(FLINT, Mich. – March 24, 2016) Despite the impact of the Flint water emergency, the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce at its Annual Meeting reported healthy, incremental growth for the region in 2015.

Chamber CEO Tim Herman told more than 400 guests in attendance at the Holiday Gateway Centre that “a lot of good work took place in 2015.”

Herman highlighted a number of encouraging economic indicators for the region, including a lower unemployment rate, brisk auto sales, lower energy prices, increased capital investment by local companies and continued diversification.  While he noted the significant challenges caused by Flint’s water crisis, Herman said a number of collaborative efforts are underway to stem the economic impact. He also acknowledged the tremendous support for Flint.

“As difficult as this has been on Flint residents and businesses, a bright light in the darkness has been the outpouring of support that our city has received,” Herman said. “It has been so inspiring. It feels great to know that people outside of Flint care so deeply about our welfare.”

Following are 2015 accomplishments directly related to the Chamber’s economic development, tourism and education efforts, and other programs and services:

  • Supported more than $1 billion of total investment and contract value
    • 42 investment projects generated an estimated $338 million in annual payroll
    • 3,471 jobs created and retained
    • 32 retention/expansion investment projects and 10 attraction investment projects in Genesee County
    • 168 assistance projects – 153 existing businesses, and 15 entrepreneurs and start-ups
  • 1,149 government contracts won with assistance from the Chamber’s Procurement and Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) and 511 companies counseled
  • $129 million in tourism economic impact due to overnight hotel room rentals in Genesee County
    • Lodging revenue rose 7.8 percent with occupancy at 54.3 percent
  • Served 8,104 students through 241 career prep workshops
  • Graduated 503 students from the TeenQuest leadership and pre-employment training program
  • Hired 363 teens through the Summer Youth Initiative (SYI) Job Fair
  • Served 3,799 students in county elementary and middle schools through YouthQuest
  • Conducted 93 workshops, which served 3,401 firms and trained 4,431 employees
  • 19,641 individuals attended 142 member events

Carl Banks, a former All-Pro NFL linebacker and two-time Super Bowl Champion, delivered the keynote address. Banks, a Beecher High School and Michigan State University alumnus, left the audience with an inspirational message about the importance of being resilient in the field of business and life.

“The Chamber’s mission is to maximize economic and community growth through collaborative partnerships and promotion of the region,” said Robert Rummel, Senior Vice President of Chase Bank and the Chamber’s Board Chair.  “To that end, the Chamber did great work in 2015, despite some underlying challenges. If there was an organization that demonstrates resilience, the Chamber is an example.”

A copy of the Chamber’s Annual Report is available online at flintandgenesee.org.