WMU News

Kalamazoo SmartZone lauded by MEDC

April 30, 2003

KALAMAZOO -- The Michigan Economic Development Corp. has lauded the Kalamazoo community and development of Western Michigan University's Business Technology and Research Park for "outstanding performance and cooperative efforts in developing a SmartZone."

The MEDC singled out Kalamazoo's SmartZone from among 11 such developments statewide in an April 29 Lansing ceremony that honored outstanding contributions to the state's economic vitality. The event, the sixth annual Business Success Celebration at the Michigan State Capitol Rotunda, featured awards to Michigan organizations in eight areas of economic development excellence. Awards were presented by David Hollister, director of the Department of Consumer and Industry Services and member of the MEDC's Executive Committee.

Accepting the award on behalf of the Kalamazoo initiative was Bob Miller, WMU associate vice president for community outreach; Jerome Kisscorni, Kalamazoo assistant city manager; and Sandra Cochrane, who heads the Technology Initiative at Southwest Michigan First, which is Kalamazoo's economic development agency.

"The honorees are made up of businesses, educational institutions and economic developers that have provided significant contributions to the state over the last year," said Sabrina Keeley, acting CEO of the MEDC. "It is important to recognize the work they all do as partners in Michigan's ongoing economic development success story."

WMU's Business Technology and Research Park is the centerpiece of the Kalamazoo SmartZone, a partnership involving MEDC, the city of Kalamazoo, Southwest Michigan First and the University. The 137-acre BTR Park is part of Western Michigan University's 265-acre Parkview Campus, which is also the new home for the WMU College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, scheduled to open in fall 2003. The Southwestern Michigan Innovation Center, an incubator for start-up companies involved in pharmaceutical product development, is located at the park next to the new engineering college complex.

A total of 12 high-tech businesses have committed to the park since its inception in 1999. All are in the park's three main focus areas--life sciences, information technology and advanced engineering. The park was designated a Michigan SmartZone in 2001.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 269 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

WMU News
Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
269 387-8400