• Mizzou Tech Roadshow & Mixer

    Jul 26, 2017
    St. Louis does not exist in isolation.  At the St. Louis Regional Chamber, we talk a lot about regionalism—the idea that the economic well-being of 2.8 million people in the greater metropolitan area is interconnected, that job growth in St. Charles County or across the river in St. Clair County is good for St. Louis as a whole. When one part of our region wins, we all win. This is the abundance mentality we all must adopt if we’re going to compete effectively in the global economy.

    But we’re also part of an even bigger ecosystem—the state of Missouri. And while a little healthy competition between, say, Kansas City and St. Louis doesn’t hurt, it’s far too easy for us to lose sight of the common resources and infrastructure that all of us depend on to drive innovation and workforce development. Parochialism and scarcity are arguably our two greatest obstacles.

    Just an hour and a half to the west sits University of Missouri-Columbia, home of some of the most cutting-edge research going on anywhere in the US. The work being done in Columbia has a tremendous impact on the innovation ecosystem in St. Louis and vice versa.

    On Tuesday, August 8th from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m., area innovators and entrepreneurs will have a chance to learn more about that cutting-edge research at the inaugural Mizzou Tech Roadshow & Mixer. The event will be hosted at Thompson Coburn’s downtown office.

    The keynote speaker will be Elizabeth Loboa, dean of the MU College of Engineering, and Mark McIntosh, who VP of Research and Economic Development for the University of Missouri system.

    I got the chance to meet Dean Loboa at a recent Roundtable discussion as part of Gov. Eric Greitens’ Innovation Task Force. She is a force of nature!  Brilliant, deeply knowledgeable, and passionate about the opportunities and challenges facing Missouri.  A biomedical engineer by training, she came to Mizzou by way of Stanford and the North Carolina research triangle. She has real-world innovation and commercialization experience, and she will tell you that Missouri can absolutely compete with and win against these innovation hotbeds in our areas of strength.  In other words, she is exactly the kind of leader and ally we need in order to drive the broader innovation agenda for our region and our state.

    After the keynote presentation, MU and University of Missouri-St. Louis will share future trends in biotechnology and faculty inventors will do eight-minute presentations about their new medical devices, diagnostics, and therapeutics.  A networking reception will follow the program.

    While the Chamber is not involved at all in the planning, I hope that the St. Louis innovation ecosystem turns out for this event.  If we want support from other parts of the state for the work we’re doing here, we have to return that support in kind. You can’t collaborate if you aren’t willing to show up.

    For more information, please contact Laura Roloff at 573-884-0023 or RoloffL@missouri.edu. Register for this free event here.
  • The City of St. Louis Is Named One of the Recipients of NAF’s 2016-2017 President’s Award

    Jul 19, 2017
    ST. LOUIS - NAF, a national network of education, business, and community leaders who work together to ensure that high school students are college, career, and future ready, recently announced their 2016-2017 President’s Award recipients, one being the city of St. Louis. The President’s Award recognizes outstanding examples of community partnership and engagement that enable NAF and its network to deliver on their mission to solve some of the greatest challenged facing education and the economy by bringing education, business, and community leaders together to transform the high school experience. Washington, DC was also awarded this year’s honor.

    NAF_Patton, McCoySt. Louis has exemplified an “all-in” commitment from industry, district, and community partners, that have not only identified specific workforce and community needs, but have also gone above and beyond with their dedication to shaping the future talent pipeline. With key players in industry and education, specifically World Wide Technology (WWT), the Jennings School District, and the St. Louis Regional Chamber under Valerie Patton’s leadership, this outstanding community has created significant impact for America’s future leaders, as well as lasting change. Additionally, these exemplars have laid the groundwork for expansion and establishing future relationships to continue NAF’s important and life-changing work for the entire city.

    World Wide Technology has been the driving force, supporting the collaboration between NAF and the Global Leadership Forum (GLF), that encompasses multiple areas of investment, including establishing a Future Ready St. Louis. This initiative is well underway and has made a significant impact in the Jennings School District. Two of these academies – the NAF Academy of Finance and the NAF Academy of Information Technology have completed NAF’s Year of Planning, and the additional Fast Track academies – the NAF Academy of Health Sciences and the NAF Academy of Engineering have flourished since opening their doors for the 2016-2017 school year. It is projected that for the 2017-18 school year, these four academies will serve nearly 300 students in Jennings High School and continuing prepare these young leaders to be college, career, and future ready.

    Juanita Logan, Director, Corporate Development, World Wide Technology, Inc., said, “We believe that the collaboration between organizations like NAF and other GLF partners that share a common vision, will provide a material multiplier effect on our ability to serve students who represent that talent we must cultivate in high-need, high-growth sectors of the economy.”

    Dr. Art McCoy, Superintendent of Schools, Jennings School District, commented, “Jennings School District and its partners are tremendously thrilled to receive the NAF President's Award.  At our 100th Commencement, the Jennings graduating class of 2017 had 100% College and Career placement. Yet, this would not have been possible without NAF and our strong corporate partners like World Wide Technology, supporting our students and staff.  We are grateful. We truly see a great difference in our community and the lives of our students.”

    The partnership will be recognized at NAF Next in Dallas, TX on Tuesday, July 11th. NAF Next is NAF’s annual professional development conference that brings together education, business, and community leaders to address some of the biggest challenges facing education and the economy. 

    About NAF
    NAF, is a national network of education, business, and community leaders who work together to ensure that high school students are college, career, and future ready. NAF works with high need communities to transform the high school experience through an educational design that includes industry-specific curricula, work-based learning experiences, and relationships with business professionals, culminating in a paid internship. NAF academies fit within and enhance school systems, allowing NAF to become an integral part of a plan for higher achievement at a low cost. NAF academies focus on one of five career themes: finance, hospitality & tourism, information technology, engineering, and health sciences. During the 2016-17 school year more than 96,000 students attended 675 NAF academies across 36 states, including D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands. In 2016, NAF academies reported 96% of seniors graduated with 92% of graduates with post-secondary intentions. For more information, please visit: http://naf.org/