BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Kenneth K. Jones, Sr. PS

Mr. Jones began his career in his father’s business and conducted land survey operations across the northern lower and upper peninsula of Michigan. In 1988 Mr. Jones assumed his present position as President and founder of Jones Petrie and Rafinski (JPR). Over the course of the last 30 years Mr. Jones has led the multi disciplined A & E firm as it has expanded to provide a wide variety of services to a diverse clientele. This includes municipal entities of all sizes along with private clients including industrial and commercial developers across the Midwest East Coast to Florida. Ken’s Background in development planning brings a unique perspective to his duties with the St. Joseph County Edge. Ken and his wife Kim live in Southern St. Joseph County and Ken is deeply committed to the economic health of our community. He currently serves as a Chairman of the EDGE and Brownfields Management Board here in St. Joseph County, Michigan.

Chris Orlowski

Chris Orlowski, General Manager, has served on the management team of XL Machine Company, Inc. (XL) since 2012. Chris began his career on the shop floor as a machinist in 2000, and can still be found in both office and shop floor environments. With 17 years of experience in the machining industry, Chris has held key managerial positions at Burke E. Porter Machinery Company, both part of the Burke Porter Group. Chris has grown XL Machine Company from a quality, prototype machining center at $7M in sales to multiple large capacity prototype to production facilities, now $16M in sales. Chris is currently on the board of St. Joseph County Edge where he serves as Vice President. He is also on the steering committee of Kalamazoo county EFE and St. Joseph county CTE helping high school students prepare for the workplace.

Jeff Romig

Jeff Romig is president of Pyramid Leadership, LLC of Three Rivers, MI which provides consulting services in the areas of strategic planning, talent and leadership development, business development and business execution. Jeff retired in April 2017 as corporate director of development and a member of the executive committee for Armstrong Global Holdings, a position he held since 2008. His leadership responsibilities included M&A, leadership development, strategic planning and new business development.

Prior to joining Armstrong, he served as vice president of marketing for the Power Systems Division of Cooper Industries (now an Eaton Company) and in a variety of global executive roles in 22 years at Eaton Corporation, including; sales and marketing leadership roles and division general manager in the truck group, corporate vice president of supply chain management and most recently as vice president and general manager of a number of businesses in the automotive group. Before joining Eaton, he was associated with Ford Motor Company in a variety of automotive field marketing roles.

Romig holds a Bachelor of Science degree in automotive industrial technology from Western Michigan University and a Master of Arts degree in management from Nazareth College. He is also a graduate of the 2020 Global Leadership Program at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. In addition, Jeff participated in and later served as faculty member of Eaton Corporations internal executive leadership development program.

Jeff is a board member of the St. Joseph County EDGE (county economic development organization), the Gilmore Car Museum, a member of the Three Rivers Rotary Club (named a Paul Harris Fellow in 2014) and a board member of the Fisher Lake Association. He is a former board member (2014-2016) of Southwest Michigan First, and the St. Joseph County United Way, serving as its president in 2012 and completing 6 years of service to the board in 2014. Past community involvement also includes serving on advisory boards at Howard University, Ferris State University and Northwood University and as board member of Three Rivers Community Schools.

Jeff and his wife Harriett were raised and reside in Three Rivers, Michigan and have three children and five grandchildren. While they have lived and worked in other communities, they are proud to call Three Rivers their home and are dedicated to supporting the unique quality of life available in southwest Michigan.

Eric J. Wynes

President of Century Bank and Trust. Sturgis resident since 2001. BA from Central Michigan University (’92). Current/Past Community Involvement: Past President of the Sturgis Area Chamber of Commerce, In-coming President of the Sturgis Kiwanis Club, Sturgis Area Business Education Alliance member, St. Joseph County EDGE board member.

Eric is motivated to assist any way possible to improve life for all in St. Joseph County through economic and social efforts.

David Allen

David H. Allen is Vice President, Regulatory & Gas Operations for Midwest Energy & Communications (MEC) in Cassopolis, Michigan. Prior to joining MWE in 2008, Dave spent three years as Vice President, Business Development Officer/Commercial Lender for First National Bank in Three Rivers, three years as Executive Director for the St. Joseph County Economic Development Corporation, one year as Manager, Business Retention with Southwest Michigan First in Kalamazoo and fourteen years with SEMCO Energy in both Three Rivers and Battle Creek. When he left SEMCO Energy in 2001, Dave was Manager, Central District Operations & Public Affairs.

Dave received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1983 and his Masters of Public Administration degree from Western Michigan University in 1986. Currently, he serves on several local, state and national boards.

Eric Eishen

Education - Sturgis High School, Michigan State University – Finance, University of Notre Dame – MBA.

Employment – Sturgis Bancorp Inc. – President/CEO, Sturgis Bank & Trust Company – President/CEO

Professional Service – Michigan Bankers Association – Past President, Michigan Chamber of Commerce – Board Member, American Bankers Association – Member, Past Michigan Banker of the Year (2014).

Current Local Service – Sturgis EDC – Board member, St. Joseph County EDGE – Board Member, Sturgis Kiwanis, Sturgis Area Community Foundation - Trustee

My affiliation with the Edge is driven by my desire to see St. Joseph County and our Citizens realize a better living though thoughtful and focused Economic Development. I believe that providing opportunities to our local citizens will result in a better living and more opportunity.

Eric Scheske

Eric J. Scheske is a shareholder with Bird, Scheske, Reed & Beemer, P.C. A graduate of the University of Michigan and University of Notre Dame, he is licensed to practice in Michigan and Indiana. His practice emphasizes service to closely-held businesses. He is past president of the Sturgis Area Chamber of Commerce, and he has served either as a volunteer director or a pro bono legal adviser to dozens of nonprofit organizations.

Cathi Abbs

Cathi is the Executive Director of the Sturgis Area Chamber of Commerce. She loves serving the members and community and is amazed at the volunteerism and philanthropy in Sturgis and St. Joseph County. While she has traveled extensively in the past, Cathi always states, "There's no place like home."

Prior to the Chamber, she was the Occupational Healthcare Manager at Sturgis Hospital for three years providing pre-employment services, managing work-related injuries, and ergonomic educational programs. Twenty-eight years of her career were in a variety of roles at Kirsch/Cooper Industries/Newell Rubbermaid. Twenty of those were spent in the Marketing/Sales Department in product management.

Cathi is a board member of the St. Joseph County EDGE (economic development), SJC Community Mental Health, SJC Animal Control, Downtown Sturgis Association, Junior Achievement, Sturgis Area Business Education Alliance, a member of Sturgis Exchange Club including former President, and the Generate Sturgis Committee.

John Wiedlea

John T. Wiedlea is founder and President of Automation Plus, Inc. He is also the Co-Director of the Sturgis Area Community Foundation. He is 65 years old and has been a Director of the Sturgis Bank & Trust Company since 2006. He also is audit chair for the Bank. He is Chairman of the Sturgis Economic Development Corporation, Sturgis Improvement Association and Brownfield Development of Sturgis. He serves as a member of the St. Joseph County Edge Board.

SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN FIRST

The EDGE currently contracts with Southwest Michigan First for services and resources relating to economic growth and development in St. Joseph County.

Cathy Knapp, CEcD

With a pinch of positivity and a dash of creativity, Cathy Knapp knows how to mix ingredients for success, whether she’s serving a client or dishing up a great meal. As self-proclaimed “foodies,” Cathy and her husband, Kim, have made it their mission to meet or attend the restaurants of the Food Network chefs. The inspiration they’be gained serves them well at home, where Kim takes on the role of Executive Chef and Cathy is the Pastry Chef.

A Certified Economic Developer, Cathy cooks up the next big project at Southwest Michigan First’s office based in Sturgis. She holds responsibility for delivering business consulting services to St. Joseph County’s existing companies and managing the project pipeline associated with those businesses.

A graduate of Ferris State University, she is a member and past president of Sturgis Rotary Club, a member of the International Economic Development Council and serves on the Education Committee for the Michigan Economic Developers Association. Cathy has also been active with Sturgis Public Schools’ Business Partnership program.

While cooking is Cathy’s pastime of choice, she spends most evenings and weekends with her husband and three children and, depending on the time of year, enjoying a sunset while boating on one of St. Joseph County’s many scenic lakes and rivers.

"Great things in business are never done by one person. They're done by a team of people."
- Steve Jobs