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Southwest Michigan First, MEDC Partnership Targets Job Creation

KALAMAZOO -- Southwest Michigan First, the economic development agency for the Kalamazoo area, Tuesday announced a collaboration with the Michigan Economic Development Corp. to expand its business growth team. 

Shelley Klug will join Southwest Michigan First to serve as the Business Development Manager for the MEDC covering Southwest Michigan First's expanded region which includes the counties of Allegan, Berrien, Branch, Calhoun, Cass, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph and Van Buren.

In accordance with Gov. Snyder's plan to spur business attraction and acceleration within the state, the MEDC has aligned territories across the state to better serve the region's employers, future customers and partners. Towards this effort, Klug's duties will center on supporting Southwest Michigan First's business retention efforts throughout the region and represent the state with regional primary employers in order to foster job creation. 

"Southwest Michigan First and the MEDC understand that our state's most valuable economic development asset in creating jobs is our resident companies.  Our ongoing collaboration, which is supported by Shelley's time, talent and focused attention, will undoubtedly better serve our companies for the overall economic benefit of the region and increase our ability to respond faster to company needs," said Ron Kitchens, CEO of the Southwest Michigan First Group of Companies.

Prior to joining the MEDC, Klug served as the executive director for the Southwestern Michigan Economic Growth Alliance providing economic development services for eleven municipalities in southern Berrien County as well as managing the Berrien County Manufacturers Council. Klug's background also includes regional planning with the Southwest Michigan Planning Commission and experience working with companies and municipalities to provide support with planning and grant writing. She holds a bachelor's degree in community services from Siena Heights University.
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