What’s Happening In The Region
January 31, 2012
American Red Cross To Offer Emergency Preparedness Academy: The American Red Cross St. Louis Area Chapter will partner with Edward Jones on Tuesday, March 27th to present emergency planning, response, and recovery training for organizations. The training is geared to organizations ranging from businesses that already have continuity plans to churches and community organizations new to such planning. This program will be held at Edward Jones (Highway 270 & Dorsett location). Registration will open at 7:30 a.m. Sessions will begin promptly at 8 a.m. and end by 5 p.m.
Topics will include:
- Lessons Learned from the Joplin Tornado
- How Being Prepared Affects the Bottom Line
- Wireless Technologies and Social Media during Emergencies
- What You Should be Telling your Faith-Based Community Before, During and After an Emergency
- Children in Disasters
Academy participants will have the opportunity to examine the latest products to make workplace, home or community buildings better equipped for disasters. We urge you to register today at www.preparednessacademystl.com Early registration discounts end Feb. 15.
Additional hands-on training: Hands-on Pre-Academy trainings on March 26th will include a triage and mass casualty simulation and basic search and rescue exercises. The Pre-Academy session is limited to 25 registrants. Discounts are available for those who register for both the Pre-Academy and Academy.
January 30, 2012
St. Louis Regional Business, Civic & Elected Leaders Join Over 950 Guests In Saluting U.S. Rep. Jerry Costello: U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill; St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay; St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann; Madison County Board Chairman Alan Dunstan; U.S. Rep. Blaine Luektemeyer; and past RCGA Right Arm of St. Louis honorees Dr. Mark Wrighton (2009 honoree); John Bachmann (2008); Todd Schnuck, representing the members of the Schnuck Family (2007); and Chuck Mueller (2004); and more than 900 other St. Louis regional business, civic, elected leaders and RCGA members saluted U.S. Rep. Jerry Costello of Illinois at the 175th RCGA Annual Dinner and Meeting last Thursday evening at the Chase Park Plaza.
|U.S. Rep. Jerry Costello receives the RCGA's Right Arm of St. Louis Award on January 26th from RCGA Chairman Tom Voss, right, and RCGA Chairman-elect Danny Ludeman, left. Voss is Chairman, President & CEO of Ameren Corp. Ludeman is President & CEO of Wells Fargo Advisors.
Rep. Costello was elected to the U.S. Congress in 1988. He announced last year that he would not seek another term.
The full house event at the Chase Park Plaza also saluted RCGA volunteers, presented the 2012 RCGA Board of Directors and Officers, and featured reflections by Ameren Corp. Chairman, President & CEO Tom Voss, RCGA Chairman; Wells Fargo Advisors President & CEO Danny Ludeman, RCGA Board Chair for Economic Development and RCGA Chair-elect for 2013; and incoming RCGA President & CEO Joe Reagan.
Among his remarks, Tom noted, “Our vision is that by the year 2020, greater St. Louis will be consistently ranked among the Top 10 of the 20 largest U.S. metropolitan areas in indicators of regional vitality, economic health, and the creation of community wealth. But a vision that big and that bold -- since we’re talking about making significant progress in several areas in a relatively short period of time -- will require more than just what the RCGA can do on its own. This vision calls for our city and county partners to create the best work and lifestyle environments they possibly can, and for our civic partners at organizations such as East-West Gateway and Metro to continue building a world-class region through good infrastructure and transportation planning.
This vision requires a good strong relationship between the business and higher education communities, and a culture that values a college degree as the tide that lifts all boats. And, this vision demands a close, collaborative relationship with all of our regional economic development partners, for they are the ones who must ultimately close any business recruitment or expansion opportunity. We compete as a region, but deals always get done locally. RCGA is the only organization in the bi-state region where all of these players can come together under one tent.”
Danny also discussed the RCGA’s vision as part of his remarks, noting, “Our vision begins with the fundamentals:
- First: supporting and growing our five strong industry sectors. These groups represent our best opportunity to compete both nationally and internationally.
- Second: pro-actively addressing the talent needs of our market by being purposeful in aligning supply and demand. That’s why we worked so hard to recruit Emerald Automotive. We already had the automotive talent in place to meet their needs.
- Third: being smarter by taking a balanced approach to connecting our strategies for recruitment, retention and innovation.
- Fourth: recapturing our region’s relevance as a center for commerce, transportation and the distribution of goods.
And finally -- and I’d say most importantly -- for this plan to be truly successful we realize our efforts must be regional in scope and must involve increased collaboration from all of us.”
Joe said, “What a warm welcome by St. Louis! So many people have made our family’s introduction to this great region very pleasant.
In a short time, our new St. Louis colleagues and friends have embraced my wife, Julie, and me and our family, giving us the opportunity to listen and explore – and to fall in love with this special place.
It’s inspiring to know I have joined many committed leaders here who have labored long and effectively to advance the regional economy.
I am honored to lead the St. Louis RCGA. This organization is an important contributor to our region’s leadership efforts and to the ongoing strategic collaboration and hard work it takes to achieve regional vitality, economic health and the creation of community wealth.
The RCGA certainly cannot accomplish our collective regional vision alone. Thankfully, we don’t have to, because it’s already clear to me that the St. Louis region has the committed public and private sector leadership partners and the will to work together to create the bright future we all envision.
I have much to learn. I officially start February 1st and will begin with six weeks of a listening tour, reaching out to public and private organizations, business, education and civic leaders to gain their insights on the opportunities and challenges facing the RCGA as an organization and the entire St. Louis region. I’ll be looking to those people who have had experience working with RCGA – both internally and externally – to advise me on areas of strength and areas for improvement in our organization.
Besides listening to what is important to each person, I plan on asking the following questions:
- What inspires you about St. Louis?
- What are the three most important things about the RCGA we should preserve and why?
- What are the three most important things to change and why?
- What do you most hope I do?
- What are you most concerned I might do?
- What advice do you have for me?
Thank you, in advance, for your time and your thoughts.
It’s already apparent to me that we have a vibrant and dedicated business community with caring leaders who want to make a difference, and we have innovators and an influx of young professionals who are eager to make their mark and create their future here in St. Louis.
What the world needs, St. Louis offers. With focus, unity and a tenacious commitment to achieve, we can create a prosperous future for our entire region.”
We thank our Annual Dinner sponsors, whose names and logos are listed on the RCGA website at www.stlrcga.org. Special thanks also to KSDK NewsChannel 5 anchor Mike Bush, who once again emceed the event.
January 11, 2012
RCGA Co-Sponsoring “Transit --- Enhancing The St. Louis Economy” Breakfast Program On Friday, January 27th: A healthy transit system is vital for the St. Louis green economy, and the RCGA is pleased to co-sponsor the Citizens for Modern Transit’s (CMT) breakfast program, entitled “Transit -- Enhancing the St. Louis Economy,” on January 27th, from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m., at the BJC Learning Institute, located at the Meridian – 8300 Eager Rd. in Brentwood.
- John Langa, Vice President of Economic Development at Metro
- Dennis Lower, President and CEO of CORTEX
- Rose Windmiller, Assistant Vice Chancellor of Washington University
- Don Musick, Chair of the CMT Board of Directors and President of Musick Construction, will serve as moderator.
Please register online at www.cmt-stl.org by January 20th.
January 10, 2012
Ameren CEO And RCGA Chairman Tom Voss Is Next RCGA Breakfast With The Gazelles Speaker On Wednesday, January 18th: Tom Voss, Chairman, President & CEO of Ameren Corp., will be the featured speaker at the upcoming RCGA Breakfast with the Gazelles program on Wednesday, Jan. 18th, beginning at 7:15 a.m., in the Regional Collaboration Center at the RCGA, One Metropolitan Square, downtown.
Tom will speak on the topic, "Energy Security – The Challenge Of Investing For The Future In Uncertain Times.” He will discuss the challenges of meeting increasing customer expectations in a time of great economic uncertainty. Tom will address the need for infrastructure investment and how utilities can be an engine of growth in their local communities.
One of the RCGA’s most successful business services programs, Breakfast with the Gazelles is presented throughout the year and features leading business, entrepreneurial and St. Louis regional leaders discussing issues and ideas that are important to entrepreneurs.
We invite you to join us on Wednesday, Jan. 18th, for this fascinating program with Tom Voss of Ameren. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch is media sponsor of the RCGA Breakfast with the Gazelles series.
For reservations, please contact Lori Meier at the RCGA, at 314.444.1147, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
January 9, 2012
POLITICO Co-Founder & Executive EditorJim VandeHei To Entertain At 175th RCGA Annual Dinner On Thursday, January 26th; Right Arm Of St. Louis Award To Be Presented To U.S. Rep. Jerry Costello: The 175th RCGA Annual Dinner and Meeting, to be presented at the Chase Park Plaza on Thursday evening, January 26th, promises to be an entertaining evening featuring POLITICO Co-Founder & Executive Editor Jim VandeHei, as well as a salute to one of the St. Louis region's great leaders, U.S. Congressman Jerry Costello (D-IL), recipient of the 2011 RCGA Right Arm of St. Louis Award.
U.S. Rep Jerry Costello
POLITICO is the highly influential political web site and newspaper that Washingtonian magazine called a “media phenomenon.” VandeHei, along with co-founder John Harris, left the Washington Post in 2006 to create the all-politics-all-the-time site, and the company has been an enormous success ever since. More than three million unique readers visit the site each month, and more than 30,000 of the nation’s political leaders read its Washington-based newspaper. Drawing on 15 years of experience in Washington journalism, VandeHei directs POLITICO’s editorial content and oversees its business strategy – amalgamating old media values of fairness and accuracy with the speed and immediacy of new technologies.
A welcome of Joe Reagan as the RCGA’s new president and chief executive officer, a review of the St. Louis region's accomplishments in economic development, public policy and other areas, as well as a salute to RCGA volunteers, the RCGA Board of Directors and inauguration of 2012 officers, will also highlight the 175th Annual Meeting and Dinner.
We invite you and your company to share in this unique regional celebration by participating as a sponsor of this special evening. Tickets begin at $200 with table sponsorships at $3,000 that entitle you to preferential seating for a table of 10, recognition in the audio/visual presentation and program, mention on the RCGA's website and in St. Louis Commerce Magazine, special table signage, and a special VIP sponsor reception afterwards.
To make a reservation, please call Mary Barbeau at the RCGA at (314) 444-1103, or e-mail her at email@example.com.
January 3, 2011
“Thank You For This Opportunity, I Am Deeply Grateful”: By my count, this is the 910th edition of Monday Memo that I have penned since arriving here in St. Louis from Denver in August 1994. As I conclude my 17 ½ -year tenure as president and CEO of the RCGA and as publisher of St. Louis Commerce Magazine, I sincerely thank the RCGA Board, the Staff, and the wonderful Volunteers and Members of this great organization for your steadfast support and engagement in enhancing our region over these years. It is this wonderful support that has enabled the RCGA and its predecessor organization, the St. Louis Chamber of Commerce, to serve this community for 175 years.
I leave both of these positions recognizing the great strides the Board and Staff of this organization and Commerce Magazine have made on behalf of our region in that time, grateful to each of you, proud of the substantial accomplishments that --- together --- we have been able to produce for the bi-state St. Louis region, and with heartfelt best wishes for my successor, Joe Reagan, as he takes on this leadership mantle on February 1st . I have followed Joe’s and his team’s fine work in Louisville for more than a decade. Rest assured, St. Louis, you are in excellent hands with Joe Reagan.
When my wife, Sarah, and I and our then-7-year-old and 3-year-old daughters, Caitlin and Tess, arrived in St. Louis from Denver nearly two decades ago, we received a warm welcome that instantly communicated the hospitality and acceptance that make St. Louis such a welcoming place to newcomers and returning natives alike. I will never forget the assistance and welcome that then-Civic Progress and Fleishman-Hillard leader, Al Kerth, provided me --- taking me under his wing as my “civic mentor”.
Our family immediately (and since) have appreciated the rich variety and unparalleled quality of life attributes with which we are blessed in St. Louis --- from Forest Park, City Museum, the Saint Louis Symphony, the St. Louis Speaker Series, Craft Alliance, and the Fabulous Fox, to the Saint Louis Zoo, St. Louis Science Center and Saint Louis Art Museum, Citygarden, and now the Peabody Opera House, as well our Blues, Rams and the adrenaline-inducing Cardinals (thanks guys, for serving up the wonderful season and World Series for my “victory lap” this year).
Our girls have had wonderful educations at both New City School and John Burroughs enroute to the colleges of their choices at Carleton and Lehigh. While St. Louis has world-class arts, entertainment, and other remarkable quality of life assets, it also dishes up phenomenal restaurants and distinctive neighborhoods with nearly every cuisine imaginable, and we’ve been blessed with ample opportunities to sample many of them and share our discoveries with the readers of Commerce magazine, in which Sarah has contributed in her restaurant reviews for a number of years --- from Tony’s, to Café Osage and the Wine Press. This is a region of treasures, and we are all fortunate to live at the end of this civic rainbow.
Some Parting Reflections On Regional Economic Development: As I depart the RCGA, there has been a fair amount of discussion lately of the region’s past and future economic development --- most of it solid and constructive.
Thanks to the superb volunteer leadership of RCGA since 1994, our region’s economic development team and the region’s capacity have both developed and has produced, as the RCGA has served as the region’s “neutral broker” in a working partnership with the over 100 professionals in the Greater St. Louis Regional Economic Development Network. Among our economic development peers nationally, the RCGA and the regional economic development effort has been ranked in the Top Ten Economic Development Organizations in the country and Best in Class three times since 2005 --- most recently this Fall recognized in a poll of national site selection executives by Development Counselors International as “among the 8 Best in Class regional economic development organizations in the nation”.
Before the Holidays, I had the opportunity to thank members of the Greater St. Louis Economic Development Network at their year-end meeting for the important role they play in conjunction with RCGA’s economic development team, as the Network has evolved since its creation in 1995. I urged members of the Network to continue their commitment to the regional approach embodied in the Network. (Video)
It is in this context that I’d like to share some looking forward thoughts with you about regional economic development. Experience suggests a proven way to grow a region, and it usually consists of 3 basic elements:
- First, the most important element is to build a better place --- one that values education, employment opportunities, infrastructure, recreational and cultural amenities, robust inclusion, development of talent and entrepreneurship, and an even playing field and opportunity for all. These “regional products” are the collective responsibility of the political, civic, and business communities, but are also clearly dependent on bold, consistent, and visionary leadership from our elected officials.
- The second element is to grow a region’s existing business portfolio --- focusing on those companies and institutions within the region representing high-growth potential, and fostering the accelerated development of high-impact start-ups. The majority of job growth from any region will always come from within.
- The third element is to effectively market the region in a manner that leads to the recruitment of new business, jobs, investment, and payroll. Though representing only a relatively modest portion of any regional growth, the long-term, cumulative effect of recruiting new business and investment can be dramatic --- both in numbers and in a community’s attitude about itself. But, it will always be dependent on the platform created by the first two elements outlined above.
Our gross regional product in Greater St. Louis is about $130 billion and our population is just under 3 million. It will take considerably more than just the RCGA’s regional economic development initiative to significantly make an impact one way or another. What’s required is an enhanced overall business climate, and improving national economy, and an effective regional economic development system consisting of interdependent state, local and regional partners, each tasked with their specific roles. With regard to the latter:
- the RCGA can make no commitments related to financial incentives or infrastructure, but our public sector partners can.
- The RCGA can make no formal representation regarding real estate opportunities, but our private sector partners in the commercial real estate and construction industry can.
It’s a system that, when it works, results in successes like the MasterCard International’s important HQ decision choosing St. Louis over some 40 other regions in our very first Regional Economic Development Campaign, and the more recent Unisys win over Minneapolis and Salt Lake City and the 1,000-job Emerald Automotive victory over 25 other states.
With outstanding professionals such as Steve Johnson and the Economic Development Team here at RCGA, soon to be joined by Joe Reagan, along with their 100+ partners in the Regional Economic Development Network --- a solid Regional Economic Development Plan and Strategy is now in place. Guided over its two-year development in 2009 and 2010 by the seasoned experience of national economic development leader Mac Holliday and his Market Street Services Team, shaped by Steve Johnson and our colleagues in the Network, and ably led by RCGA Economic Development Chairman Danny Ludeman --- this Plan now has been capitalized by a 5-year set of financial commitments of over $22.5 million in the most successful economic development capital drive in our region’s history (90% of these commitments coming from the private sector).
As the nation and the region continue to navigate their way out of the “Great Recession,” both the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Brookings Institute have ranked the St. Louis region with such regions as San Francisco, San Diego, Tampa, Dallas, Boston, Seattle, and Houston as “improving and expanding” from the recession and well positioned to emerge sooner than the rest of the nation from the multiple year economic downtown that the entire country has experienced since 2008.
The two-year Market Street Analysis & Study and resulting recently-adopted Regional Strategy by the region’s business and chief elected officers have 4 Core Principles and 5 Key Priorities to advance our region (Five Core Strategies To Achieve Quality Jobs and Investment)
These 4 principles are:
- Today’s economic environment demands a balanced approach to economic development, with interconnecting strategies for recruitment, retention/expansion and innovation;
- To be globally significant, Greater St. Louis must recapture its relevance as a center for commerce, transportation, and the distribution of goods;
- Tomorrow’s successful regions will be those that achieve a “purposeful alignment” of the supply and demand of talent, and,
- Greater St. Louis’ success in economic development will be directly related to the degree in which it is regional in scope and highly collaborative (with economic developers as the local, regional, and state levels having a collaborative and interdependent system to professionally manage regional economic development).
The 5 adopted core strategies/priorities to “achieve quality jobs and investment” are:
- Support & Grow Key Industry Clusters; namely, Financial & Information Services; Advanced Manufacturing & Technology; Health Science & Services; Sustainable Technologies (including Plant Sciences & Ag Tech, Advanced Energy Technologies, and Sustainable Building Design & Materials); and Multimodal Supply Chain Supply Management.
- Undertake Target Marketing & Business Recruitment in these Competitive Fields, with guidance and support from Leadership Councils for each Industry Cluster composed of C-level executives.
- Significantly Increase the Rate of Start-Up Ventures thru Support of Entrepreneurship by RCGA and its civic partners. RCGA will particularly focus on the Capital Formation area.
- Address Regional Talent as a Strategic Imperative from the “Demand Perspective.
- Leverage All Regional Transportation Assets to restage St. Louis region as a “Commercial Gateway for the import, export, and distribution of goods from around the world.”
While a recent governmental study restates the 30-year trend of population decline of the region as “new news” and bemoans the prospect of the region falling out of the Top 20 metros in population --- whereas the two-year benchmark analysis of regional performance and documented potentials for the bistate region by Market Street suggests a data-driven path by which our region can reach the aspirations charted in the recently-adopted Regional Strategy, with the goal: “Greater St. Louis by 2020 will be consistently ranked among the Top 10 of the 20 largest U.S. metropolitan areas in indicators of regional vitality, economic health, and the creation of community wealth.”
Based on my economic development experiences in Atlanta, Denver, and St. Louis over a 30 year period, I would suggest that our region pursue this data-driven and fact-based --- but aspirational --- path for regional growth, rather than a tired look in the “rear view civic mirror” of an all too-well-chronicled declining regional population scenario (that has, in fact, been moderately reversed). Grow key industry sectors and investments in the region and population growth will follow! Fortunately, that’s precisely the path adopted by the Board of Trustees of Greater St. Louis, Inc., and their colleagues on the RCGA Board.
Some Closing Civic Thank You’s: In closing, I want to thank a number of people who have helped build this regional economic development foundation since 1994, and who have been instrumental in the success of the varied civic initiatives of the RCGA: starting with Earle Harbison; Andy Craig; David Kemper; David Darnell; the late Ray Holman and Joe Hasten; Rich McClure; Joe Imbs; and now Danny Ludeman for their leadership of the 4 successful multi-year Regional Economic Development Campaigns that have built an award-winning regional economic development program; our region’s BioBelt initiative led so ably by its “civic champion,” Bill Danforth, the Private Sector Infrastructure Council, PSI (and the resulting Page Avenue and Mississippi River Bridges, the reconstruction of I-64/Highway 40, airport expansions, and key private sector support for MetroLink and public transit) each spearheaded in the business community thru PSI by Bob Reynolds, Scott Schnuck and Clark Davis; Tracy Hart and the just-completed St. Louis Greenprint and Green Business Challenge; and Jack Danforth and Al Kerth for the remarkable civic improvements that have come from the St. Louis 2004 (such as the Downtown Now! and Great River Greenway and Regional Parks & Trails District efforts); Ed Monser of Emerson who has led the region’s China Hub Project; and I could go on.
While space here doesn’t permit me to individually thank everyone who has been part of making the work here both fruitful and enjoyable, I would be remiss if I did not single out the exceptional individuals who I have had the pleasure of working with as RCGA Chairs, namely: Earle Harbison and Sam Hayes (both of whom recruited me here from Denver); Chuck Mueller; Dick Beumer; John Bachmann; Doug Yaeger; Scott Schnuck; Gary Rainwater; Bob Reynolds, and current Board Chair Tom Voss and Chair-elect Danny Ludeman. Without these dedicated and tireless civic leaders in the business community, and their counterpart leaders in the public, civic and labor communities, the RCGA and St. Louis itself would be poorer as a whole. I’m indebted to them for the many facets of their support over all of these 17 ½ years.
Following some down time for the next several months to reflect and write (after a 24/7 life here at the RCGA) --- I look forward to the next phase of my professional life, which I plan to be in the nonprofit philanthropic or foundation arena, but I’ll always reflect with deep fondness on my time here at the RCGA. St. Louis is truly a sparkling gem, and my life has been enriched personally and professionally from this opportunity to serve the St. Louis region.
Let’s stay in touch. Please join me on Twitter @RCDFleming, my new e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org and my web site is www.dickfleming.net.
Happy New Year to you and your family!