What’s Happening In The Region
July 28, 2010
"Graduate! St. Louis Workforce Consortium” Launched To Help Reconnect Displaced Workers & Meet Employer Demands In Key Industry Sectors: This past Tuesday we were pleased to join the chancellors of five community colleges from throughout the bi-state region, Mayor Francis Slay and St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment (SLATE) Director Michael Homes at City Hall in the launch of a major workforce initiative. SLATE was awarded a grant totaling $4,404,781 from the U.S. Department of Labor to launch the “Graduate! St. Louis Workforce Consortium.”
The Consortium will prepare the bi-state St. Louis Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) workforce to meet employer demands for qualified staff in the healthcare, information technology (IT) and emerging green industries.
This project is a unique and regional collaborative partnership between SLATE, St. Louis Community College, St. Charles Community College, Jefferson College, East Central College, Southwestern Illinois College, and the RCGA. In addition to the St. Louis Workforce Investment Board (WIB), the following WIBs have endorsed and will participate in the Consortium: St. Louis County, Jefferson/Franklin Counties, St. Charles County, and St. Clair County. The WIBs will participate in an advisory capacity to share information, monitor project activities and outcomes, and provide strategic input to the Consortium leadership.
This grant will enhance area training programs, add capacity for 2,200 participants and successfully place an estimated 1,500 of the program graduates into jobs.
The concepts, programs and relationships that made up this winning application were developed in a series of long and productive meetings between college officials, SLATE and the RCGA at our offices and at area community colleges over the past year.
RCGA was pleased to participate in this community effort since it aligns directly with 3 of the 4 strategic initiatives adopted by the RCGA Board:
- Sharpening our Economic Development Focus (Focus on Specific Clusters)
- Attracting, Developing and Retaining Top Talent in the Region
- Regional Sustainability as Good Economics
A related component of the overall “Graduate! St. Louis” effort on which the RCGA Regional Talent Council is working, under the leadership of Doug Koch, Senior Vice President and Chief Talent Officer at Brown Shoe, is focusing on raising the level of “college attainment” in the bi-state region. College attainment levels not only represent opportunities to grow personal income and the regional economy, but are also important factors for national site consultants in recommending to their corporate clients where to locate companies and jobs.
In this context, according to a 2008 U.S. Census Survey, some 444,000 St. Louis area adults started college at some point in their lives but never completed their degree. The overwhelming majority of these individuals are presently in the workforce. The surest way for us to improve our workforce, raise their incomes, and attract business to strengthen the region is to help these individuals to complete their higher education. I noted in last week’s news conference that a recent national study by CEO’s For Cities documented that raising the nation’s current 29.4% College Attainment level to 30.4% would stimulate gross national product and would increase aggregate personal income by $124 billion.
The consortium will partner with RCGA in its overall Talent initiative to target these 444,000 adults who have completed some college but have not graduated --- aimed at enhancing the region’s college attainment levels.
The “Graduate! St. Louis Workforce Consortium” announced last week it will primarily serve laid off workers affected by the recession. Over the three year project period, the consortium partners will increase the number of classes offered through the continuous education college system, invest in needed training equipment, hire faculty and develop a regional web portal in order to facilitate an online community of trainers and job seekers.
July 27, 2010
RCGA Board, Leadership Circle Members Invited To Special Briefing And Rams Practice Wednesday, August 11th: A first hand viewing of the Ram’s workout at Rams’ Park in Earth City, a reception and special briefing on the upcoming season for RCGA Board and Leadership Circle members, will be held on Wednesday evening, August 11th, beginning at 5:30 p.m., at the Russell Training Center in Earth City, One Rams Way.
#1 Draft Pick Sam Bradford, Coach Steve Spagnuolo and Running Back Steven Jackson
Our members will get a close-up view of the Rams 2010 talent and will enjoy a VIP reception in the owner’s suite --- with views of Coach Steve Spagnuolo, with Sam Bradford and Steven Jackson hard at work preparing for an exciting new season of Rams football. Rams Executive Vice President of Football Operations Kevin Demoff will welcome our group and will present “State of the Rams” remarks prior to the practice.
For reservations, please contact Lori Meier at the RCGA, at 314.444.1147, or e-mail her at email@example.com.
July 26, 2010
“A New Decade, A New Dollar” Is Subject Of John Cook School Of Business Program Tomorrow, July 27th: The RCGA is once again partnering with The Boeing Institute of International Business at the John Cook School of Business at Saint Louis University to present the “A New Decade, A New Dollar” program tomorrow, July 27th, beginning at 7:30 a.m., at the Anheuser-Busch Auditorium, 3674 Lindell Blvd.
The keynote breakfast speaker is Vassili Serebriakov, Vice President and Currency Strategist, Wells Fargo & Company, New York.
Serebriakov will explore global currency issues, such as:
- Global economic recovery, financial market volatility and the U.S. dollar
- Recent European developments and the implications for the euro
- The outlook for China’s currency policy
In addition to the RCGA, the other program sponsors are: U.S. Department of Commerce; World Affairs Council; World Agricultural Forum; and the World Trade Center Saint Louis. This program is partially funded by a Business and International Education grant from the United States Department of Education.
For reservations and more information, please call 314.977.3898, or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
July 23, 2010
Opinion-Editorial By UMSL’s Dr. Charles Schmitz Generates Region-Wide Discussion: The RCGA Leadership Trip to Indianapolis last month, in which some 50 St. Louis area business, civic and academic leaders, “compared notes” with their Indianapolis counterparts and former 4-term Indianapolis Mayor William Hudnut, generated 3 insightful articles by St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Tim Logan, a delegate on the Trip. (“Postcard From Indianapolis”, “So, How Big Is This Place?”, “Lesson From Indianapolis”) Other delegates shared their observations, as well, including Dr. Charles Schmitz, Dean and Professor of Counseling and Family Therapy at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, who took note of how Indianapolis presents itself to the world as the 14th largest city in the United States.
Following the Leadership Trip to Indianapolis, Charley presented his unique perspectives in an opinion-editorial published in the Post-Dispatch on June 30th, entitled, “St. Louis Is A World-Class City.” (click for more)
In his op-ed, Charley begins by noting, “St. Louis is a world-class city, of that I have no doubt. But the truth is, the perception of St. Louis does not equal that reality, and we need to fix that. The solution may be simpler than you think. It is time to change the perception of our town — both internally and externally.
As a behavioral/social scientist who has studied people, relationships and perceptions for nearly four decades, I know that the perception of something can be far more powerful than its reality. Perception is reality. Change the perception, change the reality.
In mid-June, I had the pleasure of participating in the annual St. Louis Regional Chamber and Growth Association leadership trip. This year they visited Indianapolis. It was clear from the opening meeting that the Indy community had learned its talking points. The one refrain that we heard over and over went something like this: "Indianapolis is the 14th most populated city in the United States." However, when I looked out the window of the various venues I kept saying to myself, "This place doesn't look like the 14th largest city!"
I look out at St. Louis and its multiple skylines all the time and think to myself, "This is a big city!" Charley received 90 direct e-mails responding to his article – all positive. There have been a total of 223 Facebook Shares on stltoday.com. Here is a sampling of what readers wrote:
- "St. Louis is the 53rd largest city in the country. That's not too impressive. We could be one of the Top 10 largest cities in U.S. if the city and county (actually 7th). Even more important, we would no longer be ranked at the top in the country for crime, murder, rape, assault and burglary. St. Louis would actually rank over 50th in many of these negative categories if the city and county merged. Many of our negative statistics would simply disappear while just the opposite would take place regarding the many positives that would surface in regards to a merged metropolitan city.”
- “The time could finally be right to make this happen. The many small fiefdoms that make up St. Louis can still maintain their autonomy."
- “Hopefully you have stirred up some interest in the concept. It looks like we are on our way to improving access to the Arch Grounds which would make us look and feel more like a big city, why not look good in the statistics, too.”
- "I got two people from separate parts of my life forward the article you wrote for St. Louis Today both saying, "this guy is someone speaking your language." I moved to St. Louis about 11 months ago from the east and have fallen head over heels for this city. I keep singing its praises to people trying to re-brand this place. I have successfully got three friends of mine from New York to widen their job search engines and include St. Louis after visiting.”
Interestingly enough, several observers have suggested that, short of totally merging the two governments, perhaps the City and County could combine as a single jurisdiction for census statistical purposes.
It was noticeable what a difference the single jurisdiction has made for Indianapolis --- the 35th largest metro, but the 14th largest city in the U.S. Not only has the single jurisdiction there moved Indy forward from an economic development standpoint, but the mindset there is decidedly “we” with virtually every leader with whom we met on our trip (and opposed to “we/they”). Perception became reality in how Indianapolis thinks of itself.
July 20, 2010
Long Awaited Renovation Of Kiel Opera House is Underway, And With A New Name: Rechristened the Peabody Opera House, the historic Kiel Opera House first opened its doors in 1934 but had been shuttered since 1991. Thanks to the continued leadership of SCP Worldwide Chairman and Blues owner Dave Checketts, the grand art deco concert hall located downtown at 14th and Market Streets will again host concerts and special events by the fall of next year in the marble-pillared 3,500 seat main theater. Mayor Francis Slay, brothers Chris and Joe McKee who are co-developers, RCGA Member and Peabody Energy Chairman and CEO Greg Boyce, and a host of dignitaries, unveiled the new name and 30’s art deco look logo at the historic opera house prior to donning hard hats for a tour of the now active construction site.
The $78.7 million project is one of the biggest in downtown St. Louis and, as noted above, joins major renovation projects such as the Central Library, the Park Pacific Building, 7th Street Garage, 600 Washington, and The Laurel as evidence of a thriving center city.
July 19, 2010
Nestlé Purina Adds To Checkerboard Square HQ Campus, Adding to Other Significant Downtown St. Louis Investment Announcements: In what is another positive sign that the reinvestment in St. Louis’ center city continues, Nestlé Purina PetCare on Friday announced plans to construct a $15 million Learning and Training Center at its Checkerboard Square headquarters – the first new building on campus in nearly 25 years. This investment joins over $501.7 million in recent investments announced for downtown St. Louis, including the $78.7 million renovation of the historic Kiel Opera House, the $109 million Park Pacific, the renovation of the former Dillards Department Store as The Laurel ($142 million), Seventh Street Garage and 600 Washington ($38 million and $60 million respectively), and the $74 million renovation of the historic Central Library.
|From right: Luis Cantarell holding the Jack Russell terrier; Pat McGinnis; Dick Fleming; Mayor Francis Slay; Alderwoman Phyllis Young; Maggie Campbell; Steve Johnson.
RCGA Senior Vice President for Economic Development Steve Johnson and I were pleased to join Purina and Nestlé officials at a groundbreaking ceremony on Friday morning featuring remarks by Nestlé Purina CEO Pat McGinnis and Nestlé Executive Vice President Luis Cantarell. The downtown campus has some 2,000 employees and is the headquarters for Nestlé Purina's U.S. and Latin American operations.
“This is good news for Nestlé Purina, good news for our associates and good news for the City of St. Louis,” Pat noted. “Even during challenging economic times, we continue to grow and invest in our business. The new building reflects our growing PetCare business and will serve as a learning and training center for Purina associates."
Construction on the new four-story, 56,000-square-foot building begins immediately and is expected to be completed by December 2011. Purina’s 55-acre Checkerboard Square property features 17 buildings with approximately 1.3 million-square-feet of office space, three ponds and a dog park. This capital project marks the first new building at Purina headquarters since 1986.
The new building, which will face Chouteau Avenue, will emphasize innovation and include a state-of-the-art 82-seat “in the round” auditorium, along with conference rooms and office space.
A global manufacturer of pet products, Nestlé Purina PetCare is part of Swiss-based Nestlé S.A., the world’s largest food company.
This new office building is the second major capital improvement project the company is building in the region. Construction will be completed in mid-August on the $10 million Purina Event Center in Gray Summit, Mo. That 84,000-square-foot center features a 45,000-square-foot exhibition hall for dog shows and training on the company's 337-acre Purina Farms property.
July 14, 2010
St. Louis Region Green Economy Profile Is Roadmap For Region’s Green Industry Cluster: At the RCGA’s Chicago Leadership Trip back in 2008, Chicago-based national economic development site selection executive Robert Hess described the issue of “sustainability” and “the green economy” as “business imperatives” as regions compete for jobs.
In this regard, as one of 4 National Pilots in the Rockefeller Brothers Fund-initiated Climate Prosperity Project, earlier this year the RCGA commissioned the St. Louis Region Green Economy Profile for the St. Louis Climate Prosperity Project, to identify the diversity, strengths and specialization of the region’s core green economy. The mission of the St. Louis Climate Prosperity Project, along with parallel Pilots in Silicon Valley, Portland and Denver, is to create and sustain regional prosperity by cultivating green savings, green opportunities and green talent.
This Green Economy Profile is one of the initiatives of the St. Louis Climate Prosperity Project that also includes the RCGA’s St. Louis Green Business Challenge and an upcoming Green Labor Market Information project with St. Louis area Workforce Investment Boards.
Among the key findings of this now completed Green Economy Profile is that St. Louis core green economy job growth is parallel to that of Silicon Valley (54% for St. Louis vs. 53% for Silicon Valley), and St. Louis has added 1,000 green jobs in the past two years, even during the national economic downturn. Collaborative Economics, Inc. of Silicon Valley prepared this report. The consulting firm completed a 50-state analysis of the core green economy for the Pew Charitable Trusts and published by the National Governors’ Association. The St. Louis and Silicon Valley Green Economy Profiles applied the same research methodology to the bi-state metropolitan St. Louis region and the Silicon Valley.
Among the other highlights from the St. Louis Region Green Economy Profile are:
- Green economy jobs in the St. Louis region grew by 54%, compared to 4% for all jobs, between 1995 and 2008. The St. Louis region now has nearly 9,000 jobs in the core green economy. Although a small percentage of overall jobs, (0.6%), core green economy jobs represent an emerging strength for the region.
- The core green economy consists of products and services that provide alternatives to carbon-based energy sources, conserve the use of energy and natural resources, reduce pollution (including greenhouse gas emissions) and repurpose waste.
- In addition, the St. Louis region has thousands of jobs in the "adaptive" green economy -- jobs located in businesses that are greening their products, processes and supply chains. Examples of these adaptive businesses include Boeing's use of biofuels in their aircraft, Emerson's Global Data Center's with state-of-the-art energy efficiency and renewable energy technology, and Enterprise Holding's installation of thousands of thin-film terminals at their retail locations. Future RCGA reports will measure the growth of these adaptive green economy jobs in the St. Louis region.
- The core green economy jobs are spread across a diverse array of industry sectors, each with different rates of growth. 79% of the regional core green employment is concentrated in four industry sectors: recycling and waste, air and environment, water and wastewater, and energy efficiency.
The findings of the St. Louis Region Green Economy Profile will support the development of a regional “Greenprint”, led by the RCGA. The Greenprint will serve as a collaborative, strategic plan to advance the St. Louis green economy.
St. Louis is one of 4 metropolitan regions selected as pilots for the Climate Prosperity Project, a national civic venture committed to linking environmental concerns with economic development opportunity and established last year by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. St. Louis joined Denver, Portland and Silicon Valley as the first regions to adopt the Climate Prosperity Project.
July 13, 2010
Special Edition Of RCGA Breakfast With The Gazelles At Centene Center On Wednesday, July 21st To Highlight St. Louis’ Arts & Culture: Given that available space is already going fast, we urge you to make your reservations today for the Wednesday, July 21st RCGA Breakfast with the Gazelles program at the Centene Center for Arts and Education, featuring a top flight panel of regional arts and business leaders discussing the competitive edge that the region’s outstanding arts and cultural institutions bring to St. Louis’ quality of life and economic development attractiveness.
Join us for a lively discussion at St. Louis’ nationally-acclaimed arts incubator, the Centene Center for Arts & Education. Support for the arts from area companies and the public sector --- through the Arts & Education Council and the Regional Arts Commission, respectively --- are important pieces of arts funding in St. Louis. In the current economic climate, it is more important than ever for businesses to continue to invest in our region’s outstanding arts and cultural organizations. This investment advances a company’s visibility and brand, boosts employee morale, and sustains and enriches quality of life while providing economic benefits to the entire region.
The Centene Center for Arts and Education is located at 3547 Olive St., and is a unique arts incubator that is home to 17 non-profit arts organizations in Grand Center. To register, please call Lori Meier at the RCGA at 314.444.1147, or e-mail email@example.com.
July 12, 2010
“Sweet Deal”: 612 New Manufacturing Jobs Coming To Moberly: Noting that the major focus in China on the Big Idea China Hub in St. Louis was very helpful to the Missouri Department of Economic Development (DED) in ultimately winning this deal, DED Director David Kerr joined Gov. Jay Nixon, company executives, state and local government officials, and community leaders as the Governor announced on Friday the creation of 612 new manufacturing jobs in Moberly, Mo.
RCGA Director of Business Recruitment Lori Becklenberg joined our Missouri and Moberly economic development colleagues in Moberly as Mamtek International, a multinational company that produces SweetOTM, a brand of the Sucralose sugar substitute, unveiled plans to base manufacturing operations in a facility owned by the City of Moberly and invest $46 million into the local economy.
|Gov. Jay Nixon at Friday’s news conference at Moberly Area Community College. (Don Shrubshell-Columbia Daily Tribune photo)
“The creation of hundreds of new, local jobs will give a significant boost to our manufacturing sector and to the economy of Randolph County and north-central Missouri,” Gov. Nixon said. “This exciting news was made possible by the State of Missouri’s impressive package of economic incentives, which is providing a tangible return on investment to taxpayers in terms of significant local investment and jobs created. Mamtek’s decision to invest in Missouri is also another clear indication of our State’s ongoing economic recovery, where new job creation since February is the best four-month stretch the State has seen since 2005.”
The project is being funded by $37 million in bond sales initiated, structured and committed by the City of Moberly, which will own the building, plus $8 million from private investors. Moberly has also made grants and services available to Mamtek in excess of another $500,000.
Additionally, the State of Missouri awarded Mamtek $7.6 million in Missouri Quality Jobs Program Tax Credits and $6.8 million in Missouri BUILD Program Tax Credits. The State incentive package also included $2 million in Community Development Block Grant Industrial Infrastructure program grant funds, $800,000 in New Jobs Training Program funding, and $368,000 in Employee Recruitment and Referral savings.
Mamtek International is a multinational company with significant American and Chinese ownership and leadership. The company's primary product, SweetOTM, is a no-calorie, no-carb sweetener used in everything from carbonated beverages to baked goods.
Friday’s announcement by the Governor is what we hope will be the first of many such rural/urban benefits of Missouri’s emerging relationships with China and the companion Big Idea Cargo and Commercial Hub effort.
Congratulations to Gov. Jay Nixon, David Kerr and his DED team, as well as Mamtek Chairman Bruce Cole; Moberly Mayor Bob Riley; Moberly Area Economic Development, Corp. President Corey Mehaffy; Moberly Area Community College President Dr. Evelyn Jorgenson; and RCGA’s other Moberly economic development counterparts and to the Midwest U.S. China Association on a job well done.
July 7, 2010
July-August St. Louis Commerce Magazine Cover Story Features Cassidy Turley CEO Mark Burkhart: The July-August issue of St. Louis Commerce Magazine, currently on newsstands throughout the bi-state St. Louis region, features an in-depth cover story about one of the St. Louis region’s and nation’s real estate powerhouses, Cassidy Turley. Headquartered in St. Louis, Cassidy Turley brings together some of the best and brightest real estate talent from across the nation. This Commerce story takes a look at the recent mega-merger of Colliers Turley Martin Tucker, engineered by long-time St. Louis and national real estate leader Mark Burkhart. Under his leadership, the St. Louis-based firm has become one of the pre-eminent commercial real estate brokers in the nation.
Please click on the Commerce cover below to access our cover story.
This issue of Commerce also takes a deeper look at the prospects for the “Big Idea”, landing a China air-freight and hub at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport. A feasibility study on the amount of exports that could originate from this region to China is nearing completion, and we look at the continuing progress on this high impact project. Demonstrating the export potential from the greater Midwest will be a key element of attracting the Chinese air-freight hub, and the broader opportunity of establishing the St. Louis region as a commercial center for China.
Key to forging a relationship with Chinese government and business leaders is Stephen Perry, chair of the 48 Group Club and the London Export Corp. Stephen, who has deep family ties to the St. Louis region and whose father was one of the “icebreakers” who helped open China to western trade beginning in 1953. Stephen has been instrumental in guiding the region’s efforts to attract the China air cargo and commercial hub. We invite you to read more about his unique legacy with China in this edition of Commerce.
This issue also features a profile about Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge, Director of Aviation at Lambert Airport. Rhonda brings 27 years of private-sector aviation experience with TWA and American Airlines to this important office. Learn more about her as an individual and her vision for the airport.
Finally, we examine some of the vibrant neighborhoods and main streets in the region offer, as well as Downtown Next, the new 10-year development plan for downtown St. Louis.
Commerce also highlights some of the region’s companies that ranked high on the most recent best places to work list, such as Edward Jones, Scottrade, Monsanto, Build-A-Bear and Sigma-Aldrich. We also take note of the national spotlight that shone on St. Louis recently in The New York Times, when a front page Times article recognized the impact of immigrants on the area’s entrepreneurism, and columnist Tom Friedman highlighted St. Louis as an emerging entrepreneurial hot spot.
July 6, 2010
“Creative Comebacks” Kick-Off To Be Held This Thursday, July 8th At St. Louis Science Center: It’s not easy landing on your feet in a turbulent economy. It may seem that the only constant is change, and finding a new job can be like riding the big waves without a clear vision of the shore.
Many talented people in technology, math, engineering, and science fields know this experience well. These professionals can succeed in the innovation-driven economy, but regaining their balance will require agility, flexibility, and practice. A first step for many will be to learn to see out of the old-economy box and to envision ways in which core skills can be put to use creatively.
Creative Comebacks provides a unique menu of opportunities designed to encourage and support IT, science, and engineering professionals who lost their jobs in the recession and who are ready to face the emerging new economy with out-of-the-box thinking about their next career move.
Through dynamic networks, transitioning professionals will be able to:
- Develop Potential … and learn to live daily from a leadership perspective, with help from the St. Louis Chapter of the Society for Information Management (SIM)
- Make Music … with St. Louis’ one-of-a-kind rockin’-for-resilience band, The Bouncers
- Act it Out … through a unique improv theatre experience, with Circus Kaput and the Creative Comebacks Troupe
- Mine for Meaning … by finding and expressing patterns and meaning in complex data systems, with Openly Disruptive and the Craft Alliance
- Talk about It … with “Lemonade the Movie” and a network of good folks who’ve been there, done that.
Leaders from the Gateway to Innovation Conference and its partner organizations will gather with the RCGA and BounceBack St. Louis to announce this new program this Thursday evening, July 8th, from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the St. Louis Science Center.
The Creative Comebacks partners are: The RCGA and the Regional Talent Council; St. Louis SIM; St. Louis Science Center; BounceBack St. Louis; Gateway to Innovation; Information Technology Coalition; the Center for the Application of Information Technology; Chief Information Officer (CIO) Board St. Louis; and the Health Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Midwest Gateway Chapter.
To launch the Initiative for Creative Comebacks, Information Technology Coalition Chair Mark Showers and Gateway to Innovation Conference Chair Eric Gorham and its partner organizations will present a check during the program on Thursday.
Please pass along this invitation to your Human Resources Team for their sharing with any professionals who have been displaced by the recession, or to a colleague who may be interested. There is no charge to attend, but we ask that participants pre-register, please, at: http://rcgasurvey.stlrcga.org/registrations/CreativeComeback.asp