September 4, 2020


While summer continues to wind down and cooler fall temperatures have begun to make their way to the region, the SWIL still remains a hot spot for investment with activity in multiple sectors that we are pleased to share with you in this edition of the Good NewsLink.

The Leadership Council Education Committee was honored to receive a grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) Office of Broadband as one of the first groups included in the Illinois Connected Communities grant program. The program was created to assist underserved, rural, and suburban areas of the state with building broadband capacity and internet connections. We are excited to help with this planning process and look forward to bridging the digital divide for remote working, e-learning, telemedicine, agriculture and overall business operations, which is crucial for SWIL economic growth and viability. In coordination with this grant, we have partnered with PCs for People as well as the Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois and the Urban League to create a pipeline for distribution of gently used computers (estimated 10,000+ per year). These computers will be refurbished with Windows 10 and have an option for very low-cost unlimited internet access for students, underserved populations, elderly, and veterans. PCs for People operates in many cities across the U.S. and have already distributed 10,000 computers in Chicago. PCs for People have a federal certification to wipe clean all data off the computers and recertify them for reuse, so we need your help developing a pipeline for these used computers. If your firm is interested in donating your gently used computers, please let us know at the Leadership Council office, so we can get the computers in the pipeline and on their way to people who need them the most! Thank you in advance for your consideration!

We are also proud to partner with the Illinois Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) program, along with its director Theresa Ebeler, in supporting the upcoming GovCon Cohort educational eight-week session. This effort will help minority, women, veteran-owned businesses and others on their journey to become qualified state and federal contractors. GOVCON (Federal Contracting) funded by the DOD is a virtual cohort session starting in mid-Sept. This training will level the playing field and enable diversity inclusion with minority, women, and veteran owned firms having an opportunity to participate in municipal, state, and federal contracting activities. Participants will receive a certificate of completion and their firm’s services will be heavily promoted to municipal, state, and federal contract officers. This is the first COVCON in Illinois, so we are really excited to have this opportunity in our region. If your firm or others would be interested in applying for this first cohort, please let our office know and we can help you to connect with Theresa Ebeler.

There's also news of additional investments by Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, who last month announced $46 million in small business grants that have been released to 2,655 small businesses in about 400 cities spread across 78 counties, including those hit hardest by COVID-19 related closures. The State of Illinois also awarded $39.5 million for 27 capital improvement projects around the state, such as road improvements, public utility extensions and streetscapes; and “opportunity zone” projects that aim to boost local economic development in historically disadvantaged communities.

America’s Central Port will benefit from a $630,000 grant under the DCEO’s Opportunity Zone Program. The funds will be used to realign and reconstruct West Fourth Street in the Port's Warehouse District, allowing for more effective truck circulation and improving last mile efficiencies for both future prospects and current manufacturing tenants looking to grow.

You’ll find more details on these stories and various others below as we continue to round up and share all the good news occurring in our region!

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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Area roads, bridges addressed in state’s new six-year plan 
(Illinois Business Journal, August 2020 Issue, Page 8) 
Gov. JB Pritzker joined the Illinois Department of Transportation in mid-July in Collinsville to announce the release of a $21.3 billion plan to improve Illinois roads and bridges over the next six years. (Read More)

State awards $39.5M for local infrastructure grants 
(Illinois Business Journal, 08/20/2020) 
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity awarded $39.5 million in grants Wednesday for 27 capital improvement projects around the state. (Read More)

America's Central Port Wins $630,000 From DCEO For Opportunity Zone Development  
(Riverbender, 08/25/2020) 
America's Central Port is proud to announce a $630,000 grant award from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) under its Opportunity Zone Program. (Read More)

Illinois American Water invests $3.7 million in Alton’s wastewater system 
(Advantage News, 08/12/2020) 
In June 2019, Illinois American Water acquired the Alton Regional Wastewater System, which serves customers in Alton and nearby communities of Bethalto and Godfrey. Immediately after close, the company began making investments to the sanitary sewer system. (Read More)

State investing $40 million in Cairo river port 
(Illinois Business Journal, 08/05/2020) 
SPRINGFIELD – The state of Illinois is about to invest $40 million into developing an inland river port that officials hope will produce thousands of new jobs and turn the small town of Cairo into a major shipping hub. (Read More)

State sinking $4.7 million into apprenticeship training programs 
(Illinois Business Journal, August 2020 Issue, Page 10) 
State officials plan 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)

Holland chosen for Volpi Foods processing warehouse 
(Illinois Business Journal, 08/01/2020) 
Swansea-based Holland Construction Services is working on a new 87,000-square-foot food processing facility for Volpi Foods. (Read More)

Pritzker announces $46 million in small business grants 
(Advantage News, 08/13/2020) 
Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity announced $46 million in small business grants have been released to 2,655 small businesses in about 400 cities spread across 78 counties. (Read More)

Edwardsville's Goshen Education Consulting Awarded $2.7 Million Defense Contract For Summer Camps At Military-Connected School Districts 
(Riverbender, 08/03/2020) 
EDWARDSVILLE - Goshen Education Consulting, an Edwardsville company, was recently awarded a $2.7 million Department of Defense contract to coordinate STEM summer camps at military-connected school districts in 10 locations around the United States over the next three years. (Read More)

Lewis and Clark receives career and technical education grant 
(Advantage News 08/05/2020) 
The Illinois Community College Board announced $1.7 million in grant funding to support the improvement and innovation of career and technical education programming at 21 community colleges throughout Illinois, including Lewis and Clark Community College. (Read More)

CARES Act funds available for small businesses, service agencies in county 
(Illinois Business Journal, 08/12/2020) 
EDWARDSVILLE — Madison County will open an application process on Monday to grant $1.7 million to businesses and public service agencies for COVID-19 relief. (Read More)

Growing with the times: Local landscaper now one of largest in country 
(Illinois Business Journal, 08/12/2020) 
Joe Munie built his company quite literally from the ground up, and in the last 40 years, he hasn’t ventured far from the land he loves. (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: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
Prairie Farms closes on deal to buy Dean Foods' O'Fallon, Illinois, facilities 
(St. Louis Business Journal, 08/12/2020) 
Prairie Farms has closed on its deal to buy more property from Dean Foods following Dean's 2019 bankruptcy. (Read More)

Freightway Provides Site Selectors Up-to-Date Information on Development Ready Sites 
(Construction Forum St. Louis, 08/11/2020) 
The St. Louis Regional Freightway recently launched the expanded Featured Real Estate Sites Map section of its website, which features a wealth of information about the bi-state St. Louis region’s growing real estate market with its abundance of warehouse/distribution buildings and land sites ready for all types of industrial and corporate users. (Read More)

Contegra Construction Targets Fall Completion for Warehouse in Mt. Vernon, Ill. 
(St. Louis Construction News and Review, 08/05/2020) 
Mascoutah, Ill.-based Jung Warehousing, Inc. is adding a new warehouse to its transportation, warehousing and logistic services. Contegra Construction is building the 126,350-square-foot facility in Mt. Vernon, Ill., which will debut in fall 2020. (Read More)

Here are the 12 semifinalists in SIUE Metro East Start-Up Challenge
(Illinois Business Journal, 08/28/2020)
A dozen Southwestern Illinois-based entrepreneurs and their innovative business concepts have been selected to move into the second round of the 7th annual Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Metro East Start-Up Challenge (MESC) business plan competition. (Read More)

Park North would bring hotel to 143, 55 
(Edwardsville Intelligencer, 08/17/2020) 
Both of Pangea Development’s developments on the west side of Interstate 55 at Route 143 are showing some movement despite the pandemic. (Read More)

Ameren Cares grant will help expand news coverage 
(Belleville News-Democrat, 08/03/2020) 
The BND’s campaign for community financial support to expand coverage of East St. Louis, nearby towns and education in southwestern Illinois has received a big boost. (Read More)

Eckert’s family farm launches cider mill operation, new products 
(St. Louis Business Journal, 08/27/2020) 
Eckert’s Inc., the pick-your-own farm and retail operation in Metro East, has launched a line of peach and apple ciders that are hot-pressed at its Belleville location. (Read More)

MCT opens Troy-O’Fallon sidewalk to Turtle Creek 
(Edwardsville Intelligencer, 08/28/2020) 
TROY — This past Friday, Aug. 21, Madison County Transit (MCT) conducted a ribbon-cutting and held a brief photo op for the newly constructed concrete sidewalk which runs along Troy-O’Fallon Road from the MCT Troy Park & Ride Lot on US 40 to Turtle Creek Road in Troy. (Read More)

Siteman Cancer Center named among top U.S. cancer centers
(Advantage News, 08/04/2020) 
Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine has been named among the top cancer centers nationally by U.S. News & World Report. (Read More)

OSF HealthCare Saint Anthony’s Health Center receives award for stroke care 
(Advantage News, 08/25/2020) 
OSF HealthCare Saint Anthony’s Health Center has received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award. (Read More)

Duckworth-Durbin bill to commemorate Route 66 passes Senate 
(Illinois Business Journal, 08/12/2020) 
Bipartisan legislation to commemorate Route 66 introduced by U.S. Sens. Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin, both Democrats from Illinois, and Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., has passed the Senate, they said Tuesday. (Read More)

Lewis and Clark participates in solar workforce project
(Advantage News, 08/04/2020)
The Illinois Green Economy Network through its fiscal agent, Lewis and Clark Community College, announced Expanding the Solar Workforce through the Illinois Community College system, a solar workforce development project at five Illinois community college districts: John A. Logan College (Carterville), Lewis and Clark Community College (Godfrey), Lincoln Land Community College (Springfield), Kankakee Community College (Kankakee), and City Colleges of Chicago (Chicago). (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: