Uniting the Region for Growth

The Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois is a not-for-profit member-based economic development corporation in Southwestern Illinois that works to unite the region for economic growth through its coalition of 250 board members who are leaders in business, industry, workforce, education, and government. These effective partnerships serve as a driving force behind successful economic development efforts throughout the Metro East Region. The Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois develops the regional economic development agenda. Since 1983, the organization has served as one voice, strengthening public/private partnerships throughout Southwestern Illinois to lay the foundation for job growth and business retention. The Council fosters relationships and partnerships on both sides of the river, recognizing that our efforts have an impact that affects not just Southwestern Illinois, but also the entire St. Louis Region.

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Southwestern Illinois. America's Center for Transportation. Gateway to the World.

Just a river's width from St. Louis' Gateway Arch, the Southwestern Illinois portion of the St. Louis metropolitan area has experienced unprecedented economic growth over the past few decades and continues to be a hot spot for development and job growth.


  • Jay Korte

    Collectively, the Leadership Council provides an opportunity to work with the area’s most innovative and ambitious leaders. Together, we’re helping shape the future of not only our neighborhoods, communities and cities, but we’re helping drive growth for the entire region.

    Jay Korte
    Client Relations, THE KORTE COMPANY
  • James Bullard

    Only St. Louis and Nashville had a lower cost of living than the national average.  This suggest that these two MSAs have a cost advantage over their other competitors. (Q1 V26 NO 1
    Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Regional Economist)

    James Bullard
    President and CEO, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis
  • James Bullard

    St. Louis’ standard of living was higher than about 94 percent of MSAs in the country. (Q1 V26 NO 1 Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Regional Economist)


    James Bullard
    President and CEO, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis
  • Melissa Erker

    “The Leadership Council uniquely unites the business, academic, labor and government leadership in Southwestern Illinois to bring about change and strive for growth and excellence for the region. Being a part of this group enables access to top leaders and allows for a voice at the table as opportunities are emerging.”

    Melissa Erker
    Director Government & Community Affairs, Phillips 66 Wood River Refinery
  • Christopher W. Kirk

    I am honored and grateful to be part of the Leadership Council. I have the opportunity to be part of a collective group of Leaders that is working towards improving the economic growth for the region while strengthening the business partners of the community.

    Christopher W. Kirk
    Vice President - Business Development, First Mid
  • Rick Parks

    “Leadership Council provides me the opportunity to be part of the driving force behind economic growth in our area as well as network with the region’s most influential leaders.”

    Rick Parks
    President, First National Bank of Waterloo
  • Bruce Holland

    I get insight into legislative, municipal and corporate efforts initiated to improve our communities and develop our region.  This is important to me personally and to the future growth of my business.

    Bruce Holland
    President, Holland Construction Services, Inc.
  • Mary Lamie

    Membership with the Leadership Council is invaluable. Through meetings and networking with regional business, government and education leaders, I have developed excellent working relationships throughout the region.


    Mary Lamie
    Executive Director, St. Louis Regional Freight District