Michiana resident welcomed to leadership role at SMEGA

Published 9:29 am Wednesday, February 3, 2016

For a number of years, Joe Sobieralski, a Brandywine graduate and lifelong Niles resident, worked hard to grow the economy of Berrien and Cass counties as the director of the Southwest Michigan Economic Growth Alliance, and his hard work certainly seemed to make a difference.

Businesses have continued to pop up left and right throughout southwest Michigan — filling not only downtown storefronts, but also busy highways like South 11th Street and M-51 with franchises. Of course there was plenty of business loss as well, but in the wake of an economic recession, the steady flow of new commerce has been admirable, and much of that can be credited to work done by SMEGA.

This is why, when Sobieralski announced he would be relocating to Battle Creek for a new opportunity, we were sad to see him go.

However, we’re happy to see a Michiana man move into the role of director of the growth alliance.

Though Barkley Garrett lives south of the state line, what we’ve learned about him so far shows that he will be a good fit for leading southwest Michigan.

Garrett’s willingness to get out and meet people (as he will at the meet and greet at the Niles Library tonight), his teamwork mentality and his enthusiasm for the position are all great signs that he is capable of keeping the ball rolling on economic growth in southwest Michigan.

We’re excited to get to know Garrett and see all he can do to keep business booming in Berrien and Cass counties.


Opinions expressed are those of the editorial board consisting of Publisher Michael Caldwell and editors Ambrosia Neldon, Craig Haupert, Ted Yoakum and Scott Novak.