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Economic Outlook

How Sports is Raising the Profile of St. Joe/Benton Harbor Blog

October 03, 2019 (Updated: 11:51 AM)
Author Jeff Rea

About Jeff

Jeff Rea is currently the President & CEO of the South Bend Regional Chamber of Commerce. Jeff has over 20 years of executive leadership experience in our region while working in areas such as Economic Development, Business Development, City Planning, Marketing, and Local Government. Jeff has a degree from Campbell University in Buies Creek, NC and executive management continuing education work at the University of Notre Dame.

Welcome to the new season of Economic Outlook. I’m thrilled to be back and look forward to a great year. We take a brief hiatus from taping during the summer, but now have a full season of new shows on the schedule.

I sure appreciate your support of WNIT, Public Television (PBS), and our show. I’m blessed with a great co-host, producer, and crew. I think we all were excited to be back in the studio for our first taping.

If you are not familiar with the show, we hope you’ll make plans to join us each week as we bring you stories about the people, companies and communities driving economic growth in our region!

I’ll handle duties in the studio, and I’m blessed with a terrific co-host, George Lepeniotis covering things out in the field. George and I have been working together for a couple years and we both are looking forward to the new year. George is a talented attorney in South Bend, that’s his day job. He does a great job of fitting his WNIT field work into an already busy schedule. Look for George around town bringing the great stories that help supplement the conversations we’re having in the studio.

For our first show, we took our discussion north of the border to the Benton Harbor area, where we took a closer look at redevelopment efforts in that area and talked about how activities like the 2020 Senior PGA Championship planned for May help raise the profile for the area and spur economic activity.

Redevelopment efforts have been underway for more than a decade in the Benton Harbor area, with the Harbor Shores Golf Course and the Senior PGA Championship being important cornerstones to those development efforts. Joining me for that closer look at the 2020 Championship and those development efforts in the area were Ryan Ogle, Championship Director, Senior PGA Championship, Benton Harbor; Deb O’Connor, Director of Global Corporate Reputation and Community Relations for Whirlpool Corporation; and Rob Cleveland, President & CEO, Cornerstone Alliance, Benton Harbor, MI

We had a great conversation in the studio, there are some exciting things happening in the community. Even if you aren’t a golf fan, I think you’ll still enjoy hearing more about what’s happening in that part of Michigan and hopefully inspired to go take a visit.

Your feedback is valuable, feel free to reach out anytime (jrea@sbrchamber.com)  with comments, compliments, or criticisms. I’ll do my best to get back you as soon as possible. Also, follow-us on facebook, Twitter (Jeff_Rea), or at WWW.WNIT.org/economicoutlook for all the latest info on the show. 

Enjoy the show!