The summer heat may have arrived a little early, but it's not the only thing heating up here in the Metro East. Recent good news calls attention to new jobs, new investments and new milestones being reached by local business, and we're happy to share some of the highlights.
On the jobs front, the expansion of Sun Basket, a meal-kit distribution center located in Monroe County, is set to bring up to 100 new jobs to the region. New investments are reflected in the proposed $33 million renovation of the senior homes at the Shrine in Belleville and in federal funding approved for local transportation projects. Meanwhile, longtime Leadership Council member Impact Strategies is celebrating a new milestone, topping $500 million in projects completed to date as it marks 15 years in business.
In military affairs news, Gen. Carlton D. Everhart II, Air Mobility Command commander, held a civic leader panel during AMC's biannual Phoenix Rally summit at Scott Air Force Base April 27 with 175 base commanders and general officers. The panel enabled open communication among the mobility air forces and community leaders with a focus on issues affecting Mobility Airmen today. As an AMC civic leader, I had the opportunity to discuss how Scott Air Force Base Airmen partner with local schools to encourage students to pursue STEM-related career fields in presentation to over 23,000 residents within our community.
This week, the Leadership Council partnered with the SWIL Trade and Investment Council to host a bus tour from Chicago to SWIL with approximately 12 international trade representatives on a two day tour of our region. This was an important follow-up from our external outreach trip to Chicago. The group had a robust tour of Madison, Monroe, and St. Clair Counties, including visits to Walgreens, Worldwide Technologies, America's Central Port, Mid America Airport, Rock City Development, and many other site locations along the way. This bus tour in addition to the 6 individual tours for Chicago International Embassy representatives have enabled SWIL to highlight its significant business and transportation assets to countries interested in partnering with our region for mutual benefit. This is just the starting point for more interactions and business opportunities.
Read on for more on these exciting stories and all the other good news we've rounded up over the past couple of weeks.
Have a great day!
Ronda Sauget, D. Mgmt, MBA
Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois
More than $33M in improvements proposed for retirement homes at the Shrine in Belleville
(Belleville News-Democrat, 5/3/2018)
Leaders of the senior living complex at the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville have proposed a redevelopment and renovation project that would completely overhaul the campus and cost an estimated $33 million to $35 million. (
Four-day national freight conference set for St. Louis
(Illinois Business Journal, 5/4/2018)
A four-day conference dedicated to the region's growing freight movement will take place May 21 to 24.
Inland Marine Expo, Institute for Trade and Transportation Studies and St. Louis Regional Freightway are partnering to host FreightWeek STL. The event will bring together freight and transportation experts as well as exhibitors from around the country to share ideas on the industry. The gathering will take place at the America's Center Convention Complex and the Marriott St. Louis Grand. (
IMPACT Strategies Surpasses $500 Million in Construction Projects
(Saint Louis Construction News and Review, 5/7/2018)
IMPACT Strategies recently celebrated 15 years in business. Founded by business partners Mark Hinrichs and Mike Christ, the firm now employs 36 people in offices in Fairview Heights, Illinois and downtown St. Louis, Missouri.
In its 15-year history, IMPACT Strategies has completed more than $500 million in local construction, with another $60 million projected for 2018. (Read More)
Local projects receive $1.3 million in federal funding
(Advantage News, 5/7/2018)
Projects in Edwardsville and Wood River were among those awarded funding in a nearly $37 million investment to expand travel options and enhance the quality of life in communities throughout the state, Gov. Bruce Rauner said in a press release Monday. (
Developers still interested, talking with Alton officials about Wadlow site
(The Telegraph, 5/10/2018)
The city continues talking with two firms about developing the future, Wadlow Town Center, but neither has submitted a formal proposal as of this week.
"We are still talking with a couple entities, we still are talking about the nature of what they want to do with the property," said Greg Caffey, Alton director of development and housing. "Both parties are large developers in the St. Louis area. They have a very strong interest in this, it is just a matter of time." (Read More)
Swansea moving forward on bike trail plan estimated to cost $840K
(Belleville News-Democrat, 5/11/2018)
The village of Swansea plans to submit its preliminary design for a new bike trail along Boul Avenue for approval by state officials this month.
The 1/2-mile asphalt trail, expected to be completed by 2020, will run from High Mount School to a new trailhead park behind Cholula's Mexican restaurant and connect to the 11-mile MetroBikeLink Trail. (Read More)
More than 100 new jobs to be added at Valmeyer distribution facility
(Illinois Business Journal, 5/10/2018)
Sun Basket, a meal-kit distribution center in a massive underground cave known as Rock City, is being expanded, bringing with it the potential for up to 100 new jobs.
Together with Sun Basket leadership, local officials, and the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Gov. Bruce Rauner today cut the ribbon on an expansion of the Monroe County center, which is a meal-kit service featuring organic produce and clean ingredients with dietitian-approved recipes delivered to customers' doors.
AMC, civic leaders discuss education initiatives at Phoenix Rally
(Air Mobility Command Public Affairs , 4/30/2018)
AMC Civic leaders speak at a panel during AMC's Phoenix Rally.
Gen. Carlton D. Everhart II, Air Mobility Command commander, held a civic leader panel during AMC's biannual Phoenix Rally summit here April 27. The panel enabled open communication among the mobility air forces and community leaders with a focus on issues affecting Mobility Airmen today. Improving military family readiness, and the impact on retaining Airmen in the service, was at the forefront of the discussion. (Read More)
Memorial again receives highest nursing credential with Magnet recognition
(Illinois Business Journal, 5/7/2018)
Memorial Regional Health Services, which includes Memorial Hospital Belleville, Memorial Hospital East and Memorial Care Center, again has attained Magnet recognition as part of the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Recognition Program.
The voluntary credentialing program for hospitals recognizes excellence in nursing and is the highest honor an organization can receive for professional nursing practice. (Read More)
Art on the Square gears up to take back its No. 1 ranking
(Belleville News-Democrat, 5/1/2018)
Art on the Square patrons spent more than $900,000 buying art during last spring's show but these purchases were not enough for the downtown Belleville festival to keep its No. 1 ranking in the country.
The Belleville show earned the No. 3 spot in the latest rankings based on artists' sales reported to Art Fair SourceBook for art fairs in 2017.
Art on the Square had been ranked No. 1 in the previous list and earned the top spot six times between 2006 and 2017. (Read More)
Metro East SBDC offering minority entrepreneurship workshop in East St. Louis
(Illinois Business Journal, 5/2/2018)
The Illinois Metro East Small Business Development Center at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville will host a workshop on Advancing the Development of Minority Entrepreneurship on May 22.
The workshop will focus on a variety of general topics designed to instruct new business start-ups and individuals who have an interest in entrepreneurship.
PHOENIX RALLY 2018: AMC, civic leaders discuss critical education initiatives
(Belleville News-Democrat, 5/8/2018)
Gen. Carlton D. Everhart II, Air Mobility Command commander, held a civic leader panel during AMC's biannual Phoenix Rally summit April 27 at Scott Air Force Base. The panel enabled open communication among the Mobility Air Forces and community leaders with a focus on issues affecting mobility Airmen today. Improving military family readiness, and the impact on retaining Airmen in the service, was at the forefront of the discussion.
SIUE biofuels research center hosts "Fueling Fun" workshop for local Girl Scouts
EDWARDSVILLE - More than 50 Brownies, Juniors, and parents from the Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois (GSOFSI) learned about the benefits of biofuels, fermentation, and careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) during the "Fueling Fun" biofuels workshop at the National Corn-to-Ethanol Research Center (NCERC) at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE).
Belleville Main Street named quarterfinalist for 'America's Main Streets' contest
(Illinois Business Journal, 5/3/2018)
Belleville Main Street has been named a quarterfinalist in the 2018 America's Main Streets contest sponsored by the national small-business movement, Independent We Stand.
The public is invited to vote for a quarterfinalist and move a deserving Main Street one step closer to the grand prize of $25,000. (Read More)