Southwest Michigan First | WMUK

Southwest Michigan First

County Leaves SW Michigan First

Mar 2, 2021
Andy Robins / WMUK

Kalamazoo County commissioners have voted to suspend payments to Southwest Michigan First.

File photo of Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield speaking with reporters on Thursday, May 9, 2019, in the Capitol in Lansing, Mich. Dave Eggert, AP
Dave Eggert / Associated Press

Less than two weeks after being named the new CEO of Southwest Michigan First, former state House Speaker Lee Chatfield announced his resignation Monday morning. Chatfield’s hiring was met with heavy criticism from local government officials, and various non-profit groups.

Andy Robins / WMUK

Kalamazoo is cutting its ties to Southwest Michigan First. City commissioners pulled out of the regional economic development agency on Monday February 15.

Earlene McMichael / WMUK

Tim Terrentine, one of Kalamazoo County’s fastest rising young leaders who was recently named Western Michigan University’s vice president of development and alumni relations, is today's featured guest on WMUK's WestSouthwest public-affairs show. At age 37, he’s already been an executive director of a nonprofit organization, and now a vice president for a second time. But in a candid interview with Earlene McMichael, Terrentine shares that his many successes almost didn’t happen, even having once dropped out of college until mentors intervened.


Earlene McMichael / WMUK

It was a time of plant closings and corporate downsizing when Southwest Michigan First formed in 1999 in Kalamazoo. SWMF CEO Ron Kitchens says the 14 business leaders who dreamed up the group wanted it to keep existing employers here and, draw new ones to the region. The organization has been successful in doing that, Kitchens tells WMUK's Earlene McMichael on today's WestSouthwest public-affairs show. In the last five years alone, Southwest Michigan has seen a net gain of about 37,000 jobs, and he says his group's efforts are one of the contributing factors in job growth.


Pages