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Kalamazoo's Dynamic Duo Part Two

Dynamic Duo Dwayne Powell, Jr.

Tasked with strengthening and attracting new business development in the City of Kalamazoo, Ryan Simpson and Dwayne Powell, Jr. (pictured) are Kalamazoo's newest Dynamic Duo. After getting to know a bit about them in part one of this two-part KzooConnect post, we now revisit the pair to focus on career advice.

Both Powell and Simpson took jobs out-of-state before truly appreciating Kalamazoo and the opportunities it offers to residents and job seekers alike.

"After graduating from Western Michigan University (WMU), I took a position at the Kalamazoo Regional Chamber of Commerce as a Director of Advocacy, then I was off to the Baton Rouge Area Chamber as a lobbyist, and eventually back home to the Michigan Works! Berrien, Cass, Van Buren workforce board which led to the position here at the City," Simpson said.

"I moved to Florida after college to take a job at an ad agency," Powell said. "I loved the work, but felt like something was still missing and the recession hit so I returned to Kalamazoo to work at the Chamber. It was all just a path to my current work at the City of Kalamazoo."

Building relationships and staying informed are two key practices that helped Simpson return to Kalamazoo and settle into a rewarding career. Serving as a resource to others and loving your community are also great career-building skills that Simpson promotes.

Powell stressed the need to evaluate a situation carefully when choosing a career path.

"Do some soul searching about who you are and what you really want to do," he said. "Volunteer and get some experience; it's not always about the money."

Powell lives out his own advice. He took a 25-percent pay cut upon joining the City, but he, his wife, and three children are happy with the decision.

"We live in the Stuart Neighborhood," Powell said. "We love the historic neighborhood and I'm always on time to functions and meetings in Kalamazoo."

Simpson is also a resident of the Stuart Neighborhood.

"I chose the Stuart Neighborhood so that I can walk to work and entertainment venues," he said.

Simpson continued, "I am passionate about Kalamazoo. There are so many benefits including the social scene, no traffic, friends, and a 5-minute drive to nature."

With this Dynamic Duo at the helm of economic development in the City, the community is sure to benefit!

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