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About Ron Kitchens

Along with being a globally recognized economic developer, bestselling author, in-demand speaker and podcaster, Ron Kitchens is a true entrepreneur, founding and leading eight companies including Catalyst University, First & 42 Media, Consultant Connect and his first company at age 19. 


Driven by the belief that "the Greatest Force for Change is a Job," He has built a career in economic development centered around passion, leadership and work towards transforming and growing organizations and communities, one job at a time.

Ron and his teams have consulted with thousands of companies who have created more than 50,000 jobs. Through his work as the General Partner of one of the nation's largest community-based venture funds, Ron's team invested more than $85 million in life science companies. His organizations have averaged 20% annual growth for 16 consecutive years. 

Ron has served organizations in Michigan, Texas, Alabama and Missouri. His teams have been recognized by Outside Magazine, Inc. Magazine and The Wall Street Journal as one of the Best Places to Work in America. Both Fast Company Magazine and CoreNet Global recognized Ron's teams as global innovators. Ron founded the America’s Top 50 which annually recognizes North America’s top Economic Developers. 

​Ron was elected as a City Councilman at age 21 and Mayor Pro-Tem at age 24 for the City of Ozark, Missouri, Ron has also served on dozens of boards including the Board of Gibson Insurance (South Bend, Indiana), the Board of the International Economic Development Council and the Board of Trustees of Western Michigan University where he now serves as a Trustee Emeritus. 

Ron is the author of two books including Uniquely You: Transform Your Organization by Becoming the Leader Only You Can Be. He hosts Always Forward Leadership--a podcast geared toward equipping leaders to lead at their most optimal level. He can be found on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram just by searching "Ron Kitchens."

Ron and his wife Lyn are the parents of Kelsey, an advertising executive in New York City. When not working, Ron enjoys quail hunting, boating, rugby. exploring new restaurants and his Labrador Retriever Finley River. 

Hear Ron's heart about the importance and impact of literacy.

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