Ron Kitchens
Preeminence is excellence achieved and sustained.

Ron’s focus is to assist leaders to accelerate their impact and well-being in career, family and community.

Ron is the senior partner and chief executive officer of Southwest Michigan First, an economic consulting firm, which includes Consultant Connect and the Southwest Michigan First Life Science Fund. He is the publisher of 269 MAGAZINE, board member of Impact Athletic, chairman of the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts and a Trustee of Western Michigan University.

Ron is the founder of the leadership conference Catalyst University and the co-founder of NEXT, an invitation-only leadership symposium for global economic development leaders.

Ron and his teams have been extensively featured in over 100 national and international media outlets including The Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, CBS, NBC, Fox, USA Today, Forbes, Fortune, The Economist and National Public Radio.

Under his leadership, Southwest Michigan First has been named to the list of the National Best and Brightest Companies to Work For five years running and, in 2012, was recognized as the Best Small Business to Work For in America by the National Association of Business Resources. In addition, Outside Magazine named the organization to its Top 3 Best Places to Work, Fast Company as one of its Fast 50, and The Wall Street Journal to its list of Best Places to Work.

Ron is author/co-author of 3 books, including the bestseller Community Capitalism: Lessons from Kalamazoo. He blogs and podcasts at and can be found on Twitter @ronkitchens.