Since it was set up in 1999 as part of the Government's revamping of the regional development agencies, Advantage West Midlands has had its critics - some of them bordering on the vitriolic.
The fact that its inaugural chief executive preferred to live in Scotland did not help the new agency to live up to its corporate image as a dynamic organisation with the skills and clout to drag the West Midland economy into the 21st century.
Things have improved since the current chief executive, John Edwards, and his chairman, Nick Paul, a man with significant manufacturing experience, took the helm of the stricken ship.
But AWM still has its critics and, as Mr Edwards accepts, still a lot to do to help the region to compete in an increasingly competitive and ever more global business environment.
Today it sets out its plans for the next three years in its new corporate plan that aims to spend £1 billion between now and 2008 on boosting employment, innovation, skills and the regional infrastructure.
And it has some solid achievements to boast about.
Government figures published last month showed that AWM has so far helped to create or safeguard more than 100,000 jobs and that last year it met or exceeded every target set for it.
It can also point to its role in helping to generate record levels of inward investment in the last 12 months. AWM was directly involved in 32 out of 67 projects that created or put a floor under 2,644 jobs out of a total of 6,216.
The new corporate plan will be the basis of the Government's spending in the region between now and 2008.
So how does it differ from the last one in 2003?
John Edwards said: "I think it is just much more sharply focused.
"If you think about where we started six years ago, we had a set of things a mile wide to deal with.
"We have tried to concentrate and concentrate and get down to a much sharper focus on supporting business performance and meeting the needs of disadvantaged communities.
"This plan is more about those things that we collectively as a region need to do to begin to improve our performance and to underpin some of the success we have already had in the region."
During an interview, I asked Mr Edwards whether the agency had delivered on its last set of promises and targets.
He replied: "Purely in terms of outputs, in the last three years whatever we have been asked to do or what we said would deliver in terms of jobs, people improving their skills, brownfield land remediated, we have achieved our targets.
"I think we have delivered in the main. There are areas where we would want to do more. For example, we want to do more on the innovation agenda so we get more good ideas out of our universities into business and get more of our businesses looking at innovation as a way of improving their performance.
"We all recognise that skills is a critical issue for us in this region. We should have done more in the last couple of years than we have done, but the new plan very clearly sets out what we are going to do over the next three years.
"Lots of jobs have been created but quite often they have not always gone to people who really need them," he said.
So with the amount of criticism AWM has come in for in recent times, does Mr Edwards view the government report saying AWM met all their targets in the last year with relief?
"We are a very high profile organisation, we are setting challenging targets for ourselves and others, and therefore we will come in for criticism," Mr Edwards said.
"Was it a relief that we hit our targets? You always feel proud when you hit your targets. I never had any doubt that we would."
The bar is going to be raised however and AWM will again be under the microscope as the 2005-8 corporate plan evolves.
Its own financial performance has to be improved, and Mr Edwards says that by the end of the period he aims to have cut the amount spent on administration from 51/2p in every pound to 4p.
One of the biggest challenges to face AWM and the region this year has been the collapse of MG Rover. Mr Edwards thinks we have coped well with a potential industrial disaster.
"Six thousand people at Longbridge were out work literally overnight. We have now got 2,000 back into work, another 3,000 either booked on training courses or undergoing training.
"I think we responded very rapidly in a way that everyone came together, the public and private and voluntary sector is a brilliant testimony.
"But looking at it now, what I am impressed with as well is how the economy of the region has coped, particularly the supply chain, with such a major shock.
"It has coped better in 2005 than it could ever have done in 2000."
Mr Edwards would not be drawn on whether he expects to see carmaking revived at Longbridge under Nanjing Automobile.
But he did say: "We have written to the company to say we would welcome the opportunity to work with them to help them to re-establish car production at Longbridge, but we have to be very very careful that we don't give people false hope."
Mr Edwards rejected recent criticism of the skills level at Longbridge, saying: "If you go back to the number of people already back in work and the fact that Toyota, BMW and Bentley have been recruiting former Longbridge workers, it suggests the skills levels, competencies and the adaptability of the workforce was as good as you would expect to find anywhere."
For manufacturing overall, the challenge is to help traditional engineering companies to move up the value chain in order to face down competition from lower cost economies.
"There are companies in the Black Country, for example, which have invested heavily in new technology and innovation and are competing on a global scale," said Mr Edwards.
"It is hard but it can be done. Sometimes, just getting to Friday is difficult and thinking about the longer term is difficult.
"But how many more Fridays will you have if you don't think about investing in new products, new technologies and the skills of the workforce? Those companies that do can compete and are as good as anybody."
Another key plank in the AWM plan is its efforts to help drive improvements in the region's transport network.
The motorways, New Street station plus an extension to the runway at Birmingham International Airport (and ultimately a second runway) are high on the agenda.
But while congestion is an issue, it is not as yet putting companies off locating here.
"If you look at our inward investment figures for last year we had one of the best years for a decade," said Mr Edwards.
"So companies see still the West Midlands as a bloody good place to locate."
He does accept, however, that the region often does not have too good an image elsewhere.
"Sometimes it goes back to an unfair image of the region that people have, whether its a view of Birmingham that is 20 years out of date, or whether its a view that the region is entirely what you see from the M6, which it isn't.
"Just getting the Fort redeveloped will be an enormous filip.
"For over 20 years that building has lain derelict at the side of the M6 but when those banners come down people will see just what a cracking development it is."