(FLINT, MICH. – November 7) The Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce celebrated local businesses and business leaders this evening during the 2013 Business Awards banquet.  Nearly 300 people were on hand as Bill Harris, veteran television anchor for NBC25 presented awards to outstanding businesses in nine categories at the Riverfront Banquet Center in downtown Flint.  During the event, the C.S. Mott Citizen of the Year was presented to Bob Fuller, CFO of Hubbard Supply Company and the Robert P. Gerholz Award was presented to Joe Serra, President of Serra Automotive Group.

Tim Herman, CEO of the Chamber says this year’s honorees represent a diverse cross section of the Flint and Genesee County business community and are part of the exciting change happening in the region.

“It takes all of us – businesses, both large and small to help our region grow,” said Herman.  “Tonight we recognized a fraction of the businesses across Flint and Genesee County who are working hard and showing a commitment to doing business in our community.  This is a great event because it showcases the amazing fortitude and ingenuity at work in this region.  Congratulations to all of the businesses recognized this evening.”

Business Award recipients were selected from among 31 nominees in six categories.  Several special awards were presented during the event, including the Robert P. Gerholz Business of the Year, the C.S. Mott Citizen of the Year, The CEO Award and an ATHENA PowerLink honor.  The Robert P. Gerholz Business of the Year recognizes a business owner who exhibits a strong commitment to the community.

Joe Serra, President of the Serra Automotive Group is the 2013 Robert P. Gerholz award recipient. Serra has been recognized numerous times as GM Dealer of the Year and among Chevrolet’s National Top 10. He is responsible for spearheading a 15-year period of growth for Grand Blanc-based Serra Automotive.  The auto group is also one of the top 10 privately held retail automotive groups in the country.  Serra currently serves as the Board Chair for the Chamber and has a longstanding commitment to the Flint and Genesee County community.

The C.S. Mott Citizen of the Year was presented to Bob Fuller, CFO of Hubbard Supply Company.  The long-standing award was created by the Mott Foundation in 1973 and today has become part of the Chamber’s Business Awards event.  Fuller was the longtime owner of Hubbard Supply Company and an active member of the community.  Throughout the years he has lent his expertise to a number of organizations as a board member and officer, including:  Genesys Health System and the Genesys Health Foundation, Flint Institute of Music, Flint Cultural Center Corporation, Priority Children and the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce.  Fuller was recognized for his longtime commitment to serving the citizens of Flint and Genesee County.

This year, the Chamber created a new award that will be presented annually to an individual or organization that exemplifies outstanding economic impact and community spirit called The CEO Award.  The inaugural recipient is GM Flint Assembly.  Recently GM unveiled the 2015 Chevrolet Silverado heavy duty and GMC Sierra heavy duty pickups marking a comeback in the Flint area.  Flint Assembly has approximately 2,900 jobs, which according to Michigan-based employment research group Upjohn Institute, supports two additional jobs in Flint and Genesee County.  Upjohn estimates that GM Flint Assembly alone represents a total of 8,700 direct and indirect jobs in our area with an estimated $651 million in total earnings – much of which is spent in Flint and Genesee County.  In addition, GM Flint Assembly provides strong business and philanthropic leadership.

Lorrie Sage is the owner of Special Occasions a linens rental company.  She was recognized during the awards gala for completion of the ATHENA PowerLink program.  Through the program, Sage received mentoring and business advice from a group of business owners assigned to her through the ATHENA organization.  She was honored for her completion of the program during the Business Awards.

The 2013 Business Awards also honored the following businesses and individuals:

  • Robert P. Gerholz Business of the Year – Joe Serra, Serra Automotive Group in Grand Blanc
  • C.S. Mott Citizen of the Year – Bob Fuller, CFO, Hubbard Supply Company in Flint
  • The CEO Award – GM Flint Assembly
  • Ambassador of the Year – Carol Van Buren and Marcie Cardinal
  • Outstanding Service/Retail Business – The Jewel of Grand Blanc in Grand Blanc
  • Outstanding Manufacturing Business – CFI Medical Solutions in Fenton
  • Outstanding Minority-owned Business – E.L. Hollingsworth in Flint Township
  • Outstanding Woman-owned Business – Country Home Creations in Goodrich
  • Outstanding Corporate Citizen – Diplomat in Flint
  • Outstanding Green Business – Mass Transportation Authority in Flint

Business longevity is a trend in Genesee County and Milestone Awards were presented to several businesses in recognition of their many years serving customers in the region.  The following businesses received awards for reaching significant anniversaries:

  • 125 years             Bavarian Inn Restaurant
  • 100 years             Graff Chevrolet
  • 90 years               Mott Community College
  • 85 years               Applegate Chevrolet
  • 60 years               Flint Auto Auction
  • 50 years               Barrette Outdoor Living, Gaines Jewelry, Genesee Health System, Michigan                                       Vascular Center
  • 45 years               Sherman’s Lounge
  • 40 years               CFI Medical Solutions, Donna’s Donuts
  • 30 years               Shelter of Flint, Inc.
  • 25 years               Veit Tool & Gage

The 2013 Business Awards were made possible by the following sponsors:  Blue Cross Blue Shield Blue Care Network, Cocktail Reception and Dinner Sponsor; Serra Automotive, Dessert and Coffee Sponsor; Landaal Packaging Systems, Decorating Sponsor and Health Alliance Plan and University of Michigan Flint, Award Sponsors.