SUMMIT 2019 is an educational opportunity of high relevance to economic and community development with an emphasis on the continued sustainability of the southwest Michigan region. SUMMIT 2019 will attract executive-level attendees from the tri-state area as well as policy makers and those who influence policy makers.
Bob Sutherland, Founder and President of Cherry Republic, Bob Sutherland will share the story of how the largest exclusively cherry retailer in the country started very humbly out of the trunk of his car in 1989. In the magical land of Cherry Republic, while the borders have expanded, Glen Arbor, Michigan reigns as the Motherland.
Eric Erwin, CEO and President of FloraCraft, the world’s leading manufacturer of foam products for the craft and floral industries. Eric will team up with Michael Smith, V.P. of Fabrication/Packaging to share the success story of how FloraCraft, founded after World War II, has grown steadily the past 70 years by expanding product lines to meet the needs of customers today.
Jennifer Owens, President of Lakeshore Advantage, has more than 15 years of economic development leadership experience at the local and state level throughout Michigan. She specializes in business retention, expansion, and attraction, and was named one of Grand Rapids Business Journal’s 50 Most Influential Women in West Michigan in 2018.
Jim Hettinger, CEO of JH Urban Development Services, LLC, served as President of Battle Creek Unlimited for 30 years, he now lends his expertise as a consultant to economic development programs across the country. He has authored a book published in two languages, as well as over 200 articles for economic development journals.