August 19, 2020

As our communities and businesses endure the impact of COVID-19, we are excited to bring you positive news occurring in SWIL. The DCEO Office of Broadband recently announced the first recipients of the Illinois Connected Communities grant program, created to assist some of the most under-served areas of the state with building broadband capacity. This new program will direct $150,000 in state-funded small grants paired with $150,000 in philanthropic matching funds for 12 community and local government partners - including Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois - to lead the development of strategic plans to ensure access, adoption and utilization of high-speed broadband in SWIL communities.
Earlier last month, Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Transportation announced the release of a $21.3 billion plan to improve Illinois roads and bridges over the next six years. The Multi-Year Plan will provide funding to reconstruct over 3,300 miles of roads and over 8 million square feet of bridge, in addition to creating and supporting hundreds of thousands of earning construction opportunities for hardworking Illinois residents in communities across the state. As the Illinois economy begins to recover from the COVID-19 crisis, these jobs will be a critical resource for families working to get back on their feet.
There's also news of a local investment by TriStar Companies for a 200-acre industrial development, called Mid America Commerce Center, located in O'Fallon, Illinois, at Interstate 64 and Rieder Road. This new commercial and industrial development is designed to accommodate build-to-suit buildings ranging from 25,000 square feet to 710,000 square feet of warehouse/distribution space. We are excited to see this new economic development investment. Among those is a $4.7 million investment by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), which will expand the Illinois Apprenticeship Program to serve an additional 568 residents in training programs over the course of the next two years. To help more Illinoisans take part in apprenticeship training programs aligned with high-demand career fields, the administration is awarding grants to 25 organizations across the state to expand training programs and employer partnerships, with an emphasis on growth in under-served communities.
In addition, Madison County’s Community Services Block Grant program offers vocational training, adult basic education, scholarship program, nutrition, home repairs, senior meals, youth education programs, summer camp, family self-sufficiency, and meal assistance. These programs have been established to help those who do not have as much and to encourage self-sufficiency. If you or someone you know would be interested in learning more, please click here for the brochure.
We also want to call your attention to the new website and new regional video recently launched by Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois with the goal of attracting a site selector audience to the area. The enhanced website features information on the region’s trained and retainable workforce, robust transportation system (interstates, freight, air, and port), affordable, available land and housing options, utilities, protection the American Bottoms Levee System provides and more. Check it all out at the link below or at
You’ll find more details on these stories in this edition of Good NewsLink.

Dr. Ronda Sauget
Ronda Sauget, D. Mgmt, MBA
Executive Director and CEO
Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois
104 Magnolia Drive, Ste B
Glen Carbon, IL 62034
Please enjoy the Southwestern Illinois video!
If you would like to add it to your website the you may use the YouTube link

State to invest $21.3 billion in roads and bridges 
(Advantage News, 07/21/2020) 
Gov. J.B. Pritzker joined the Illinois Department of Transportation to announce the release of a $21.3 billion plan to improve Illinois roads and bridges over the next six years.The critical investment in communities throughout the state is made possible by the governor’s historic and bipartisan Rebuild Illinois capital plan, the first in nearly a decade. (Read More)

TriStar project could fill key gap in Metro East real estate market 
(St. Louis Business Journal, 06/25/2020) 
The development marks a possible rebound of confidence in commercial real estate following months of stay-at-home orders due to COVID-19. (Read More)

New investments allow state to expand apprenticeship program 
(Illinois Business Journal, 07/27/2020)
Gov. JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity this month announced a $4.7 million investment that will expand the Illinois Apprenticeship Program to serve an additional 568 residents in training programs over the next two years. (Read More)

State Of Illinois Announces $300,000 Public Private Investment To Support Community-driven Broadband Plans
(RiverBender, 07/09/2020)
CHICAGO – The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) Office of Broadband today announced the first recipients of the Illinois Connected Communities grant program, created to assist some of the most underserved areas of the state with building broadband capacity. (Read More)

Upcoming National Defense Transportation Association-U.S. Transportation Command Fall Meeting offers a comprehensive virtual agenda
(Defensive Visual information Distribution Service, 07/28/2020)
SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- Occurring virtually October 5-8, 2020, the National Defense Transportation Association-U.S. Transportation Command Fall Meeting offers a comprehensive agenda for participating U.S. military, government, and industry logisticians that consists of 80 interactive courses, three roundtable discussions, and five keynote presentations focused on the present and future of defense logistics. (Read More)

INDYCAR To Race Twice At World Wide Technology Raceway Next Month
(RiverBender, 07/27/2020)
ST. LOUIS REGION – World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Illinois, today announced yet another significant change to its August 29-30 Bommarito Automotive Group 500 Weekend following schedule alterations for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. (Read More)

Contegra Construction Co. Completes Industrial Warehouse in Pontoon Beach, Ill 
(St. Louis Construction News and Review, 07/22/2020) 
The first industrial warehouse at Northpoint Development’s Gateway Tradeport in Pontoon Beach, Illinois is complete. Contegra Construction Co. built the 544,000-square-foot warehouse which is designed with flexibility to serve the region’s distribution market. Gateway Tradeport was launched in 2019. It is a 600-acre master planned industrial park with space to host more than 7.5 million square feet of distribution space. (Read More)

Public works projects plentiful in Edwardsville 
(Edwardsville Intelligencer, 07/17/2020) 
The city’s public works department launched multiple sewer upgrade projects last year and this year. City Engineer Ryan Zwijack provided the public services committee with an update on these projects and on some future plans Tuesday. (Read More)

O’Fallon to update Comprehensive Plan for clearer future development goals 
(Belleville News-Democrat, 07/21/2020) 
Because things have changed in the past 14 years, O’Fallon needs to update its overall Comprehensive Plan, which was adopted in 2006, for a clearer direction on future development.
To help produce a Strategic Plan, which would be a three to five-year outlook, and a Master Plan, a 20-year outlook, the O’Fallon City Council approved a professional service agreement with Shockey Consulting Services for $120,000 at its meeting Monday. (Read More)
Expert Wednesday Series

The Leadership Council started an Expert
Wednesday series for businesses to hear from experts on business related topics. We invite you to join and participate on the calls.

Upcoming Topics:
  • 8/26/2020 - 9 a.m. - Enterprise Bank and Trust, TBD

  • 9/9/2020 – 9 a.m. - CorkTree Creative, Promoting Your Business During COVID: Where to Spend Your Marketing Dollars Wisely

  • 9/23/2020 – 9 a.m. - SIUE SBDC, How to Apply for a Grant & Federal Relief Funding
Home buying appears strong, even in face of pandemic 
(Illinois Business Journal, 07/23/2020) 
Existing-home sales rebounded at a record pace in June, showing strong signs of a market turnaround after three straight months of sales declines caused by the ongoing pandemic, according to the National Association of Realtors. (Read More)

Past winners praise Metro East Start-Up Challenge; 2020 competition underway 
(Illinois Business Journal, 07/22/2020) 
Entrepreneurs and new business startups are invited to compete in the 2020 Metro East Start-Up Challenge, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s 7th annual regional business plan competition.
The MESC is organized by the Illinois Small Business Development Center for the Metro East at SIUE. The purpose of the MESC is to identify, encourage and support entrepreneurs and business startups across the SBDC’s service area, including Calhoun, Jersey, Madison, Bond, Clinton, St. Clair, Washington, Monroe and Randolph counties. (Read More)

Gonzalez Companies chosen for light rail segment in St. Clair County
(Illinois Business Journal, 07/28/2020)
The St. Clair County Transit District Board of Trustees has approved a contract with Gonzalez Companies, LLC, for the design and construction oversight of the $96 million, 5.5-mile light rail expansion project from the Shiloh-Scott MetroLink Station to MidAmerica St. Louis Airport. (Read More)

Commerce Park may signal years of development 
(Illinois Business Journal, July 2020 Issue, Page 1) 
O’Fallon Mayor Herb Roach likes to point out that the Gateway Commerce Center has evolved over 25 years, continuing to bring dividends to its host communities in Edwardsville and Pontoon Beach. (Read More)

Grant supports port’s planned container-on-barge operations
(Illinois Business Journal, July 2020 Issue, Page 18)
America’s Central Port based in Granite City has been awarded a $1.26 million grant for container-on-barge and intermodal equipment. (Read More)

O’Fallon to welcome Mid America Commerce Center 
(Belleville News-Democrat, 06/30/2020) 
A nationally recognized warehouse/distribution developer is beginning phase one of St. Clair County’s first industrial park. TriStar Companies, known for its development of the 2,300-acre Gateway Commerce Center in Madison County (Edwardsville and Pontoon Beach), is embarking on a development in O’Fallon. (Read More)

Monroe-Randolph joint enterprise zone starts generating jobs 
(Illinois Business Journal, July 2020 Issue, Page 19) 
The recently designated Monroe-Randolph County Enterprise Zone produced its first two success stories, Administrator Edie Koch says. DeRossett Investments LLC broke ground this month on a three-story, 35,000-square-foot building that will consolidate and relocate its medical canvassing companies to a site on Old Bluff Road in Monroe County, creating more than 130 full-time permanent jobs. (Read More)

Agency will provide funding for pandemic relief
(Advantage News, 07/13/2020)
The Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority announced Monday it will make $7.1 million in funding available to organizations providing support services and resources to communities hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. (Read More)
The Leadership Council is partnering with the Illinois Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) program and its director Theresa Ebeler in supporting a GovCon Cohort with 16 pre-qualified applicants interested in state and federal contracting surrounding Great Lakes Naval Air Station, Rock Island Army Arsenal, and Scott Air Force Base. If you know any company, please let us know so we can help them. After completing 8-week session, graduates will receive a certificate of completion.

For more information, please review the PTAC web site. In order to have additional access to our program and services, you will need to sign up for the Illinois Small Business Network program. The PTAC program is a cooperative agreement with DoD/DLA, Illinois DCEO, and Western Illinois University, this allows PTAC to provide firms with programs and resources at no charge. To sign-up, please go to
Thank you to the Leadership Council's Program Sponsors: