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The pandemic economy is the topic of the next virtual Speaker Series event, co-presented by The Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan and the Speakers Series of South Haven

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March 11, 2021
BENTON HARBOR, MI – The Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan Speaker Series, hosted by The Mendel Center at Lake Michigan College, and the Speakers Series of South Haven are collaborating to co-present the next online speaker series event on Thursday, April 22, at 7 pm. The evening’s topic is The Pandemic Economy and Beyond.
Guest speaker Dr. Paul Isely, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs in the Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University, will take a close-up look at the impact of COVID-19 on our economy and what we can expect as the pandemic comes to an end. He will be joined by local panelist Rob Cleveland, president and CEO of Cornerstone Alliance; and Jim Hettinger, president & CEO of Jim Hettinger Urban Development Services, LLC to discuss the local impact and economic outlook for southwest Michigan.
About the Speaker
Dr. Paul Isely
is the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs in the Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University. He joined the GVSU faculty in 1995, after earning his Ph.D. in Economics from Purdue University. He also holds an M.S. in Economics from Purdue University and a dual B.S. in Physics and Economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research and teaching interests include firm/country level innovation, environmental economics, and regional forecasting.
Rob Cleveland is the President and CEO of the Cornerstone Alliance. Located in Michigan's Great Southwest, the Cornerstone Alliance is Berrien County's premiere economic development organization. He is a Certified Economic Development Professional (CEcD) by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC). At Cornerstone, Cleveland leads a team of a dozen individuals devoted to the enrichment of economic vitality, improved employment opportunities, expansion of the tax base and the creation of wealth in Berrien County.
Jim Hettinger is President and CEO of Jim Hettinger Urban Development Services, LLC, prior to which he was president of Battle Creek Unlimited for 20 years. Hettinger has written and published a book and numerous articles dealing with economic development. Hettinger has received letters of commendation from Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. In 2007, he was awarded an honorary doctorate in public service from Western Michigan University. He has served on the transition teams of two Michigan governors and was Governor Engler’s first Economic Developer of the Year in 1995. Hettinger is an instructor for the International Economic Development Council and has served as an Adjunct Professor at Western Michigan University. In 2014, Jim was elected Chair of the WMU Board of Trustees and served two terms as board chair. He completed his eight-year term at the university in 2016. In 2018, Jim was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, Silver and Gold Rays, from the Emperor of Japan for his contributions in developing U.S.—Japan relations. He is currently working on an economic development plan for Berrien County, Michigan.
Passes for this online event are free with registration. A pay-what-you-can option to support the series is also available. Passes are available at, or by calling 269-927-8700, option 1. Temporary box office hours are weekdays, 2 to 6 pm. Registration in advance is required to receive online access code.
About the Speakers Series of South Haven
The Speakers Series of South Haven is entering its seventh season and maintains its mission of engaging speakers who focus on issues, innovations and ideas shaping our lives. Plans are being made to continue with virtual presentations until sometime later this fall when it is safe to resume live programming.
About The Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan Speaker Series
Established in 1943, the Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan has brought more than 430 world leaders, policy makers, experts, and other newsmakers to the region. Its goal is to provide unique opportunities for personal and community growth. By presenting national and international speakers from a wide range of fields and expertise, this non-partisan series is dedicated to the discussion of social, economic, and public policy questions important in today’s complex society.
About The Mendel Center at Lake Michigan College
The Mendel Center raised the curtain on its first Mainstage season performance in the fall of 1992. Since that time, it has presented Mainstage season performances to more than half a million patrons in the 1,559-seat Mendel Center Mainstage Theatre. Newly renovated Grand Upton Hall, first opened in 1979, is a 13,700-square-foot venue serving the community as the host site for meetings, banquets, trade shows, weddings, and other celebrations. The 229-seat Hanson Theatre is home to the Lake Michigan College Visual & Performing Arts Departments as well as a variety of Mendel Center and community events.
The Mendel Center is 30 minutes from Niles and 40 minutes from the Kalamazoo and South Bend areas. It is located on the Lake Michigan College campus at 2755 E. Napier Avenue, Benton Harbor, Michigan, one mile east of I-94 (Exit 30) and one mile west of the US 31 Bypass (exit 24). Its GPS mapping address is 1100 Yore Avenue, Benton Harbor, MI.
Find #TheMendelCenter online at:
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Mendel Center Season Sponsors
Stage Side: The Boulevard Inn & Bistro, Honor Credit Union, The Inn at Harbor Shores, Kruggel Lawton CPAs, Meijer, Southwestern Michigan Tourist Council, Spectrum Health Lakeland, TCF Bank, TPC Technologies.
Platinum: B&L Information Systems, Berrien Community Foundation, Citadel Dance and Music Center, Hungerford Nichols CPAs + Advisors, Insurance Management Services, Pier 33, Siena Heights University
Gold: Beaudoin Electrical Construction, Inc., Hanson Group, Holt Bosse, Horizon Bank, Metzger Insurance Agency, Silver Beach Pizza, Southshore Concert Band, Studio 807.