Southwestern Michigan Economic Growth Alliance
The Greater Niles Economic Development Corporation (now known as the Southwestern
Michigan Economic Growth Alliance - SMEGA) was founded in 1982 by a group of Niles area businessmen responding to a negative pattern of economic erosion threatening their community. These business owners determined that the idea of doing nothing and just letting the economic downturn continue was unthinkable. Instead of doing nothing, they took a very positive step forward by proposing an economic development program that would be financially supported by the local communities, citizens, and business owners in the Greater Niles area.
The first president, George Bauer, was elected in 1982 and served through 1984. Norman Repanich was selected as the first Executive Director in 1983. Since then, there have been five other directors: Gary Moe, R. Christopher Byrnes, Sharon Tyler, Shelley Klug, and currently, Joe Sobieralski
In the 26 years of its history, this organization has been directly responsible for bringing numerous businesses to the area, initiating and operating a business incubator center, directing the development of the Bertrand Crossing Industrial and Technology Park, and the development of the Niles Industrial Park. These efforts have resulted in hundreds of jobs for residents of the City of Niles and hundreds of thousands of dollars of grant money to improve infrastructure capacities.