From Jim Crow to CEO! The Willie Artis Story


From Jim Crow to CEO! A new book will debut on Wednesday, October 30 at the Mott Culinary Institute featuring the life of our very own Willie Artis, CEO of Genesee Packaging. Mr. Artis found Genesee Packaging in 1979 to provide packaging to the automotive industry and other product suppliers. The business employed nearly a thousand people and grew to become one of the most successful in Flint’s history.

With From Jim Crow to CEO, the Willie Artis Story, Willie speaks to author David L. Stanley about his beginning as an infant born in Memphis, the heart of Jim Crow country, in 1934 and all that he has overcome to find success in Flint. This is the memoir of a true African-American self-made millionaire, born in the Depression, who triumphed over the worst hate and bigotry in America. Along the way, he befriended B.B. King, rubbed elbows with CEOs like Little Caesar’s Pizza Denise Illitch, and partied at the White House with President and Mrs. Obama, Stevie Wonder and Smokey Robinson.

“I write this book to encourage a young black person somewhere, or perhaps a Mexican or a Muslim. You must put forth every effort to better yourself. You do not fail because of your skin color or your religion. I believe with my entire heart and soul that Blacks do not fail simply because we are Black.” – Willie Artis.

The book is written to show every young adult that no matter the obstacles, you, too, can overcome.

Please be there to support Willie Artis and author David L. Stanley as they debut From Jim Crow to CEO, the Willie Artis Story, Wednesday, October 30 at the Mott Culinary Institute starting at 3:00pm.


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