Area businesses honored with Art of Achievement awards

FLINT – The Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce, and the Convention and Visitors Bureau honored local businesses and hospitality providers for their contributions to the wellbeing and success of our region in 2016.

About 350 people gathered at the Flint Institute of Arts where Steve Landaal, President of Landaal Packaging Systems and Chair-Elect of the Chamber’s Operating Board, presented 12 Art of Achievement Awards, plus the Community Champion Award and the Claire M. White Award to outstanding businesses, community supporters and hospitality industry professionals.

“I interact with a lot of businesses and the people who run them, and I have to tell you that Flint is special,” said Landaal. “The resilience and the commitment to revitalizing our neighborhoods and our economy are second to none.

“The Art of Achievement Awards provide the perfect opportunity to publicly recognize some of the great companies that are investing in Flint and Genesee County, and contributing to our economic growth.”

Sara Groat, Assistant Director of Housing for the University of Michigan-Flint, was honored as the 2016 Community Champion. Thanks to her efforts, Flint & Genesee was able to host the 2015 Annual Convention for the Great Lakes Association of College and University Housing Officers. The convention brought in close to 400 attendees from across the Midwest region.

Groat collaborated with local restaurants and hotels within Flint & Genesee to enhance the visitor experience for those who attended the convention. Over the course of the three days, the event generated $108,000 in economic impact, with $45,000 in direct spending.

Essence Wilson, Co-Founder of Communities First, Inc., received the Claire M. White Award in recognition of her dedication to transforming communities. The successful nonprofit community development corporation that she co-founded works to help distressed communities by providing affordable housing, economic development, arts and culture outreach, and environmental education.

Wilson also developed a program for girls called Curiosity Academy, a collaborative effort in Flint to help increase the number of women in STEM careers. 2

“This year, the Flint area had its share of challenges but they will not hold us back or stop the great progress we are making,” said Tim Herman, Chamber CEO. “We’ll continue to tap into the resilience of our community and stay focused on moving the region forward.

“As long as we have people such as those we are honoring tonight – and many others who are not with us this evening – excellence will continue to be the hallmark of Flint & Genesee, and we will succeed!”

The 2016 Art of Achievement Awards also honored the following businesses and individuals:

CEO Business Award – ELGA Credit Union

Small Business Award – Peerless Mattress Co.

Minority-Owned Business Award – Elite Career Solutions

Small Business Contractor of the Year – Vets Access, LLC

Young Professional Award – Glenn Wilson, Communities First, Inc.

Nonprofit Impact Award – Foster Closet of Genesee County

Gloria J. DeHart Award – Dort Federal Credit Union Events Center

Hospitality Ambassador Award – Ann Reith, Cork on Saginaw

Hospitality Frontline Ambassador Award – Elizabeth Morris, Best Western Flint Airport Inn & Suites

Restaurant of the Year – Cork on Saginaw

Hotel of the Year – Comfort Inn Grand Blanc

Certified Tourism Ambassador of the Year Award – Crystal Dillard, Flint Cultural Center Corp.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan was the Presenting Sponsor of the 3rd Annual Art of Achievement Awards and Ferris State University the Dessert Sponsor.

Individual awards sponsors: Central Michigan University-Flint; Chase; Community Foundation of Greater Flint; ELGA Credit Union; the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan; Huntington Bank; Mass Transportation Authority; the United Way of Genesee County; and University of Michigan-Flint.

Strolling Sponsors: Best Western Flint Airport Inn & Suites; Bishop International Airport; Comfort Inn Grand Blanc; Courtyard by Marriott; Epoch Catering; Genesee County Parks; Genesee Intermediate School District; Holiday Inn Gateway Centre; and Yeo & Yeo CPAs & Business Consultants.

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