Flint & Genesee Chamber Presents Robert P. Gerholz, C.S. Mott and Art Hurand Awards

(FLINT, Mich., March 23, 2015) – The Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce today announced the recipients of three key business and community awards during the organization’s annual meeting. The event was attended by more than 400 people at the Holiday Inn Gateway Centre in Flint.

According to Tim Herman, CEO of the Flint & Genesee Chamber, the honorees represent a diverse group of professionals who have made significant contributions toward the advancement of Flint and Genesee County.

“The leaders honored today have created positive change in this community,” said Herman. “Whether through encouraging local entrepreneurship, improving access to health and wellness or supporting area youth, our awardees have shown they are committed to the well-being of this community.  On behalf of the community, we thank them for their contributions.”

Phil Hagerman, CEO of Diplomat, was presented with the Robert P. Gerholz Award, named for a man with great integrity and an undying commitment to his community. In 2010, Hagerman moved Diplomat’s corporate headquarters into the former GM Great Lakes Technology Centre in Flint, where the nationally recognized specialty pharmacy today employs more than 1,000 employees.

Hagerman continues to give back to Flint and Genesee, as most recently evidenced by the $2 million endowment he and his wife, Jocelyn, gave to the University Michigan-Flint. There, the funding will support the creation of the Hagerman Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the School of Management. The Center aims to foster and expand the growth of new businesses in Flint by educating the entrepreneurs of tomorrow. Jeffrey Rowe, Executive Vice President of Operations for Diplomat, accepted the award on Hagerman’s behalf.

The C.S. Mott Citizen of the Year Award was presented to Dick Ramsdell, who first became involved with the Flint Farmers’ Market in 2002 after retiring from a teaching career that spanned more than 30 years with Flint Community Schools. He has served as the market’s manager for more than a decade.

Under Ramsdell’s leadership, the market now attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year and is considered to be a trailblazer in food assistance programming. Rather than continue the traditional system in which tokens were exchanged for food, Ramsdell pushed for a technology upgrade that made such transactions possible with the swipe of a card, thus equalizing the shopping experience for people using SNAP Food Benefits. In 2011, he also helped the market implement Double Up Food Bucks, a national incentive program that provides Bridge Card users with rewards to be used toward future produce purchases.

The Honorable Judge Duncan Beagle of the 7th Circuit Court in Genesee County was recognized with the Art Hurand Award for his relentless support of Flint and Genesee, particularly as it relates to the community’s youth and athletics. He is a third-generation attorney and has been an active supporter of both the Weiss Advocacy Center and the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Flint for years.

A former high school basketball referee, Beagle sits on the board of directors for the Greater Flint Area Sports Hall of Fame and has served in many capacities for the Genesee County Coaches and Officials Association. He was also chairman of the Atwood Stadium Authority prior to the facility’s transfer of ownership from the city of Flint to Kettering University.

Also recognized during the event was Eric Smith, an MBA Admissions Representative at Cleary University, who has exceeded expectations as an Ambassador for the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce. Chamber Ambassadors are employees of member businesses who volunteer to support the Chamber by helping out at events and welcoming new members on board.

“Eric always goes above and beyond,” said Heather Kale, Director of Member Services for the Chamber, who presented Smith with the Ambassador of the Year Award. “When Cleary University joined the Chamber just over a year ago, Eric immediately stepped up to help with several events and now serves as the Ambassador Team Leader for Lunch is on Us, our monthly networking and educational program for members. He’s always eager to support the goals of the Chamber and is not shy about volunteering.”