The summer of 2014 brought a major change for Flint residents surrounding Max Brandon, Flint Park Lake and Thread Lake parks. Through an agreement between the City of Flint and the Genesee County Parks, the three parks are now maintained and patrolled by the Genesee County Parks and Park Rangers. In addition, new programs are now available for residents.

The shared services agreement was executed after years of discussions and is the result of connections created during the Flint & Genesee Shared Services Center’s Leadership Alliance program. The Leadership Alliance brings together leaders from the public sector, nonprofits and businesses in a six-month training focused on learning to become the conveners and drivers of change designed to create efficiencies and opportunities.

Genesee County Commissioner Omar Sims describes his collaborative effort with fellow Leadership Alliance classmate and Flint City Councilman Bryant Nolden to drive the Genesee County Parks and City of Flint Parks partnership as the result of learning how to influence change and make things happen.

“I must admit that I was a reluctant participant in the Leadership Alliance,” said Sims. “In fact, I was resistant to change, but I learned through my six-month experience the importance of thinking more broadly about the entire community. I am very proud of the role I was able to play in making this agreement happen. Parks add to the quality of life in a community and now people can truly enjoy these previously unusable parks.”

“I really appreciate how Councilman Nolden and I were equipped with the skills to bring our respective legislative bodies along with us to see the value of this agreement. The Chamber’s Shared Services efforts are truly making a difference in Flint & Genesee.”

According to George Wilkinson, Director of Operations and Shared Services for the Chamber the parks agreement is definitely a win for the Leadership Alliance, as well as the community. He says the two-year pilot program opens the door for future collaborative agreements that will have a real impact.

“As part of the Leadership Alliance training we partner participants to work on real tangible shared service opportunities,” said Wilkinson. “Commissioner Sims and Councilman Nolden were tasked with working together to make this happen and the results are the facilitation of real change that impacts the daily lives of Flint residents. That’s truly what Shared Services is all about.”

To learn more about Shared Services and the Leadership Alliance contact Michelle Hill at the Chamber at (810) 600-1423 or