODTV.COM: Events center needed to revive downtown Kalamazoo

Published on July 10, 2018
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — The pieces of the puzzle may be falling into place for an event center in downtown Kalamazoo.

Supporters, Kalamazoo County and Western Michigan University would have to all work together to make it a reality.

Watch now.