October 8, 2020


Summer like temperatures have returned to the Metro East this week as Southwestern Illinois remains a hot development market with a series of multi-million-dollar investments and projects planned or underway in communities throughout the area that we’re excited to share with you in this edition of Good NewsLink.

Earlier last month, the U.S. Department of Transportation awarded $20.84 million in grant funding to America’s Central Port District in Granite City, which will be used to fund several projects to improve infrastructure at ports in the St. Louis region. These projects will create a number of good-paying jobs for constituents and ensure the region remains economically competitive. MidAmerica St. Louis Airport also is proceeding with a key phase of its planned terminal expansion thanks to nearly $6.5 million in grant funding recently awarded by the U.S. DOT. Meanwhile, the state released $16.6 million federal job-training funds to expand job opportunities for Illinoisans out of work due to COVID-19. Supplied Industrial Solutions in Granite City was awarded a $14 million contract from the U.S. Department of the Army to secure jobs in the Metro East while helping protect communities outside our region from potential weather-related threats. Additionally, Granite City-based icon Mechanical recently announced plans to expand its operations with a new, 40,800 square-foot headquarters that broke ground last month and is scheduled for completion in summer 2021.

Great work is also being done to address the Digital Divide impacting so many in our region. Due to the increase in remote working, e-learning, telemedicine, online ordering, and many other activities on current internet systems as a result of the ongoing pandemic, the issues surrounding broadband and connectivity in the region have become a top priority for the Leadership Council’s Education Committee. The Education Committee partnered 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. The State of Illinois Office of Broadband has committed to facilitate the donation of 10,000 computers to PCs for People Metro East and have set a goal of sourcing a total of 25,000 computers in their first year to meet the significant need in our community. Please contact the Leadership Council office at to learn more about this initiative and how you can support it.

You’ll find a link here to a video featuring a discussion with Nonprofit Utopia on the Illinois Connected Communities program and how it is also being used to fund community-driven broadband plans designed to eliminate the Digital Divide and promote community vitality.

Continue reading on for more on these exciting stories and news related to additional investments in various sectors, including infrastructure, transportation, healthcare, education and more. Have a great rest of the week!

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
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Granite City port awarded $20.84 million grant 
(Advantage News, 09/14/2020) 
U.S. Reps. Mike Bost (R-Illinois), Rodney Davis (R-Illinois), and John Shimkus (R-Illinois) announced the U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded a $20.84 million grant to America’s Central Port District in Granite City. (Read More)

State releases $16.6 million in job-training funds 
(Illinois Business Journal, 09/11/2020) 
Gov. JB Pritzker on Thursday announced the release of $16.6 million in federal funding to expand job opportunities for Illinoisans out of work due to COVID-19. (Read More)

Project to Expand Terminal at MidAmerica St. Louis Airport Advances Following Receipt of More Than $6 Million in Federal Grant Funding 
(, 09/10/2020) 
MidAmerica St. Louis Airport is pleased to announce that a key phase of its planned terminal expansion will be moving forward this fall thanks to nearly $6.5 million in grant funding recently awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation. (Read More)

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $2.5M to Boost Business & Export Opportunities in Granite City, Illinois, Opportunity Zone 
(St. Louis Construction News and Review, 09/09/2020)
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross recently announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $2.5million grant to America’s Central Port District, formerly known as Tri-City Regional Port District, Granite City, Illinois, to make storage-based infrastructure improvements needed to increase the Port’s capacity to handle freight and boost export opportunities. (Read More)

Metro-East Park District Awards $2M In Grants For Local Parks And Trails 
(, 09/18/2020) 
The Metro East Park and Recreation District (MEPRD) on Friday announced that nearly $2 million in grant funding was recently awarded to 13 agencies throughout Madison and St. Clair Counties, for projects that develop or improve local parks and trails comprised within the district. (Read More)

Ameren Illinois Fortifying Power Grid In East St. Louis 
(, 09/08/2020) 
Ameren Illinois is constructing a new substation and upgrading structures to enhance energy reliability for customers in East St. Louis and surrounding communities. (Read More)

Granite City company gets $14 million Army contract
(Illinois Business Journal, 09/29/2020)
U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, D-Murphysboro, announced Monday that the Department of the Army has awarded a $14 million contract to Supplied Industrial Solutions in Granite City. (Read More)

Madison County Employment and Training awarded $5,000 Ameren Cares grant
(Advantage News, 09/08/2020) 
Madison County received a $5,000 boost to upgrade technology in the Employment and Training Department. (Read More)

Knoebel Construction completes work on new Drake’s location in O’Fallon
(Illinois Business Journal, 09/28/2020)
The new Drake’s restaurant in O’Fallon, Ill., was recently completed with St. Louis-based Knoebel Construction serving as the general contractor. (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:

  • 10/7/2020 – 9 a.m. - Deloitte, The Future of Connectivity

  • 10/21/2020 – 9 a.m. - Archford Capital, Philanthropic Discussion - Community and Business 

  • 11/4/2020 - 9 a.m. - PCs for People, Electronic Donations

*For meeting links please email
icon Mechanical breaks ground on new Granite City headquarters 
(Illinois Business Journal, 09/11/2020)
Granite City-based icon Mechanical, one of the Midwest’s largest full-service design-build/design-assist mechanical contractors, has announced plans to expand its operations in Granite City, and hosted a ground-breaking ceremony this week on a new, 40,800 square-foot headquarters. (Read More)

Despite flooding, tourism flourishes in 2019
(Advantage News, 09/06/2020) 
Tourism created strong economic growth throughout the Great Rivers & Routes six-county region in 2019 mirroring growth across the state of Illinois, according to early reports from the Illinois Department of Commerce’s Office of Tourism. (Read More)

Ameren Illinois Continues To Modernize Natural Gas System In Alton
(, 09/08/2020) 
Ameren Illinois is investing $1.3 million to update the natural gas system in Alton. (Read More)

Company debuts online curriculum for construction career education 
(Illinois Business Journal, 09/17/2020) 
S.M. Wilson & Co. is rolling out a virtual learning curriculum via a trademarked construction career education program called SKILLED. (Read More)

College, school district join forces for welding program 
(Advantage News, 09/08/2020)
Local students can earn multiple welding certificates and an associate of applied science in welding through a partnership between Lewis and Clark Community College and the North Greene School District. (Read More)

Southwestern Illinois classes focus on government contract work 
(Illinois Business Journal, 09/10/2020) 
Southwestern Illinois businesses are now being offered free classes teaching the essential tools needed to be registered and certified to work on government contracts. (Read More)

National Freight Strategic Plan Will Strengthen Nation’s and Region’s Competitiveness
(Construction Forum St. Louis, 09/24/2020)
There is no question America’s ability to compete is dependent on adequate infrastructure to move freight safely and efficiently. (Read More)

HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital Highland gets five-star rating for patient experience 
(Illinois Business Journal, 09/14/2020) 
HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital Highland has received a five-star rating for patient experience from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the top score in the federal agency’s ratings system. (Read More)

Four Alton Memorial departments earn awards from market research firm 
(Advantage News, 09/08/2020)
Four Alton Memorial Hospital departments were recognized with top 2020 awards from national health care research leader Professional Research Consultants Inc. (Read More)

HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital Among Nation’s Top Performing Hospitals for Treatment of Heart Attack Patients 
(, 09/02/2020)
HSHS St. Elizabeth’s has received the American College of Cardiology’s NCDR Chest Pain - MI Registry Platinum Performance Achievement Award for 2020. (Read More)
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