Our staff offers a complementary suite of skills and expertise in every facet of the economic development landscape, from analysis and planning to redevelopment and business support, and everything in between. Whatever your question may be, we’re here to help.
Jerome serves as the Director of the City’s Economic Development Department and Assistant City Manager. Jerome oversees the operation of the City’s various economic development functions and provides his expertise across many City initiatives, including the Economic Development Corporation and the Brownfield Redevelopment Authority. Jerome’s expertise comes from his 15 years working for the City of Kalamazoo, as well as his time serving as City Manager for multiple Michigan communities, including Sturgis and Tecumseh. Jerome received a Master of Public Administration degree from Western Michigan University.
Eric Kemmer is the Development Manager for the City of Kalamazoo’s Economic Development Department. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Resource Development and a Master of Science degree in Environmental Policy and Law, both from Michigan State University. Eric has over 26 years of experience in the environmental profession, both as a private consultant and in management of the City of Kalamazoo’s Brownfield Redevelopment Initiative, where he has been employed since July of 2006. Eric worked as an Environmental Scientist, Project Manager, and Lead Technical Manager for environmental consulting firms for 16 years, specializing in environmental assessments, Brownfield redevelopment projects, and regulatory compliance.
Sara Jo is the Redevelopment Project Manager for the City of Kalamazoo since 2016. Her work is to manage, coordinate and implement redevelopment and economic development projects from conception to completion. After receiving her Master’s in Community Planning from the University of Cincinnati, she started at the Northern Kentucky Area Development District as a Community Development Specialist. Global travel keeps her energized and her imagination in overdrive as she looks at the best the world has to offer and tries to figure out how to bring those elements home to Kalamazoo.
The cornerstone of a successful community is its ability to provide access to well-paying jobs across multiple market segments. As the Economic Development Coordinator, Ryan’s work focuses on enhancing the economic vitality of the City of Kalamazoo. Ryan’s leadership in areas of business intelligence, retention, and expansion serves to ensure entrepreneurs and second stage growth companies remain competitive in an ever-changing global economy. His background in business development ranges from serving as a lobbyist for several chambers of commerce across the country to providing consultation to small and medium-sized businesses in southwest Michigan. Ryan applies this national experience to help local companies grow and prosper.
Dwayne Powell, Jr. is a Kalamazoo native and proud alumnus of Western Michigan University. Dwayne brings his passion for Kalamazoo and local economic and community development to his new position with the City of Kalamazoo as the Neighborhood Business & Special Projects Coordinator. He is wholeheartedly dedicated to the economic renaissance of Kalamazoo’s urban neighborhoods and commercial districts. His aim is to partner with local neighborhood and business leaders to drive the creation of new jobs through business development. His strong background in business management, community organizing and entrepreneurship acumen coupled with a significant track record of driving profitability gains and huge revenues within highly competitive organizations has allowed him to gain the expertise to manage the coordination of various political subdivisions to facilitate and support grassroots economic growth efforts.