A growing region, right here in Southwestern Illinois
By Ronda Sauget

A recent article published in the Inbound Logistics trade publication, titled “Meet me in St. Louis,” highlighted many multi-modal assets in the St. Louis Metropolitan region, including both Missouri and Illinois. We, the Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois, which make up over 220 senior business leaders in Southwestern Illinois, are proud to have played a part in growing the region, especially in Business Innovation, Agriculture, and Advanced Manufacturing Sectors. The Inbound Logistics article stated: “The most powerful word in the language of logistics is location. It’s a word heard over and over again in St. Louis. But location is just the beginning of the story.” Our location in the center of the country and cost effective, multi-modal connectivity is only the beginning of the real success story of Southwestern Illinois.

Southwestern Illinois is growing! Many may not realize why, but it is clear when you see Southwestern Illinois’ infrastructure assets and multi-modal interconnectivity of river, road, rail, air, and pipeline serve as the backbone to an impressive list of prominent companies that call our business community home. To add to this impressive existing infrastructure is the upcoming completion of $110M community investment in the American Bottoms Levee System running from Alton to Columbia, Illinois. Most people give little thought to how this levee system protects millions of dollars in business investment, thousands of jobs, and many of our communities from the uncertain flooding that impacts so many other regional areas. Without a doubt, our infrastructure investments and multi-modal interconnectivity puts Southwestern Illinois in the eye of prominent national developers.

Recently, we were happy to hear Amazon joining the Southwestern Illinois business community and creating an additional 1,000 jobs in Edwardsville. Prairie Farms also recently announced the move of its headquarters to Edwardsville. Further, LD Commodities (part of Louis Dreyfus Corporation) joined the business community in Cahokia. As we have seen millions of dollars in business investment and thousands of jobs being created over recent years due to Southwestern Illinois’ prime location, our area is home to large domestic and international manufacturing, agriculture, and logistics companies, such as P&G, Jet Aviation (part of General Dynamics Corporation), Dial, Solvay Fluorides, Veolia, Unilever, Hershey, North Bay Produce, Walgreens, Kinder Morgan, USF Holland, Cargill, SCF Marine and Grain Subsidiaries, SEACOR Holdings, Schneider National, Rand, SuperValue, World Wide Technology, Bunge, Boeing, ADM, Fed Ex, Phillips 66, Prairie State Generating, West Star Aviation, Kraft, and so many more. These substantial business clusters and growing job creation continues to drive our region’s economic engine forward.

If you look geographically, Southwestern Illinois is situated in the midsection of America and serves as the central corridor for robust economic activities both now and into the future. This is why our region have been a trading post for hundreds of years. From our region’s six class 1 railroads; three airports; the northern-most lock-free, ice free, port on the Mississippi River; great road access and transit systems; to our high availability of affordable “shovel ready” land; it is no surprise why developers and companies select Southwestern Illinois. It is for all of these reasons that the Leadership Council and its over 220 members are dedicated to the continued development of this area. We want to salute all of the companies who call our region home as well as the tireless efforts economic development partners across our region who strive to bring even more business investments and jobs to our regional area. We look forward to welcoming more new companies as this area continues to grow and create the jobs of the future!

Ronda Sauget, D.MGMT, MBA, is executive director of the Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois, a member-based, economic development corporation representing Madison and St. Clair counties.

July 14, 2016

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