Mayor Karen Weaver announced that the City of Flint, Michigan has tapped Ascendant Global Consulting (AG) to lead a comprehensive economic development effort that will aid in Flint’s recovery and position the city for long-term economic success. Last month on March 26, Flint City Council voted to approve the agreement.
During the one-year contract, Ascendant Global, a Detroit-based firm, will take a collaborative, comprehensive approach that will include partnerships with the private sector and civic leadership. Rodrick Miller, Ascendant Global president and CEO, will serve as the principal, managing the day-to-day operations with additional team members providing research, communications, and other support. Work is set to begin on May 2, 2018.
“We are thrilled to be working with the City of Flint. Ascendant Global specializes in helping distressed communities develop economic strategies that strengthen business and create opportunities for all of its residents,” said Rodrick Miller, president and CEO of Ascendant Global. He added, “Significant progress has been made in Flint’s recovery and now is the time to take a strategic approach to repositioning the city for long-term economic success.”
Key components of Ascendant Global’s work include:
- Creating a strategic plan for economic development
- Development of the business case and value proposition for the City of Flint
- Identification of targeted industry sectors
- A promotion and marketing campaign focused on attracting and retaining businesses
- Building out the city’s economic development department
The work is funded by a $2.9 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation awarded in March. This funding is part of the Gray Rock Revival Plan, an initiative aimed at improving quality of life by building a well-managed, financially stable and accountable government focused on creating and maintaining a vibrant and growing community in Flint that will attract and retain residents, businesses, students and visitors. The initiative will address significant challenges stemming from Flint’s post-industrial economy which has been affected by dramatic job and population loss, a shrinking tax base, deteriorating neighborhoods and city infrastructure, resulting in more children and families living in poverty.
“This is indeed a great day for the City and for the citizens of Flint. We have a strong economic development team in place that will create an inclusive agenda that will benefit our workforce,” said Mayor Karen Weaver. She added, “Rod and his team specialize in restoring economic resilience to cities with similar challenges and he has the commitment and expertise to design a strategy that is unique to the City of Flint.”
This relatively new focus on attracting and retaining businesses in Flint was previously managed by the Flint Genesee Chamber of Commerce. Ascendant Global’s work will help move the economic development function directly into city government, while continuing to partner with the Chamber. AG will also focus on strengthening workforce development connections and identifying new opportunities in the environmental sector.
ABOUT ASCENDANT GLOBAL
Ascendant Global was founded by veteran economic development executive Rodrick T. Miller in April 2017. It operates offices in; Detroit, New Orleans, Washington, DC, Atlanta, and Medellin, Colombia. The firm manages diverse projects in the United States and Latin America and serves governments, economic development organizations, foundations, universities, think tanks, real estate developers and neighborhood organizations. Its client roster includes such national leaders as Living Cities and the Wallace Center at Winrock International.