Tim Herman, CEO Tim Herman, CEO

Happy New Year to all of our Chamber members! I hope that you enjoyed the holiday season and had a chance to create new memories with your family and close friends.

This year is off to a good start. From an economic standpoint, the momentum continues on national, state and local levels. Unemployment is trending downward. The housing market is rebounding. Vehicle sales are setting records and economists are forecasting modest job growth.

Other positive news includes the results of the 2014 Michigan Economic Outlook survey, which were released by Baker Strategy Group late last week. According to the findings, more people in business, nonprofits and the general public said they would recommend Michigan as a place to do business than did so last year. Results also showed that manufacturing industries that rated Michigan as a good place to do business increased their ratings from an index of 25 in 2009 to 65 2014. Clearly we would like to see this number be higher. However, we’re pleased that it’s up significantly from 2009 when Michigan and the nation were in the midst of the Great Recession. This is all good news that will help support our efforts to grow the Flint and Genesee County economy.

We have a strong business climate in our region that is based on a shared vision, leadership and collaboration among business, government, education and community leaders.

Because of our collaborative efforts, we are poised to support local business growth. We have the buildings and space, transportation infrastructure and a skilled workforce. In fact, we have many regional strengths and assets that would benefit new businesses and support job creation.

In 2014, we will continue our leadership focus on growth strategies that benefit not only Flint and Genesee, but also the four-county region along the I-69 International Trade Corridor.  Locally, the re-branding of the community through the See what’s possible marketing campaign will remain at the forefront along with our public relations efforts to help the world see beyond the news headlines and provide a modern-day view of Flint and Genesee. From a regional perspective, we will continue marketing the I-69 Corridor to promote our strengths in transportation infrastructure, sites and talent to bring more business and jobs to the region.

I look forward to hearing about your business goals for 2014 and how the Chamber can help you achieve them. In addition, I am always interested in your perspective on topics covered in this column. Click here to send me an email.

Take care.