Eyeing Flint expats, Flint Homecoming planned to show off investment opportunities

No matter where you go, no matter what you do—if you are from Flint, chances are you will always call Flint home. 

That connection to this place and to us remains, even when you become a professional baseball player, or business merger guru, a venture capitalist, or even world-famous author. 

We’re banking on it.

A new economic development initiative is being launched in Flint that specifically targets those from Flint who want to also invest in its continued growth. 

Called Flint Homecoming 2017, the invitation-only event is one-and-a-half days of Flint immersion with everything from an update on the water crisis to unveiling of a Flint Top 10 business wish list.

With the under-renovation Capitol Theatre in the background, Phil Hagerman talks about the importance of Flint Homecoming 2017 at a press conference Wednesday, June 28, 2017.“We want to tell people that we are open for business, and we want to tell people that we are transforming our economy. We want to tell them that the people of this community are resilient and we are moving Flint forward,” said Tim Herman, Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce CEO and co-chair of the Flint Homecoming 2017 host committee.

“When you invite people here and they see our community, it’s a different story,” Herman said. “They want to come back. They want to invest and they want to do things here.”

The goal is to bring together 100 potential investors who are Flint expats or friends of Flint to show them why it makes sense to build their business and put their dollars here.

Among the Flint expatriates confirmed to attend: 

• Dale Gillmore, partner in Viking Mergers and Acquisitions;
• William F. Pickard, PhD, chairman of Global Automotive Alliance and co-managing partner of MGM Grand Detroit Casino;
• Chris Rizik, CEO of Renaissance Venture Capital Fund;
• Jon Scieszka, award-winning author of “The Stinky Cheese Man” and the “Time Warp Trio” series;
• Herb Washington, former Major League Baseball player and owner/operator of McDonald’s restaurants; and 
• Dan White, Pulitzer-prize winning photographer.
A key contributor to Flint Homecoming 2017 is Vivian Pickard, president of the GM Foundation who also serves on the planning committee for Detroit Homecoming, now in it’s fourth year. She expects the Flint event, like Detroit’s Homecoming, will leave attendees “wowed by the possibilities and by the progress.” 

“Though I left the flint community in 1982, whenever anyone asks where I am from, I say Flint,” Pickard said. “I will never forget this great city and the impact it’s had on my life.”

The Aug. 16-17 event will include panel discussions on philanthropy’s role in Flint’s revitalization, education’s role in community advancement, economic development strategies, and entrepreneurial opportunities. 

The chamber’s annual Hot Dogs and Hot Rods event that coincides with the Back to the Bricks rolling cruise and a crawl caps Homecoming events. 

Phil Hagerman, chairman and CEO of Diplomat, who has built his family business locally for more than 40 years, said Flint is perfectly poised for additional investment and development. 

“I have an incredible affinity and love for this community,” said Hagerman, co-chair of the Flint Homecoming 2017 host committee. “This is a timing opportunity like none before for Flint. It’s the right time and the right place now for Flint to do this.”

Keynote speeches will be by Lt. Gov. Brian Calley; Mark Reuss, executive vice president of global product development, purchasing and supply chair for General Motors; and Mary L. Kramer, publisher of Crain’s Detroit Business on the impact of Detroit Homecoming. 

Local residents are being asked to also refer expatriates who might be interested in attending Flint Homecoming 2017.

For more information, go to FlintHomecoming.com

Flint Homecoming 2017 is announced on the Flint Farmers' Market terrace on Wednesday, June 28, 2017.
Enjoy this story? Sign up for free solutions-based reporting in your inbox each week.

Read more articles by Marjory Raymer.