• St. Louis Region is 21st Largest in U.S. – Now What?

    Mar 23, 2018
    This past Thursday, the U.S. Census Bureau released its latest population estimates for the nation’s largest metropolitan areas. While we did grow as a region, our rate of growth was slower than those in other metro regions like Denver, Tampa and even Baltimore. As a result, we moved to the 21st largest metro area. But let’s be clear - we are doing well in a lot of areas. This story is not about urban vs. rural, this suburb vs. that suburb. Every metropolitan region across the country is competing for people, jobs and economic opportunities.

    The past two weeks, we beat out Louisville, Kansas City and Milwaukee to win over 2,200 new jobs with companies like Amazon, Cenlar and Grove Collaborative. Our startup businesses continue to grow and thrive. Just this month, Chamber staff are meeting with business leaders in Dallas, Cleveland, Chicago and New York who are interested in locating in our region. People, jobs and companies are moving to St. Louis, but the more economic opportunities we can provide – both in terms of jobs and a talented workforce – the more likely we can grow at a faster rate.

    The core mission of the St. Louis Regional Chamber is regional economic development. That means when a business is looking to relocate its business, we look at all corners of the region – City of St. Louis, St. Louis County, St. Charles County, Madison County, St. Clair County, and beyond. Each area has its unique assets, and combining our strengths creates a region that has that is very competitive. Companies and business site consultants tell us they love the St. Louis region’s affordability, our strong talent in biosciences, financial sectors and healthcare, and our friendly business climate. According to the St. Louis Federal Reserve, we rank No. 7 in the country for adjusted real personal income per capita, 12 percent higher than the national average. This translates into a very affordable cost of living and doing business. These are very real reasons why companies choose to do business in St. Louis and we think many more will, especially as the Chamber and community partners continue to work with regional educational partners and employers to grow and develop our workforce. 

    It is important that we also work together to attract new people to St. Louis who want to enjoy a low cost of living, great family amenities, and a chance to make a better life for themselves and their companies than in high-cost areas of the country. We will continue to work hard with our partners in both Illinois and Missouri to market the region around the country and across the world. 

    Ultimately, people and businesses are looking for economic opportunities. That is how we in St. Louis will grow. We must continue to work together to bring more jobs, build up our workforce, and attract talented and innovative people to the St. Louis region. We should support people and organizations that make St. Louis a better place to live. That is the call to action we should take from this. We have many assets, we are open for business, and it is time we tell a new story about St. Louis.
  • 5th Annual Arcus Awards Honor Innovation, Inclusion, and Economic Growth

    Mar 02, 2018
    ArcusAward2018The St. Louis Regional Chamber honored the region’s most prosperous and inspirational leaders and companies at the 5th Annual Arcus Awards event on Thursday evening. The Academy Awards-style program, presented by RubinBrown LLP, honored the achievements of companies and organizations that are inspiring a greater St. Louis. Over 720 executives, entrepreneurs and civic leaders registered to attend the dinner program at the Marriott St. Louis Grand.

    Out of hundreds of nominations, a panel of business scholars and executives selected 11 award winners based on their accomplishments reflecting the Chamber’s One Plan for regional prosperity. The categories honor leadership in the region’s strongest industry clusters that have the global potential for growth, organizations that are creating economic opportunity and mobility through greater educational attainment, inclusion and talent attraction and entrepreneurship and innovation, and companies advocating for forward-thinking economic policies. For the second year in a row, additional recognition was given to a winner of the Arcus People’s Choice Award, selected by over 1,100 individual votes from across the region.

    The 5th Annual Arcus Awards winners were: Electrical Connection, World Wide Technology, MilliporeSigma, Regions Bank, Prosperity Connection, Christian Hospital, Flat World Supply Chain, St. Louis American Foundation, Arch GrantsLaunchCode, and Bi-State Development Research Institute.

    RubinBrown Chairman John Herber, Jr., said, “The Arcus Awards allow us to celebrate the amazing innovation, resilience and achievements of our nominees and finalists. These companies are the best of St. Louis and help our economy grow. We are proud to return for the fifth year as the presenting sponsor of these important and inspiring awards.”

    Arcus is the Latin word for “arch” and symbolizes the Gateway Arch, the unifying symbol of our bi-state region. All of the award finalists, comprised of companies and organizations of all sizes from throughout the bi-state region, were showcased in video segments during the event. Winners in each category received a hand-crafted art piece designed by Mitch Horstmann of St. Louis Sculpture Factory.

    The Arcus Awards winners by category are:

    The Ameren Corporate Citizenship Award for a company making positive changes that impact St. Louisans was presented to Electrical Connection. The Electrical Connection (EC) is a partnership of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1 and the St. Louis Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA). For more than 75 years, its IBEW/NECA Electrical Industry Training Center has trained more electricians/communication technicians than any education program in Missouri. Through its workforce development, support for STEM education, diversity outreach, apprenticeship training and continuing education programs, Electrical Connection truly exemplifies what it means to be a Corporate Citizen.

    Other finalists included: Bunzl Distribution, Maritz, MilliporeSigma, and Redberri Earth Foundation.
     
    The BMO Harris Bank St. Louis Spirit Award, for advancing St. Louis’ rich history and global reputation as a hub of innovation and forward-looking vision, was presented to World Wide Technology. Since 2011, WWT has grown by more than 56 percent and in 2016, ranked 30th on a Forbes list of the largest U.S. private companies, and is the nation’s largest African American-owned business in the country. From record growth to corporate innovation to community investment, World Wide Technology truly demonstrates the best of St. Louis’ spirit. 

    Other finalists included: CEdge Software Consultants, Scott Air Force Base Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics Advisory Group (STEAM), and St. Louis College of Pharmacy. 


    The Arcus Award for Achievement in Biosciences, sponsored by Bryan Cave LLP, was presented to MilliporeSigma, the life science arm of Merck KGaA. MilliporeSigma employs about 2,000 people in St. Louis, and provide research and lab-based solutions like genomic sequencing technology and stem cell research, and work with international partners to tackle major global diseases.  

    Other finalists included: Aptimmune Biologics, Confluence Discovery Technologies, DynaLabs, and SentiAR.


    The Arcus Award for Achievement in Financial Services, sponsored by Thompson Coburn LLP, was presented to both Regions Bank and Prosperity Connection. Regions Bank will invest over $40 million in the St. Louis market to open 11 new banking centers in 2018. They are also investing in low-income housing, no-cost financial education, mentorship through Big Brothers Big Sisters, and community development support for our communities. 
    Prosperity Connection assists low-and-moderate income households build their financial confidence and capability through access to financial education and affordable financial services. Specifically, they operate RedDough Money Centers to combat payday loan lenders in low-income neighborhoods with more affordable options and financial education for residents. 

    Other finalists included: Assembly Payments and Commerce Bank


    The Arcus Award for Achievement in Health, sponsored by Centene Corporation, was presented to Christian Hospital. Christian Hospital has planned a transition to all private patient rooms, a $5 million extensive lobby renovation; a $2.7 million lab equipment upgrade; $1 million investment in a new ambulance fleet; and conversion to a new $16 million universal electronic medical record system, in addition to opening two new health centers. They also operate the Christian Hospital PCT Academy, the Christian Hospital EMS (CHEMS) Academy, and partner with area schools to provide job training and workforce development for surrounding communities. 

    Other finalists included: A.T. Still University Missouri School of Dentistry & Oral Health, Hospital Sisters Health System, Medical Transportation Management, Inc. and St. Luke’s Hospital.


    The Arcus Award for Achievement in Logistics, sponsored by Spire, was presented to Flat World Supply Chain. Flat World is a technology-based third-party logistics company that helps their clients identify opportunities to change and improve their business processes and operations using an innovative technology for rate/service comparison, tracking, reporting and data mining, and consolidated invoicing. Flat World has now grown to 80 employees and four operating companies to date.

    Other finalists included: City of Alton Mulitmodal Center, Seyer Industries, Inc. and St. Louis Regional Freightway.


    The Arcus Award for Achievement in Educational Attainment, sponsored by STL Communications, Inc., was presented to the St. Louis American Foundation, created by the St. Louis American newspaper. The Foundation focuses on individual achievement recognition events, scholarships and community Grants (more than $5 million distributed locally) and the award-winning Newspaper in Education Program, which provides and delivers actual physical newspapers with specific STEM, health and financial literary content for 4th-5th grade students at no charge to nearly 7,000 students in nearly 300 classrooms in seven area school districts each week. 

    Other finalists: Fontbonne University, Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois, PNC Financial Services, Southeast Missouri State University, and St. Louis Graduates.


    The Arcus Award for Achievement in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, sponsored by Monsanto Company, was presented to Arch Grants. Every year, the Arch Grants Global Startup Competition awards $50,000 equity-free cash grants and pro bono support services to innovative, scalable, and job-creating startups that agree to locate their business in St. Louis for at least one year. Since inception in 2012, Arch Grants companies have generated over $48,000,000 in revenue, attracted over $100,000,000 in follow-on capital, and created more than 1,000 new jobs in the St. Louis region. 

    Other finalists included: Astral AR, Ameren Accelerator powered by University of Missouri System, UMSL Accelerate & Capital Innovators, Cultivation Capital, Kingdom Scene Endeavors, SafeTrek and SixThirty CYBER.


    The Arcus Award for Inclusion and Talent Attraction, sponsored by Express Scripts, was presented to LaunchCode. LaunchCode helps job seekers enter the tech field by providing accessible education, training and paid apprenticeship job placement. Once placed in a LaunchCode position, a candidate works at another company in an apprenticeship, where they are paired with a mentor and given training on the job. Thirty-one percent of current enrolled students are African-American, 42 percent are female, and fifty-five percent of their apprenticeships were previously unemployed.

    Other finalists included: BioSTL, Concordance Academy of Leadership, HireLevel, Programmer Resources International, Inc., and St. Louis College of Pharmacy.


    The Arcus Award for Achievement in Public Policy, sponsored by Edward Jones, was presented to Bi-State Development Research Institute. Bi-State Development Research Institute is the nonprofit research arm of the regional development organization Bi-State Development. The organization conducts research on policy research and planning, land use, real estate development, and publishes various papers and feasibility studies on regional, community, and economic development issues. So far, they have launched mobile health clinics and fresh produce markets at MetroLink stations, and its research is helping to drive innovative programs and partnerships across the region.

    Other finalists included: American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri Foundation, Citizens for Modern Transit, Governor’s Innovation Task Force, and the Missouri Budget Project. 


    The Arcus People’s Choice Award, sponsored by RubinBrown LLP, was awarded to Fontbonne University. Fontbonne University is a coed liberal arts Catholic institution of approximately 3,000 students in Clayton, Missouri. The institution created Fontbonne Promise - a new scholarship program designed to make debt-free college a reality for low-income students. The innovative program will cover full tuition and fees for students who are first-time students, first year students with a zero-expected family contribution. 

    The other top 5 finalists were: Southeast Missouri State University (2); DynaLabs (3); Christian Hospital (4); and HireLevel (5).