Thursday, May 12, 2011

May Keystone Breakfast to feature Southwest Michigan First CEO

A local audience will have the chance to learn about the current state of the economy in Southwest Michigan at the May presentation of the Keystone Community Bank Breakfast Speaker Series at Western Michigan University.

Ron Kitchens, chief executive officer of Southwest Michigan First, will speak at 8 a.m. Friday, May 27, in the Dean’s Conference Room of Schneider Hall, home of the Haworth College of Business. Kitchens will provide an update on the local and state economy in his talk, which is free and open to the public.

The event begins with a continental breakfast at 7:30 a.m. Reservations are required and may be made by calling (269) 387-6059. Free parking is available in the Fetzer Center parking lot.

Kitchens is a graduate of Missouri State University and the University of Oklahoma Economic Development Institute. He completed the Harvard Business School's Negotiation and Managerial Decision-Making program; and holds the designation of Certified Economic Developer.

Throughout his career in economic development in Michigan, Texas and Missouri, Kitchens has worked with more than 200 Fortune 500, international or regional corporations as diverse as GE Capital, Aker, Celanese, Scholastic, Kiewit Offshore Services, Boeing, Exxon Mobil and Ryan Sanders Baseball.

Kitchens has been extensively featured in over 100 national and international media outlets, and he speaks to business and professional groups throughout the nation. He is the author of “Community Capitalism: Lessons from Kalamazoo and Beyond,” and is a regular contributor to economic development and leadership columns in local and national publications.

In addition to his position at Southwest Michigan First, Kitchens is the general partner of the Southwest Michigan First Life Science Fund.

The speaker series is underwritten by Keystone Community Bank.

Southwest Michigan First
Southwest Michigan First is the catalyst stimulating growth across the Kalamazoo Region. Nationally recognized for its groundbreaking "Community Capitalism" approach to economic development, Southwest Michigan First is a private, nonprofit corporation fully committed to its mission of jobs and wealth creation.