Niles native leading SMEGAPublished 11:55am Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Niles native Joe Sobieralski has taken over as executive director of Southwestern Michigan Economic Growth Alliance for Shelley Klug, who left for another job earlier this year.
Sobieralski, a 2005 graduate of Brandywine High School, became executive director Feb. 4.
Sobieralski actually began his career at SMEGA, working as a project manager alongside Klug from July 2009 to March 2011. He then served as village manager in Stevensville for approximately one year before taking a job as city manager in Bangor for about seven months.
That’s when SMEGA contacted Sobieralski about filling the opening created when Klug left to become business development manager at Michigan Economic Development Corporation.
“It was a chance for me to move back home and do something that is really in line with what I want to do — it was the right fit,” said Sobieralski a 2009 graduate of Michigan State University who earned his master’s degree in public administration from Western Michigan University in December.
As executive director, Sobieralski will take the lead on all things economic development in southwest Michigan. He will be responsible for facilitating site selection for prospective clients, helping existing businesses expand and marketing the area as an attractive destination for business.
“I really want to build on the foundation that already exists… and help bring in jobs and help existing businesses with growth,” he said.
Sobieralski said he is excited to see how changes in legislation — such as the recent passage of Right to Work and the possible elimination of the personal property tax — will affect business growth in the area.
“I know not everybody is a fan [of Right to Work], but when it comes to economic development there’s some pros there,” he said. “You will probably see some influx from some companies out of the state looking in the state.”
The Southwestern Alliance is a non-profit economic development organization partnering with business, government, and other community support organizations to encourage economic growth and development in southwest Michigan.
It is located at 333 N. 2nd St., Niles.