Edward Donovan—head of economic development at the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce—has announced that he will retire from the organization in early April.

Mr. Donovan has served as the senior vice president of economic development at the Regional Chamber since January 2006, and will retire from that position on March 5. Prior to joining the Regional Chamber, Mr. Donovan served as the president of the Flint-Genesee Economic Growth Alliance beginning in April 2005. The Flint-Genesee Growth Alliance was one of four organizations that was consolidated in 2006 to form the current Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce.

“Ed will be missed at the Regional Chamber,” said Tim Herman, CEO at the Regional Chamber.

Mr. Donovan has been the “go-to” expert in economic development issues throughout the community during his tenure at the Regional Chamber, he said.

“Ed has brought an incredible technical knowledge of economic development to this organization and this community,” Mr. Herman said. “He has understood the value of partnerships as they relate to economic development. And he has been a fierce advocate for changing the mindset of the general community and key leaders to embrace new ideas in a changing global setting.”

“Most importantly, Ed has defined the role of economic development here at the Regional Chamber,” he said. “And he has been passionate about developing his staff to maximize their effectiveness as economic development professionals.”

During his time at the Regional Chamber, Mr. Donovan has worked on a number of successful economic development projects that have brought new jobs and significant new investment into Genesee County.

Mr. Donovan and members of his economic development team have been instrumental in helping companies like Magna Electronics, Adaptive Manufacturing Solutions (AMS), Burton Industries, Mac Arthur Corporation, TDM International, and Swedish Biogas expand and grow in Genesee County. He also played a key role in helping create the Economic Growth Alliance (EGA) of Genesee, Livingston, Oakland, and St. Clair counties.

Mr. Donovan has been involved in a number of other high-profile projects throughout Genesee County, including the expansion of the FedEx facility at Bishop International Airport; efforts to create an intermodal facility at the Buick City site; the $15 million, three-year Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development (WIRED) grant that has helped fund a number of economic development projects throughout the region; and the reactivation of the foreign trade zone in Genesee County.

During his time at the Regional Chamber, Mr. Donovan also was instrumental in helping expand programs such as the Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) and the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center–Genesee Valley (MMTC-GV) at the Regional Chamber.

In addition to his work at the Regional Chamber, Mr. Donovan also has served on the board of directors for a number of organizations, including Automation Alley and the Prima Civitas Foundation. Mr. Donovan also was the first chairman of the Mid Michigan Innovation Team, which helped administer WIRED grant fund activities throughout the region.

Before his arrival in Genesee County, Mr. Donovan worked in a number of roles at General Motors Corporation, including director of government relations, and manager of communication and government relations at the Harrison Radiator Division. Mr. Donovan retired from GM in 2005.

Mr. Donovan said his primary focus at the Regional Chamber has been “what motivates economic development today and tomorrow—not yesterday.”

"From the first day Ed Donovan assumed his role as senior vice president of economic development, he exerted a positive influence on the Regional Chamber's ability to improve economic conditions—not only in Flint/Genesee County, but also throughout the entire region,” said Dr. Julianne Princinsky, president of Baker College of Flint and chair of the Regional Chamber’s Operating Board. “Ed's understanding of all levels of economic development issues, the breadth and depth of his experience and professional skills, and his passionate desire to encourage substantive change that is sustainable over the long haul, are reflected in the quality of his work.

“We thank him for all he has done to advance the cause of economic recovery in our area,” said Dr. Princinsky. “We will miss Ed, but wish him well as he continues his journey."

Mr. Donovan said he will miss his friends at the Regional Chamber and throughout the community, but is looking forward to spending more time with his children, three grandchildren, and wife, Rosemary.