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Edwardsville, lll., Feb. 20, 2014… The Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois is pleased to announce the addition of four new members to its expanding membership base.  Representatives from Eckert’s Inc., Merrill Lynch, Goldenberg Heller Antognoli & Rowland, P.C. and the St. Clair County Intergovernmental Grants Department are joining the Leadership Council in its mission to unite business, industry, government, education and labor for economic growth in Southwestern Illinois.

Chris Eckert, President of Eckert’s Inc. in Belleville Ill., is serving as the company’s representative on the Leadership Council.  Eckert’s has a longstanding history in the Southern Illinois area.  Today, the sixth and seventh generations of the Eckert family oversee the daily operations of the Eckert farms, which grow approximately 500 acres of fruit products, while also operating a farm market, restaurant, garden center and the largest pick-your-own-fruit business in the country. 

Serving as Leadership Council representative for Merrill Lynch is Senior Vice President-Resident Director, Portfolio Manager-PIA Program and Senior Financial Advisor, Linwood (Woody) Gray.  Merrill Lynch is one of the world’s premier providers of wealth management, securities trading and sales, corporate finance and investment banking services.  Merrill Lynch Wealth Management provides clients a personalized financial review and hands-on advice and guidance through a network of approximately 15,000 Financial Advisors throughout the world.

John McCracken, partner with the Edwardsville law firm Goldenberg Heller Antognoli & Rowland, P.C., will serve as the firm’s board member on the Leadership Council.  For more than 25 years, Goldenberg Heller Antognoli & Rowland, P.C. has been recognized as a leading firm, representing individuals, families and businesses throughout the St. Louis metropolitan region and across the nation.  In addition to maintaining a strong asbestos, personal injury and class action practice, the firm’s commercial practice group’s focus includes mergers and acquisitions, commercial litigation, employment law, creditor rights, estate planning and real estate development. 

Executive Director of the St. Clair County Intergovernmental Grants Department, Debra H. Moore, Ph.D, is serving as the department’s representative on the Leadership Council.  An umbrella agency, The Intergovernmental Grants Department contains three divisions; Community Development, Community Services and Workforce Development, which provide services such as housing rehabilitation grants and loans, scholarships, and job search and placement services.  The primary focus of the department is to improve neighborhoods through community and economic development projects, provide social support to county residents, and work to move underemployed or unemployed individuals toward self-sufficiency through training and support.