This scholarship was established to provide academic opportunities for the students of Genesee County and employees of Genesee Packaging Inc. The Artises established this fund to further their lifelong commitment to enhancing the quality of life for the people of this community, as they have been providing secure and meaningful jobs to individuals in this community over four decades. They have always been committed to economic empowerment and self-sufficiency and acknowledge that a “quality education” and the pursuit and accomplishment of academic excellence is the only route to success and true fulfillment.
Checks may be made payable to:
Willie E. and Veronica Artis Scholarship Fund
The Foundation for Mott Community College
1401 East Court Street
Flint, MI 48503
Mr. Artis was the co-founder of Genesee Packaging, Inc., a successful business in the Flint area for more than 40 years. He was extremely accomplished and had many years of experience in sales, corrugated manufacturing and automotive contract packaging. He obtained his education at Wilson College in Chicago, IL, and continued his education through executive seminars for business owners at Dartmouth College. He was employed as Vice President of a corrugated manufacturing company before co-founding Genesee Packaging in 1979 and Genesee Corrugated in 1980. He led the company for many profitable years as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Genesee Packaging, Inc.
Mrs. Artis until retirement served as the Executive Vice President of Operations of Genesee Packaging, Inc. She had more than 35 years of experience in business administration and obtained her education at the University of Wisconsin, Dartmouth College, Wharton School of Business and Harvard University. Before joining Genesee Packaging, Inc., Veronica held various positions at Wisconsin Bell and Ameritech, which included Group Chief Operator, District Training Coordinator, Business Office Supervisor, Manager-Personnel, Marketing Manager and Purchasing Manager. Veronica joined Genesee Packaging, Inc. in 1989 as Vice President of Administration and was a member of the Executive staff.
With Mr. and Mrs. Artis' education as a foundation for their success, Mr. Artis began utilizing the opportunities available through General Motors minority business development programs. With an extensive background in automotive contract packaging and corrugated manufacturing, he penetrated the existing automotive market and built a relationship with a General Motors buyer who was willing to do business with him as an employer. His goal was to develop $500,000 in sales the first year of business and a Subchapter S corporation. The 1979 fiscal year-end sales reached $1 million.
During 1980, taking advantage of General Motors corrugated business and the principles of Genesee Packaging, Inc., Mr. Artis purchased an existing corrugated manufacturing company, Mish-Mah-Cu, which mean “big brown box.” The strategy was to make Genesee Packaging, Inc., a vertically-integrated company by manufacturing corrugated materials for the packaging requirements of its own contract packaging operation. In 1984, the company became Genesee Corrugated, Inc.
After the first five years of business, both companies experienced rapid growth in sales. During the following three years, the annual sales were in excess of $17 million. In 1989, Mr. Artis took charge of the day-to-day operations and restructured the organization. Although there was a slight decline in gross sales for the 1990 fiscal year, the leadership skills and commitment of the current management team enabled the company to achieve a $2.2 million turn-around within a two-year period.
In 1990, under the restructuring, the two companies merged into one. Genesee Packaging, Inc., presently employs roughly 230 people and has three plants in Flint.
Genesee Packaging continues to be an invaluable resource to the college and the community at large.