GRCC FAM Tour Highlights Region

(FLINT, Michigan – AUGUST 19)  Bringing new business investment to the region takes a collaborative effort and according to site consultants, who are visiting the area as part of the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce’s Crossroads of Opportunity Familiarization (FAM) Tour, that is one of many assets that set Flint and Genesee County apart from other communities.  The consultants shared their observations of the region during the final day of the 3-day FAM Tour, which kicked off on Wednesday, August 17.

According to Tim Herman, Regional Chamber CEO the goal of the tour was to show site consultants the strengths and assets of the region.  “The Regional Chamber convened this FAM Tour as part of a broader economic strategy,” said Herman.  “We wanted to bring all the partners who make this region strong together to show site consultants why they should be looking toward Flint and Genesee County for future opportunities.”

Site consultants are responsible for guiding their clients’ business location decisions and according to Linda Burns of Dallas-based Burns Development Group the collaborative spirit in Flint and Genesee County is evidenced by the opportunities that she and fellow site consultants had to meet with both public and private community leaders.  She says that collaboration plays a key role in facilitating business investment.

“We have seen a lot of impressive things over the last few days, but I have to say that I am most impressed with the people we’ve had in the room,” said Burns.  “We had breakfast with CEOs, heard from the Mayor, county commissioners, the head of the MEDC, workforce and labor representatives and other area collaborators.  That’s what we look for when identifying a potential location.  We need to know that the key players know how to work together to get things done.  It gives me confidence that if I brought a client here, they would be in good hands.”

The three-day tour included discussions with several CEO’s, exposure to area jewels – including the Flint Institute of Arts, an overview of the economic development landscape from the state, regional and local perspective, as well as participation in Back to the Bricks.   Consultants, who traveled from as far away as Vietnam and as close as Southfield, participated in community tours that highlighted existing sites, as well as locations that are ready for redevelopment.

Janice Karcher, Regional Chamber Vice President of Economic Development describes hosting the FAM tour as an opportunity for us all.  “We have all learned a great deal from the first FAM tour in the region,” said Karcher.  “FAM tours happen in locations throughout the country and for this region to compete; we must be positioned to sell our assets competitively.  I appreciate the consultants who have candidly shared their impressions of the region, as well as their advice on how we can let the world know about Flint and Genesee County.  This experience helps propel our economic development efforts toward long term benefit for the region.”

Phoenix-based Consultant Paige Webster of Foote Consulting Group describes the role of a site consultant as a site eliminator as opposed to a site selector and says that what he saw during the tour is good for the region.

“Now that we know more about Flint and Genesee County we are better positioned to include the region in the options we provide for our clients,” said Webster. “The way that the higher education institutions in town are helping retrain workers, in addition to providing a stream of engineers and others ready to work in the new economy is one of many assets the region has to offer.  I also see Bishop Airport as an asset that can make a difference.”

The tour was sponsored by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), Fifth Third Bank, Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy and Insight Institute of Neurosurgery & Neuroscience.

About the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce

The Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce (www.flintandgenesee.org) is the voice of business and community advocacy in Genesee County. The Regional Chamber is over 100 years old, was established before the Michigan Chamber of Commerce and is a founding member of the United States Chamber of Commerce. Two words describe the Regional Chamber as it enters its second century of service: collaboration and partnership. It is our goal to work with government, business, education and nonprofit organizations to support the growth and development of the community economically, culturally and socially.