To learn more about membership opportunities or to put forth an issue for consideration by any committee or taskforce, contact Ronda Sauget at


  • Economic Development – Chair, Rob Pickerell 
  • Education – Chair, Dr.Randy Pembrook and Vice Chair, George Evans 
  • Labor Management – Chair, Gary Korte
  • Levee Issues Alliance – Chair, Gary Hoelscher
  • Manufacturing Steering – Chair, Tim Giddens and Vice Chair, Steve Faust
  • Marketing/Communications – Chair, Chris Kirk
  • Membership
  • Military Affairs – Chair, Jay Korte and Vice Chair, Chris Blair 
  • Public Policy – Chair, Mike Riley and Vice Chair Bo Butters
  • SITE/Transportation-Infrastructure – Chair, Rick Barbee, Vice Chairs, Rob Deconcini, and Steve Donohue

Economic Development Committee

The Economic Development Committee contains two elements, an Economic Development Leadership Team and the Southwestern Illinois Economic Development Network.

Economic Development Leadership Team

The Economic Development Leadership Team is responsible for developing and implementing a focused growth strategy for the Southwestern Illinois region (primarily for Madison and St. Clair counties, but also including Bond, Clinton, Monroe, Randolph and Washington counties), in concert with allied local, regional and state economic development organizations. The Economic Development Leadership Team is charged with developing the region’s economic development Action Plan, facilitating and communicating the implementation progress, and making updates as required. The team also organizes the topics for Economic Development Network meetings, communicates frequently with Network members on issues and sponsors seminars on economic development topics.

Economic Development Network Southwestern Illinois

The Leadership Council also serves as the coordinator for the broader Economic Development Network of Southwestern Illinois and is made up of approximately 80 leaders in economic growth in the region and practitioners active in economic development roles in Southwestern Illinois. The purpose of the Economic Development Network is to build relationships through interaction among Economic Development professionals in the Southwestern Illinois region, promoting professional growth and development through speakers and participation in activities. The Committee facilitates information exchange among network members on developments and issues that influence economic growth in the St. Louis region, peer interaction and relationship building among members. The group meets quarterly at different locations of interest in Southwestern Illinois.

Education Committee

Education is one of the five essential pillars of the Southwestern Illinois Leadership Council and one of the initial foundation committees of the organization in 1983. Founding members of the Leadership Council recognized this filed as a key component in development of Southwestern Illinois. School systems in this region, as well as institution of higher education, exemplify excellence in providing opportunities for students from pre-Kindergarten (pre-K) through graduate studies to gain knowledge, grow, and develop as productive members of society. Without a doubt, investments in education have been significant, amounting to millions of dollars in new building construction, job creation, and advancement in educational achievement.

  • The education committee keeps the Leadership Council informed of legislative changes that impact policy, funding, and performance measures.
  • The committee is a conduit for communication and action planning between public schools and higher education institutions in addressing the current and future needs of business and industry.

    Labor-Management Committee

    The Labor-Management Committee of the Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois was founded in Spring 1983. It was the first committee of the Leadership Council and is the longest continuously running labor-management committee in the State of Illinois. Its purpose is to improve the labor-management image of Southwestern Illinois. Committee membership involves individuals from manufacturing, construction, service, government and education. One labor and one management representative serve as co-chairs. All committee decisions are made by consensus.

    Levee Issues Alliance

    Administered by the Leadership Council, the St. Louis Metro East Levee Issues Alliance serves as the organizational framework for the regional, public/private effort to help prevent the unintended economic consequences produced by FEMA’s update of the flood insurance rate maps in our region. The Alliance’s coalition of business and civic organizations, community leaders and concerned citizens is currently working to help ensure the timely completion of the levee improvements so they meet new federal standards and continue to protect the lives and livelihoods in the American Bottom, which is home to 156,000 residents and 55,000 existing jobs. To learn more, visit

    LIA Members include a broad base of regional leaders, whose names are available on the LIA website.

    Manufacturing Steering Committee

    The Manufacturing Steering Committee is responsible for providing guidance, planning and direction to the development of key issues and action plans, supported by the Leadership Council Executive Director. Manufacturing is one the of the vital industry sectors that includes many large employers in Southwestern Illinois is manufacturing including the top 50 companies employ 16,000 total in Southwestern Illinois. The manufacturing Steering Committee was formed in May 2014 and evaluates current challenges Southwestern Illinois manufacturer’s face, determine key issues that encourage growth and discourage growth, prioritize key issues and identify which ones we have influence to change, and develop recommendations for Executive Committee approval.

    Marketing/Communications Committee

    The purpose of the committee is to provide leadership and direction to the various marketing and communications efforts of the Council. The committee is responsible for providing guidance, support and direction to the Executive Director and Coordinator and the Leadership Council’s Public Relations consultant, on marketing and communications strategy, planning and implementation on elements such as:

  • Annual Dinner and key milestone anniversary celebrations;
  • Topics for Board of Directors monthly meetings;
  • Marketing strategy and materials for economic development initiatives, such as the Southwestern Illinois Transportation Enhancement (SITE) branding and marketing;
  • Review of the current Leadership Council communications methods, materials and media relations plans to determine updates/changes, as required;
  • Other elements, as determined by the Marketing/Communications Committee or Executive Committee;
  • Determination of topics.
  • External Marketing.

    The committee makes recommendations for changes that, where required, will be presented to and approved by the Executive Committee of the Leadership Council.

    The Membership Committee is charged with gaining and maintaining membership in the Leadership Council. The group evaluates membership policy and procedures and provides direction and guidance to the Executive Director on membership issues. The members work diligently to nominate and secure new members that meet the criteria for membership. The Membership Committee members also serve as the official "welcoming committee" for the organization to new members at Board of Director meetings and Leadership Council events. New member orientation is conducted semi-annually to enable new members to meet each other and to gain understanding of the Leadership Council organization, mission and how the work of the organization is accomplished through the various committees.

    Military Affairs Committee

    The Military Affairs Committee of the Leadership Council was established in 1984 to preserve and enhance Scott Air Force Base through education of the general public and interface with elected officials, military leaders and surrounding communities. A core focus is supporting the airmen at Scott Air Force Base and their families, and encouraging over 200 members to join us in that effort. The Committee’s mission is to serve as the organizational framework for the public and private sectors of Southern Illinois to understand and serve the mutual needs of the Department of Defense, regional military installations, and the greater St. Louis region. The goals of the Military Affairs Committee cover several distinct areas, including:

  • Communication between military, political, business and civic leaders;
  • Public and congressional support for Scott Air Force Base;
  • Recognition of and publicity about Scott Air Force Base’s economic impact on the region;
  • Public awareness of the need to retain and enhance Scott Air Force Base;
  • Establishment of solid social and professional relationships with military leaders, in part by supporting and actively attending key base functions and also hosting various functions recognizing key leaders at the base.

    Now in existence for almost three decades, the Committee’s efforts remain focused on broadening the community’s understanding of the mission of Scott Air Force Base and encouraging the community’s support for Scott, the largest employer in Southwestern Illinois and the third largest in the region. With 13,000 employees and a $3.2 billion impact on the greater St. Louis metropolitan area, the committee will continue to work to support the servicemen and women associated with the base and their families and to retain this vital asset.

    There are currently three additional Leadership Council groups working with Scott Air Force Base, the Scott Air Force Base and Southwestern Illinois Defense Assets Retention and Expansion Task Force, the Scott Air Force Base Abilene Award and Scott Patriot Sub-team of the Military Affairs Committee. The Scott Air Force Base Task Force is co-sponsored by St. Clair and Madison Counties with the Leadership Council.

    Public Policy Committee

    The 2012 Leadership Council membership survey directed the leadership to focus in a more direct way on Southwestern Illinois Public Policy. Past efforts have been to be incorporated in the St. Louis Regional Chamber's Illinois Political Action Network activities. The Public Policy Committee was launched in October 2013.

    The purpose of the Public Policy Committee is to actively engage the state and federal legislative process related to important issues deemed to be essential to maintain and grow the economy of Southwestern Illinois. The Public Policy Committee will provide leadership and direction to the efforts of the Leadership Council so our member's voice on these issues can be communicated and understood by legislators, decision makers, regulators, etc. to enable necessary changes. A pro-active, action oriented strategy is being implemented.

    The Public Policy Committee members develop and recommend an annual agenda approved by the Executive Committee and communicated to the Board members. Two to three key priority state and federal issues will be decided each year based on data from the Leadership Council Committee's initiatives, retention visit data and knowledge of their field of expertise. The members will utilize a consensus approach to choose the priorities considering the interest of all 5 pillars. Filters will be applied to ensure they meet the level for inclusion. A position statement and action steps will be developed for each issue and managed over the year to update the actions as accomplished. Emergent issues throughout the year will be brought to the Committee and will be managed in a similar fashion.

    The Public Policy Committee will organize and schedule interaction with legislators to communicate the issues and action steps requested, as well as provide a forum for Leadership Council Board members to interact with our representatives. Suggested meetings to be scheduled include fall and spring State Legislative Meetings, a summer meeting with the Federal Delegation, spring State Lobby Day and other events as deemed necessary. The purpose of these meetings will be to have our representatives update the Leadership Council members on their actions on our Key Issues and provide a forum for discussion.

    SITE/Transportation-Infrastructure Committee

    In 2011, the Leadership Council launched the Southwestern Illinois Transportation Enhancement (SITE) Initiative, creating a new working group composed of individuals representing rivers, rails, roads, transit, trucking and runways. The Council's original transportation/infrastructure committee, which played a key role in advancing significant projects such as the Clark Bridge, the I-255 extensions and the New Mississippi River Bridge, remains a key component of this new working group. SITE's mission is to drive economic development in Southwestern Illinois through transportation infrastructure.

    The initiatives are:

  • To develop "Mode Champions" from area transportation leaders to analyze, coordinate, and advocate for multi-modal transportation development in Southwestern Illinois;
  • To identify, promote, and increase awareness of Southwestern Illinois' multi-modal transportation assets, connectivity, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness;
  • To improve the assets and connectivity of Southwestern Illinois' multi-modal transportation system;
  • To improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of Southwestern Illinois' multi-modal transportation system.

    Under the SITE umbrella, we continue to work closely with the Illinois Department of Transportation and the Missouri Department of Transportation/Highway Department and encourage support of and funding allocations for projects that are critical to the current and future economy of Southwestern Illinois.