February 1, 2021


The past few weeks have been a period of robust activity for the Metro East, and we’re delighted to share with you all the positive news making headlines in this edition of Good NewsLink.

The Leadership Council hosted two Southwestern Illinois Communities Broadband Summits for elected officials and educators last month, providing information and future direction on strategic broadband planning and setting regional project priorities for broadband connectivity. Broadband surveys are being sent out that will help our strategic regional planning for the Southwestern Illinois Connected Communities cohort to build awareness of connectivity challenges, advocate for enhanced connectivity with state and federal legislators and related companies, identify Infrastructure solutions to bridge digital connectivity and build regional strategic alliances to further connectivity efforts and more. These efforts enable digital literacy and readiness activities for all residents with an emphasis on underserved communities. Businesses and organizations can complete the survey at and individuals can complete the survey at

The Leadership Council’s Education Committee continues to partner with PCs for People, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, to help get computers in the homes of those who truly need them. PCs for People distributes refurbished corporate computers updated to Windows 10, with very low-cost, unlimited internet access for students, underserved populations, the elderly and veterans. They have been successful with this effort in many cities across the U.S. and have connected over 450,000 people to internet and computing devices. George Evans, president of Kaskaskia College and chairman of the council’s Education Committee, recently went on the air of WGEL to discuss how the COVID-19 pandemic has sparked concerns about reliable internet access and shared that $15,000 in grant funding from the state was secured by the Leadership Council to promote awareness on the lack of internet equity and to compile data to push the issue with the major internet service providers. You can listen to his full interview here.

I was also thrilled to join The Jennifer & Wendy Show on KTRS 550am this past Wednesday to share some insightful background information on our organization and the great work we’re doing to grow the region’s economic environment through workforce and various other programs. During this segment, we also touched on our Expert Wednesday series that continues to deliver great content for local businesses and provide an opportunity to hear from experts on business-related topics. You’ll find the upcoming schedule below, and if you would like to receive emails or recordings from the series, please email

We encourage you to continue reading for several other articles highlighting significant investments in various sectors in Southwestern Illinois, businesses that are expanding in our region and much more. Happy reading and have a great weekend!

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
Metro East organizations to host virtual 2021 economic outlook
(Illinois Business Journal, 01/28/2021)
The Realtor Association of Southwestern Illinois, the O’Fallon-Shiloh Chamber of Commerce, and the Leadership Council of Southwestern Illinois have teamed up to host the Looking Ahead: 2021 Metro East Economic Outlook virtually on Feb. 3. (Read More)

KC President on Internet Broadband Initiative
(, 01/27/2021)
The Leadership Council of Southwestern Illinois is spearheading an Internet broadband initiative for the region. George Evans, president of Kaskaskia College, is chairman of the council’s Education committee, and said the COVID-19 pandemic has brought out concerns about reliable access to the Internet. (Read More)

Ronda Sauget Interview: Working Together to Grow
(KTRS 550am The Jennifer & Wendy Show, 01/28/2021)
Ronda Sauget, the executive director and CEO of the Leadership Council of Southwestern Illinois, explains the background of their organization that involved Richard Mark of Ameren Illinois, and how they work to improve the region. (Read More)

Architect to do preliminary design for what would be SIUE’s largest building
(Illinois Business Journal, 01/28/2021)
The Illinois Capital Development Board recently selected HOK-St. Louis as the preferred architectural design firm for preliminary design of the Health Science Building on the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville campus. (Read More)

Assisted living development planned for Metro East
(St. Louis Business Journal, 01/12/2021)
A South Carolina senior living management firm plans a development in O'Fallon, Illinois. (Read More)

BJC Outpatient Center coming to Edwardsville
(Edwardsville Intelligencer, 01/21/2021)
BJC HealthCare aims to make it easier for families to access care in the Edwardsville area in 2021. (Read More)

S. Charles Street to be rebuilt later this year
(Edwardsville Intelligencer, 01/14/2021)
EDWARDSVILLE — Almost a year ago, members of the Steinmeyer Subdivision Association came to the city council to ask for new streets in their neighborhood. (Read More)

Home sales in Metro East closed out higher in 2020
(Illinois Business Journal, 01/27/2021)
A new report from the Realtors Association of Southwestern Illinois said Madison County saw a 25.2 percent increase, Clinton and Washington counties both had 25 percent increases, and St. Clair County had 24.2 percent increase in home sales in December 2020, compared to one year earlier. (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 Topic:

St. Clair County Transit District Selects TWM Engineering, Inc., to Design Road Bike and Pedestrian Trail
(St. Louis Construction News and Review, 01/28/2021)
St. Clair County Transit District today announced it has selected TWM Engineering, Inc., to provide design services for Phase III of the Old Collinsville Road Trail, which will be a bike and pedestrian trail that is part of the expansive MetroBikeLink System. (Read More)

Treasurer's college savings program hits record $15 billion
(Advantage News, 01/26/2021)
A record-shattering $15 billion is invested in the state’s two most popular college savings programs, Bright Start and Bright Directions, Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs said. (Read More)

Work to start soon at Miner Park streambank
(Edwardsville Intelligencer, 01/15/2021)
GLEN CARBON — Work should begin soon on stabilizing a bank of the creek that flows through Miner Park after village trustees gave their approval this week. (Read More)

State law fast-tracks military members for professional licenses
(Illinois Business Journal, 01/18/2021)
A total of 275 military service members and their spouses were quickly licensed to begin working in 2020 thanks to a law passed by state Rep. Katie Stuart, D-Edwardsville (Read More)

Local libraries are recipients of grants
(North County News, 01/14/2021)
Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White has awarded $752,835 in “Back to Books” grants to 187 Illinois libraries for fiction and nonfiction books. (Read More)

Touchette Regional Hospital opens new geriatric unit
(Illinois Business Journal, 01/25/2021)
Touchette Regional Hospital in Centreville has added an age-specific geriatric unit to its in-patient Behavioral Health & Wellness Center. (Read More)

Holland Construction Services Begins Work On New Mill Creek Flats Luxury Apartments In Midtown St. Louis
(Riverbender, 01/25/2021)
ST. LOUIS, MO. – Holland Construction Services has begun work on the new Mill Creek Flats Luxury Apartments in historic Midtown St. Louis. The $25 million project is the third and final phase of the Steelcote Square development by Pier Property Group. (Read More)

Louer Facility Planning begins leadership transition
(Edwardsville Intelligencer, 01/20/2021)
COLLINSVILLE — Louer Facility Planning, Inc. is announcing a leadership transition plan, along with celebrating 25 years in business. (Read More)

Helmkamp Construction Adds To Project Management Team
(Riverbender, 01/22/2021)
EAST ALTON - Helmkamp Construction Co. has added an assistant project manager to its project management team. Logan Mitchell, a construction management graduate from Bellevue University, says he “look(s) forward to working with one of the industry’s finest.” (Read More)
PCs for People help get computers in the homes of those who truly need them!

Distributes refurbished corporate computers updated to Windows 10, with very low-cost, unlimited internet access for students, underserved populations, elderly, and veterans.

They have connected over 450,000 people to internet and computing devices. The State of Illinois Office of Broadband has committed to facilitate the donation of 10,000 computers to PCs for People Metro East, but they have set a goal of sourcing a total of 25,000 computers in their first year in order to meet the significant need in our community, and they need our help to meet that goal.

PCs for People is NAID AAA certified to wipe clean all data off computers and recertify them for reuse

PC donations needed!!  

If you would like more information about how to donate computers, please contact the Leadership Council office at 618-692-9745 or
Thank you to the Leadership Council's Program Sponsors: