January 13, 2020
We’re pleased to have a continuing flow of positive news to share with you in this edition of Good NewsLink to kick off the new year. Recent good news highlights various public and private projects throughout Southwestern Illinois that are taking shape in many industry sectors, from the military and senior housing to transportation, healthcare and recreation.

The Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act includes $100 million in military construction for a new Joint Operations and Mission Planning Center at Scott Air Force Base, according to Sen. Tammy Duckworth, who sought the funds. The act authorizes funding for the U.S. Department of Defense, sets the nation’s defense policy and ensures that service members have the tools they need to defend our nation.

Earlier last month, the United States Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) awarded a contract to UNCOMN, LLC to provide enterprise architecture, data, and engineering services to USTRANSCOM, US Air Force Air Mobility Command (AMC), and US Army Surface Deployment Distribution Command (SDDC). Valued at over $175 million, work on this Department of Defense contract will also take place primarily at Scott Air Force Base and is expected to commence in April 2020.

Read on for all the other highlights in this lengthy edition. We hope you'll find it be a great way to catch up on all the good news that's brewing as we dive full speed ahead into 2020. Happy reading!

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
We were pleased to host the Japan Forum on October 3rd and the Leadership Council Board of Directors meeting October 4th with guest speakers from the Consul of Economic Affairs for Consulate General of Japan in Chicago , Keidanren USA (Japan Business Federation), and JETRO Chicago.

This picture is from America's Central Port.
$100 million Scott mission center included in latest defense budget
(Illinois Business Journal, 12/28/2019)
The new National Defense Authorization Act includes $100 million in military construction for a new Joint Operations and Mission Planning Center at Scott Air Force Base, said Sen. Tammy Duckworth, who sought the funds. Other Duckworth provisions will help protect service members from toxic chemicals, support Illinois jobs and shield veterans from deportation, she said. (Read More)

Freightway says year’s events propelled region’s status as hub
(Illinois Business Journal, 12/27/2019)
The St. Louis Regional Freightway has compiled a summary of the major developments in 2019 that either elevated the St. Louis region’s global status as a world-class freight hub or will help to advance the region’s position as the country’s freight nexus in the year ahead. (Read More)

UNCOMN Awarded Enterprise Architecture, Data, and Engineering (EADE) Contract by USTRANSCOM
(, 12/13/2019)
On December 4th, 2019, the United States Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) awarded a contract to UNCOMN, LLC to provide enterprise architecture, data, and engineering services to USTRANSCOM, US Air Force Air Mobility Command (AMC), and US Army Surface Deployment Distribution Command (SDDC). (Read More)

Family Business Profile: Arizon doubles sales on new partnerships
(St. Louis Business Journal, 12/12/2019)
Arizon Cos. had logged annual sales of $20 million for roughly 10 years. But that began to change in 2015 as Tim Scharf took over as president and owner.The company, which makes HVAC systems, had focused on the local region, but began to operate internationally. (Read More)

Southern Illinois pursues trade ops with Peru partners
(Illinois Business Journal, January 2020 issue, Page 1)
Southwestern Illinois has a new partner, and it’s a friendship that both sides hope will pay dividends across a vast distance.  (Read More)

MCT introduces new services, rolls out new trail extension
(Illinois Business Journal, January 2020 Issue, Page 4)
Madison County Transit made it easier to catch a ride and take a ride in 2019. (Read More)

Poettker Construction enjoys milestones during a record-breaking company year
(Illinois Business Journal, January 2020 Issue, Page 4)
Several company milestones and a diverse portfolio of projects from both repeat and new clients have propelled Poettker Construction Co. to achieve record-breaking revenue in 2019. (Read More)

Alton expects a big year ahead after extraordinary events of 2019
(Illinois Business Journal, January 2020 Issue, Page 5)
Alton is coming off one of its most significant years and heading into one that promises to be a true turning point, Mayor Brant Walker said. (Read More)

O’Fallon will see current boom spill into 2020 construction year
(Illinois Business Journal, January 2020 Issue, Page 5)
This year, O’Fallon, Ill., rebranded itself with a new look and tag line: “Build It Her.” The new slogan holds weight as it seems that there is construction on every corner. (Read More)
As part of the Building Workforce 2030 program, we have partnered with Dupo, IL High School to bring speakers into their Co-op class. These speakers introduce students to a variety of careers in industry and business.
Contegra Construction completed numerous projects in 2019 year
(Illinois Business Journal, January 2020 Issue, Page 6)
While much of Contegra Construction’s robust building assignments in 2019 served the distribution/logistics industry, the Edwardsville-based firm also advanced building solutions for multi-family, retail and growing businesses. (Read More)

Holland Construction focuses on core niches during busy year of building
(Illinois Business Journal, January 2020 Issue, Page 7)
Holland Construction Services, Inc. was busy this past year completing projects involving two of its growing niches – apartments and senior living – while continuing work in its traditional markets of health care, education, recreation and public safety facilities, with more such work in the offing for 2020.  (Read More)

St. Louis Downtown Airport, Sauget partner on infrastructure investments
(Illinois Business Journal, January 2020 Issue, Page 10)
St. Louis Downtown Airport’s location just a few minutes east of the Gateway Arch Riverfront contributes to it being the busiest general aviation airport in Illinois outside of Chicago. (Read More)

Fairview Heights fills vacancies with new and improved uses
(Illinois Business Journal, January 2020 Issue, Page 11)
Having reached the 50-year mark since incorporation, Fairview Heights has taken steps to position itself as a location for continued retail activity, largely through ongoing and anticipated redevelopment, according to Director of Economic Development Paul Ellis. (Read More)

Shiloh will see action on Auffenberg dealership and multiple residential developments in 2020
(Illinois Business Journal, January 2020 Issue, Page 11)
The village of Shiloh expects that the surge of growth of the past year will continue unabated in 2020. (Read More)

A former Metro East YMCA — vacant for 14 years — is one step closer to a new beginning
(St. Louis Business Journal, 12/26/2019)
A plan to bring housing for veterans and artists to the Metro East is one step closer to kicking off. Rise Community Development, a St. Louis nonprofit that partners with communities to develop affordable market-rate housing, has closed on financing for the redevelopment of the former Tri-City YMCA building in Granite City. (Read More)

Unemployment rate down in most Illinois metro areas
(Illinois Business Journal, 12/30/2019)
SPRINGFIELD – The unemployment rate decreased over-the-year in November in 13 Illinois metropolitan areas and increased in one, according to preliminary data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Illinois Department of Employment Security. (Read More)

Fifteen park, trail projects completed in past year, Metro East Park and Recreation says
(Illinois Business Journal, 1/2/2020)
It’s been a busy year for Metro East Park and Recreation District and its partners. A total 15 park and trail projects were completed in 2019.  (Read More)

Pritzker administration secures $40.2 million preschool grant
(Advantage News, 12/26/2019)
In line with Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s vision of making Illinois the best state in the nation for families raising young children, the Pritzker administration announced it has secured $40.2 million in federal funding over the next three years to improve early childhood programs across Illinois. (Read More)

Touchette Regional Hospital Extends its Behavioral Health Services with the Opening of New Intensive Outpatient Program in Alton
(Riverbender, 12/12/2019)
Alton - Recognizing the growing need for outpatient behavioral health services, Touchette Regional Hospital is expanding its reach to the Riverbend area with the opening of its new Intensive Outpatient Program in Alton, Ill., at 2 Memorial Drive, Building A, Suite 120. (Read More)

Workforce development agencies offering apprenticeship opportunities
(Illinois Business Journal, 1/6/2020)
Local workforce agencies are teaming up with the city of Collinsville to bring together area business leaders, higher education professionals and workforce development officials from across the Southwestern Illinois region to discuss new apprenticeship opportunities. (Read More)

New PACE financing tool finds way into Illinois commercial development
(Illinois Business Journal, December 2019 Issue, Page 1)
Fairview Heights has an edge on PACE financing, one of the newest efforts by the state to ignite commercial economic development.  (Read More)

SIUE taking data study to next level: Center for Predictive Analytics now open
(Illinois Business Journal, December 2019 Issue, Page 1)
It’s a big data world out there, with a ton of valuable information just waiting to be mined and processed for productive use. (Read More)

Plummer, Meier push for funding to preserve Kaskaskia Watershed
(Illinois Business Journal, 12/16/2019)
State Sen. Jason Plummer, R-Edwardsville, and state Rep. Charlie Meier, R-Okawville, teamed up in the recent session to urge the legislature to secure state funding to make repairs and improvements to the Kaskaskia Watershed. (Read More)

Retiring president James Dennis ‘transformed’ McKendree University in Lebanon
(Belleville News-Democrat, 12/06/2019)
James Dennis has been the face of McKendree University in Lebanon for more than 25 years, so it’s hard for people to imagine not seeing the 6-foot-4-inch, white-haired president sitting in stands at football games, eating in the cafeteria, attending concerts or speaking at graduations. (Read More)

Godfrey recognized for achievements in Green Cities Challenge
(Advantage News, 12/8/2019)
Nine municipalities were recognized with Awards of Achievement for their work in the Green Cities Challenge component of this program, including the village of Godfrey.  (Read More)

Edwardsville/Glen Carbon Chamber earns coveted five-star distinction
(Illinois Business Journal, January 2020 Issue, Page 6)
The Edwardsville/Glen Carbon Chamber of Commerce is celebrating a successful 2019, proudly serving as a voice of Metro East businesses and striving toward organizational advancement, said Desiree Bennyhoff, president and CEO. (Read More)
Thank you to the Leadership Council's Program Sponsors: