Last week, Flint & Genesee was privileged to host the annual convention of the Michigan Association of Chamber Professionals (MACP), which is the industry alliance for chambers of commerce in our state.
The gathering, held Oct. 17-19 at the Holiday Inn Flint-Grand Blanc Area, brought to Flint & Genesee nearly 200 chamber professionals – including representatives from the Michigan, Grand Rapids Area and Traverse City Are chambers – for networking, the sharing of best practices and continuing education sessions.
It was also a tremendous occasion for us – the Flint & Genesee Chamber, as the local host – to showcase our community to our colleagues from around the Michigan. Seizing on the power of word-of-mouth advertising, we used the event to share our story with a captive audience of influential guests.
During an evening reception at the innovation hub known as the Ferris Wheel in Flint, Flint & Genesee Chamber CEO Tim Herman welcomed our guests with an upbeat and forwardlooking message about our region, stating that:
One, Flint is no longer in a water crisis but is instead in recovery and progressing nicely.
Two, not only are we open for business, but business is good. That optimistic view was also shared recently with Charles Evans, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, when he participated in a roundtable discussion with business leaders and spoke at the monthly Chamber Luncheon on Oct 10.
There has been continued investment and more jobs. The beautiful and historic Capitol Theatre is back in business after many of years of sitting dormant. Nearby, Mott Community College is completing renovations on a 100-year-old building to bring its culinary arts school and café into downtown Flint.
The local automotive industry is expanding, with the recent opening of Lear Corp.’s new seat manufacturing facility on the site where the Buick headquarters once stood that will employ 600 workers. Automotive suppliers Magna, Laird and CNXMotion, a joint venture between Continental and Nexteer Automotive, also have made significant investments in new facilities in Grand Blanc Township in recent years.
Later that evening, our MACP guests filled up the restaurants up and down Saginaw Street to enjoy an assortment of food and drinks in a great atmosphere. The feedback about the day’s events was very positive.
The MACP attendees also got an opportunity to experience the recently expanded Flint Institute Arts – Michigan’s second largest art gallery (behind the Detroit Institute of Arts) – where the conference held its Awards & Annual Dinner.
The theme of this year’s MACP conference was “Culture of Chambers,” including how chambers of commerce influence their communities. That sense of purpose and responsibility is very important to all of us here at the Flint & Genesee Chamber.
We want people to know that Flint & Genesee is a great place to live, work and play – whether it’s for a short time … or a lifetime. And hosting our colleagues with the Michigan Association of Chamber Professionals, to experience our community for themselves, is just one of the things that we’re doing to deliver that message.
DeAndra Larkin is group vice president at the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce.